Posted by Editoress on 07/2/05
Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic Fitchburg, MA
Report Courtesy Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada
Stage 3: Unitil Road Race at Wachusett Mountain, 69 miles
"This is the real Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada," said the team's racing manger, Robin Zellner, after Dominique Perras took over the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic lead from Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes in today's 104-mile road race, finishing at the summit of Mt. Wachusett.
Just 20 miles into the stage, a 14-man break including Perras, Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada's Tim Larkin and four Colavita-Sutter Home riders rolled off the front. With race leader Ben Jacques-Maynes in the field, Perras and Larkin at first had little incentive to do much work in the break.
But with about 15 miles left in the race, Peter Baker (Snow Valley-SealOn) and Dominique Rollin (Equipe du Quebec) jumped away from the break and began to open a gap. At that point, Perras and Larkin increased their turns at the front to stabilize the situation.
With 2km to go on the climb, their group had shrunk to seven - Perras, Larkin, Todd Herriott and Jonathan Page (Colavita-Sutter Home), Joe Papp (UPMC-ACT), Kevin Bouchard-Hall (USA National Team), and Jon Hamblen (Fiordifrutta) - and Baker was a minute ahead of them, having dropped Rollin.
Perras then made a blistering attack, quickly passing Rollin and nearly catching Baker on the final steep pitch of the climb. Meanwhile, Larkin dropped the five remaining riders in his group and finished third on the stage behind Baker and Perras.
Further down the mountain, Jacques-Maynes was scorching his way up the climb, closing in on the riders already dropped by Perras and Larkin and ensuring that he fell only to fifth on G.C.
When the dust settled, Perras was in the leader's jersey, with Larkin in second and Jacques-Maynes in fifth overall.
"It's great to take the lead in a race like this one, but it's not so great to take it from your teammate," Perras commented after the race. "But I'm really happy for the team that we have three of the top five on G.C. Tomorrow's going to be a battle, but we're up to it."
Indeed, with Page in third overall, ten seconds behind Perras, the ten-second bonus on the line in tomorrow's criterium could come into play, given the sprinting talents of Page and his Colavita-Sutter Home team.
But, as Jacques-Maynes pointed out, "We also have a really good criterium team, and I think we're in a perfect position to take this race."
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