Posted by Editoress on 04/17/05
Sea Otter Classic Monterey CA
Reports brought to you with the support of Human Kinetics Publishers
The Sea Otter Classic awarded its first professional titles on Saturday with the conclusion of the Sierra Nevada/Kodak Gallery UCI Road Stage Race. For the third consecutive day, the leader's jerseys changed hands, with two first time winners adding 'Sea Otter Champion' to their race resumes. Kristin Armstrong (T-Mobile) and Doug Ollerenshaw (Health Net-Maxxis) won the women's and men's titles. Canadian national road champion Gord Fraser (Health Net-Maxxis) took second in the overall standings. Erinne Willock (Webcor) was the top Canadian woman, in ninth place.
The road stage race concluded with a tough road race stage through the Fort Ord Recreation Area. From the Laguna Seca Speedway, the riders headed out to a hilly 16 kilometre circuit. The women completed 7 laps and the men 9 before heading back in to finish on the Speedway with one and two laps respectively.
Armstrong's T-Mobile team had the strongest line up in the race, but it was Tina Pic of the rival Quark team who held the leader's jersey at the start of the race. An early break containing Grace Fleury (Quark), Felicia Greer (Webcor), Mari Holden (T-Mobile), Lynn Gaggioli (Monex) and Rebecca Larson (Colavita/Cooking Light) and Nicole Demar (Victory Brewing) opened a gap on the second lap. Demar dropped off after flatting on lap four.
Armstrong's team sent the winner of the Prologue stage, Ina Teutenberg, away on an attack on lap six, forcing rival teams to chase. Teutenberg was joined at the front of the race with half a lap to go by her chief rivals - Pic and Christine Thorburn (Webcor), plus team mate Armstrong. Thorburn immediately attacked, but was quickly brought back, and then Armstrong launched an attack that no one could respond to. The Athens Olympian quickly pulled more than a minute clear to solo in for the stage win and overall title. Pic and Thorburn finished a minute and a half back, with the GC in the same order.
Christine Thorburn: "It was a really hard race out there, and my team did the best that they could, but one Ina Teutenberg is like two or three team mates. The way they (T-Mobile team) rode, Kristin Armstrong got to rest for the whole race. I had to make something happen, I had to put time on them (Armstrong and Pic), but I didn't have the legs today."
The men's race saw the Health Net-Maxxis squad of race leader Chris Wherry take charge on the third lap, with an attack containing three members of the team successfully breaking away from the pack. Along with Ollerenshaw, the break contained Prologue stage winner Gord Fraser and Mike Sayers. Surprisingly, none of the top contenders from other teams made the cut. The break would gain over six minutes on the rapidly disintegrating field, which made Fraser the leader on the road.
However, stage one winner Ivan Stevic (Aerospace Engineering) was chasing solo up to the break, so Ollerenshaw jumped away from the lead group and rode in alone for the biggest victory of his two year professional career. Fraser took second in the overall classification, and local Oakland rider Roman Kilun took second in the stage and third overall.
Doug Ollerenshaw: "We had three riders in the break, and it looked like we had one-two-three locked up in the overall, but then we heard that (Ivan) Stevic was coming up. I knew we would be in trouble if he got a free ride once he got up to us, so I had to go. I was feeling really good."
Gord Fraser: "This is the worst officiated race I have ever been in, it was horrendous. We heard Stevic was four minutes back, then the next thing we heard was that it was less than 30 seconds! Doug rode so well, it is nice to see him win big; he has been a big contributor to the team. With Stevic coming up we knew I had to stay with him for any sprint, so it was better to get Doug up the road. He took the bull by the horns - I looked up and he was up the road. It was perfect."
The Mountain Bike Stage Race subjected the field to a short but intense effort in the afternoon with the Short Track event; a seven lap crowd-pleasing circuit. Katarina Hanusova (Luna) just nipped overall race leader Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) at the line in the women's race, after Luna had spent much of the race setting the pace.
Alison Sydor: "It's not really a fast course but it's windy. Sue (Haywood - Trek-VW) pushed the pace lots and tried to attack in the last three laps-there was a lot of yo-yo-ing off the back and we were racing each other for the corner but Katarina just had a little bit more than Sue or I."
Sydor's second place solidified her lead in the overall standings, while Hanusova moved up to second, 21 seconds behind Sydor, with Sue Haywood in third.
The men's race saw Kona send Ryan Trebon off early, followed by team mate Barry Wicks. Both were unknowingly setting up Geoff Kabush, who launched a huge atttack with 3 laps to go, opening a gap of nearly 10 seconds. He was still leading into the last lap, but overall leader Bart Brentjens (Giant) was heading the chase. Australian Trent Lowe (Subaru-Gary Fisher) charged around Brentjens to take the win, with Brentjens in second and Kabush hanging on for third.
Trent Lowe: "I think you didn't see me for a reason. I was tucked in between taller riders like Ryan (Trebon) and Bart Brentjens. If I never touched the wind then I would have legs on the last lap. I was a minute down behind Brentjens going into today; I'll be behind Bart Brentjens in the top five tomorrow but that's where the gaps will be the biggest - you'll win or lose most tomorrow."
Geoff Kabush: "The first couple of laps Kona was strung out, looking for attacks - I just wanted to get a chunk of time out of Bart Brentjens. The little bit of wind might have cost me for soloing the last half."
In the men's standings, Brentjens added to his lead, with Lowe moving into second place ahead of Kabush. The Mountain Bike Stage Race concludes on Sunday with the Cross Country.
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