March 27/03 9:26 am - Solano Bicycle Classic: Stage 1
Posted by Editoress on 03/27/03
Solano Bicycle Classic
Courtesy Saturn Cycling Team
The Solano Bicycle Classic kicked off today outside of Fairfield, CA with a hilly, blustery road race around Lake Berryessa. The 54 mile women's race and 87 mile men's race both finished with an ascent up Howell Mountain Road into the cute little town of Angwin. As if the hills around Lake Berryessa did not offer enough of a challenge, the race saw a strong head and three-quarter headwind for the majority of the race.
The men's race saw a break form off the front of the echelons created by strong cross winds. A quick evaluation by all teams judged the break to represent everyone well, and the time gap quickly grew until it reached the five minute mark. Saturn had three riders with Will Frischkorn, Mark McCormack and Victor Rapinski. Prime Alliance had two with Svein Tuft and Matt DeCanio, Jelly Belly had Ben Brooks, and Health Net had two riders as well.
It looked as if the break would stay clear, but the only two teams not well represented, 7-UP and Ofoto, invested in bringing the break back, managed to contain it to a 30 second gap by the bottom of the climb. Not knowing if how his Saturn teammate was performing in the break, Horner patiently waited until he saw where Frischkorn was on the climb, pacing himself until he had a clear view. Along side were his two teammates, Tim Johnson and Eric Wohlberg. Prime Alliance's Jonathon Vaughters was also there, having clearly marked Horner as the man to beat.
Half way up the climb, Horner could see the Brooks had moved ahead of Frischkorn and launched his attack. Vaughters tried to respond, but Horner danced his way to the top, finishing solo for the win, the Gold Leader's Jersey and the time bonus seconds. Brooks finished second ahead of Vaughters, who was well over one minute back on Horner. Wohlberg and Johnson finished in the top ten as well (results unofficial at time of report), with Frischkorn collecting enough points along the way to grab the lead of the climber's competition. The Saturn Team also leads the Team Classification.
The women's race followed an abbreviated version of the men's race, but still featured the cross and head wind sections and the final gut wrenching climb. The field remained together until Anne Samplonius (TDS) and Meredith Miller escaped the field for about ten miles with their largest time gap at 1:16. A group effort from Saturn, T-Mobile and Victory Brewing brought the two-some back to the fold. From there, the peloton remained compact until the base of the climb when it shattered immediately. Setting the pace were Saturn teammates Lyne Bessette and Manon Jutras, marked by T-Mobile's Kimberly Bruckner. Clearly in great climbing form, Bruckner pushed the pace, shedding the Saturn duo. Once they crested the mountain, the two worked together to close the 45 second gap, but Bruckner was not to be caught, soloing in for the win and the lead of the overall. Bessette finished second with Jutras in third. Sue Palmer-Komar finished in fourth. Like their male teammates, the Saturn women lead the Team Classification.
Tomorrow features a new event with a mass start hill climb with a three mile flat run into 4.7 miles of climbing. The 7.7 mile event should complement both Horner and Bruckner with pitches at 22% and an average gradient of 15% for the 4.7 miles of fierce climbing.
1. Chris Horner - Saturn Cycling Team
2. Ben Brooks - Jelly Belly
3. Jonathon Vaughters - Prime Alliance
1. Kimberly Bruckner - T-Mobile
2. Lyne Bessette - Saturn Cycling Team
3. Manon Jutras -Saturn Cycling Team
4. Sue Palmer-Komar - Genesis-Scuba