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Stages & Results






John Lieswyn diary

First Union Invitational
First Union Classic & USPRO

2001 results


First Union Series

USA, June 4-9, 2002

2001 Results     Preview    The Races     Team list


Click for larger image
Fred wins in 2001
Photo: © Rob Karman

The races of the First Union Cycling Series, June 4, 6 and 9, are three one-day events that bring the strongest American riders against some of the strongest European riders. It's a clash of egos that can only be decided by the strongest legs. The Europeans show up to destroy the Americans and the Americans want to show that they deserve respect in the European peloton. Add to that the chemistry of smaller American teams trying to impress the larger American teams and a simple bike race turns into an all out fight for victory.

Click for larger image
Leon van Bon, 2001
Photo: © JF Quenet

The week starts off in Lancaster with what is arguably the toughest race of the series. The Lancaster circuit is brutal because of the constant rolling terrain. The short, steep hills make it a perfect course for a rider that excels in climbing, power, and speed. The key to success at Lancaster is patience. Fatigue plays such a huge role on this course that the last twenty kilometers decide the whole race.

In Lancaster it's the final twenty kilometers that weeds out the winner but Trenton makes up its mind in the last two hundred meters. Trenton is by far the fastest race of the three and one of the trickiest to win. The high speed provides an exciting finish while 180 riders battle for the front to take the last turn first. With sprint speeds in excess of 65km/h the blur of the riders will entertain even the hardest of adrenaline junkies.

The final obstacle of the week is the hardest, most prestigious, and richest race in America. The First Union USPRO Championship crowns the US Professional road national champion with a coveted jersey, and offers a $133,250 purse in front of over 700,000 spectators. It's a grueling six-hour race over 250km with some of the best European and American riders in the world. This year the American Freddy Rodriguez will attempt to be the first man to win the National Champion title three years in a row. Standing in his way is the Manuyank Wall, a 17 percent grade that shatters the peloton from the first lap to the tenth lap.

Click for larger image
Final break 2001
Photo: © Rob Karman

The Manayunk Wall always determines the riders' tactics. They always have to know how many laps are left up the wall, how hard they can go up the wall, which laps to expend their energy, and which laps to let it all hang out. The Manayunk wall is the key element to this race and it will determine many riders' success and also be the key to their demise.

After the final lung-busting and leg-burning efforts the Europeans will return home with stories of the Americans and the Americans will return home with stories of the Europeans. Some will be great stories and some will be stories of crashes and failures. In the end the Americans would have proved their point - that racing here in the States is no vacation. And one American will wear the stars and stripes jersey as a constant reminder to everyone that he flattened the Wall and became National Champion.

Courtesy Threshold Sports, official First Union series website: www.firstunioncycling.com

The Races

The Teams

ITeam Nova.com (Australia)
Jelly Belly (USA)
Jittery Joe's Coffee (USA)
Colnago-Landbouwkredeit (Belgium)
Lombardi Sports (USA)
Lotto - Addeco (Belgium)
Mapei - Quick Step (Italy)
Mercury (USA)
Mroz (Poland)
Navigators (USA)
Panaria - Fiordo (Italy)
Prime Alliance (USA)
Saeco - Longoni Sport (Italy)
Saturn (USA)
Schroeder Iron (USA)
7 Up Nutra Fig (USA)
Sierra Nevada (USA)
Sympatico.ca-Jet Fuel (Canada)
United States Postal Service (USA)

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