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Results and Reports for May 18-24, 2002
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2nd Housatonic Valley Classic
Danbury, Connecticut, May 19, 2002
Davidenko takes field sprint to win Housatonic
By Kirsten Begg, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Vassili Davidenko continued the Navigators cycling team's recent run of great form when he outsprinted the field to win the second running of the Housatonic Valley Classic in Danbury, Connecticut, USA. Mercury's Henk Vogels was second by a hair, with John Peters (Prime Alliance) in third.
The Housatonic Valley Classic is quickly earning a reputation as a tough race in the European style with winding country roads and short punchy climbs that weave their way through the ten towns that make up the Housatonic Valley in southwestern Connecticut. Some of the field returned to this second running wiser than last year and consequently the field was more aggressive in reeling in the many attacks.
The race got off to a nervous start after a crash and several punctures in the neutral two mile roll to the start, and the attacks began just 4 miles in when Belgian Pieter Ghyllebert (Lombarden/Michael Pollentier) went off the front. This seemed to set the tone for the day, and with six of ten town sprints in the first 50 miles, the field had it's work cut out even before the crux run into the main climb of the day.
Attacks came in turn from Chad Gerlach (Sierra Nevada), Leigh Sorels (Go Mart), Harm Jansen (Saturn), and Reto Lauper (Ofoto/Lombardi Sports) before the combination of some longer climbs and the fourth points sprint split the field at the 37-mile mark.
A strong group of eight quickly established a 30 second gap. It was a choice selection with all the main teams represented and included Mark McCormack (Saturn), Thomas Leaper (Navigators), Antonio Cruz (US Postal), Alex Candelario (Prime Alliance), Henk Vogels (Mercury), Erik Saunders (Ofoto/Lombardi Sports), Peter Knudsen (Schroeder), and Benjamin Jacques-Mayne (Sierra Nevada).
The break was established but the field chased hard with individual riders including Davidenko trying to bridge, and by the 55 mile mark the break had only gained another 30 seconds. At this point however, the course reached Church Hill in Redding, the steepest pitch of the entire 120-mile race, and by the 66 mile mark the break was clear with almost a three minute lead.
The break stayed together through two more short yet tough climbs, but as the combined Sprint #7/KOM #2 marker approached the pace increased and the break fell apart with Henk Vogels and Mark McCormack going clear and the remnants of the break scattered between them and the peloton still three minutes behind.
After a sustained 10 mile cruise through Bethel at the 77 mile point, the race began in earnest as the field began to reel in the break on the approach to the race's crux six-mile section between Redding and Ridgefield a combination of narrow roads, short pitches and screaming descents that lead to the race's main climb.
The break's advantage was down to just a minute as the 2.5 mile climb began. The carnage that occurs at this point is truly incredible as amateur Cat 2's and those not quite on form suffer a rapid exit out the back of the pack. The 200-strong field is easily reduced by half after this climb. The final KOM after 1 mile doesn't help, but what the race book omits is that after a short flat the climb kicks up for another half mile before a short breather and the run in to the penultimate sprint of the day in Ridgefield.
Vogels and McCormack still held a slim 35 second gap after the climb, but with memories of last year's winning two man break on their minds the field began the charge to catch the leaders before the 100-mile mark and the safety of the finishing circuit.
Vogels succumbed first at the 95-mile mark while McCormack hung on a shade longer before everything was back together for the ten 1.3-mile finishing laps in downtown Danbury. Even the trailing group of 20 riders caught the front group of 45, and then it was every man for himself in a flurry of breakaways which included attempts from Mark Walters (Navigators), Eric Wohlberg (Saturn), Scott Moninger (Mercury) and little known Ted Huang (Webcor/Alto Velo).
Nothing could stick though, and despite a 12-man group that got a gap away for a lap or two, with three to go it was back together with Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) keeping the pace high. Pate's teammate Chris Horner gave it one more go with a lap to go but was hauled in and the peloton began it's charge down the long finish straight.
Surprisingly, it was Davidenko and Vogels, two of the day's most aggressive riders duking it out all the way to the line, with the Russian just edging the Australian in a photo finish.
"I was chasing the break about 45 miles into the race, but it's hard when it's one person against eight," explained Davidenko. "Besides Tom Leaper was in the break so in the end I let them go."
Davidenko is just coming back into form after a serious crash in February left him with a badly gashed shin. "I felt that effort towards the end and on the closing laps I asked Mark (Walters) and Kirk (O'Bee) to help. It's a great win, and I need to thank them. We've had a great couple of months in Europe (where O'Bee won two races), I'm coming into form in the last two weeks and we have the USPRO Championships the biggest race of all in 3 weeks time."
Vogels, who has just spent three weeks at altitude, was unfortunate to get pipped at the line after working so hard but showed that he could well be coming into the kind of form that won him the USPRO Championships in 2000. "It was fast from the start. I was out with McCormack but we got caught just before the circuit. I've been recovering well since going to altitude, and it's a good test before USPRO," he continued, referring to the US's showpiece event on June 9.
Saturn-Timex Women's Classic
In the parallel Saturn-Timex Classic women's race, Australian Anna Millward took a solo win, demonstrating a rapid return to form after an injury that has sidelined her for most of the season to date. Millward escaped from Amber Neben in the closing stages of race.
Millward, Neben and Canadian Clara Hughes broke away from a shattered peloton with over half the race remaining. The threesome worked well together over the undulating terrain, establishing a gap that at its largest was 2:55. Back in the bunch, the tenacious Diet Rite team was relentlessly chasing, aided by Team Grace (Denmark) and Talgo-America. However, with Millward and Hughes' horsepower, the break was not to be seen until the five 1.5 mile finishing circuits in Danbury.
Millward seized her chance to escape on the last long climb on Florida Road. Hughes and Neben tried to come to terms with the Saturn rider's strength, but neither was able to bring her back. She entered the final circuits alone, and powered home for an impressive win. Neben held off Hughes for second.
Images courtesy of Zui Hanafusa
Images courtesy of Phil Marques
Custom bikes at Housatonic
The Housatonic Valley Classic is one of the closest major US races to the HQ of aluminium bike maker Cannondale, so it's no surprise that four teams sponsored by the fat tube specialists were out in force. Kirsten Begg snapped the teams' bikes as they lounged around the pits showing off their custom colours.
Women 1 Anna Millward (Saturn Cycling Team) 10.58 2 Amber Neben (T-Mobile USA National) 0.15 3 Clara Hughes (Quebec Provincial) 1.59 4 Tania Duff-Miller (Freddie Fu Cycling Team) 3.39 5 Laura Van Gilder (TREK PLUS Cycling Team) 6 Susy Pryde (Talgoamerica Cycling) 7 Tina Mayolo-Pic (USA Diet Rite Women's Cycling) 8 Roz Reekie-May (Mercy/Fanini Composite) 9 Suzanne Sonye (Saturn Cycling Team) 10 Catherine Bearce (CCB/Volkswagen) 11 Kristin Armstrong (Goldy's) 12 Kimberly Bruckner (Saturn Cycling Team) 13 Erinne Willock (Verizon Wireless/Cervelo) 14 Jennifer Manefield (Team GRACE Cycling) 15 Katrina Berger (T-Mobile USA National) 16 Sue Palmer-Komar (Talgoamerica Cycling) 17 Trine Hansen (Team GRACE Cycling) 18 Andrea Cox (CCB/Volkswagen) 19 Jessica Phillips (Saturn Cycling Team) 20 Kori Kelly (Diet Rite Women's Cycling) 21 Ivana Bisaro (Serotta Under-25 Cycling) 3.49 22 Helen Kelly (Wireless/Cervelo) 23 Rebecca McClintock (Serotta Under-25 Cycling) 24 Hiroko Shimada (Verizon Wireless/Cervelo) 25 Louise Barriss (CCB/Volkswagen) 26 Heather Peck (Dansko/Wheelworks/IF) 27 Brooke Babbitt (Team Goldy's) 28 Ann Marie Miller (Verizon Wireless/Cervelo) 29 Kimberly Davidge (Saturn Cycling Team) 4.07 30 Jenn Scott (T.E.A.M. Fuji) 4.09 31 Lara Ruthven (T-Mobile USA National) 4.24 32 Kim Anderson (T-Mobile USA National) 4.54 33 Mari Holden (T-Mobile USA National) 5.36 34 An Wagner Ludvigsen (Team GRACE Cycling) 5.38 35 Lauren Franges (Amoroso's/HH Racing) 5.50 36 Christine Huff (LSV/Trek/VW) 6.25 37 Katrina Davis (TREK PLUS Cycling Team) 38 Sophie St-Jacques (TREK PLUS Cycling Team) 39 Sarah Foulkes (NEBC/Cycle Loft) 40 Kristy Scheffenacker (LSV/Trek/VW) 41 Catherine Powers (Terry Precision Cycling) 6.37 42 Anna Milkowski (Gearworks/SRP) 43 Sima Trapp (Team Goldy's) 44 Kristen Lassasso (CRCA/RLX Polo Sport) 7.02 45 Mary Ann Fleckenstein (Team Goldy's) 7.33 46 Grace Taylor (Serotta Under-25 Cycling) 8.44 47 Christi Andersen Peick (Team GRACE Cycling) 48 Dotsie Cowden (T-Mobile USA National) 49 Sue Hefler (LSV/Trek/VW) Sprints 1 Anna Millward (Saturn Cycling Team) 2 Amber Neben (T-Mobile USA National) 3 Laura Van Gilder (TREK PLUS Cycling Team) 3 Clara Hughes( Quebec Provincial) 5 Tina Mayolo-Pic (Diet Rite Women's Cycling) 6 Kristin Armstrong (Team Goldy's) QOM 1 Amber Neben (T-Mobile USA National) 2 Anna Millward (Saturn Cycling Team) 3 Clara Hughes (Quebec Provincial) Men 1 Vassili Davidenko (Navigators Cycling Team) 2 Henk Vogels (Mercury Cycling Team) 3 John Peters (Prime Alliance) 4 Charles Dionne (7 UP/Nutra Fig) 5 Plamon Stoyanov (Mercury Cycling Team) 6 Frank Mccormack (Saturn Cycling Team) 7 Andrew Pinfold (Atlas Gold Storage/ItalPasta) 8 Luke Stockwell (Jittery Joeís) 9 Jonathan Page (Wheelworks/Cannondale) 10 Martin Gilbert (Volkswagen/Trek) 11 Vandevelde Christian (US Postal Service) 12 Rogers Pete (Jittery Joesís) 13 Calle Cesar (Jittery Joesís) 14 Clarke Hilton (Schroeder Iron) 15 Karl Zoetemelk (Le Chateau/France) 16 Kirk Albers (Jelly Belly) 17 Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 18 Mariano Friedick (Jelly Belly) 19 Dylan Casey (US Postal Service) 20 Andrew Bajadali (Stage 1/Cannondale) 21 John Hunt (Sierra Nevada Cycling Team) 22 Scottie Weiss (Gomart Cycling) 23 Bryce Shapley (Valley Presbyterian Church/Hol) 24 John Van Heel (OFOTO/Lombardi Sports) 25 Doug Ziewacz (7UP/Nutra Fig) 26 Chris Mcgovern (Jelly Belly) 27 Gord Fraser (Mercury Cycling Team) 28 Chris Wherry (Mercury Cycling Team) 29 Kirk Oíbee (Navigators Cycling team) 30 Matthew Toulouse (GearsRacing team) 31 John Hamblen (Wheelworks/Cannondale) 32 Viktar Rapinki (Saturn Cycling team) 33 Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) 34 Chris Horner (Prime Alliance) 35 Mark Walters (Navigators Cycling team) 36 Kyle Wamsley (TEAM Fuji) 37 Scott Monninger (Mercury Cycling team) 38 Jamie Paolinetti (Schroeder Iron) 39 Ted Huang 40 Pieter Ghyllebert (Lombarden/Michel Pollentier) 41 Hugh Moran (Webcor/ Alto Velo) 42 Michael Voight (Beans/Lite Bite) 43 Steven Cate (Mattis Bros Cycling team) 44 Frank Dierking (Saturn Development) 45 Todd Herriot (CRCA/Think) 46 Cameron Evans (Broadmark Capital) 47 James Mattis (Webcor/ Alto Velo) 48 Benjamin Sharp (Pharmacia Cycling team) 49 Mike Jones (Wheelworks/Cannondale) 50 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron) 51 Cameron Hughes (Pharmacia) 52 Peter Wedge (Stage 1/ Cannondale) 53 Greg Wolf (Stage 1/ Cannondale) 54 Siro Campognara (Navigators Cycling team) 55 Trent Klasna (Saturn Cycling team) 56 Chad Gerlach (Sierra Nevada Cycling team) 57 Oscar Pineda (7UP/ Nutra Fig) 58 Derek Bouchard-Hall (Mercury Cycling team) Sprints 1 Henk Vogels (Mercury Cycling Team) 2 Mark McCormack (Saturn Cycling Team) 3 Ben Jacques-Mayne (Sierra Nevada Cycling Team) 4 Erik Saunders (Ofoto/Lombardi Sports) 5 Vassili Davidenko (Navigators Cycling Team) 6 Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) 7 Jim Baldesare (Gomart Cycling) 8 Jason McCartney (Jelly Belly/Carlsbad Clothing) 9 Frank McCormack (Saturn Cycling Team) 10 Chad Gerlach (Sierra Nevada Cycling Team) 11 Kirk Albers (Jelly Belly/Carlsbad Clothing) 12 Antonio Cruz (United States Postal Service) 13 Peter Lopinto (OFOTO/Lombardi Sports) 14 Ryan O'Connor (Gomart Cycling) 15 Gord Fraser (Mercury Cycling Team) 16 Matt Decanio (Prime Alliance) 17 Fabrice Paumier (Le Chateau/France) 18 Luke Stockwell (Jittery Joe's) 19 Thomas Leaper (Navigators Cycling Team) KOM 1 Mark McCormack (Saturn Cycling Team) 2 Henk Vogels (Mercury Cycling Team) 3 Chad Gerlach (Sierra Nevada Cycling Team) 4 Ben Jacques-Mayne (Sierra Nevada Cycling Team) 5 Brian Sheedy (Navigators Cycling Team) 6 Thomas Leaper (Navigators Cycling Team) 7 Viktar Rapinski (Saturn Cycling Team)