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3rd Four Bridges of Elgin - 1.7.2
USA, July 7, 2002
Repinski wins third edition of U23 classic
By Mark Zalewski
The UCI U23 4 Bridges of Elgin, in its third year of existence, is quickly becoming a highlight of the North American summer racing scene. It helps that it is the only UCI Espoir race in North America, and the $10,000 prize list doesn't hurt either. However, it's also the other category races with increasing prize money, and a challenging and technical road course, that makes this a race not to be missed.
In a country where the "criterium" is the diet of choice for most race promoters, the organizers of the 4 Bridges of Elgin have stepped it up a bit by laying out a 8.85km (5.5 mile) course through the residential streets of this Chicago suburb, along a river, and back into a technical and challenging downtown circuit finish. A sweeping descent down to the river on the back end of the course sees riders reaching speeds of 40+ mph, then turns sharply right into a climb back up the river bluff that had more than a few riders hoping for a push from the Mavic neutral support crew. Finally, the start/finish circuit featured two 180 degree turns at each sloping end of a divided boulevard, with the finish line at the middle crest of the hill.
Before the young U-23 "nippers" of cycling were let loose, the event featured the national championships in hand cycling, beginning category racing, men's masters races, and a women's open race. These races brought out the best in regional masters and women riders, with many women coming over from the Wendy's International Cycling Classic in Ohio.
In the women's open race, Sarah Tillotson (Athletes By Design,) capitalized on a mid-race crash through one of the 180 degree turns that involved one of her teammates. The crash caused a split between her and the field, and Tillotson jumped. She stayed out for the rest of the race to take the solo victory by more than 500 meters, and thanked her teammate after.
UCI U23 Race
Many regional teams toed the line with larger international squads in the main event, the 116km (72mile) U23 UCI race. Local teams like Team Mack, Indiana University, and Team Turin featured riders that wouldn't normally get an opportunity to race in a UCI ranked event, with teams like the US National Team or Saturn, if it weren't for this race. Many of these local teams made their presence felt.
Early breaks in the race were attempted by a few riders, especially coming off the steep climb on the back side. A rider from C-bike.com pushed a 500 meter gap, but the fast-moving pack, turning 13 minute laps, quashed the solo venture.
Many of the local teams mixed it up by putting riders up the road and a few group breaks formed. Team Mack was especially aggressive with their rider Adam Bergman coming off a good win the day before in the Wendy's Cycling Classic race. He was joined by nine other riders, including members of the US National Team, Team VW/Trek, Wheelworks/Mengoni, Team Quebec, and C-bike.com.
One team not well represented in the breaks was Saturn. They played a tactical race at the head of the pack, keeping the former world junior champion, Viktor Repinski, out of trouble and near the front. As the laps continued, the 10-man break held it's lead, and Saturn put on the chase.
The heat was beginning to peak in the middle 90's and many riders felt the effects. More and more riders went off the back, especially from teams like Saturn that were chasing hard. By the end of the race, half the Saturn team was on the sidelines, having done their job for Repinski. Now it was up to him to finish by bridging up to the break himself - and that he did. Within 1.5 laps Repinski had gone across the gap to reach the lead group with only a few laps remaining. A few more riders joined the break, giving a few teams two riders in the break.
On the last laps, the lead group was still together, with Repinski sitting in recovering from his huge solo effort. Into the last lap the break still held tight, with many people thinking Repinski or someone would attack on the climb. Yet the group stayed together on the last time up the wall. On the way back, through the twists and turns, riders manoeuvred for what looked to be a certain bunch sprint. A few mini lead-outs looked like they were being organized by the teams with two riders. However, there were two more long straight sections to cover before reaching the finishing circuit.
Repinski made his move on the first, accelerating away from the pack and hammering down the long straights solo. The 180 final turn on the finishing circuit was no problem for the solo rider as he crossed the line with arms raised. Jonathan Erdelyi (C-bike.com) broke away for second place, and Shawn Milne (Wheelworks/Mengoni) out sprinted the pack for third.
Photos provided by Mark Zalewski
These photos by Ken Carl
1 Viktor Repinski (Blr) Team Saturn 2.29.11 (42.7 km/h) 2 Jonathan Erdelyi (USA) C-bike.com 0.05 3 Shawn Milne (USA) Wheelworks/Mengoni 4 Adam Bergman (USA) Team Mack 5 Jean François Laroche (Can) Team VWTrek 6 Conor Hurley (USA) Team Turin 7 Mark Fitzergald (USA) USA Team 8 Dominique Rollin (Can) Team Quebec 9 Chad Hartley (USA) C-bike.com 10 Frank Dierking (USA) Team Mack 11 Martin Gilbert (Can) Team VWTrek 0.50 12 Jackson Stewart (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi 0.52 13 David Wenger (USA) USA Team 14 Michael Mueller (Swi) Wheelworks/Mengoni 15 Dale Suttle (USA) Athletes by Design 16 Brian Schanning (USA) Team Saturn 17 François Parisien (Can) Team VWTrek 18 Peter Sanowar (Can) Team Ontario/Gears Racing 19 Kevin Bouchard-Hall (USA) Wheelworks/Mengoni 20 Mark Wisecup (USA) Team Turin 21 Saul Raisin (USA) People Cycling Team 22 Jean-Francois Racine (Can) Team Quebec 23 Michael Kehrberg (USA) Indiana University 24 Ryan Nenninger (USA) Team Mack 25 Michael Lange (USA) C-bike.com 26 Jordan Roessingh (Can) ISCorp Cycling Team 27 Jon Retseck (USA) USA Team 28 Ryan Gamm (USA) Athletes by Design 29 Jean Sébastien Maheu (Can) Team VWTrek 30 Steve Carwile (USA) Indiana University 31 Chris Isaac (Can) Team Ontario/Gears Racing 32 Nat Campbell (USA) ISCorp Cycling Team 33 Martin St-Laurent (Can) Team VWTrek 34 Ben Raby (USA) Athletes by Design 35 Devon Hoffweekes (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi 36 Timothy Henry (USA) realitybikes.com 37 Tim Reinhart (USA) Team Saturn 38 Patrick Mccarty (USA) USA Team 39 Bryan Smith (USA) ISCorp Cycling Team 40 Jason Klikna (USA) Sierra Nevada Cycling 41 Kurt Garin (USA) realitybikes.com 42 Darby Thomas (USA) Wheelworks/Mengoni 43 Philippe Viau-Dupuis (Can) Team Quebec 44 Paul Ellis (USA) Team Mack 45 Roman Kilun (USA) Santa Cruz Spokesman 46 Travis Hagner (USA) Athletes by Design 1.22 47 Matt Dubberley (USA) Sierra Nevada Cycling 1.41 48 Tyler Wren (USA) T.e.a.m. Fuji 2.15 49 Bryce Mead (USA) Team Turin 2.53 50 Brian Hawley (USA) Sierra Nevada Cycling 15.54 51 Dylan Lewis (USA) Athletes by Design 52 Scott Walters (USA) C-bike.com Number of starters: 108 Number finishing after the deadline: 0 Riders dropping out: 56 Courtesy of Ken Carl/www.4bridgesofelgin.com
2001 Danny Pate (USA) Prime Alliance 2000 Charles Dionne (Can) Team Shaklee