Posted by Editoress on 07/19/99
Bassano del Grappa (Veneto) Italy Sunday July 18th, 1999
59th Edition of Bassano - Monte Grappa UCI Category 1.6
The cloud covered summit of Monte Grappa is still haunted by the ghosts of the Great War, their innumerable bones piled high in the Ossario of Bassano. Caves and trenches from which they defended Italy and its people are now covered and grown over, but the soldiers' legacy and martyrdom has not been forgotten by the thousands who take on the 28km ascension road to the apex to pay their respects each year.
In the serene and artisan town at the foot of the mountain, a person can begin to feel the passion and heritage that so many were willing to die for. The cobbled main square of Bassano would see the start of another battle on this day; a battle of men armed with bicycles rather than guns: The 59th edition of the classic international bike race, Bassano - Monte Grappa.
110 kilometres of criterium style racing stir the riders into frenzy right from the start -substantial cash and prizes being offered every 5km of the circuit. The pace is held high, nearly 50km per hour, as the sprinters play out their role. Eastern European riders dominated this section, with the Ukrainian National Champion (Dmitri Shipak) taking most of the prize grab, and Dimitri Parfimovich of Russia scooping up a highly valued Sageborn bike frame. The kermesse concluded, the riders lead towards the mount, where a nervous jostle for the front positions warned of the real test soon to begin. Mexican Julio Perez, climber's jersey winner from the Giro D'Italia Dilletanti, made the first move, and expired any hope that 80 riders had of reaching the summit with the leaders. A front group of 16 men rode on for the next few kilometres, Giuseppe Bracci, my SC REDA teammate, and myself, being among them.
A switchback led onto a steeper pitch, and Maurizio Vandelli (Pasta Montegrappa), last year's winner, whittled the group down to 8 cyclists. I looked behind to see if Giuseppe had made the cut, but he had slipped a hundred meters back - I was on my own in defence of our team colours (a tough load, considering Reda has won here twice!) . There were another 12km of uphill which saw no change of guard in the lead group, despite several attacks and counterattacks by Perez, Ramon Bianchi (MG Boy's Modes), and Damiano Giannini (SC Squadroni).
10km remaining to the summit, Perez made a decisive move, and only Vandelli, Napolitani Domenico Romano (another former winner, Pasta Montegrappa team), Bianchi, Antonio Rizzi (GS Sintofarm), and myself were able to hold pace. 5km to go, and Perez attacked again, this time only Vandelli could respond with measured success. Bianchi was the first to drop, then Rizzi. I tried to recuperate the gap at my own pace (to no avail). Behind, Rizzi was doing the same: He caught and past me with 4km to go. Romano, who had tried to stay with Perrez and Vandelli, went into oxygen debt for the effort, and I would catch and pass him with 4km left to the top. Bianchi caught Romano as well, but neither were in much shape for regaining contention as the leaders continued into the clouds on the alpine peak. Vandelli sprinted to a repeat victory in front of a large crowd at the 1775m summit, winning by 4 seconds over Perez. Rizzi took third, 30 seconds down, and I, fourth, a minute down on Rizzi. Romano crossed the line 5th, just ahead of Bianchi.
The victory caused a bit of a fuss among the officials, as it did last year, since Vandelli races pro for a Swiss team, yet still holds an amateur license in Italy, with which he can enter international events such as this. Though he was the strongest rider, and a deserving winner, there was some apprehension on the part of the Commissaires towards allowing a 35 year old professional rider to compete in an otherwise amateur event.
International Cycling Classic, Wisconsin: Stage 7: Milwaukee, July 17.
1. Anna Wilson, Saturn
2. Susy Pryde, Saturn
3. Sarah Mimer
4. Nichole Reinhart, Saturn
5. Odessa Gunn, Timex
6. Sandra Smith, Western Australia Institute
7. Dede Demet Barry, Saturn
8. Laura Van Gilder, Navigators
9. Kendra Wenzel Timex
10. Dana Vicker, Team Wisconsin.
1. Pryde, 115 pts
2. Wilson, 104
3. Van Gilder, 95
4. Clara Hughes, Saturn, 91
5. Demet Barry, 90
6. Smith, 79
7. Reinhart, 67
8. Tiffany Pezzulo, Hind NFR-GS Giao, 60
9. Barbara Bradley, Fat Dog
10. Wenzel, 58.
Race 7: Great Downer Ace Bike Race, July 17.
1. Gord Fraser, Mercury
2. Harm Jansen, SmartTalk
3. Michael Sayers, Mercury
4. Wong Kam Po, Taiwan National
5. Todd Littlehales, Navigators
6. Eddy Gragus, Ikon-Lexus
7. Graeme Miller, Shaklee
8. Michale Barry, Saturn
9. Jimmy Hansen, Saturn
10. Mark McCormackm Saturn.
Saturn Team Work Challenge:
1. Demet Barry.
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