September 11/99 1:48 am - Trans-Canada Stage 8 Story
Posted by Editor on 09/11/99
Fraser Makes It Number 4
Eric Wohlberg (Canadian National) made the race happen in today's 8th stage of the Trans Canada Tour, but another Canadian - Gord Fraser (Mercury) - took the glory with his fourth stage victory.
The 146 kilometre stage, from Vaughan (north of Toronto) to Hamilton, began slowly. Some tentative attacks in the first 60 kilometres did not go anywhere, and the peleton settled down to an easy ride. Wohlberg finally enlivened things in the last 50 kilometres with a decisive attack that took him well clear of the pack. A few kilometres later, Jan Hruska (Wustenrot-ZVVZ) bridged up and the gap started to grow. "I know this area", said Wohlberg, who lives locally. "It was very hard, with the wind in my face. When Hruska bridged, I thought it would work." And it nearly did.
Both excellent time trialists, the duo reached a maximum gap on the field of 2:30, before the chasers reacted. Even then, the field did not reel the leaders in immediately. Said Fraser "Eric is a fantastic time trialer, and very dangerous. We couldn't let him get too far away. The team car came up (with about 10 kilometres to go) and said 'it's time to make your move, work with Maipei' ".
Mercury and Mapei did work, first sporadically, and then, for the last 5 kilometres, hard. They almost left it too late, swallowing up the breakaway pair within sight of the finish line. At that point Mercury provided a textbook lesson in how to set up a sprint. The train of four team members, with Fraser at the rear, picked up the pace, and then picked it up again. As the field bore down on the line, Fraser's leadout riders peeled off and he shot through to take his fourth stage win. Fred Rodriguez of Mapei tried to get on Fraser's wheel, but it was in vain as Fraser had enough of a gap to straighten his jersey and raise his arms as he crossed the line. Sven Teutenberg (Gerolsteiner) took second and Josef Christen (Ericksen) third. Rodriguez finished fifth. There was no change on the General Classification, with Jean-Cyril Robin (Francaise des Jeux) still leading Guido Trentin (Vini Caldirola) by 27 seconds.
- the finish line was next to a cemetery. All funerals were cancelled for the day, so that they would not interfere with the race.