Posted by Editoress on 09/14/03
T-Mobile International San Francisco, USA
Report Courtesy Team Saturn, Results Organization
The men's T-Mobile International featured one of the best men's fields ever assembled. Although much of the focus was on US Postal's Lance Armstrong, not to be overlooked were riders like Telecom's Alexander Vinokourov, (third at this year's Tour de France), Saeco's Gilberto Simoni (winner of this year's Giro d'Italia), Armstrong's US Postal teammate, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Victor Hugo Pena as well as Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldriola/Formaggi Pinzolo). Of course, North American teams fielded big names as well, with Saturn's Chris Horner and Victor Rapinski leading a strong squad including last year's T-Mobile winner, Charles Dionne. Navigators and Prime Alliance also brought their top men including Chris Wherry and Jonathon Vaughters.
The men's 108 mile race was held on the same course as in previous years, bringing the men up and over Taylor and Fillmore streets enough times to test even the toughest of riders. With an 11 am start the heat had already captured the city in its grasp, and the riders had little shade along the wide streets of the city on which to hide from the overbearing sun. Only the wind saved the day, soothing the riders as it blew in to the city.
Spectators came out in droves, lining the streets six and seven people deep in sections. All came to see the heat and climbs take its toll, bringing the strongest man of the day to the fore. They had to wait a good deal before the winner of the race surfaced, but as the drama unfolded it was worth every minute of the wait.
An early break containing Navigator's Chris Wherry remained away for a large percentage of the race. In the break were five riders with a 1'30" lead. Joining Wherry was Cesar Grajalas, Gord Fraser and Jason Lokkesmoe (Health Net) and Rolf Aldag (Telekom). Behind them was a chase group of about 15 riders including Trent Klasna and Tim Johnson (Saturn) and Sven Tuft (Prime Alliance). The chase group did not seem super enthused to bring back the break, and the gap grew to 2:30 and then to 4:30 on a group of chasers.
With two big laps and four small laps remaining, the group Aldag attacked and only Lokkesmoe could go with him. However, not liking his chances, Lokkesmoe was cautious to pull through. Although Aldag did his best to power away from the chase, it was clear that the group behind was gaining fast. In the group, which reconfigured quite a few times, were Saturn teammates Chris Horner and Mark McCormack. As the groups came together one last time, and with 16 kilometers to go, Horner launches himself. Amazingly, he clears the very strong group and seems to gallop away from the chase.
If there was ever any doubt in Horner's mind that he would stay clear for the win, it was never evident. In an incredible show of power, the Saturn rider continued to open the gap steadily, until he had 1:10 as he rounded the last corner into the deafening roar of the 600,000 crowds. While his newly formed fans waited for him to through his hands up in glory, it became clear the Saturn rider was not lessening his pace. Prepared for an additional lap, it was not until 300 meters past the line that Horner finally realized he had won the event for real, and hooked a u-turn in time to see the Saturn jersey of McCormack streaking across the line.
McCormack's second place finish played out as Horner worked his way to victory. Seizing an excellent opportunity to escape but taking a bit of a gamble, McCormack also solo, edged his gap open, yo-yoing back and forth between 30 seconds and 40 seconds. In the last two kilometers it looked as if McCormack might be caught, but somewhere deep down was the well of inspiration, and he drove down on the pedals, keeping a hard chasing Viatcheslav Ekimov at bay.
In an unprecedented one, two finish, the Saturn Team topped the day with McCormack winning the year long Pro Tour title by virtue of his second place finish for the day. Both Horner and McCormack are automatic qualifiers for the World Championships and are slated to compete in the road race event on October 12.
|1. Chris Horner (USA) Saturn||4:24:33|
|2. Mark McCormack (USA) Saturn||at 0:49|
|3. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service||1:02|
|4. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Telekom||1:04|
|5. Uros Murn (Slo) MX1|
|6. Vassili Davidenko (Rus) Navigators|
|7. Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze Elitron|
|8. Massimiliano Mori (Ita) MX1|
|9. Lorenzo Cardellini (Ita) Domina Vacanze Elitron|
|10. Eric Wohlberg (Can) Saturn|
|11. Mike Sayers (USA) Health Net|
|12. Ted Huang (USA) Webcor|
|13. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Team Telekom|
|14. Andy Bajadali (USA) OFOTO Lombardi Sports|
|15. Alex Candelario (USA) Prime Alliance|
|16. Mark Walters (Can) Navigators|
|17. Gordon McCauley (NZl) Schroeder Iron|
|18. Damon Kluck (USA) US Postal Service|
|19. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Saeco Longoni Sport|
|20. Cameron Hughes (Aus) LeMond Fitness Capt'n Cra Z Soap|
|21. James Mattis (USA) Webcor|
|22. Tim Johnson (USA) Saturn||all s.t.|
|23. Ruben Lobato Elvira (Esp) Domina Vacanze Elitron||1:14|
|24. Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Team Telekom||1:17|
|25. John Lieswyn (USA) 7 Up Maxxis||1:19|
|26. Ryan Barrett (USA) Schroeder Iron|
|27. Nathan Russell (Aus) Colavita Bolla|
|28. Alexandr Kozlov (Blr) Health Net|
|29. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco Longoni Sport|
|30. Viktor Rapinski (Blr) Saturn|
|31. Marc Hagenlocher (USA) Webcor|
|32. Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service|
|33. Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators|
|34. John Hunt (USA) Health Net|
|35. Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Saturn|
|36. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco Longoni Sport||all s.t.|
|37. Miguel A Meza Flores (Mex) Schroeder Iron||1:26|
|38. Scottie Weiss (USA) West Virginia Cycling||1:31|
|39. Tim Larkin (USA) OFOTO Lombardi Sports||1:41|
|40. Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Sierra Nevada Clif Bar||1:46|
|41. Paul Martin (USA) West Virginia Cycling||2:00|
|42. Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Telekom||s.t.|
|43. John Peters (USA) Prime Alliance||2:29|
|44. Brice Jones (USA) 7 Up Maxxis||2:42|
|45. David Clinger (USA) Prime Alliance||2:47|
|46. Adam Bergman (USA) Jelly Belly Carlsbad Clothing||2:52|
|47. Benjamin Brooks (Aus) Jelly Belly Carlsbad Clothing||s.t.|
|48. Jason Lokkesmoe (USA) Health Net||3:45|
|49. Kevin Monahan (USA) 7 Up Maxxis||4:28|
|50. Steve Zampieri (Sui) MX1|
|51. Jesus Ramirez Torres (Esp) MX1|
|52. Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators||all s.t.|
|53. Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Health Net||8:58|
|54. Cesar Augus Grajales (Col) Jittery Joe's Coffee/Kerley Ink||9:21|
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