Posted by Editor on 03/23/03
McLane Pacific Bicycle Classic - California
Riders woke to rain for the second day of racing at the McLane Pacific Bicycle Classic. With chilly temperatures and an unrelenting rain, wet conditions saw solo wins by the Saturn Team for both the men's and the women's races.
The men raced five laps of a 24 mile undulating course for a total of 120 miles, while the women raced four laps on the same course for a long 96 miles. The men's race played out with an early break of 13 riders opening a four minute gap on the large field. With all teams represented, the break worked well for a few laps, however, eventually some of the teams, not favoring their chances with the mix, began to sit on, eventually killing the break.
After the larger break was absorbed, another break formed with Saturn's Chris Horner, Alex Candelario (Prime Alliance) and a Health Net rider. The three pushed the pace, but without enough teams represented this break was also re-absorbed. After a reshuffling, and with a lap and a half to go, Horner again went off the front, this time with David Clinger (Prime Alliance). The two worked well together and with Saturn and Prime Alliance content with the break, they managed to shut down the chase initially, allowing a minute gap to open up. With about 25 kilometers left the gap began to reduce substantially, and on the hilliest of sections, it appeared that the two would be caught. With the field closing fast, Clinger sat up to wait and sensing his opportunity Horner attacked, re-establishing a minute gap. With an incredible show de force, he managed to hold off the chase, soloing in the last 20 kilometers for the win. Even through the dirt on his face, Horner's smile was evidence of his delight with his first, and what is sure to be one of many wins, in Saturn colors.
Behind Horner, the Health Net Team arranged the lead-out delivering Gord Fraser for yet another field sprint win and the second place podium spot in the race. Thus far, Fraser has been unstoppable in field sprints, adding another field sprint win to his already impressive resume this year.
After an early race crash which took down much of the field, including eventual winner Manon Jutras, the women's race saw break of six go away about a lap and a half into the race. Saturn had two representatives with Laura Van Gilder and Jutras. T-Mobile had Kristin Armstrong and Mari Holden, Diet Rite's Cybil DiGuistini was there, as was Sarah Tillotson. The six worked smoothly together, establishing a substantial gap on the main field. With three laps remaining, Armstrong flatted and just as she was catching back on her T-mobile teammate attacked and was covered by Jutras. Happy with the combo, Holden drove the two person break, and within a few miles, the two-some had a minute gap on Van Gilder, Armstrong and Tillotson. DiGuistini had fallen off the pace after a series of attacks from Van Gilder and Armstrong to try to reach the two up with road.
Jutras and Holden worked together, with Jutras doing the bulk of the work to keep the break away. With 16 kilometers to go, Jutras attacked Holden on one of the steeper climbs, and quickly put a minute into her. Soloing into the finish, Jutras was clearly happy with her first victory for her new Saturn Team, and having over two minutes on Holden she took some time to celebrate her well deserved win. Behind her Holden held off a reassembled group of six for second place, with Van Gilder winning the six up sprint for third and wrapping up a very successful race weekend for the Saturn Team. The next stop for the Team is the Solano Bicycle Classic, kicking off in Fairfield, CA on Thursday.
1. Chris Horner (USA) Saturn Cycling Team
2. Gord Fraser (Can) Health Net
3. ? - Health Net
1. Manon Jutras (Can) Saturn Cycling Team
2. Mari Holden (USA) T-Mobile
3. Laura Van Gilder (USA) Saturn Cycling Team
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|