The John Lieswyn Diary

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John Lieswyn
Photo: © Phil Jolley

A pro racer who now mostly concentrates on the US domestic scene, John Lieswyn is one of Cyclingnews' most popular and sometimes controversial diarists. He has been racing since 1985 and a Cyclingnews diarist since 1999. John likes both criteriums and longer road races, and seems to particularly like it when the going is hard. He has raced in the Regio Tour, Peace Race, Tour of Poland, Vuelta a Guatemala, Tooheys GP and Commonwealth Bank Classic with success, as well as winning astages in the Sun Tour, Killington and Superweek. In 2002, he is riding for 7Up/NutraFig.

A big finish

Redlands Bicycle Classic, March 13-17, 2002

March 17: Sunset Road Race 142 km

Prime Alliance was much stronger than I thought they'd be. Horner's domestiques came back lap after lap, each in their own personal world of pain. With three and a half laps to go on the hill Creed couldn't do any more and Horner was left with just Pate. We all knew that the next lap, three to go, would be decisive. The early break Saturn and USPS had sent out to force a chase was amazingly less than a minute ahead.

With three to go Horner lit it up and I was pleased to be able to stay with him. Catching the break, he shook it down to 10 guys at the top of the hill but it came back together on the descent. After all big circuits were said and done the biggest group I've seen finish together (nearly 30!) came to the five small crit laps. USPS had done a lot of work to bring it together, but when Jansen (Saturn) and Horner went on the first of the five laps they quickly pulled out 12 seconds. I did all I could as did a couple Navigators riders, but we could only take it back to nine seconds by the last lap. Charles fired past the Mercury train going for the last podium spot to take third for team 7UP/NutraFig.

Many thanks to the Robertsons for the wonderful accommodation and meals – it really makes a big difference. Next we go back to Fresno to the great hospitality of the Juras before pushing on to the Sea Otter Classic. Yeah. Good hard race. Lots of points. Last year I believe you got $50 for the stage win. Woohoo.

Side note: Each lap on the descents Gord (Mercury) seemed to find me and flick me off the wheel I was on. I've no idea what he's all bent about, seeing as how I wasn't even in the top ten on the last couple laps of the crit that he lost to Charles. Today in the opening small circuits I was trying to lead Doug Z out for the sprinter points (Doug was in the jersey) and Sayers (Mercury) flicked Doug in turn two, pretty hard. So I returned the favor to Sayers in the last turn. It can go round and round, but the thing is that we are all just trying to do our jobs and it would be much better to just let each other do them properly and safely rather than engage in a game of "you did it first". I'm riding well and enjoying racing this season, so it's disappointing to have a petty battle like this marring the fun. Gord will only be able to take me to the curb and have me back down so many times.

Note 2: To quote Cyclingnews' Steve Edwards: "Mercury's Mike Sayers overcame a late-race puncture to finish with the leaders and hold on to his sprinter's jersey." Corrections: he didn't hold onto it, he earned it. It was held by Doug Ziewacz this morning. Mike Sayers finished over 10 minutes behind, not with the leaders, although a flat was responsible.