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Gateway Cup - NE
St Louis, Missouri, USA, August 29-September 1, 2003
Stage 1 - August 29: Lafayette Square
4 Days of Racing
By John Musselman, www.stlbiking.com
When you come to race in the Gateway Cup you will find yourself entrenched in some of the most intense criterium races that can be found anywhere in the United States. Nearly 350 racers from 22 states traveled to St. Louis over the long Labor Day weekend to test their abilities, skills, speed and endurance. The 1st race of the series was Friday night followed by another venue each day for four straight days.
McCartney & Soraci win as 7UP & Diet Rite take charge
Each venue was situated in a different section of St. Louis that was unique in its own way. Most past Gateway Cup races are held in the typical steamy super hot weather conditions approaching the 100-degree temperature mark. This year, rain fell most of the day before the Lafayette Square race, which was the first race on the schedule. This race is different because it's held at night. Cat 4 & 5 races began just after 6:00 pm as the rain continued to fall. When the pro races started 9:30 PM the rain had stopped and the course was drying but the impact was still being felt.
Racers found their rear wheels siding out if not kept in check. ABD Pro woman rider Sarah Tillotson fell and broke her collarbone. The next day, arm in a sling, Sarah replied that she didn't remember anything about the crash. No one hit her. No one else was involved. She just went down hard. The remainder of her racing season is now in limbo.
The rain caused debris to surface and causing a huge number of flats keeping the wheel pit busy throughout the misty night. Streetlights and huge portable lights at the corners of the flat rectangular course gave the only light for the racers to navigate through the night. No one seemed to care. They had come to race.
The 7up/Maxxis team had their local connection with team member Dan Schmatz being the local boy. THF Reality, another major backer of the 7up/Maxxis team, also has their corporate office in located in St. Louis. It goes without saying that the spectators were heavily cheering the 7up/Maxxis team on every lap. So when 7up's Jason McCartney took 1st place followed by teammate John Lieswyn the local crowd were pleased with the results. But Decian Dyle, finishing 3rd, was right in the lead group when sprinting across the finish line just before 11:00 PM that evening.
Diet Rite's Kerri Soraci mastered Lafayette Square by taking first place in the women's Pro 1, 2 race. After the event, racers explained that it didn't seem dark to them. However, the corner lights would cast shadows that would sometimes spring to life from behind them and pass them on the side creating the effect that another racer was passing them. Soraci later stated that she had "this pukey sweaty head thing going on before the race". It had to be the wet humid conditions.
The New Guy
Mark Gorski was introduced at Lafayette Square during the race. Gorski won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in cycling and most recently had helped create and manage the U.S. Postal team. This past month Gorski has left cycling and moved to St. Louis to began another career. The talk on the streets is that Gorski wants to be involved in bringing a major cycling event to St. Louis. He's got the connections and the prestige to get such an event through his expertise in finding corporate funding. Will the Gateway Cup take another step forward? Or will a completely different race be constructed? Look for St. Louis to be the location of something big in 2004.
Images by John Musselman/www.stlbiking.com
Men Pro,1,2 1 Jason McCartney 2 John Lieswyn 3 Declan Doyle 4 Dan Schmatz 5 John Puffer 6 Brice Jones 7 Frank Pipp 8 Charles Huff 9 Joby Siciliano 10 Aaron Hubbell 11 Joe Hill 12 William Ross 13 Nate Cornelius 14 Jeff Hartman 15 Karl Stover 16 Joshua Carter 17 Alex Robles 18 Ben Weaver 19 Ryan Nenninger 20 Mike Kehrberg Women P,1,2,3 1 Kerry Soraci 2 Stephanie Hannos 3 Kori Kelly 4 Kelly Benjamin 5 Megan Elliot 6 Ali McNulty 7 Anne Meyer 8 Stacey Bertsch 9 Jessica Drees 10 Katie Arehart Men 3 1 Joe Williams 2 Robert Kron 3 Stephen Rouff 4 Mark Murawski 5 Ulric DeYoung 6 Pat Meeker 7 Sam Moore 8 Tosh Yoshino 9 Doug Looney 10 Eric Lambi 11 Jeff Constance 12 Peter Erdos 13 Guy Stucker 14 Andy Chocha 15 Ryan Hermsmeyer Men 4,5 1 Phil Mann 2 Johnny Merli 3 James Pirtle 4 Jon Randell 5 Jason Sciaroni 6 Aaron Johnson 7 Andrew Jarves 8 Curt Kippenburger 9 Joe Fuller 10 Brock Webb Women 4 1 Julie Tatar 2 Megan Hottman 3 Laura Starr 4 Pam Hinton 5 Carol Hottobn 6 Jill Thole 7 NA 8 Rebecca Cato