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Commerce Bank Triple Crown
USA, June 4-11, 2006
Race 2 - June 8: Reading Classic, 75 miles/25miles
Henderson picks up where he left off
Health Net's Kiwi speedster returns from injury with confidence
By Mark Zalewski, North American editor in Reading, PA
After crashing hard in the McLane Pacific Road Race, Health Net-Maxxis' Greg Henderson thought he just had a bad bruise. But when that injury did not heal, it was revealed that he had a broken femur. Henderson was out for the Tour de Georgia and the team's first trip over to Europe, left to heal and attempt to regain his fitness. " I was really upset for a while just training, training and training," Henderson said. That training paid off and Henderson showed he had not lost any of his racing skill as he out sprinted the final field in the first ever Reading Classic.
"I've done a ton of training and I just wanted to race so bad!" Henderson told Cyclingnews as he rolled back from the sprint. "They sent me out to Mt. Hood just to race hard -- they didn't care about results, just getting some racing back." Henderson raced a smart race, positioning himself near the front on penultimate climb up Mount Penn, enabling him to catch the leaders on the descent back into downtown Reading.
"I knew I just had to suffer as hard as I could up the climb," he said. "I saw guys getting popped and it just gave me more confidence to push the legs. When I got to the front I knew I would be faster than anyone in the last 300 meters."
The leading group consisted of two of Henderson's old teammates -- current USPRO champion Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro) and Danny Pate (TIAA-CREF) along with Facci Mauro (Barloworld) and the man that attacked and lead the field over Mount Penn Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance).
"I thought I could get to the finish alone," Lagutin explained. "I waited until the break got caught and waited until the last climb began. I wanted to try to win solo but couldn't do that. It was just the four of us and Mauro wouldn't pull. Wherry and I were pulling and the other two were sitting on. That allowed Henderson to come up to us from behind."
"I could see Chris Wherry up around the turn seeing me, and I raced with him last year and he's a friend of mine so I knew he wouldn't want me up there!" said Henderson. "Danny was the same, I've raced with him and he wouldn't want me up in the front. But I was lucky enough to get there and win the sprint."
A long final straight began the final kilometer and the riders were maneuvering for position. Two ninety degree turns in the final 500 meters, with the final turn at 100 meters meant that the winning move would come between the last two turns. "The four of us just messed around on the front too long," said Pate. Wherry was on the front leading up to the last turn, and I tried to get on the front for the final turn, but somehow Henderson got underneath me in the turn and it was basically a birthday present for him from there. There was nothing anyone could do about it."
"I was keying off of Danny Pate -- he took off on the left," said Henderson. "I was boxed in but I beat Danny to the corner. It was so short from the last corner to the line."
As the 2005 winner of the Lancaster race, Henderson was unable to defend his title this year as he was finishing his training at Mt. Hood. "I would have loved to have been there," Henderson admitted. "But I am really looking forward to Sunday!"
The final group today could be a preview of Sunday's race -- with riders like Wherry, Pate, Lagutin and Henderson able to make it over a significant climb and sprint for the win. With a second place today, Danny Pate is particularly looking forward to Sunday, and to climbing one step higher on the podium than his second place last year. "I feel good about that race -- I've done well there and to make it over the top today in front with the four of us was good. I like the heat so hopefully it will get a little hotter."
The most active rider from Lancaster, Sergey Lagutin, was also the rider making the selection move today. "I am normally in good condition this part of the year," he said. "And all of these race courses with the up and downs, and left and right turns suit my characteristics. I recover immediately on these smaller hills."
Finally, Henderson and Wherry are both fresh from not racing much of the early season which could mean the difference during the long, 156 mile race with ten laps up the Manayunk Wall.
How it unfolded
The racing today mirrored the racing in Lancaster, with attacks coming like voting in a Chicago election -- early and often. Once again the attacks were short lived with teams not willing to let things get out of hand before the finishing climb up Mount Penn on the final lap.
Finally the racing changed with a large group of twenty getting a gap. With most of the major teams represented a little breathing room was given by the peloton. However, the group of twenty-three was a little too heavy and could not get organized to build any significant lead.
Into the feed zone two riders attacked the break, Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators Insurance) and Andy Bajadali (Jelly Belly). The pair were much more organized than the larger break and rode away to more than a minute lead. At first most believed this was just a prelude to a catch before the final lap which would then include the tough climb up Mount Penn. However, as the laps ticked away the conventional wisdom began to fade.
"I was trying to get some guys with me in the break to bridge to the two guys up front, Bajadali and Kobzarenko," said Toyota-United Pro's Ivan Stevic. "But nobody wanted to work."
With less than three laps remaining both the Jelly Belly and Navigators Insurance team cars were with the break, indicating they still had hopes for the leading pair. At one point Ed Beamon pulled up along side Danny Van Haute and had a conversation while the gap held at just over a minute.
"I was basically just concerned because Bajadali wasn't doing much," Beamon explained. "With two laps to go it was looking like it could work and I wasn't sure if he was suffering or just playing a game, and I wanted Danny [Van Haute] to keep him going. But this is a very hard course for two guys to ride. There is a lot of wind out there, and the long drags really wear on you. We just tried to keep them motivated."
Back in the field the organisation was under way, first lead by TIAA-CREF and Health Net-Maxxis. As the leading pair approached one lap to go, CSC and Toyota-United Pro dropped the hammer to kill off the rest of the break. By the leaders made the turn around at the far end of the course the gap had shrunk to just over thirty seconds. The two still soldiered on and hung on to their lead until they approached the climb that led to the feed zone. Up Walnut Street Kobzarenko extended his hand to Bajadali and the two were absorbed by the field.
The climb to the feed zone now became the battle for position, as the Mount Penn climb section began just after. Coming through the feed area it was Navigators on the front. "We rode the race course yesterday," said Lagutin. "There were two sharp hairpin turns. We had the entire team on the front and they launched me."
Lagutin immediately had a ten second lead on the steeper early slopes. A few riders tried to match his acceleration as the rest of the field began to stretch out along the climb. Four tight switchbacks further extended Lagutin's lead. CSC had three riders on the front, while a Colombian National rider attempted to bridge to Lagutin.
Near the top the road flattened out and three riders passed the Colombian rider -- Wherry, Pate and Mauro. Lagutin was first over the top but was joined by the other three on the very fast and technical descent. Rejoining the old course the three were followed by Henderson and other riders ten seconds back.
The leading four rode the rest of the way into downtown Reading together, but as the turning began in the final two kilometers, Lagutin raised his arm in frustration at Mauro. At this point Henderson's group made contact and the real racing began.
Into the second to last turn Chris Wherry jumped, hoping that the short distance between the last two turns and the short 100 meter to the line would be too difficult to pass. However, Pate was on his wheel and moved past as the road began to incline. Into the final turn Pate thought his position was the best, but Henderson dove on the inside, using the deceleration that the gradual incline provided to cut the corner. From there it was easy work for the former track world champion, with Lagutin holding on for second and Pate in third.
Women: Teutenberg can break away too!
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile) showed everyone on Sunday in Lancaster that she is the fastest sprinter. Today in Reading, she decided to show everyone that she does not need to risk a sprint, as she bridged up to a solo Katharine Carroll (Victory Brewing) and rode away from the field for the win. "I think it was a tough course because you have to push on the uphills, but it's the same for everybody," said Teutenberg after the race.
The young Catharine Carroll found herself riding with one of the best riders in the world. "Ina bridged after I was off the front for a lap and a half. They told me over the radio that she was coming so I was getting ready knowing the way Ina races -- she'll catch you and fly right by you. I had to dig in -- it took me a lap to get on her wheel."
Carroll and Teutenberg built their lead to comfortable cushion that they held into the final lap. "We both did our share of the work," said Teutenberg. The field always comes fast so there weren't any games in the end. We started the sprint with 200 meters to go."
In the end the result was an obvious one, but Carroll is content with her strong second place finish. "We were working through the whole time, but she was working the majority of the time -- she's such a classy rider and someone I can learn a lot from."
Back in the field there was little organisation on the chase, with Tina Pic (Colavita-Cooking Light) mysteriously absent from the racing today -- possibly saving herself for Sunday. "Lipton and those guys had an interest in bringing it back, but if you take the onus in bringing it back then they will let you," said Teammate Iona Wynter. "We tried not to and then it was four laps to go, so forget about it and start thinking about third."
But third place was taken by the fast Australian Rochelle Gilmore, who is back on her bike after racing the Tour of Montreal and Montreal world cup. "This is my first race since Montreal and actually my first day on the bike since last Thursday," she said. "So I was just floating around today to see what happened. I was switching wheels because I always want to be on second wheel into the last turn. I never go earlier than that and I like a short sprint."
Heading into Sunday Teutenberg has a commanding lead for the Triple Crown prize, and will also have a full team here to support her.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Men 1 Greg Henderson (NZl) Health Net - Maxxis 2.52.37 2 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance 3 Danny Pate (USA) TIAA CREF 4 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 5 Facci Mauro (Ita) Barloworld 6 Caleb Manion (Aus) Jelly Belly 7 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 8 Chris Wherry (USA) Toyota-United 9 Jairo Hernndez (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 10 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 11 Antonio Cruz (USA) Toyota-United 0.11 12 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Barloworld 13 Matty Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly 14 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team CSC 15 Dustin Macburnie (Can) Targetraining 16 Trent Wilson (Aus) Jittery Joe's 17 Karl Menzies (Aus) Health Net - Maxxis 0.28 18 Mike Friedman (USA) TIAA CREF 19 Robbie King (USA) Priority Health 20 David O'Loughlin (Irl) Navigators Insurance 21 Francisco Colorado (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 22 James Perry (RSA) Barloworld 23 Kasper Klostergaard (Den) Team CSC 24 Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita-Sutter Home 25 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 26 Jackson Stewart (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 27 Emile Abraham (Tri) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 28 Richard Faltus (Cze) Sparkasse 29 Jonathan Page (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 0.33 30 Jairo Salas (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 0.35 31 Wilson Marentes (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 32 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 33 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance 34 Taylor Tolleson (USA) TIAA CREF 35 Jeff Louder (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 36 Yovanny Torres (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 37 Gerardo Rodrguez (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 38 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC 0.41 39 Andrew Guptill (USA) Targetraining 1.08 40 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 41 Timo Honstein (Ger) Sparkasse 42 Sebastian Frey (Ger) Sparkasse 43 Matt Shriver (USA) Targetraining 44 Bruno Langlois (Can) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 1.16 45 Tom Zirbel (USA) Priority Health 46 Christian Valenzuela (Mex) Team Monex 47 Justin Spinelli (USA) Nerac.Com 48 Diego Montoya (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 49 Peter Hatton (Aus) Jittery Joe's 50 John Delong (USA) Rite Aid 51 Mike Norton (USA) Nerac.Com 52 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 53 Andrew Bajadali (USA) Jelly Belly 54 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota-United 55 Aleajandro Acton (Arg) Targetraining 1.25 56 Frank Pipp (USA) Targetraining 1.30 57 Alexander Boyd (USA) VMG 1.34 58 Peter Woestenberg (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower 1.38 59 Thijs Poelstra (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower 1.46 60 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance 2.28 61 Alex Candelario (USA) Jelly Belly 62 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance 2.55 63 Austin King (USA) Jittery Joe's 64 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Toyota-United 65 Ben Brooks (Aus) Navigators Insurance 66 Alexis Rojas Diaz (Col) Colombia Es Pasion 3.25 67 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower 68 Jose Garcia (Mex) Toyota-United 69 Prokic Predrag (SCG) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 70 Frank Wierstra (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower 3.30 71 Devon Vigus (USA) Team Monex 72 Jeremy Maartens (RSA) Barloworld 3.38 73 Giosue' Bonomi (Ita) Barloworld 74 Jacob Rytlewski (USA) Priority Health 3.46 75 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota-United 76 Jean-Sebastien Perron (Can) Calyon-Litespeed 77 Josh Bezecny (USA) Targetraining 78 Brice Jones (USA) Jelly Belly 79 Brent Brookwalter (USA) Priority Health 80 Kyle J Gritters (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 4.04 81 Hayden Godfrey (NZl) Team Monex 82 Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's 83 Nick Riestad (USA) Jelly Belly 84 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 85 Thad Dulin (USA) Nerac.Com 86 Sean Sullivan (Aus) Toyota-United 87 Kirk Albers (USA) Jelly Belly 88 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home 89 Francois Parisien (Can) TIAA CREF 90 Rahsaan Bahati (USA) TIAA CREF 91 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance 92 Jesse Anthony (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 4.25 93 Mark McCormack (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 94 Brian Jensen (Den) Jelly Belly 95 Tim Johnson (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 96 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Priority Health 97 Hugh Moran (USA) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 98 Martin Gilbert (Can) Kodak Sierra Nevada 99 Maxim Vives (Can) Calyon-Litespeed 100 Emanuel Suarez (USA) Team Monex 101 Stefan Loffler (Ger) Sparkasse 102 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) Sparkasse 103 Phillip Wong (USA) Jittery Joe's 104 Martin Pedersen (Den) Team CSC 105 Joel Dion-Poitras (Can) Calyon-Litespeed 4.33 106 Ryan Dewald (USA) Rite Aid 5.49 107 Todd Herriott (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 6.02 108 Chad Hartley (USA) TIAA CREF 6.39 109 Viktor Rapinski (Blr) Colavita-Sutter Home DNF Jason Allen (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Marc Anderson (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Spencer Beamer (USA) VMG DNF Zachary Bolian (USA) VMG DNF Brooke Boocock (Can) Calyon-Litespeed DNF Aaron Brown (USA) Nerac.Com DNF Bill Elliston (USA) Targetraining DNF Richard England (Aus) Priority Health DNF Glenn Fant (USA) Team Monex DNF Tom Flammang (Lux) Sparkasse DNF Gordon Fraser (Can) Health Net - Maxxis DNF Chris Frederick (USA) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork DNF Dan Greenfield (USA) Targetraining DNF Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Toyota-United DNF Hoyt Halvorson (USA) Nerac.Com DNF Jon Hamblen (USA) Nerac.Com DNF John Hanson (USA) Nerac.Com DNF Todd Henriksen (USA) VMG DNF Christoph Herby (USA) Rite Aid DNF Daniel Holt (USA) Nerac.Com DNF Jeffrey Hopkins (Aus) Jittery Joe's DNF Brad Huff (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Eric Keim (USA) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork DNF Frank Kwanten (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower DNF Christian Lademann (Ger) Sparkasse DNF Russell Langley (USA) Rite Aid DNF Viktor Laza (SCG) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork DNF Peter Lopinto (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Erick Lyman (Can) Calyon-Litespeed DNF Ian D Macgregor (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Nathan Miller (USA) Team Monex DNF Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Priority Health DNF Rudy Robaina (USA) VMG DNF Michael Sayers (USA) Health Net - Maxxis DNF Daniel Schmatz (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Brian Sheedy (USA) Priority Health DNF Neil Shirley (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Ger Soepenberg (Ned) Netherlands National Team - Altipower DNF Josh Taylor (USA) Rite Aid DNF Frank Travieso (Cub) AEG-Toshiba-Jetnetwork DNF Brad Viera (USA) Rite Aid DNF Charly Vives (Can) Calyon-Litespeed DNF Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home DNF Taylor Zachary (USA) VMG Women 1 Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team) 59.25 2 Katharine Carroll (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 3 Rochelle Gilmore (Advil-Chapstick) 0.21 4 Gilder Laura Van (Team Lipton) 5 Laura Yoisten (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 6 Brenda Lyons (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 7 Gina Grain (Colavita Cooking Light) 8 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci Breakaway Racing) 9 Rebecca Larson (Tri State Velo Amoroso) 10 Annette Beutler (Aaron's) 11 Shannon Hutchison-Krupat (Aaron's) 12 Megan Esmonde (Travelgirl Magazine) 13 Beth Leasure (Team Spirit Cycling) 14 Laura Bowles (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 15 Courtenay Brown (Mcguire Pro Cycling) 16 Arielle Filiberti (Hot Tubes) 17 Mackenzie Dickey (Aaron's) 18 Kate Sherwin (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 19 Catherine Powers (Aaron's) 20 Clara Beard (Cheerwine) 21 Mari Holden (T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team) 22 Tricia Carnila (Verducci Breakaway Racing) 23 Sheba Farrin (Hub Racing) 24 Iona Wynter (Colavita Cooking Light) 25 Heather Labance (Advil-Chapstick) 26 Kathleen Billington (Advil-Chapstick) 27 Leigh Hobson (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 28 Michele Bote (Hub Racing) 29 Katie Lambden (Team Lipton) 30 Caitlyn McCullough (North Atlantic Velo) 31 Janet Olney (Adg-Joe's Bike Shop) 32 Emma Nelson (Advil-Chapstick) 33 Elizabeth Morse Hill (Team Fuji/Bolt Brothers) 34 Anna Milkowski (Advil-Chapstick) 35 Kimberly Anderson (T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team) 36 Kathryn Clark (Team Fuji/Bolt Brothers) 37 Elisa Gagnon (Advil-Chapstick) 38 Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine) 39 Sarah Caravella (Team Lipton) 0.38 40 Sarah Bamberger (Cheerwine) 0.44 41 Helen Kelly (Aaron's) 42 Lara Kroepsch (Team Lipton) 0.48 43 Sima Trapp (Colavita Cooking Light) 0.57 44 Sarah Tillotson (Colavita Cooking Light) 1.01 45 Amity Elliot (Adg-Joe's Bike Shop) 1.13 46 Liz Young (Hub Racing) 1.28 47 Rachel Heal (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) 2.07 48 Meshy Holt (Colavita Cooking Light) DNF Judith Arndt (T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team) DNF Christina Backer (T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team) DNF Ellie Bates (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) DNF Candice Blickem (Aaron's) DNF Becky Broeder (Hub Racing) DNF Anna Drakulich (Advil-Chapstick) DNF Lauren Franges (Victory Brewing Cycling Team) DNF Nonnie Howard (Verducci Breakaway Racing) DNF Rebeca Jones (Hub Racing) DNF Donna Kerby (Team Fuji/Bolt Brothers) DNF Kristen Lasasso (Team Lipton) DNF Veronica Martinez (Tri State Velo Amoroso) DNF Beth Mason (U.S. Armed Forces) DNF Marcie Massaro (Velo Bella-Kona) DNF Jacqueline Paull (Team Alliance Environmental) DNF Melissa Petty (Nuernberger Versicherung) DNF Tina Pic (Colavita Cooking Light) DNF Nikki Raspa (Hub Racing) DNF Tara Walhart (Verducci Breakaway Racing)