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Wachovia Cycling Series
USA, May 31-June 5, 2005
USPRO - June 5: USPRO Championship, Philadelphia, PA, 250km
Wachovia USPRO Championship is finally legal at 21
By Mark Zalewski in Philadelphia, PA
With 191 starters, consisting of more than 40 riders from top European teams, including ProTour teams like CSC, Discovery Channel and Saunier Duval-Prodir, the 2005 Wachovia USPRO Championship is shaping up to be a action-packed race for the stars and stripes jersey of USPRO champion. And as it has every year, the Manayunk Wall will play a decisive role in who deserves to be crowned USPRO champion.
The uniqueness of having an 'open' championship means that the spectators not only get to see the best that their domestic racing scene has to offer, but also some of the best racers in the world, particularly Americans based in Europe. For every American pro, this race is a dream - either for starting a career or capping off a successful one. "This race is one of the reasons why I started bike racing," said CSC's Bobby Julich. Even though the veteran pro has finished on the podium in the Tour de France and the Olympics, this race has eluded him over his career. "To win the national championship would be awesome - it's one of the things left on my 'to do' list for my career." Julich, who has spent the time since Georgia training at altitude out west, will have a strong CSC team behind him again this year.
One person that has checked the USPRO championship off his list multiple times is Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto). The three time and current USPRO champ is back again, with riders like Julich trying to loosen his grip on the jersey. "Like Bobby said, I've been hogging it for quite a while - trying to make it my trademark," Fast Freddy said. "For me, every time I talk about it it gives me goose bumps. If I could pull it off again, I could call it a year."
This year, Rodriguez has some additional help in the form of Australian Henk Vogels, who won this race in 2000 and is coming off a strong showing at the Giro d'Italia last month. "I'm pumped to have Henk backing me up, and he might even take the win - who knows, we might play that card."
Also coming from the Giro d'Italia is last year's race winner Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir). The young Spanish rider boosted his marketability with the hard fought field sprint win last year, earning him a spot in prestigious ProTour races for 2005. "Last year's victory demonstrated that he is a strong rider, and above all that he can compete in Europe in the sprint with the other great sprinters," said Director Sportif Matteo Algeri. "The Philadelphia race is such a hard race and last year had great riders, so it wasn't easy for him to win."
Joining Saunier Duval-Prodir this year is veteran U.S. racer Chris Horner, who had a strong finish last year, solidifying his place on the ProTour team. However, a broken leg midway through the spring sidelined Horner for many races, including the Giro. Horner is back after three weeks off and three weeks training. His first race was the Wachovia Invitational in Lancaster on Tuesday, and the always competitive Horner showed he was here to win. "I imagined Chris could come back to ride after a two month stop with this kind of form,"said Algeri. "Hopefully he can go faster in the next days and above all on Sunday. Perhaps help Francisco Ventoso win again on Sunday."
The U.S. sponsored ProTour entry, Discovery Channel, is rather international this year with only two Americans entered. Last year's Lancaster winner Max Van Heeswijk is back, along with the new acquisitions of UK road champion Roger Hammond and Japan's Fumiyuki Beppu. Tony Cruz and Michael Creed may be the only two eligible for the USPRO jersey, but race win is certainly not unlikely.
Two strong Italian squads have also come to try to upstage the Americans in their race, Lampre-Caffita and Liquigas-Bianchi with the always fast Marco Zanotti. Lampre Caffita is here to give its bike sponsor, Pennsylvania-based Cannondale, a good showing, with Director Sportif Bruno Vicino at the helm. "I'm convinced we're here with a competitive team. Marzoli is ready for the sprints and Ballan, Glomser and Matzbacher will have their chance if the race is going stronger."
Like every year, numerous domestic teams will be using this race to show that they can compete at the level of the Europeans. Health Net-Maxxis, bulldozing its way through the U.S. road season this year, is already flexing its muscles with a convincing win in Lancaster on Tuesday. Other strong teams include Navigators Insurance, led by sprinter Vasilli Davidenko and Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home with former USPRO champ Mark McCormack.
The Wachovia Series continues Thursday evening with the continuation of the race in Trenton, NJ, followed on Sunday morning with the women's Liberty Classic and the USPRO Championship.
Cyclingnews will be covering the USPRO Championship live from start to finish, beginning at 9:00am EDT (06:00 PDT (USA West)/15:00 CEST (Central Europe)/23:00 AEST (Australia East) on Sunday.
Philadelphia Mayor - John Street
"This event really adds a quality to our city. Over the past twenty-one years, it has served our city very very well."
Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval)
"I think this year is difficult for me to repeat last year's win, because this year I did harder and more important racing [in the spring] than last year. I rode in the Giro this year, and fell in the last week. It's hard for me to be here, but I wanted to be here to defend my title.
"I like to come to the U.S. to race. I've found beautiful races and places and people. I didn't think people here were as involved in cycling, but I've seen it in Philadelphia and San Francisco - people really seem that they like cycling here."
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval)
"Manayunk has changed a lot since I first came here. It's quite the nice place to hang out, have a coffee and chat with your friends. I've seen the whole of the race grow enormously over the years that I've been here - it's been an exciting process.
"This race is something the fans know from year to year - there are huge gatherings every year."
Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto)
"I think we're here this year to win the bike race, first and foremost. It's an incredible event, one which I have won, and I've just come from three weeks in Italy. Freddy is obviously our team leader but we've got a strong team."
Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto)
"Like Bobby said, I've been hogging it for quite a while - trying to make it my trademark. I'm here to play the game, here to have fun... the crowd here is always amazing - it's one of the biggest things that drives me. For me, every time I talk about it it gives me goose bumps. If I could pull it off again, I could call it a year. I'm pumped to have Henk backing me up, and he might even take the win - who knows, we might play that card."
Bobby Julich (CSC)
"This race is one of the reasons why I started bike racing. I've actually lived in the Philadelphia area for the last eight years. I kind of feel like it's a home town thing. With Wachovia sponsoring the race every year, it's a great reason to come back. To win the national championship would be awesome - it's one of the things left on my 'to do' list for my career."
"Fred's been hogging the jersey for a couple of years now, so I think he should share the wealth, and I'll be more than happy to take it from him."
"I had a tough spring, so the month of May has been a rest period, training up in the mountains at altitude. Now I'm coming back to prepare for the Tour - but Sunday is the second or third most important day of the year for American riders, so I'd like to do my best."
Davitamon Lotto Discovery Channel 1 Fred Rodriguez (USA) 11 Max Vanheeswijk (Ned) 2 Nico Mattan (Bel) 12 Fumyuki Beppu (Jpn) 3 Hank Vogels (Aus) 13 Lief Hoste (Bel) 4 Gert Steegmans (Bel) 14 Roger Hammond (GBr) 5 Wim Devocht (Bel) 16 Michael Creed (USA) 6 Bart Dockx (Bel) 17 Hayden Roulston (NZl) 18 Jurgen Vandenbroek (Bel) 19 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) 20 Antonio Cruz (USA) Suanier Duval - Prodir Team CSC 21 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) 31 Bobby Julich (USA) 22 Chris Horner (USA) 32 Andy Schleck (Lux) 23 Marco Pinotti (Ita) 33 Lars Bak (Den) 24 Ivan Ravaioli (Ita) 34 Lars Michaelsen (Den) 25 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) 35 Matti Breschel (Den) 26 Angel Gomez (Spa) 36 Allen Johansen (Den) 27 Ruben Lobato (Spa) 37 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 28 Manuele Mori (Ita) 38 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) Liquigas-Bianchi Lampre Caffita 41 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) 51 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) 42 Marco Zanotti (Ita) 52 Guiliano Figueras (Ita) 43 Deniele Colli (Ita) 53 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) 44 Marco Righetto (Ita) 54 Marco Marzano (Ita) 45 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) 55 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) 46 Matej Mugerli (Slo) 56 Andreas Matzbacher (Aut) 57 Dario Pieri (Ita) 58 Daniele Righi (Ita) Navigators Insurance Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home 61 Chris Baldwin (USA) 71 Mark McCormack (USA) 62 Phil Zajicek (USA) 72 Juan Haedo (Arg) 63 Siro Camponogara (Ita) 73 Jonathan Page (USA) 64 Ciaran Power (Irl) 75 Derek Wilkerson (USA) 65 Kirk O'Bee (USA) 76 Aaron Olsen (USA) 66 Mark Walters (Can) 77 Todd Herriott (USA) 67 David O'Loughlin (Irl) 78 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) 68 Vassili Davidenko (Rus) 79 Davide Frattini (Ita) 69 Oleg Grishkine (Rus) MG-XPower Litespeed Health Net - Maxxis 81 Rob Hayles (GBr) 91 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) 82 Leigh Cowell (GBr) 92 Tyler Farrar (USA) 83 Paul Manning (GBr) 93 Gordon Fraser (Can) 84 Russell Downing (GBr) 94 Greg Henderson (NZl) 85 Robin Sharman (GBr) 95 Mike Jones (USA) 86 Evan Oliphant (GBr) 96 John Lieswyn (USA) 87 Ben Greenwood (GBr) 97 Mike Sayers (USA) 88 Dean Downing (GBr) 98 Chris Wherry (USA) 99 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel Advantage Endeavour 101 Alex Candelario (USA) 111 Brent Bookwalter (USA) 102 Danny Pate (USA) 112 Richard England (Aus) 103 Kirk Albers (USA) 113 Eddy Hilger (USA) 104 Brice Jones (USA) 114 Karl Menzies (Aus) 105 Mariano Friedick (USA) 115 Garret Peltonen (USA) 106 Ben Brooks (Aus) 116 Frank Pipp (USA) 107 Matty Rice (Aus) 117 Jake Rytlewski (USA) 108 Caleb Mannion (Aus) 118 Brian Sheedy (USA) 109 Jeremy Powers (USA) Jittery Joe's Kodak Sierra Nevada 121 Tim Johnson (USA) 131 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) 122 Jessie Lawler (USA) 132 Tim Larkin (USA) 123 Geoff Kabush (Can) 133 Jackson Stewart (USA) 124 Jonny Sundt (USA) 134 Dan Schmatz (USA) 125 Thad Dulin (USA) 135 Glen Mitchell (NZl) 126 Trent Lowe (Aus) 136 Pete Lopinto (USA) 127 Christian Foster (USA) 137 Dominique Perras (Can) 129 Evan Elken (USA) 138 Hayden Godfrey (NZl) 130 Craig Wilcox (USA) 139 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Webcor Cycling Team Subway-Express 141 David Clinger (USA) 151 David Richter (USA) 142 Charles Dionne (Can) 152 Remi McManus (USA) 143 Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) 153 Ryan McKenzie (Can) 144 Ben Haldeman (USA) 154 Cameron Hughes (Aus) 145 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) 155 Todd Cornelius (USA) 146 James Mattis (USA) 156 Josh Carter (USA) 147 Lucas Euser (USA) 157 Kevin Vanes (USA) 148 John Kelly (USA) 159 Nathaniel Cornelius (USA) 149 Mark Collard (USA) 160 Ken Omer (USA) TIAA CREF Team Seasilver 161 Will Frischkorn (USA) 171 Adam Livingston (USA) 162 Dan Bowman (USA) 172 Neil Shirley (USA) 163 Craig Lewis (USA) 173 Daniel Ramsey (USA) 164 Bryan Smith (USA) 174 Ryan Yee (USA) 165 Chad Hartley (USA) 175 Jason Bausch (USA) 166 Stuart Gillespie (USA) 176 Curtis Gunn (USA) 167 Stefano Barberi (Bra) 177 Kyle Gritters (USA) 168 Timothy Duggan (USA) 178 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) 169 Michael Lange (USA) Aerospace Engineering McGuire Pro Cycling 181 Clemente Cavaliere (Ita) 191 Erik Saunders (USA) 182 Chris Frederick (USA) 192 Roman Kilun (USA) 183 Hugh Moran (USA) 193 Rashaan Bahati (USA) 184 Victor Laza (Scg) 194 Zach Walker (USA) 185 Eric Murphy (USA) 195 Matt Dubberly (USA) 186 Ivan Stevic (Scg) 196 Devon Vigus (USA) 187 Ryan Trebon (USA) 197 Mike Taylor (USA) 188 Alejandro Acton (USA) 198 Geoff Rapaport (USA) 199 Colin Beardsley (USA) Team Monex NERAC.COM 201 Roberto Gaggioli (Ita) 211 Adam Hodges Myerson (USA) 202 Emile Abraham (Tri) 212 Mike Norton (USA) 203 Giancarlo Checchi (Ita) 213 Oscar Pineda (Gua) 204 Carlos Vargas (Col) 214 David Werling (USA) 205 Glenn Fant (USA) 215 Cody Powell (USA) 206 Nathan Miller (USA) 216 Ari De Wilde (USA) 207 Sterling Magnell (USA) 217 John Hanson (USA) 208 Josh Goodwin (USA) 219 Aaron Brown (USA) 220 Jason Williams (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 221 Joshua Taylor (USA) 222 Peter Baker (USA) 223 Ryan Dewald (USA) 224 Jonathan Wirsing (USA) 225 John Delong (USA) 226 Christopher Herby (USA) 227 Russell Langley (USA) 228 Benjamin Lindsay (USA) 229 Kyle Wamsley (USA)