Posted by Editor on 02/15/03
Valley of the Sun - Arizona
Report courtesy Saturn
The Valley of the Sun continued on the outskirts of Tempe, Arizona today (Saturday, February 15/03) under sunny skies and pleasing temperatures. After yesterday's time trial, the Yellow Jersey was still up for grabs in both the men's and women's race, with only seconds separating the top podium spots. At the end of the day, as the sun sank behind the cactus laced mountains, it was Saturn's Mark McCormack chalking up the win and Jeanson with her second in as many days. Shroeder's Aaron Olsen's strong ride saw him into the overall lead, with Jeanson opening her gap on the women's overall.
The men's race got off to an organized and timely start. Although Sandy Perrins began the road race in the Leader's Jersey, he had tough competition to keep it, with Saturn placing three of their four riders in the top ten in yesterday's stage. Also very much of a contender was Olsen (Shroeder Iron) and Peter Mazur both less than thirty seconds back from Perrins.
Shortly after the start but before the first KOM sprint, fourth placed Ivan Dominguez flatted. In an effort to keep his Saturn teammate in contention, Rahsaan Bahati stopped to give Dominguez his wheel. From there, with the main group still together, Saturn's Dominguez won the KOM handily, collecting 15 seconds, making him only 8 seconds down on Perrins.
Shortly after a group of three containing Olsen's Shroeder Iron teammate Adam Livingston, Frank Pipp, and John Puffer managed to slip the field and began to work smoothly together. Their lead steadily opened to 2:50. However, coming into a lap and a half remaining, the field was back together, and another batch of animated attacks were launched.
Saturn's McCormack and Will Frischkorn covered the attacks for Dominguez in hopes to keep him fresh for the final sprint, but a frisky group of seven containing, notably, Olsen, Oliver Stilercote, Scott Price, and McCormack got away with only 10 kilometers to go. McCormack and Stilercote sat on the group while the five worked steadily to open the gap. At the bottom of the climb, the group hesitated and, seizing the moment, McCormack attacked, powering away from what quickly became an organized chase.
In a concerted effort, McCormack was able to hold off the surge from the riders behind, taking an early season win for the Saturn Team. Roughly seven seconds later, Olsen took second and moved into the lead of the race (results still unofficial at the time of this report).
In the women's race, the surprise was a sprint finish despite a strong ride from race leader Jeanson and her Rona team. With the team committed to maintaining Jeanson's lead, attacks were immediately neutralized, and the group remained compact into the finish. A late attack on the climb from Saturn's Jessica Phillips managed to string things out, but all was quickly reorganized by Rona in time for the sprint. Taking the win was Jeanson, with Sue Palmer-Komar (Genesis Scuba) in second. Jeanson maintained her race lead going into tomorrow's criterium.
1, Mark McCormack - Saturn Cycling Team
2. Aaron Olsen - Shroeder Iron Pro
1. Genevieve Jeanson - Rona
2. Sue Palmer-Komar - Genesis Scuba
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