Posted by Editoress on 05/18/03
Tour of Connecticut
Courtesy Sparta Cycling
Davidenko Repeats at Housatonic, Clinger Wins Overall
After a disastrous second stage, Team Navigators scored a redemptive victory with Russia's Vassili Davidenko winning a bunch sprint to repeat his win in the Housatonic Valley Classic."All year long I've been thinking of this race. Danbury is a great town and this is a world class race," said Davidenko.But this year's race served as the third and final stage of the inaugural Tour of Connecticut. The overall prize went to David Clinger (Prime Alliance), whose team rode a tactically perfect race to deliver Clinger in the yellow jersey to Danbury with all his challengers."I can't say enough about what my team did today," said Clinger. "Matt Decanio rode at the front for about 40 or 50 miles."
Prime Alliance finished the three-day event with Clinger in first and Danny Pate in second. Team Saturn's Ivan Dominguez finished third overall.This final stage was a 120-mile race. The event started with a challenging 100-mile circuit that winds through nine towns before returning to Danbury, where racers finish with 15 laps on a fast, downtown circuit."This is one of the hardest races in all of North America," said Glenn Mitchell (Navigators), a New Zealand rider who got a full taste of the Connecticut hills.
Mitchell attacked early and spent nearly 70 miles in a breakaway with Michael Sayers (HealthNet) that had a four-minute gap on the field at one point. Those riders were caught at the 90-mile mark, but Mitchell had gathered sufficient points on the climbs and sprints to win both the Belimo King of the Mountain jersey and the green sprinters jersey.The field returned to Danbury with a group away led by 2001 HVC winner Trent Klasna (Saturn). But Prime Alliance, driving the field like a team of horses, mowed down all challengers. With five laps to go, Saturn's Chris Horner, perhaps the greatest threat to Clinger's overall lead, launched a brutal attack the put every rider into the red zone. With Horner contained, however, the sprinters pushed to the front, content to fight for the stage win. North America's best road sprinters pressed forward, with most focused on the wheel of Canada's Gord Fraser (HealthNet). With a half lap to go, Davidenko pushed to the wheel of Fraser.
"He just hit it perfect. He came off my wheel with amazing speed," said Fraser, who could not respond. "I didn't have the snap.""I don't have mirrors on my bike. I can't see behind me," said Davidenko. "I just went for the line." With mirrors, the "Russian Rocket" could have seen Fraser fading more than six bike lengths back. Cuba's Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) finished third to make the podium truly international with a Russian, Canadian and a Cuban on the podium.
Stage 3: Housatonic Valley Classic 120 miles
1. Vassilli Davidenko (Rus) Navigators, 4:48:24
2. Gord Fraser (Can) HealthNet
3. Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Saturn
4. David Clinger (USA) Prime Alliance USA
5. Mike Sayers (USA) HealthNet
6. Oscar Pineda (Gua) 7-Up Maxxis
7. R. Hamby (USA) OFOTO
8. Kevin Monahan (USA) 7-Up
9. Joe Giuliano (Can) Atlas-Ital Pasta
10. R. Langley (USA) Snow Valley, all s.t.
1. David Clinger (USA) Prime Alliance USA, 7:25:00
2. Danny Pate (USA) Prime Alliance USA, 7:26:27
3. Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Saturn, 7:26:46
4. John Lieswyn (USA) 7-Up, 7:26:49
5. Mike Sayers (USA) HealthNet, 7:26:49
6. Chris Horner (USA) Saturn, 7:26:54
7. Jonathon Vaughters (USA) Prime Alliance USA, 7:26:59
8. A. Bajadali (USA) OFOTO, 7:27:01
9. Chris Baldwin (USA) Navigators, 7:27:01
10. Mike Jones (USA) West Virginia, 7:27:17
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