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North Carolina Grand Prix #2, Hendersonville - C2
Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA, November 20, 2005
Ross repeats and Fior di Frutta doubles in North Carolina
By Janet Trubey
Day two of North Carolina's first weekend of UCI sanctioned races greeted the racers with cloudy skies and a new course at Jackson Park in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Switching directions and a change to several portions provided racers with an even faster course than the previous day. The murmur heard around the venue was how would the North Carolina guys and gals hold up against all of the visiting racers who traveled 8 plus hours in pursuit of valauable UCI points?
In the Elite women's race there was much speculation that Tara Ross (Diet Cheerwine) would cruise to the win again. However, Mandy Lozano (CCA/Kona) of Raleigh, NC had a different agenda. Plagued by what she called a "bio-mechanical" on the previous day's race, Lozano was able to keep pace with Ross. Ross said, " I tried to shake her off, but she just wouldn't let go." Ross gave in and the two worked together building the lead from the chasing duo of Melanie Swartz (Squadra Coppi) and Laura Bowles (Diet Cheerwine), whom later fell out of contention with a mechanical. On the final lap, Ross had that gut feeling that she could take Lozano in the sprint, but still gunned it up the "wall" to ensure a slight advantage going into the finishing straight. Ross's instinct was right as she out sprinted Lozano for her second UCI win in two days. After the race, Ross told promoters, "Definitely these courses are worthy of being in the US Grand Prix series."
In the first lap of the men's Elite race, the field looked like a snake slithering around the park, one after one. The crowds wondered when and who would make the first move. An early selection was finally made coming out of the woods that appeared to be from attrition versus an attack from the front of the race. Twelve men would spend much of the race elbow to elbow in pursuit of the win. With mini attacks flying right and left, no one person seemed to be able to do enough damage to break up the group. Fior di Frutta had three men in the lead group so numbers were on their side until Dan Timmerman was taken down by Jed Schneider (Alan Factory) who got caught up on a stake trying to cut the corner of the "wall" as close as possible. Since this happened right in front of the majority of the spectators, many thought this would be the moment where the lead pack would break apart. However, these two fought hard and reattached with the leaders a half a lap later.
With the crowds growing hungry for some indication of who would be the strongest out of this group, most were rooting for the hometown boys, Jon Hamblen (Fior di Frutta), Brent Bookwalter (Easton/Kona), and Charlie Storm (Inland Construction). Emerging from the woods for the last time, a small gap finally opened up and four riders had the advantage. The masses were pleased to see Bookwalter and Storm there, but instead of Hamblen it was his teammate, Michael Cody in the lead. Along with Bart Gillespie (Biogen Idec), the four rounded the corner at the top of the wall side by side, as the crowd ran from the hillside to the finishing straight to see Cody edge out Gillespie in a very close sprint finish. Cody said after the race, "I was impressed with the deep field that was able to stay together. I'm glad UCI races are going on down here. I came here to get a better starting spot for Nationals with the UCI points earned here, and a win for Fior on both days was even better."
Other winners from the day include: Oscar Clark in Men's B, Lindsay Hatfield in Women's B, Edward Dickinson in Masters 35+, Randy Shields in Masters 45+, Kyle Cochran in Juniors 17-18, Chris Martinez in Juniors 10-16, and Jonathan Kemp in Men's C.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gary Clark/www.Mediasportsgroup.com
Elite men 1 Michael Cody 2 Bart Gillespie 3 Charlie Storm 4 Brent Bookwalter 5 Tristan Schouten 6 Russ Tiles 7 Jon Hamblen 8 Jed Schneider 9 Jason Tullous 10 Dan Timmerman Elite women 1 Tara Ross 2 Mandy Lozano 3 Melanie Swartz 4 Cara McCauley 5 Betsy Schauer 6 Samantha Williams 7 Kim Sawyer 8 Lauren Trull 9 Clara Beard 10 Angelina Stevens