Canadian Cyclist


September 17/00 10:36 am - Hobson Wins GP Univest

Posted by Editor on 09/17/00

GP Univest, Pennsylvania

SOUDERTON, PA (September 16, 2000) - For the third consecutive year, the U.S. did battle with teams from around the world in the picturesque eastern Pennsylvania town of Souderton, and for the third successive year, the world was just a little bit better, as Belgian Bert Dewaele and Leigh Hobson of Canada won the men's and women's events at the Univest Grand Prix. Contested in near-perfect weather conditions, both races featured highly aggressive racing and highly deserving winners.

The day's action began at 10:50 am, when the 245-rider men's field started on a 160-km journey that carried them through the towns of Harleysville, Salfordville, Salford, and Telford before returning to the Souderton area for ten six-kilometer closing circuits. Given the size and strength of the field, it wasn't surprising that the action began early, with a breakaway group of 14 going clear at the 20-mile mark, as the riders climbed the treacherous 'l'Alpe de Rosenberger's'. The attack included two Belgians and three Frenchmen, and slowly built up a lead of about one minute, however, two riders decided that the group was a little too unwieldy for the narrow twisting roads of the Pennsylvania countryside so they attacked, leaving their erstwhile companions to be swallowed up by the chasing pack. Working smoothly together, the two escapees had a cushion of 2:20 as they entered the final 60 kilometers - and that's when the Kissena team of defending Univest champion Alex Lavallee put the hammer down. With teenage sensation Peter Mazur leading a powerful chase group, the leaders' advantage was cut by 30 seconds in just one lap; they continued to whittle away at the European duo's lead until, with just 24 kilometers remaining, disaster struck - Lavallee flatted. As the Canadian waited for a wheel change, all the life seemed to go out of the chasing group; by the time Lavallee's furious efforts brought him back into the action, the chasers had been absorbed by the main pack and the leaders had a comfortable 1:40 advantage. And the duo held on to the finish, where Dewaele, who had apparently been fading badly over the final 20 kilometers, proved to have been playing possum; in an electrifying uphill sprint, the Belgian passed his day-long companion in the final meters for the victory. Then, just 12 seconds later, the Belgian team made their day complete, as Kenneth Mercken and Christophe Stevens took third and fourth from an eight-man chase group. The top American finisher was Tim Johnson, who finished in tenth, also at 12 seconds; for his efforts, Johnson - who was riding his last race as an amateur before joining the pro ranks - won the Bergey's First American Award.

MEN (160 km in 3:56:46)

1. Bert Dewaele (BEL) Belgium/Colorado Altitude Training Systems
2. Stephane Auroux (FRA) France/Alderfer's Auction House- s.t.
3. Kenneth Mercken (BEL) Belgium/Colorado Altitude Training Systems- 0:12
4. Christophe Stevens (BEL) Belgium/Colorado Altitude Training Systems- s.t.
5. Warren Clark (NZL) Watchung Wheelmen/High Gear/Navigators- s.t.
6. Rik Claeys (BEL) Belgium/Colorado Altitude Training Systems- s.t.
7. Peep Mikli (NED) Holland/Yum Yum Bake Shops- s.t.
8. Nicolas Kociansky (FRA) France/Alderfer's Auction House- s.t.
9. Fabrice Paumier (FRA) France/Alderfer's Auction House- s.t.
10. Tim Johnson (USA) CCB/Volkswagen/Eastern Bank- s.t.
11. Charles Dionne (CAN) Volkswagen- 0:21
12. Sergio Rolando (VEN) CRCA/Toga Bike Shop- s.t.
13. Jacob Rosenbarger (USA) Knapps/Ready Pac- s.t.
14. Benoit Luminet (FRA) France/Alderfer's Auction House- s.t.
15. Jon Retseck (USA) Alderfer's Meats/PA All-Stars- s.t.

WOMEN (52 km in 1:31:59)
1. Leigh Hobson (CAN) Charles Schwab Cycling Team
2. Mina Pizzini (USA) Procter & Gamble/Women's Health- s.t.
3. Sue Palmer-Komar (CAN) Jane Cosmetics- s.t.
4. Laura Van Gilder (USA) Charles Schwab Cycling Team- 0:23
5. Caren Spore (USA) Jane Cosmetics- s.t.
6. Sarah Uhl (USA) Trek/CYBC- s.t.
7. Kori Kelly (USA) Procter & Gamble/Women's Health- s.t.
8. Jenny Eyerman (USA) Jane Cosmetics- s.t.
9. Tina Skelly (USA) Altoona Cycling Team- s.t.
10. Marie Holjer (SWE) Charles Schwab Cycling Team- s.t.
11. Jennifer Dial (USA) s.t.
12. Becky Conzelman (USA) Bayside Velo/Bike Doctor- s.t.
13. Shannon Hutchison (USA) s.t.
14. Emily Wilson (USA) HDK/ARBC- s.t.
15. Sheba Farrin (USA) NCVC/Spokes Etc- s.t.


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