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Wells Fargo Vuelta a Valencia

Valencia, California, February 28-March 2, 2003

  • Stage 1 - Time trial, 12 miles
  • Stage 2 - Acton-Agua Dulce, 72 miles
  • Stage 3 - Wells Fargo Valencia Circuit Race

Stage 1 - Time trial, 12 miles

By Jaime Nichols, Team Schroeder Iron

Taking on a rolling twelve mile (20K) TT course in Southern California's Vuelta a Valencia, on an out and back course with a cross-headwind on the return, Schroeder Iron dominated the top spots. Aaron Olson, fresh from his Valley of the Sun overall victory was first, with Jacob Erker, known more for his climbing prowess than his Time Trial, coming in second. Jason Bausch, who's been fighting a touch of illness lately, hung tough enough for fourth; followed by Pete Knudsen, leaner and meaner than he was last season right behind him for fifth. Climbing specialist Adam Livingston was eighth.

The big story of the day, though, is Jacob Erker, blazing into second only a three tenths of a second behind the team's designated TT hitter, Aaron Olson. Erker and team boss Frank Schroeder were up until the wee hours assembling his time trial bike: the first Erker has ever ridden in a race. His strong finish came despite the fact that he rode his time trial on heavy training wheels. "I should have thrown my bike!" said Jake. "It's so cool. the way everyone is finishing so close in time trials is really building a sense of confidence in all of us as a team."


1 Aaron Olson (Schroeder Iron)
2 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron)
4 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron)
5 Pete Knudsen (Schroeder Iron)
8 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron)

Stage 2 - Acton-Agua Dulce, 72 miles

By Jaime Nichols, Team Schroeder Iron

Day two was a road race, a 72 mile affair over rolling terrain on a 24 mile loop, the riders faced approximately 900 feet of climbing per lap.

After a fast start with local tough guys Chris Walker (Velo RPM), Swami's Chris McDonald and Excel Sports' Cody Waite riding hard and making moves for Schroeder to cover, a group of the strongest got away: Walker, McDonald, Waite, and Schroeder's Jacob Erker took off, and were bridged by Team Monex's John Wordin.

Erker, who had no incentive to work with so many of his teammates comfortably near the top after the time trial, sat on, and the race came back together for the final lap. In the end, it was Schroeder's Dane Jankowiak who got away with Team Monex's Patrick Fetzer and a rider from RPM/Velo. They were bridged by KB Home's Matt Faulkner, and as soon as he caught on, Jankowiak kicked in the afterburners and took his chances on a solo bid.

Jankowiak's move sent him off on a lonely ten mile slog in the wind, but Dane, only 19 years old, but already a salty dog, was going strong. At one kilometer to go, Jankowiak was feeling the win in his bones, but at 20 meters from the line, he was caught and passed by Sierra Nevada/Cliff Bar's Daniel Ramsey.

"The whole team rode so well," said Jankowiak. "I wanted that win so bad, but that's bike racing."

Despite Dane's disappointment, teamwork paid off and set the Schroeder Ironmen up with a GC stranglehold going into the final day, occupying five out of the top six spots.


1 Daniel Ramsey (Sierra Nevada/ Cliff Bar)
2 Dane Jankowiak (Schroeder Iron)                0.05
3 James Vantoever (Morrati)            
4 Dan Bowman (Suburban Homes)          
5 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron)         
6 Christian Questa (Morrati)           
7 Oliver Stiller-Cote (Fior de Frutta)           0.09
8 Mike Anker (KB Home)                  
9 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron)         
10 Chris McDonald (Swamis)              
11 Peter Knudsen (Schroeder Iron)       
12 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron)     
20 Aaron Olson (Schroeder Iron)                  0.22
General classification after stage 2
1 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron)                3.20.51
2 Daniel Ramsey (Sierra Nevada/Cliff Bar)        0.13
3 Aaron Olson (Schroeder Iron)                   0.14
4 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron)                  0.20
5 Peter Knudsen (Schroeder Iron)                 0.21
6 Chris McDonald (Swamis)                        0.26
7 Chris Walker (Velo RPM)                        0.29
8 Blake Caldwell (5280/Subaru)                   0.29
9 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron)               0.40
10 Cody Waite (Excel Sports)                     0.56
18 Dane Jankowiak (Schroeder Iron)               1.47

Stage 3: Wells Fargo Valencia Circuit Race

By Jaime Nichols, Team Schroeder Iron

Set on a windy one mile, four corner course with a pretty good hill leading up to the finish, stage 3 looked like it could be a tricky one. With Mike Tillman busy in San Diego qualifying for the Track World Cup, and Miguel Meza riding the Vuelta de las Americas in Mexico, the team faced this race with no real sprinter, and it looked like it could be a tough. The only real threat to the GC was Sierra Nevada/Cliff Bar's Daniel Ramsey, who is no slouch in the finish, and Ofoto-Lombardi Sports' Keith Horowitz, not a bad speedster himself, looking to put a posse together in an effort to stem Schroeder's tide.

The plan going into the race was to keep Ramsey away from the mid-point sprint and time bonus, and keep it together to preserve the GC; but things went even better than that when Jacob Erker, who started the race in yellow, sprinted on the uphill to take the time bonus himself and cement his lead.

With Erker set to take the GC by simply staying upright, the attacks continued. At 30 minutes to go, Aaron Olson, Pete Knudsen, Ryan Lane (Velo RPM), Chris McDonald (Swamis), and Victor Ayala (Dasani) got a lead of about 15 seconds, but Keith Horowitz and the KB Home team rode hard at the front of the pack to reel it in. The hill and the cross/headwind took their toll as well, and with 20 minutes to go, it was back together. Adam Livingston put in an effort that saw him off the front and joined by David Gustafson of Viejas, but they were caught, and then it was Ken Toman (Team Monex) laying down the smack; but to no avail. The race stayed more or less together for a sprint finale.

With two laps to go, Jacob Erker and Ryan Lane went free, along with Nate Faulkner (KB Home) and Zombies' Marco Rios. They and were bridged by Aaron Olson, with a hard charging pack on his heels. In the end, it was Olson, looking good, and sprinting to stage victory and second place in the GC.

Erker followed in 5th for the stage, and took top GC honors.


1 Aaron Olson (Schroeder Iron)                1.14.34
2 Ryan Lane (Velo RPM)
3 Nate Faulkner (KB Home)
4 Marco Rios (Team Zombies)
5 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron
6 Walker Ferguson (Subaru/Gary Fisher)
7 Keith Horowitz (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports)
8 Roberto Gaggioli
9 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron)
10 Patrick Briggs (SRM-USA)
Final general classification 
1 Jacob Erker (Schroeder Iron)                4.35.10
2 Aaron Olson (Schroeder Iron)                   0.14
3 Daniel Ramsey (Sierra Nevada/Cliff Bar)        0.23
4 Jason Bausch (Schroeder Iron)                  0.35
5 Peter Knudsen (Schroeder Iron)                 0.36
6 Chris McDonald (Swamis)                        0.41
7 Blake Caldwell (5280/Subaru)                   0.44
8 Chris Walker (Velo RPM)           
9 Adam Livingston (Schroeder Iron)               0.56
10 Cody Waite (Excel Sports)                     1.11
18 Dane Jankowiak (Schroeder Iron)               2.02

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