March 8/03 8:05 am - Fraser & Bessette at Pomona
Posted by Editor on 03/8/03
Pomona Valley Stage Race - California
After yesterday's flat circuit, today's (Saturday, March 8/03) third stage of the Pomona Valley Stage Race offered up some climbing for the competitors. Held on a rolling 7.8 mile lap, the men's 12 lap and the women's 9 lap race provided ample opportunity for a break to clear the field and stay away. However, the two race leaders - Tom Danielson and Genevieve Jeanson - both had strong teams around them who were plenty capable at controlling the race for their leaders.
Like yesterday, the men's race again saw an early break of seven animate things with representatives from almost all of the teams save for the Saturn Team. Prime Alliance's Matt DeCanio was the highest placed rider in the break followed by Health Net's Russell Stevenson. Also there was Andy Jaques Meyes, Patrick Heaney, Dave Jankoviak, Jason Lokkemoe, and Mark Fitzgerald. The break worked well together and Saturn had the entire team at the front of the peloton, again keeping careful tabs on the gap. The gap steadily opened to the 55 second mark when the Saturn Team finally decided it was time to bring it back.
Within a lap it was all back together, just in time for Prime Alliance's Danny Pate to put in an impressive attack, clearing the field with Mike Sayers (Health Net) latched onto his rear wheel. Almost instantly Pate had 40 seconds, and it was clear his intent was to stay away. Again the Saturn Team amassed at the front, steadily bringing the twosome back to Danielson. Pate put up quite a fight, continually pressing the pace, but in the end, the four chasing Saturn riders came to terms with him. At the bell lap the gap was a mere 15 seconds, and by the time the group had reassembled the sprinter's teams were firmly committed to a field sprint.
With a long, flat sprint, it was again Gord Fraser (Health Net) taking the win over Webcore's Lionel Syne. Third was Prime Alliance's David Clinger. With the help from his Saturn Team, Danielson is assured to start tomorrow's criterium in Yellow.
The women's race was also animated with an early break. After two laps of racing, a group of three, lead by T-Mobile's Alison Dunlap, cleared the field. With Dunlap were Saturn's Megan Elliott, and Jennifer Stevens. Elliott was clearly having a superb day and aided Dunlap in keeping the break clear. The three riders dangled off the front for five laps, with Rona keeping the distance in check so that Dunlap would not threaten Jeanson's jersey. Elliott did her part for her Saturn Teammate, taking the mid-way time bonus sprint, ensuring Dunlap would not overtake Lyne Bessette in the overall.
In the final lap the three riders finally succumbed to the surging field and there was a quick reshuffling with a new break of six forming. In the break were Jeanson, Bessette and Amber Neben. Bessette's teammate Manon Jutras was also in the break, driving it hard in the final kilometers and setting up Bessette perfectly for the final sprint. From the last 150 meters Bessette took over, clearly out-powering her closest competition in Jeanson. Bessette's win does not change the overall, and like Danielson, Jeanson looks set to finish the Tour in Yellow.
1. Lyne Bessette - Saturn Cycling Team
2. Genevieve Jeanson - Rona/Eskar
1. Gord Fraser - Health Net
2. Lionel Syne - Webcor Cycling
3. David Clinger - Prime Alliance