September 13/03 7:41 am - San Rafael Cycling Classic: Palmer-Komar Victorious
Posted by Editoress on 09/13/03
San Rafael Cycling Classic San Rafael, CA
Courtesy Team Saturn
Rapinski and Komar overcome the heat at the San Rafael Cycling Classic
The San Rafael Cycling Classic kicked off the cycling bonanza this weekend in the San Francisco bay area. Although much of the focus is on Sunday's T-Mobile International, today's criterium in San Rafael offered an opportunity for the sprinters to play and open the legs for those focused on tomorrow's big event. The downtown event's biggest challenge for the competitors was the stunning heat, unusual for this area. With the temperatures topping the 100 degree mark, both the spectators and the riders were melting in the heat.
The men's 90 minute timed event got the pro fields off first. With the oppressing heat bearing down on the riders, the big field was quick to break up. Repeated attacks took their toll with Saturn's Chris Horner relentlessly assaulting the field. His efforts finally wedged a 20 man group off the field with all the major teams represented. Major players included Horner's Saturn teammates, Victor Rapinski and Eric Wohlberg as well as Navigator's strong man Chris Wherry; Mike Sayers (Health Net) also was there to animate the break. The group came to within 15 seconds of lapping the field, with the remainder of the peloton looking like they were saving it all up for tomorrow's big event. In the bell lap a small crash took Horner and Wherry out of the mix, but Wohlberg was there to give Rapinski a lightening fast lead-out. In the final meters it was Rapinski powering by Sayers for the win. Sayers hung on for second.
In the women's hour long event it was again the Saturn Team quickly upping the speed, stretching the 110 women field into a thin line, when Katie Mactier shot off the front from the gun. As she was brought back, Saturn continued to riders with Ina Teutenberg, Amy Moore and Jessica Phillips all taking their turn at trying to escape. However, it was Sue Palmer-Komar who finally was able to escape the blistering pace, craftily countering an attack and making her way up the road solo. Despite the heat, the Genesis-Scuba rider pressed on, opening up a half course gap until it was clear she would stay clear for an impressive victory. With a lap and a half to go Kori Kelly (Diet Rite) attacked, making her way clear, and staying away for strong showing in second place.
As the dust settled in the streets of San Rafael, the excitement for tomorrow's T-Mobile International was palatable, with whispers on the street corners of which gears will be ridden, who has good form, and what teams have the depth to face the challenge of Taylor and Fillmore streets.
1.Victor Rapinski - Saturn
2.Mike Sayers - Health Net
1.Sue Palmer-Komar - Genesis Scuba
2.Kori Kelly - Diet Rite