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USPRO Criterium Championship - 1.3
Chicago, USA, August 17, 2003
Second win twice as nice
By Mark Zalewski
The first time is pretty nice, but winning back-to-back championships is something special. When the race announcers call you up to the line ahead of everyone else, it places a virtual target right on your back. This year's lucky target-wearer was 7Up/Maxxis' Kevin Monahan. But, ask any rider out there and they will tell you it's a target they would love to have the honor to wear.
"Repeat" was in the air after Tina Mayolo-Pic won her second Criterium Championship, but it was only a whisper as the field that was assembled was as impressive as any before, and a repeat was a long way off. The Navigators had Marty Nothstein and Vasilli Davidenko, who went 1-2 in last night's warm-up race. Prime Alliance was ready to launch Jonas Carney to the win, with Danny Pate and Alex Candelario leading out. U.S. Postal was back looking to get local sprinter Robbie Ventura the one win that has eluded him his whole career. And finally, 7up/Maxxis was here with Monahan and John Lieswyn up to the challenge.
After 62 laps on this tough mile-long course, and after numerous breaks and lead changes, it was once again a field sprint to decide the USPRO Champion - and once again it was Monahan with the best position coming around the final turn.
How it Unfolded
It was pretty clear which teams came to win this year's Championship. Always present at the front were the Navigators, 7up/Maxxis and Prime Alliance squads. "We weren't representing any of the breakaways, we were just killing the breakaways," said Jonas Carney of Prime Alliance's strategy for the race. "We had guys dragging everything back - we weren't going for the primes, we weren't going for the breaks - our job for the day was to just kill everything."
That strategy made for a lot of chasing as riders from other teams tried to get something away. West Virginia's strong road rider Scottie Weiss spent three laps alone gaining up to twenty seconds on the field, but the big teams were shutting everything down today. Except for Prime Alliance, the front was mostly 7up green and Navigator blue for the entire race.
John Lieswyn (7up/Maxxis) was active at the front in the latter parts of the race, testing the waters himself to see if he could get away or driving the pace. But Prime Alliance and Navigators were not going to let that veteran get out of their sights.
As the race counted down to single laps, it was the Navigator team at the front holding court with five to six riders at any one time. Clearly, they were hoping to get their train in line for Nothstein or Davidenko to ride to the finish. But bad luck struck Nothstein with a rear wheel problem with six laps to go. Additionally, there was some confusion in the pits as to when the "free-lap" rule expired and Nothstein was told he couldn't use it and was pushed back in. By the time he rolled around off the back of the pack, the officials let the Olympic Gold medalist take his free-lap past the expiration. And as the Navigator-led pack rolled by again, he was pushed back in.
"It was pretty hectic in the last lap, but it had been since eight laps to go," explained Saturn's Chris Horner. "Danny Pate of Prime Alliance punched it through the second turn from about seven back, with Alex Candelario on his wheel and me following with Mark [McCormack] on my wheel. We came up over the climb and Danny took it a little ways with Navigators back on the front. I got swarmed as we went into the [second] right-hand turn off the descent and I came out maybe tenth. From the third to second-corner to go I just punched it and picked up Mark McCormack who was about fifth. We took it to the last corner when my teammate sat-up to open a gap for me and Kevin was smart enough to come around it. By then, I was too tired - I had been sprinting from about three turns to go [laughs]!"
At this point the Navigators were relying on Nothstein to take the bunch sprint, but the entire team had been driving at the front for too many laps and Nothstein has just chased back on after his mechanical. "Navigators were trying to do a lead out from pretty far out," said Prime Alliance sprinter Jonas Carney. "They burned all their guys up, and we were trying to come around them on the downhill, but 7up was coming on the left and it was really chaotic. I was at the point were as long as I hold it up I have a shot at this - but it was so chaotic. Alex [Candelario] didn't have anything left so I went on my own. But I got caught up behind Oleg, the Navigator's lead-out guy as he was coming back. I felt that I was in contention, but then all of a sudden I look up and see this guy coming back to me at half my speed,"
"I was worried about Nothstein after he had won New York, but he blew to pieces in the early sprint," said Monahan. "When I saw him blow up I said, 'Oh man, this race is wide open now.' I followed Chris Horner and Mark McCormack through the last two turns, and McCormack slowed up through the last turn and I went outside of him, and I knew from there I had a good chance of winning."
From there it was Monhan's race to lose, as he drove hard to repeat his win. "I just can't believe it - I can't believe I did the double. I am just so excited!" This win for the U.S. Championship is even more special as Monahan won the race and was the first American across the line. Unlike last year, it is Monahan first overall and U.S. Criterium Champion.
Images by Mark Zalewski/showchoir.net
Images by Marvin Boehm
1 Kevin Monahan (7Up/Maxxis) 2.16.03 2 Chris Horner (Saturn) 3 Mark McCormack (Saturn) 4 Antonio Cruz (USPS-Berry Floor) 5 Jonas Carney (Prime Alliance) 6 Robbie Ventura (USPS-Berry Floor) 7 Rahsaan Bahati (Saturn) 8 Marty Nothstein (Navigators) 9 Brice Jones (7Up/Maxxis) 10 Chad Hartley (Jittery Joe's) 11 Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) 12 John Peters (Prime Alliance) 13 Jackson Stewart (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) 14 David Clinger (Prime Alliance) 15 Alexandr Kozlov (Health Net Cycling Team) 16 Eneas Freyre (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) 17 Kirk Albers (Jelly Belly) 18 Paul Martin (West Virginia Cycling Team) 19 Nathan Russell (MX1) 20 Jesse Lawler (Jittery Joe's) 21 Alex Candelario (Prime Alliance) 22 Emiel Abraham (MX1) 23 Tyler Farrar (Jelly Belly) 24 Matthew Svatek (Sportsbook.com Cycling Team) 25 Russell Hambey (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) 26 Oleg Grishkine (Navigators) 27 Damon Kluck (US Postal - Berry Floor) 28 Gustavo Carrillo (MX1) 29 Adam Hodges-Myerson (Sportsbook.com Cycling Team) 30 Timothy Henry (West Virginia Cycling Team) 31 Greg Wolf (MX1) 32 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) 33 Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) 34 Christian Vandevelde (US Postal - Berry Floor) 35 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) 36 Pete Knudsen (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) 37 David Wenger (West Virginia Cycling Team) 38 Cameron Hughes (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) 39 Gordon Fraser (Health Net Cycling Team) 40 Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) 41 Andy Bajadali (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) 42 Erik Saunders (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) 43 Scottie Weiss (West Virginia Cycling Team) 44 Ciaran Power (Navigators) 45 Todd Herriott (Health Net Cycling Team) 0.58 46 Adam Bergman (Jelly Belly) 1.05 47 Andrew Crater (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) 1.13 48 Nic Brown (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) 49 Kenny Labbe (US Postal - Berry Floor) 50 Jonathan Erdelyi (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) 1.16 51 Jonathan Sundt (Jittery Joe's) 1.38 52 Siro Camponogara (Navigators) 1.48 53 Patrick O'Donnell (West Virginia Cycling Team) 2.12 54 Miguel Angel Meza Flores (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) 2.21 55 Chris Pic (7Up/Maxxis) 56 Robert Yost (West Virginia Cycling Team) 57 Dan Schmatz (7Up/Maxxis) 2.30 DNF Trent Klasna (Saturn) DNF Keith Horowitz (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) DNF Aaron Olsen (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) DNF Nieko Biskner (Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team) DNF Matt Dubberley (Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team) DNF Ryan Dewald (Sportsbook.com Cycling Team) DNF Benjamin Sharp (West Virginia Cycling Team) DNF John Lieswyn (7Up/Maxxis) DNF Hayden Godfrey (7Up/Maxxis) DNF Gregory Henderson (7Up/Maxxis) DNF Oscar Pineda (7Up/Maxxis) DNF Chris Wherry (Navigators) DNF Mark Walters (Navigators) DNF Kirk O'Bee (Navigators) DNF Tim Johnson (Saturn) DNF Phil Zajicek (Saturn) DNF Michael Creed (Prime Alliance) DNF Jonathan Page (Prime Alliance) DNF Matt Decanio (Prime Alliance) DNF Tim Larkin (Ofoto - Lombardi sports) DNF Brent Dawson (Jelly Belly) DNF Benjamin Brooks (Jelly Belly) DNF Mariano Friedick (Jelly Belly) DNF William Innes (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) DNF Leigh Palmer (Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap) DNF Gordon Mccauley (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) DNF Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron Cycling Team) DNF Adham Sbeih (Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team) DNF Todd Littlehales (Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team) DNF Sterling Magnell (Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team) DNF Ross Krause (Sportsbook.com Cycling Team) DNF Lawrence Perera (Sportsbook.com Cycling Team) DNF James Baldesare (West Virginia Cycling Team) DNF Shawn Willard (MX1) DNF Karl Bordine (MX1) DNF Christopher Mcgovern (Health Net Cycling Team) DNF Mike Sayers (Health Net Cycling Team) DNF Devon Vigus (Health Net Cycling Team) DNF Jeffrey Hopkins (Jittery Joe's) DNF Cesar Augusto Grajales (Jittery Joe's) DNF Jacob Rosenbarger (Jittery Joe's)