Posted by Editor on 03/22/01
Saturn's women's squad gave the rest of the field a lesson in how to ride a criterium in this afternoon's second stage 40 lap event around Cannery Row in Monterey. Completely shutting down the pack anytime someone tried to jump, they then sent off race leader Anna Millward with 5 laps to go. Millward stayed a steady 8-10 seconds in front of the Saturn-led peloton and then, with a lap to go, Ina Teutenberg was sent up to join her team mate. Teutenberg took the win, with Millward rolling across the line just behind. To really rub it in, Saturn also took third (Suzanne Sonye) and fourth (Anke Erlank) at the front of the cowed bunch.
Interestingly, Millward said that she would rather have been in Italy to race the next round of the World Cup (she has won the first two). "but, this race is really important to my team and my sponsors, so I need to be here. Plus, I tend to do better in North America, where the climbs aren't as long as Europe."
In the men's race, a last lap suicide attack succeeded for Vassili Davidenko of Navigators. The 80 lap race was brutally fast, with riders getting shelled every lap. Saturn and Mercury kept the pace high all race, with Svein Tuft (Broadmark) figuring in at least three separate breakaway attempts. Davidenko went down in a crash with about 25 laps to go, breaking his bike and having to jump on a spare. He had barely worked his way back towards the front of the field when teams started to set their trains up for the finish.
First it was his own Navigators squad, then Lotto and, finally, with less than 5 laps to go, the Mercury machine went to the front. It was starting to look familiar, and everybody fully expected to see a Mercury rider come through the last turn in first place. However, Davidenko had other plans: "I told my team mate (Oleg Grishkine) to go as hard as he could for 500 metres, and then I came off him with about two-thirds of a lap left." Mercury tried to counter, but with two sharp rights before the finishing stretch, they ran out of time. Overall leader Levi Leipheimer (US Postal) finished safely tucked in the pack.
Photos and results to follow.
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