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March 9/98 11:48 am - Redlands Final


Posted by Editor on 03/9/98
 

Redlands Final Stage Dominated by Canadians by Ed Schum

After the very tough stage with the mountain top finish on Friday, and the fast, crowd pleasing criterium Saturday, the Redlands Classic Stage Race ended with a combination of the two yesterday. The Sunshine Road Race started at the site of Saturday's criterium in front of a large number of spectators, who had returned still excited from the spectacular racing action of the day before.

The women's race went through the town of Redlands, up a steady climb to Sunset Drive. There they rode 8 laps of a 5.3 miles (8.5k) circuit with 400 feet of climbing on each lap. Then it went back down to the finish line for a total of 52 miles (83k). The men's course was similar, only that they started out with three laps of the criterium course, did 11 laps of the Sunset Loop (extended to 6.6 miles (10.5k) with an additional 100 ft. of climbing per lap), and finished with another 5 laps of the criterium course, for a total of 88 miles (141k). The weather for this race was what we were expecting in Southern California. The skies were blue, the sun hot, and there was only the slightest sign of a breeze blowing through the leaves of the many huge palm trees lining both sides of Redlands Boulevard. The toughest part of this course is the 3k climb on each lap of Sunset Loop. With only 400 (men 500) feet of climbing it is not particularly steep overall, but has a 1k section of about 6 to 8%. Still not very tough when only doing it once or twice; the toughness comes in after the lap counter goes up to 7, 8, 9 etc. From memory of past races on this course, it is tough enough to leave all but the very fittest behind and break the field into many different groups, but not tough enough to really separate the top 20 or so in G.C.

The women's race developed right to this forecast. Already by the time the peleton climbed Sunset the first time it was broken up into several groups strung out over several kms. Sue Palmer went off the front and gained as much as 1:16 before being reeled in three laps later, mainly by the strong Saturn team. By this time the main field was down to about 26 riders, including Canadians Clara Hughes, Alison Sydor, Linda Jackson, Melanie McQuaid, Cybil Diguistini and Chrissy Redden. Lap five saw Susy Pryde (Saeco/Timex) and Elisabeth Emery (Saturn) away by as much as 28 seconds. Alison Sydor and her teammate Carmen Richardson were instrumental in chasing this break down. The last time up the climb it was Clara Hughes who got away, with only Susan Pryde able to follow her. Alison Sydor tried to bridge up to this break, but was caught on the downhill stretch into town. Clara and Susy got into the town with a sizable lead, and. Clara, probably still a little angry about yesterday's decision against her, accelerated furiously with about 500 yards to go and easily beat her companion to the line. With the field coming in 1:15 later Clara had made up enough time to get up to fourth in GC, only 3 seconds out of a podium position. This very courageous riding explains why Clara has so many fans in Redlands. Everywhere we went people asked about her and cheered her on. It seems as if the people of Redlands have adopted her as one of their own, with a Clara Hughes fan club on every corner of the race course.

SPICE girls Chrissy Redden and Melanie McQuaid finished in 11th and 12th place, Alison Sydor was 16th, Lesley Thomlinson 19th and Linda Jackson 21st. All had the same time as third place finisher Karen Kurreck, and 1:15 down on Hughes and Pryde. Now something interesting: Knowing Cybil Diguistini, and having watched her great ride on the Sunset Loop, right up there in the lead group, with all the great names in women's cycling, I was waiting for her at the finish and timing her. She came in 23rd, all alone, 2:45 after the winner. In the official results I noticed later that she was given same time as a group that came in about 6 minutes behind her!! I guess it is the same here as in Canada: The more commissaires there are, the more mistakes they make. And there were lots of them here at Redlands. However, even with the official placing Cybil was the second highest ranked rider in the under 23 category. Her time will come.

Other Canadian placings:

26. Trish Sinclair @ 8:34
31. Kim Langton 9:53
37. Leah Goldstein 12:12
40. Melanie Dorion ST
58. Annie Gariepy ST
61. Karen Timewell 15:19
63. Mandy Poitras ST
67. Sophie St-Jacques ST
70. Marg Fedyna 34:37
80. Kirsten Kotval 1:24:37

Final G.C.

1. Mari Holden 8: 37:55
2. Pam Schuster @ 0:2
3. Alison Dunlap 0:34
4. Clara Hughes 0:37
5. Leigh Hobson 0:39
6. Alison Sydor 0:40
7. Linda Jackson 0:46
8. Susy Pryde 1:26
9. Julie Young 1:35
10. Karen Kurreck 1:35
18. Lesley Tomlinson 4:57
19. Melanie McQuaid 5:12
20. Chrissy Redden 5:36
26. Trish Sinclair 14:00
28. Cybil Diguistini 16:07 (official result)
4. Annie Gariepy 18:18
42. Kim Langton 19:44
46. Leah Goldstein 20:49
47. Melanie Dorian 21:18
56. Mandy Poitras 26:16
60. Stacey Spencer 29:49
66. Karen Timewell 33:34
68. Sophie St-Jacques 36:25
71. Marg Fedyna 1:09:47
83. Kirsten Kotval 2:19:06

Interesting observation: Even one aerodynamic wheel for Alison Sydor in the time trial would have easily made up the seven seconds needed to boost her from 6th place to third. There was probably enough difference in the respective prize monies to purchase such a wheel.

With so many strong teams not having a stage win to their name, the men's race started so fast that some riders were left as much as six minutes behind by the first climb up Sunset. The pack was broken into splinter groups by that time and only the very fit were left in the front bunch of about 40, including Canadians Gord Fraser, Eric Wohlberg, Roland Green, Andreas Hestler, Mark Walters and Keith Stark. As in Saturday's criterium, the Mercury team was controlling the race, and by lap three they had two riders in a break of seven. For the longest time this seemed like a break that might make it, since there were, besides the two Merc's, four other strong teams represented and nobody in the pack was keen to help the Postmen in the chase. The leaders quickly gained 40 seconds in lap two, 1:10 by lap 3 and kept increasing the gap until it peaked at 2:22 in lap 9. Since this meant that the yellow jersey was in jeopardy, the Postmen started chasing in earnest. With five of them, including race leader Jonathan Vaughters, pulling at the front, the deficit was brought back to under one minute by lap 10. By the time the race exited the Sunset circuit, it was Vaughters who was in the lead, joined by second in G.C. Aussie Cadel Evans of Volvo/Cannondale. Only Trent Klasna of the Navigators was able to bridge up to this duo on the downhill stretch into town and these three riders entered the criterium course together, with the Mercury led pack 31 seconds behind. This was where everyone's time for the stage was taken, with the 5 laps of the crit course establishing only placings for the stage. Only riders within one minute of the leaders were let onto the short finishing circuit.

This was a total of 28 riders, including Canadians Gord Fraser, Eric Wohlberg, Mark Walters and Roland Green. With the Mercury's chasing hard to set up sprinter extraordinaire Gord Fraser for his third stage win, the lead of the frontrunners got shorter lap by lap. It was so close that nobody would have bet as to who would be in front coming around the last corner to the finish. In the end it turned out to be Trent Klasna ahead of Cadel Evans and Jonathan Vaughters, who was barely able to stay ahead of a flying Gord Fraser. Truly a great finish to an exciting and entertaining week of racing. Eric Wohlberg, despite suffering from a flu, had a great week and finished 12th, Mark Walters 17th and Roland Green 18th.

Men's Sunset Road Race placings:

1. Trent Klasna Navigators 3:15:41
2. Cadel Evans Volvo/Cannondale
3. Jonathan Vaughters US Postal Service
4. Gord Fraser Mercury @ 0:31
5. Bart Bowen Saturn
6. Eddy Gragus Oilme
7. Andy Bishop Trek/VW
8. Tyler Hamilton US Postal
9. Chad Gerlach Oilme
10.Steve Larsen Healthsouth/Mrs. T's
12. Eric Wohlberg Shaklee
17. Mark Walters
18. Roland Green all s.t.
44. Andreas Hestler @ 5:15
61. Keith Stark 12:55
86. Lucas Curran 20:49
93. Tim Hadfield 20:49
107.Scott Price 25:00
136.Yannick Cojan 1:15:00

Final G.C.

1. Jonathan Vaughters 10:48:25
3. Chris Wherry 2:30
4. Levi Leipheimer 4:04
5. Tyler Hamilton 4:23
6. Trent Klasna 4:36
7. Steve Larsen 4:59
8. Bart Bowen 5:11
9. Scott Moninger 5:24
10. Clark Sheehan 5:35
12. Gord Fraser 5:42
17. Eric Wohlberg 7:08
19. Mark Walters 7:19
50. Roland Green 19:59
58. Andreas Hestler 21:52
66. Keith Stark 24:45
87. Lucas Kurren 36:04
100. Tim Hadfield 42:20
125. Paul Rego 1:16:35
138. Yannick Cojan 1:39:35

 


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