Posted by Editor on 08/9/98
Chiotti and Sydor Wrap Up Victories in Tour of the Rockies
(courtesy the organizers)
Steamboat Springs, Colo. - Chalk another great race into the history books! The 1998 Mercury Tour, presented by Outdoor Life Network, concluded today with the Gondola Criterium, and was a crowd-thriller in both the womenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s and the menÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s races. Although both Jerome Chiotti (GT Bicycles) and Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) held substantial leads going into todayÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s fourth and final stage, the rest of the spots were still up for grabs. Boulder, ColoradoÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Carl Swenson (Catera/Pure Energy) was the most aggressive rider today, winning the stage, and moving from ninth overall in the standings to sixth with a spectacular effort.
TodayÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s stage was a short, multi-lap jaunt around a 0.8 mile loop at the Steamboat base. The men circled the base area 12 times, while the women completed seven hard, fast laps. The course suited those riders with quick, anaerobic power, as both the climb and the descent were short, with little chance for recovery. The weather was perfect, with temperatures in the mid-80s, and a crowd estimated at more than 3000 strong, who lined the entire course, ringing cowbells and cheering the riders around this gut-wrenching circuit.
The menÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s race went off first, at 11 a.m., with Rishi Grewal (Klein) making his trademark fast start for the first lap prime of $150. He faded quickly, and Swenson moved into the lead, followed by a breakaway group which included Pavel Tcherkassov (Diamondback Racing), Chiotti, Roland Green (Mapei-Kona), and Tinker Juarez (Volvo-Cannondale). Swenson opened a gap early, but was reeled back in, with Chiotti taking command. As the group faded, Swenson attacked again, and made the lead stick all the way to the finish. His effort was awarded with a leap in the standings from ninth to sixth, surpassing Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen), Neil Grover (Canadian National Team), and Rob Woods (Australian National Team). In the raceÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s closing laps, ChiottiÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s face lit up, as he knew victory was his. He crossed the line $15,200 richer, and wheelied into the throngs of media and team managers. This yearÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s runner-up was a repeat of last year: Pavel Tcherkassov. Although he led after the prologue, he could not match ChiottiÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s form this year. Third place, and top American honors went to Tinker Juarez, who rode a consistent race, and did what he needed to get on the overall podium.
The 12:30 p.m. womenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s race was a battle between the leaderÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s jerseys, with Alison Sydor in the overall leaderÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s jersey, Alison Dunlap (GT Bicycles) in the mountain leaderÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s jersey, and Alla Epifanova (Volvo-Cannondale) in the Ã…â€™Under-23Ã¢â‚¬Å¡ leaderÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s jersey dicing for the lead, and breaking away from the rest of the field. It was Epifanova who made the aggressive move among the women, overtaking Ruthie MatthesÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ advantage in the overall, and moving herself into fourth. Although Jimena Florit-Juarez (Headshok) lost one spot to Dunlap in the overall, she showed great focus in holding off Epifanova and Matthes for third overall. Sydor, who won the sprint today over Dunlap for the stage win, showed great fitness this week, as she came back from food poisoning last week, arriving in Steamboat with little hope for victory, and coming out on top. She heads into the Canadian National Championships next weekend with a huge advantage (and an extra $10,100 in her pocket!).
Extra Notes from Hank Sydor: Alison is completely over her food poisoning (apparently caught from some fish she had before the Breckenridge Norba race), and heads back to Vancouver tomorrow for the Canadian Mountain Bike Nationals. Canadians were very strong in this race, both men and women. Hank says that Roland Green would have been on the podium for overall if he hadnÃ¢â‚¬Å¡t gone off course so much in the first stage. One of the most impressive rides was by Neil Grover, who was consistently strong.
WomenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Stage 4
1. Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) 34:04
2. Alison Dunlap (Team GT) at 0:22
3. Alla Epifanova (Volvo-Cannondale) 0:34
4. Golden Brainard (Catera/Pure Energy) 0:56
5. Ruthie Matthes (Powerbar) 1:02
8. Melanie McQuaid (Canadian National Team) 1:25
9. Chrissy Redden (Ritchey) 1:30
10. Melanie Dorion (Canadian National Team) 1:36
12. Lesley Tomlinson (Polo Sport) 1:51
WomenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Final GC
1. Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) 6:15:21
2. Alison Dunlap (Team GT) at 5:11
3. Jimena Florit-Juarez (Headshok) 5:43
4. Alla Epifanova (Volvo-Cannondale) 6:31
5. Ruthie Matthes (Powerbar) 6:54
6. Tomlinson 18:32
9. Redden 21:24
15. Dorion 31:37
19. McQuaid 44:22
WomenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Under-23 Jersey: Alla Epifanova
WomenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Mountain Leader: Alison Sydor
MenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Stage 4
1. Carl Swenson (Catera/Pure Energy) 50:47
2. Pavel Tcherkassov (Diamondback Racing) at 0:12
3. Roland Green (Mapei-Kona) 0:12
4. Tinker Juarez (Volvo-Cannondale) 0:23
5. Jerome Chiotti (Team GT) 0:45
7. Chris Sheppard (Catera/Pure Energy) 1:10
10. Peter Wedge (Mapei-Kona) 1:47
11. Seamus McGrath (Haro) 1:51
13. Neil Grover (Canadian National Team) 2:02
34. Matheiu Toulouse (Canadian National Team) 5:04
35. Andreas Hestler (Volvo-Cannondale) 5:38
39. Jason Crookham (Canadian National Team) 6:20
MenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Final GC
1. Jerome Chiotti (Team GT) 6:21:07
2. Pavel Tcherkassov (Diamondback Racing) at 5:16
3. Tinker Juarez (Volvo-Cannondale) @7:17
4. Matt Wallace (Australian National Team) 8:55
5. Roland Green (Mapei-Kona) @10:38
9. Grover 11:56
10. Sheppard 15:02
12. McGrath 17:18
40. Toulouse 52:01
41. Wedge 52:12
43. Hestler 56:29
45. Crookham 1:01:42
MenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Under-23 Jersey: Neil Grover (Canadian National Team)
MenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Mountain Leader: Jerome Chiotti (Roland Green was 5th)
Canadian Wins in Italy
(courtesy Paul Kelly)
A weekend of good luck and great racing! Saturday I won the 10th Gran Premio Olimpia in Ostra Vetere (near Ancona). 130 Elite and Espoir riders wheeled up to the line at the 122km event, run on 11 laps of just over 11 km each. The course was very testing, with a 3km climb every lap. An event of attrition, past winners include the likes of Marco Pantani and Uwe Peshel, and runners up include Davide Rebellin, Cembali, Coppolillo, Dall'Olio.
The 1998 edition started hard, shedding half the riders by lap 5. Several early breaks formed, but the pack would never let them stray too far, and the last of these ill fated moves came to an end at the start of the climb with 3 laps to go. As the break was absorbed, the main group's pace slowed, and I eagerly took advantage of the hesitation. With a hard jump at the base of the climb, I broke clear of the field. Shortly after, Mexican Julio Perez (AUTOLELLI GRANATELLI) joined me, and we crested the climb together. On the flat section following the GPM, we were caught by Lucas De Angeli (GS SICC) and Gianmario Ortenzi (SAN PAOLO OND. LUCCHESE), and had about 30 sec. on the pack.
Ortenzi promptly started skipping pulls and being a general wanker, so I took him off the back at 2 laps to go. Perez saw opportunity and upped the pace at the front, along with De Angeli, gapping Ortenzi and I by 12 sec. The GS SICC rider sensed the urgency and led us back to the leaders by the time we reached the base of the final climb to the finish.
De Angeli was the first to try to jump clear, but his effort was half hearted and short lived, being the weaker climber in the group. Then came Perez' attack, which redlined De Angeli, and put a gap on Ortenzi as we all dug deep to respond. Seeing Ortenzi falter, and knowing Perez' to be on edge from his move, I dealt my remaining card in a counter-attack at 2km to go. The gap opened to 5s, then 10s. I hit the final 200m, (a 22% grade to the line) still alone, and maintaining the gap. Only after crossing the line, did I raised my hands to finally celebrate a European win.
Sunday we raced the "Corsa Della Vita", or Firenze-Sanpatrignano as it is more accurately described. 188km of vertically meandering purgatory is what it felt like. The previous day's race and the 38 degree heat took a bit out of the legs on this day, but I held on to finish about 30th in the prestigious Elite/-23 event.
That about sums up my weekend. How are things back in Canada? I certainly miss it now, after spending 7 months out here racing my butt off.
(Ed. Note: PaulÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s e-mail address in Europe is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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