Posted by Editoress on 04/16/05
Sea Otter Classic Monterey CA
Reports brought to you with the support of Human Kinetics Publishers
The competition intensified on Friday, Day 2 of the 15th annual Sea Otter Classic. The leader's jersey changed hands in three of four events held in the pro Mountain Bike and Road stage races.
Stage two of the Mountain Bike Stage Race consisted of a short but gruelling three kilometre individual time trial, with the riders climbing for nearly half the race. Three time world champion Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) proved to be the fastest of the women's field, finishing two-tenths of a seconds ahead of Sue Haywood (Trek-VW), with Kelli Emmett in third. Defending champion Alison Dunlap (Luna), who won the opening stage, could manage no better than fourth. Dunlap finished 12.2 seconds in arrears to Sydor, and lost the leader's jersey to her rival by two seconds.
In the men's race, held on the same circuit, stage one winner Bart Brentjens (Giant) began the day with a comfortable 38 second lead, and retained his leader's jersey while finishing third on the day. Canada's Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) proved to be the quickest in the time trial, finishing 1.8 seconds ahead of Liam Killeen (Specialized). Kabush's time was fast enough to propel him into third place in the overall standings, 54 seconds behind Brentjens, and 12 seconds behind Florian Vogels (Swiss Power), who was second in stage one. Chris Sheppard (Adidas-Haro) was fifth.
Alison Sydor: "This course is a little deceiving in a couple places because it doesn't look technical, but coming down the descent is really bumpy. You want to go light and fast because with a course like this, it's easy to make mistakes. Short courses like this are best for me."
Geoff Kabush: ""I'm disappointed we gave up so much time (to winner Bart Brentjens), but this will help a bit. I felt really fast on the second half of the course, and I made time on the rider in front of me. On this course you just try to go smooth, tuck on the downhills and just measure your efforts out."
Chris Sheppard: "I'll take this (result).I've had a rough couple of weeks - hit by a mechanical bug, then 'bubonic plague'. I guess I'm well-rested ..."
Road Stage 1
The pro road riders faced an arduous circuit race on the Laguna Seca Speedway in their second stage of the Sierra Nevada/Kodak Gallery UCI Road Stage Race. The 3.2 kilometre circuit features a steep climb followed by a plunging descent, with strong winds adding to the difficulty. In the opening Prologue time trial, Tina Pic (Quark) had the fastest time, but was relegated to fourth after "jumping the gun" in her start. For the circuit race Pic made sure that there was no doubt - sprinting clear of a small breakaway group in front of the main field to take the stage win after 17 laps. Race leader Kristin Armstrong (T-Mobile) finished second, national time trial champion Christine Thorburn (Webcor) third and her Canadian team mate Erinne Willock fourth. Pic also took the leader's jersey after time bonuses were factored into the standings.
Willock was one of the primary instigators of the numerous attacks that animated the second half of the race, and started the final break, which took the four riders clear.
""T-Mobile was just setting tempo, trying to keep it together. Then everyone got more aggressive. When we got away with three to go it was good. Ina (Teutenberg) and I were working, but Colavita and Quark weren't helping out so it didn't work and we were reeled in. The last lap the eight of us were sucked back and I countered. T-Mobile chased, Christine (Thorburn) countered and the four of us got away. I led out for about a kilometre and Christine jumped, but it was too long, into the headwind. Christine and I were a little down on time, so we were trying to move up - Christine got the bonus and we both moved up, which was our goal."
The men faced 27 laps of the same circuit, and the Health Net-Maxxis team of Prologue winner Gord Fraser took charge. An early breakaway of more than 20 riders was gradually whittled down by the halfway mark to less than 15, with Health Net-Maxxis well represented by four riders, including Fraser and his team mate Chris Wherry, second in the overall standings. Fraser's team reduced the numbers again with 10 laps to go when they took it to 8 riders, then, with four laps remaining, the group split again. Wherry, his team mate Doug Ollerenshaw, David Clinger (Webcor) and Serbian Ivan Stevic (Aerospace Engineering). Stevic easily won the stage, ahead of Wherry and Clinger. Chris Wherry takes over the leader's jersey, based on accumulated time after two stages.
Fraser was a member of the front group until that final selection at four to go. He attempted to bridge up at the beginning of the last lap, but didn't have the legs.
"It's not a disaster (that his team lost the stage). I'm disappointed, but I didn't have it. My legs were cramping - I just put on a good act for a long time out there in the break. Then, there was some miscommunication - they didn't know I was coming up to the front. It was disappointing that my form wasn't completely back (from illness a week ago); I just couldn't hold the acceleration on the climbs. But, we have a stronger hold on the jersey, so it wasn't all bad."
- Charles Dionne (Webcor) was an early member of the original break, however, he dropped off, and then out of the race. "I started getting sick after Redlands. I was hoping that it would get better but it isn't, and I have started antibiotics. I have Pan Am Championships coming up, and decided that it was more important to get healthy."
- men's stage winner Ivan Stevic is from Belgrade, Serbia. This is his first visit to USA, 3rd race. The first two races were the Redlands Classic and at Ojai. Stevic is a first-year professional. He won 20 races in Italy as an amateur. His best win as a pro was the final stage of the Tour of Montenegro.
"I like these kind of races. The course is hard and it makes a natural selection. If you have the legs, you will be there at the end. But I expected 15 or 20 riders in the sprint, not four. Actually, I was hoping to do well tomorrow, I was not expecting the win today, but you don't pass up these opportunities when they present themselves!"
Fraser remarked that he was not surprised that Stevic won, and that health Net had marked him as a danger. "We saw him at Redlands, so we were worried about him here. He rode smart, hunting the stage. My hat's off to him; it was a well deserved win."
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