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South Carolina Heritage Series - NE
USA, April 29-May 2, 2003
Race 4 - May 2: Aiken criterium, 50 miles
Vogels too strong
By Kristy Scrymgeour
The citizens of Aiken could have chosen between bike racing or lobster racing tonight in what is normally a town famous for horse racing. Lobster racing was the sport of choice for many of the townspeople, but the streets were still packed for the final criterium in the South Carolina Heritage Series. Every year people from all around gather in this small town to witness the Lobster race and partake in the festivities which include live music, rides and the finest southern cuisine. From now on however, there is the added attraction of a pro bike race featuring all the top American teams.
Tonight's criterium, on a course similar to the first three nights, started off fast and furious and stayed that way until the very end. The field was a little bit more even as the Saturn team said goodbye to three of their riders who left to fulfill other commitments. Missing from the field were Ivan Dominguez and Victor Rapinksi who have been key players in the first three events.
Following a similar script to last night, the attacks were frequent from lap one as virtually every team in the race took an active part in trying to initiate a move. For the first 19 laps, nothing significant materialized, but with 39 laps to go, just as the rain started to fall, a group of 17 riders split the field. Every major team was represented in the break as Schroeder Iron, happy having their two strongest riders up there, shut down the race from behind.
The break included riders such as Jacob Erker and Miguel Meza (Schroeder Iron), Chris Horner and Eric Wohlberg (Saturn), Henk Vogels and Vasilli Davidenko (Navigators), and Svein Tuft and Danny Pate (Prime Alliance). Unhappy with the break, Colavita/Bolla and Ofoto-Lombardi Sports made some attempts to bring it back but there was too much strength up the road and the gap gradually increased.
With 23 laps to go there was an attack out of the break as six riders quickly gained 21 seconds on the rest of the break. These riders were Vogels, Pate, Meza, Tim Larkin, Jason Waddell (Mathis Brothers) and Wohlberg. A few laps later as the rest of the break was near to being swallowed up by the peloton, Horner attacked and only three were able to stay with him, those being Erker, Joe Papp (UPMC) and Frank Travieso (US Armed Forces).
As a result, there was a first group of six with 24 seconds on a second group of four who were another 11 seconds in front of the main bunch, with the remaining seven riders from the initial break having been absorbed by the field.
The group of four finally made their way up to front six forming a lead group of ten. Vogels, not happy that he was doing the majority of the work, attacked, taking only Horner with him. Meza put on a chase behind, but couldn't make it across as those two powered off into the distance. Six laps later they had 29 seconds on the chasing group of eight, a further 51 seconds to the peloton, which rapidly split into much smaller groups.
Since Vogels and Horner were quite possibly to two strongest riders in the field, it was inevitable that they would stay away and it would be a battle between those two until the finish, not unlike the events of the past two weeks. In a close sprint Vogels took the win over Horner. 30 seconds behind, the battle for third place ensued, but wasn't fully fought, as Wohlberg flatted on the last corner allowing Erker to easily take the final podium position.
Cyclingnews spoke to the winner after the race about how the decisive move formed. "I was in a break of six but I was doing all the work, so when Horner's group came across, the strongest guys quickly sorted themselves out and we got into a good rhythm and that was it, nobody could match it. I knew I was faster than Chris in the finish so it was great for me having someone with that much horsepower in the break," said Vogels. Chris and I had a little disagreement in the break because he decided to sit on for a few laps, but then he changed his mind. He obviously didn't want to sprint against six guys, instead of me. We worked well together until the finish. We have had quite a bit of rivalry over the past two weeks; no it was nice that it ended this way."
Horner was humble about his second place, "I felt great. I was just in the break with the wrong man. I knew I couldn't beat him in a sprint, so I sat on for a few laps hoping that maybe a teammate would come across. But then it started raining and getting darker, so I thought I should start working and maybe I could shoot him on the last corner, but he did a good job of blocking me out on the corner and he is just too fast for me in a two-up sprint."
With the completion of the first annual South Carolina Heritage Series, the scene now shifts north to Shelby, North Carolina for the Shelby Criterium tomorrow afternoon.
1 Henk Vogels (Navigators) 1.40.25 2 Chris Horner (Saturn) 3 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron) 0.41 4 Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 0.43 5 Miguel Meza (Schroeder Iron) 1.03 6 Frank Travieso (US Armed Forces) 7 Jason Waddell (Mathis Brothers) 8 Tim Larkin (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports) 9 Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) 10 Joe Papp (UPMC) 1.07 11 Ryan Guay (Navigators) 1.33 12 Cameron Hughes (Schroeder Iron) 13 Svein Tuft (Prime Alliance) 14 Jesse Lawler (Jittery Joe's) 1.35 15 Siro Camponogara (Navigators) 16 Trent Klasna (Saturn) 17 Jackson Stewart (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports) 18 Peter Knudsen (Schroeder Iron) 19 James Taylor (OLP) 20 Mark Walters (Navigators) 21 Nathan Russell (Colavita/Bolla) 22 Paul Helland (Fairway Suburu/Hincapie Sportwear) 23 Erik Saunders (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports) 24 Adam Meyerson (Sportsbook.com) 25 Gustavo Artacho (Colavita/Bolla) 26 Ryan Oelkers (Sportsbook.com) 1.36 27 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron) 28 Chris Harkey (Schroeder Iron) 29 Chris Frederick (US Armed Forces) 30 Marty Northstein (Navigators) 1.39 31 Jeff Angermann (Webcor) 1.40 32 Dane Jankowiak (Schroeder Iron) 33 Patrick O'Donnell (West Virginia Pro Cycling Team) 1.45 34 Steve McUjeak (US Armed Forces) 35 Steve Speaks (Lite Bites) 36 Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita/Bolla) 1.49 37 Garrett Wonders (CarolinaVW) 1.52 38 Joe Chapman (Lemond Fitness) 1.53 39 AT Stamp (Fairway Suburu/Hincapie Sportwear) 40 James Mattis 1.54