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Wachovia Cycling Series
USA, May 31-June 5, 2005
Lancaster - May 31: Lancaster, PA, 147km
Health Net finds power in numbers
Dominguez leads Henderson to win in Lancaster
By Mark Zalewski in Lancaster, PA
For the veteran North American racers, Philly week is the highlight of the racing calendar - one of a few opportunities to mix it up with the some of the top European teams on American soil. And while Sunday is the chance to race for the stars and stripes, the week kicks off with what many consider one of the hardest races on the calendar - the 147km circuit race through Lancaster. Featuring a technical course with one significant climb and a lot of undulation, the speed is always high and the attacks plentiful.
This year's edition was not an exception, with breaks turning into counter-attacks and again into more breaks. Finally, a select group of thirteen found itself on the front with many race favorites included - from Chris Horner (Saunier Duval-Prodir) to current USPRO champ Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto), but all led by four Health Net/Maxxis riders. With nearly one-third of the break in Health Net's favour, the green machine held all the cards. Coming around for the final time, the four riders set up their mini lead-out train. Ivan Dominguez, fresh off a victory at the CSC Invitational last week, took his turn as the number two man, sending teammate Greg Henderson to the line with enough steam to stave-off a hard charging Fred Rodriguez. The remaining Health Net pair set such a blistering pace at the end that Dominguez had enough of a gap to hold on for third, giving Health Net two positions on the podium.
"I was the go-to guy," Henderson said as he rolled back to the podium to take his prize. "I've had some pretty good legs lately. I wanted to target this race."
Target this race Health Net did. "Coming across the radio who feels good, and we all felt good so [Corbett] said, 'Let's stick to the plan and lead Hendey out.' I had the good legs, and at about four hundred metres I was screaming at Ivan, 'GO GO GO!' I took off at two hundred metres and I dumped it into the eleven, and I was like, 'Oooooh, the eleven is quite big about now!'"
But the Kiwi sprinter dug hard to get over the rise and onto the straight to keep Rodriguez from coming around. "Coming into the last straight, Ivan put in a hard lead-out, and I was going to jump at 175 metres to go, but I hesitated, and I was in my 54x11 - once I hit 100 metres I was bouncing all over the road and couldn't get any speed. I kept thinking, 'I'm not gonna make it, I'm not gonna make it!' I threw my bike at the line and nope, I didn't get it."
Rodriguez also had to roll the dice to decide who to follow in the end, knowing that Health Net had three riders who all could easily try for the sprint win - Wherry, Henderson and Dominguez. "I thought it was going to be Ivan, so though they would put in a little gap," Rodriguez explained. "I was talking to Horner, asking, 'Who are these guys going to lead-out 'cause I'm not sure here!' Chris [Wherry] was looking super-strong and I thought he's gotta attack. But he kept working and keeping it together. I thought I would just follow their lead-out train."
Rodriguez also had quite the opposite situation from Health Net, with the majority of his teammates sitting out today's race due to difficulties with travel from Europe. Rodriguez was luckily coming in from a rest at his home in California last week and was not delayed, but it left him with only two teammates and no team car. "We had some difficulties getting the team here from Europe - something like a thirty-five hour trip, so we decided to rest them [today] so they could be as strong as they can for Sunday."
Team CSC had only one rider in the final break in Allen Johansen, but had displayed a strong contingent of riders on the front for much of the day. "The whole team was so strong. But I think when [the final break] went away, we were maybe...not sleeping, but I actually thought we had two guys up front. But the whole team was strong on the hill; Bobby, Matt and me," said Lars Bak. "We gambled on [Johansen] in a group because Michaelsen is good but not that good, so we thought we would gamble on Alan.
When Cyclingnews asked what his thoughts of the Lancaster course, Bak replied, "It was a hard one! If it had been a hundred kilometres longer it would have been like a world championship course!"
How it unfolded
With no neutral section, the race got underway with a bang courtesy of CSC's Bobby Julich, setting a quick pace around the first two turns making sure the rest of the field knew they would be in for a long afternoon of racing. After that initial foreshadowing, the break attempts came like voting in Chicago - early, and of ten.
As usual, it took a little bit of time before the right combination of riders meshed well with each other, and that the field considered it unimportant enough to give away time. This combination ended up being Russell Downing (recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed), Doug Ollerenshaw (Health Net/Maxxis) and Richard England (Advantage Benefits/Endeavour). Ollerenshaw was not out for glory so much as taking up a marking position on the other two riders. Over the next few laps the trio crested the KOM and the sprint line in the same order, with an obvious agreement in place that Downing would take the KOM and England the sprint.
Eventually, Monex's Carlos Vargas made an attempt to bridge to the trio. Though it took him some time, the Colombian rider made it up to the break and recovered over the next lap. With the gap fluctuating, Ollerenshaw grabbed the initiative by taking maximum points over the KOM as the field began to get twitchy. This combined with multiple second places from previous laps gave the Health Net rider the KOM category lead.
Richard England had managed to keep on his toes coming into the sprint line each lap, hoping to gain enough points for the sprint win. "Everybody fought for the KOM but they pretty much let me have the sprints," said England. "So I just made sure I pulled strong turns up the home straight every lap and fortunately they let me have it." The young Australian rider has had a rough few weeks, battling a back injury that forced him out of last week's CSC Invitational. "I was a bit unsure how I was going to do today. I had to pull out of CSC because it was too painful." But after enough laps were in the books, his team manager Robbie Ventura knew he had the category locked and that all he needed do was finish the race.
After that, CSC got on the gas pedal and really brought the break back in a hurry, but not all the way. What was once more than a minute gap was now just twenty seconds. And while the lesser riders in the break were shed, new blood bridged the gap and increased the break, led by Health Net's John Lieswyn. Lieswyn powered up to the break on one of the small climbs on the course and just kept on going, with the other riders jumping out of the saddle to stay on his wheel.
Finally the Discovery Channel team, with last year's winner Max Van Heeswijk, decided to join the racing action, killing the break. But the counter attacks came more frequently now. Coming into the KOM after seeing five laps to go, CSC's Andy Schleck jumped off the front, causing the contenders to take notice. This resulted in the final break solidifying with the likes of Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto), Ivan Ravaioli and Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Caffita), Allen Johansen (CSC), Ivan Dominguez, Greg Henderson, John Lieswyn and Chris Wherry (Health Net), Karl Menzies and Frank Pipp (Advantage Benefits/Endeavour) and Danny Pate and Caleb Mannion (Jelly Belly).
Chris Horner picked up the pace into the town centre with four to go, and the gap that was just a few seconds exploded to over a minute in under two miles of racing. As the laps counted down, the gap grew to 1:25, with Health Net driving the pace. Back in the pack, it was Navigators doing a team time trial on the front.
But too little too late for the rest. Entering the last lap, the gap was still more than a minute. Over the KOM for the final climb the break waited for the eventual move. CSC's Allen Johansen gave a little extra effort over the climb, but not enough to open a gap. After the descent, it was Horner's turn to go. Fresh off a six-week recovery from a broken hip, the popular American rider couldn't get enough of a gap as the four Health Net riders took turns setting a fast pace, led by John Lieswyn and Chris Wherry.
Marco Marzano (Lampre Caffita) attempted a break of his own before the long stretches of road leading back to the technical finish area. But Health Net powered on, with Wherry setting the first leg of the lead-out. At six hundred metres Lieswyn took over, bringing the other two teammates and Rodriguez around the final two turns. At three hundred, Henderson gave his shout to Dominguez, and the rest was textbook.
Though the first half of the race wasn't a record-setting pace, Henderson knew that the finish would be flying. "Well the joke is, the slower we go now the faster we'll go later!"
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Dennis Smith/www.dennisbike.com
1 Greg Henderson (NZl) Health Net - Maxxis 3.21.28 2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon Lotto 3 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Health Net - Maxxis 4 Karl Menzies (Aus) Advantage Endeavour 5 Ivan Ravaioli (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir 6 Chris Horner (USA) Suanier Duval - Prodir 7 Allen Johansen (Den) Team CSC 8 Caleb Mannion, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 9 Ivan Stevic SCG Aerospace Engineering 10 Frank Pipp (USA) Advantage Endeavour 0.04 11 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre Caffita 12 John Lieswyn (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 13 Chris Wherry (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 0.17 14 Lars Bak (Den) Team CSC 1.34 15 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 16 Ben Brooks, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 17 Jonathan Page (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 18 Danny Pate (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 19 Deniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 20 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 21 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 22 Erik Saunders (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 23 Emile Abraham (Tri) Team Monex 24 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 25 Mark Mccormack (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 26 Kirk Albers, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 27 Mike Sayers (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 28 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre Caffita 29 Max Vanheeswijk (Ned) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 30 Kyle Gritters (USA) Team Seasilver 31 Chad Hartley (USA) TIAA CREF 32 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada 33 Cameron Hughes (Aus) Subway-Express 1.40 34 Brice Jones, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 35 Garret Peltonen (USA) Advantage Endeavour 36 Neil Shirley (USA) Team Seasilver 37 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 38 Curtis Gunn (USA) Team Seasilver 39 Andreas Matzbacher (Aut) Lampre Caffita 40 Tim Johnson (USA) Jittery Joe's 41 Eric Murphy (USA) Aerospace Engineering 42 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 43 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Navigators Insurance 44 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Team Seasilver 1.45 45 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir 46 Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 47 Tim Larkin (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 48 Dan Bowman (USA) TIAA CREF 49 Stefano Barberi (Bra) TIAA CREF 50 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 51 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) Team CSC 52 Bruno Langlois (Can) Jittery Joe's 53 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance 54 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 55 Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Cycling Team 56 Angel Gomez (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir 57 Roger Hammond (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 58 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas-Bianchi 59 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas-Bianchi 60 Peter Baker (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 61 Patrick Mccarty (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 62 Mike Jones (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 63 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre Caffita 64 Trent Lowe (Aus) Jittery Joe's 65 James Mattis (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 66 Ruben Lobato (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir 1.55 67 Aaron Olsen (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 2.02 68 Geoff Kabush (Can) Jittery Joe's 2.14 69 Gordon Fraser (Can) Health Net - Maxxis 70 Victor Laza SCG Aerospace Engineering 2.17 71 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 2.39 72 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre Caffita 3.58 73 Lief Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.09 74 Jeff Louder (USA) Navigators Insurance 75 Matt Dubberly (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 76 Richard England (Aus) Advantage Endeavour 6.00 DNF Rashaan Bahati (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF Chris Baldwin (USA) Navigators Insurance DNF Jason Bausch (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Fumyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Aaron Brown (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Clemente Cavaliere (Ita) Aerospace Engineering DNF David Clinger (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Mark Collard (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Todd Cornelius (USA) Subway-Express DNF Michael Creed (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Ari De Wilde (USA) NERAC.COM DNF John Delong (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Christopher Deluise (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Wim Devocht (Bel) Davitamon Lotto DNF Ryan Dewald (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon Lotto DNF Dean Downing (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Russell Downing (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Tim Duggan (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Thad Dulin (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Patrick Dunaway (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Lucas Euser (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Glenn Fant (USA) Team Monex DNF Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home DNF Chris Frederick (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Mariano Friedick, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel DNF Will Frischkorn (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon Lotto DNF Hayden Godfrey (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Josh Goodwin (USA) Team Monex DNF Ben Greenwood (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Oleg Grishkine (Rus) Navigators Insurance DNF Ben Haldeman (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Russell Hamby (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF John Hanson (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Rob Hayles (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Todd Herriott (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home DNF Eddy Hilger (USA) Advantage Endeavour DNF Adam Hodges Myerson (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Omer Kem (USA) Subway-Express DNF Michael Lange (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Russell Langley (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Craig Lewis (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Benjamin Linsday (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Adam Livingston (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Sterling Magnell (USA) Team Monex DNF Paul Manning (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon Lotto DNF Remi Mcmanus (USA) Subway-Express DNF Gennady Mikhaylov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Nathan Miller (USA) Team Monex DNF Hugh Moran (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Manuele Mori (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir DNF Mike Norton (USA) NERAC.COM DNF David O'loughlin (Irl) Navigators Insurance DNF Nathan O'neill (Aus) Navigators Insurance DNF Evan Oliphant (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Dario Pieri (Ita) Lampre Caffita DNF Oscar Pineda (Gua) NERAC.COM DNF Marco Pinotti (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir DNF Cody Powell (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Jeremy Powers, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel DNF Daniel Ramsey (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Geoff Rapaport (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF Matty Rice, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel DNF David Richter (USA) Subway-Express DNF Marco Righetto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Jake Rytlewski (USA) Advantage Endeavour DNF Brian Sheedy (USA) Advantage Endeavour DNF Bryan Smith (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Shaun Snodden (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed DNF Jackson Stewart (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Jonny Sundt (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Joshua Taylor (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Webcor Cycling Team DNF Jurgen Vandenbroek (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Kevin Vanes (USA) Subway-Express DNF Carlos Vargas (Col) Team Monex DNF Devon Vigus (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF Hank Vogels (Aus) Davitamon Lotto DNF Zach Walker (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF David Werling (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Craig Wilcox (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Ryan Yee (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Robbie Yost (USA) Subway-Express DNF Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada