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June 15/03 6:13 am - Bessette Wins Nature Valley Final Stage

Posted by Editor on 06/15/03

Nature Valley GP - Minnesota
Courtesy Saturn

The final stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix was held in the very quaint and beautiful town of Stillwater. The old brick factory buildings have been restored, and now the streets are lined with coffee shops, art galleries and a welcoming and friendly community of bike enthusiasts.

The criterium was a formidable course with a steep 24% grade climb as the challenge. It was clear that after four stages, the final stage would sap any remaining strength the riders may have had left.

The women's race saw the field shatter immediately with pressure applied from Sarah Ulmer, who wanted sprint points to finalize her title in the sprinter's competition. From there the group got smaller and smaller, but race leader Katie Mactier, Amy Moore, Lyne Bessette and Manon Jutras were all there to protect Mactier's lead.

With two laps to go, third placed Karen Bockel attacked, opening up the perfect opportunity for Bessette to counterattack when Bockel was caught. Bessette steadily opened the gap on the small group, and soloed in for a stellar win. Second was Bockel, out-sprinting Ulmer and Mactier in third and fourth respectively. Mactier's finish sealed her overall win, with Saturn's Jutras finishing in second overall.

The men's race got off to a quick start with Trent Klasna attacking the group in an effort to negate the constant attacks from 7-UP's John Lieswyn, sitting second in the overall. With an incredibly show of force, Klasna continued to power up the climb, steadily opening the gap on the field, which was unraveling behind him. As Klasna's time gap brought him closer and closer to the race lead, Ciaran Powers (Navigators) got antsy and attacked the group on the hill. Realizing Powers was not a threat to the overall, the Saturn team, led by Tim Johnson, let him go unchallenged up the road. The current race leader, Saturn's Viktor Rapinski, was in the group with Johnson, and helped to ensure no one of threat to Klasna's ride into the leader's jersey would escape.

Powers would never reach Klasna, and the Saturn rider continued to increase his lead every lap. With the thousands of fans cheering him home, Klasna danced up the climb across the finish line, to discover that he had won not only the stage but the overall as well. Powers held off Peter Knudson (Schroeder Iron) for second. Bringing the field home was Saturn's Ivan Dominguez in fourth. Yesterday's leader, Saturn's Viktor Rapinski slipped to second in the overall behind his teammate Klasna, and Saturn's Johnson won the sprinter's jersey.

1. Trent Klasna - Saturn
2. Ciaran Powers - Navigators
3. Peter Knudson - Schroeder Iron
4. Ivan Dominguez - Saturn

Final GC
1. Klasna - Saturn
2. Rapinski - Saturn

1. Lyne Bessette - Saturn
2. Karen Bockel - Rona/Eskar
3. Sarah Ulmer - TDS
4. Katie Mactier - Saturn

Final GC
1. Mactier - Saturn
2. Jutras - Saturn


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