Canadian Cyclist


May 22/01 11:06 am - Housatonic Classic (Story & Results)

Posted by Editor on 05/22/01

Housatonic Classic
Courtesy John Alsedek

DANBURY, CONNECTICUT (May 20th, 2001) - In a region where 300-year-old towns are the norm, some history was made today as racing cyclists from 18 nations converged on Danbury to compete in the inaugural Housatonic Valley Classic bicycle race. And it was history replete with dramatic undertones: while the Saturn Cycling Team handed out yet another beating to archrival Mercury-Viatel, which was still smarting from being passed over for selection to the 2001 Tour de France, the locally-based Wheelworks-Cannondale squad defended Connecticut's cycling honor with a gritty, aggressive performance against the continent's best professional racers.

The day's racing began at 9:00 AM, when the Pro-Am Men's field began a 140-mile odyssey throughout Western Connecticut's Housatonic Valley, heading out of Danbury and into the area's lush green hills. With special sprint bonuses in each of the nine towns the race travelled through, it was almost inevitable that the attacks would start early ... and they did, as Chris Peck (Wheelworks/Cannondale) and Victor Taormina (Essex County Velo) attacked just three miles into the race. With Peck doing the lion's share of the work, the duo gained a maximum of 51 seconds before being reeled back in at the 25-mile mark. However, no sooner were they back in the fold than another Wheelworks-Cannondale man, Peter Davis, took off. Davis spent the next 18 miles alone, taking the town sprints in Mew Milford, Bridgewater, and Brookfield before being caught just before the riders entered Newtown; his solo efforts would be enough to eventually net him the Sprints Jersey. And that's when Mercury-Viatel, eager to avenge a series of losses to Saturn earlier this season, put the hammer down and spearheaded a breakaway of 24 that included no less than six Mercurys. Yet, despite building a maximum advantage of 1:40, they were never able to drive home their advantage, and it all came back together as the racers began the ascent of Florida Hill Road, the portion of the course generally expected to decide the event.

Then it was Saturn's turn. As the shattered field of racers approached Danbury for the final 40 miles, Saturn's Trent Klasna - current leader of both the U.S. National Racing Calendar series and the Professional Cycling Tour - and Navigator's Chris Baldwin jumped away from the rest in what would prove to be the perfect move. Former teammates on the New Jersey-based Navigators squad, the duo worked flawlessly together, building up a 1:19 gap as they entered town. That advantage was expected to drop as Mercury-Viatel massed at the front and began to chase, but, after holding even for several laps, the time gap actually began to increase, as Mercury-Viatel wilted visibly under the pressure. In the end, it came down to just Baldwin and Klasna, with Klasna leading out the sprint from the 200 meters-to-go mark and taking it from Baldwin by half a bike-length; Klasna's Canadian teammate Eric Wohlberg iced the cake by soloing away from the chase and taking third. Afterwards, both Klasna and Baldwin were quite obviously satisfied with their results - and with each other: "Chris was fantastic - a rival, sure, but also kind of a teammate out there", said Klasna afterwards. It was a mark of respect that was returned by Baldwin, who commented that "if you have to lose to someone, Trent's not a bad guy to lose to!". Mercury-Viatel would perhaps disagree; their top finisher was 2000 U.S. Professional Tour series winner Gord Fraser, who could manage no better than tenth. And as for the local boys, not only did Curt Davis win the Sprints Jersey, but Jon Hamblen finished in eighth place, while Jon Page and Justin Spinelli - on loan from the Italian Saeco/Cannondale squad - also finished in the top twenty. It was a result that was well-received by the thousands of spectators along the route

As the Pro-Am Men were winding their way through the hills of the Housatonic Valley, there were other races going on right in Danbury, as one-hour criteriums (short circuits held on city streets) were conducted for Women and other Men's categories. In the featured Women's Criterium, the Saturn Cycling Team dominated the proceedings to such an extent that they were able to do exactly what they had set out to do: move Kimberly Bruckner (currently second overall in the National Racing Calendar) closer to taking the lead in that series, and win the race in the process. The Saturn women rode aggressively, with one rider attacking as soon as another was caught by a field that included current U.S. National Criterium Champion Laura Van Gilder (VeriZon Wireless Cycling Team). The decisive move came about midway through, when a solo move by Saturn's Suzanne Sonye became a duet, as she was joined by teammate Bruckner; they built up a one-minute lead by the finish, where Bruckner rolled across the line just ahead of Sonye. Afterwards, Bruckner had nothing but praise for the race and the city of Danbury: "The course was good, and the fans were just awesome! I'm just glad that Saturn was able to perform so well in Danbury."

PRO-AM MEN'S ROAD RACE (140 miles)
1 Trent Klasna Saturn Cycling Team 5:14:14
2 Chris Baldwin Navigators Pro Cycling Team same time
3 Eric Wohlberg Saturn Cycling Team 2:06
4 Scottie Weiss Zaxby's Cycling Team 2:23
5 Vassili Davidenko Navigators Pro Cycling Team same time
6 Alexandre Lavallee Kissena Cycling Team 2:38
7 John Lieswyn 7 UP/Colorado Cyclist same time
8 Jon Hamblen Wheelworks-Cannondale same time
9 Luke Stockwell Zaxby's Cycling Team same time
10 Gord Fraser Mercury-Viatel same time
11 Oscar Pineda 7 UP/Colorado Cyclist same time
12 Alex Candelario Aquafina Cycling Team same time
13 Tim Johnson Saturn Cycling Team same time
14 Brendon Vesty Navigators Pro Cycling Team same time
15 Ernesto Lechuga DeFeet/LeMond same time
16 Seamus McGrath AT&T Broadband 3:12
17 Jon Page Wheelworks-Cannondale 3:22
18 Justin Spinelli Saeco-Cannondale 3:49
19 Sergio Rolando CRCA/Toga Bike Shop 6:02
20 Scott Zwizanski Bicycle Therapy 6:34
21 Andrew Crater 8:19
22 Michael Sayers Mercury-Viatel same time
23 Mike Ley Zaxby's Cycling Team same time
24 Tim Unkert CVC/PigIron Sports same time
25 Miguel Heredia CRCA/Toga Bike Shop same time
26 Joel Chavez Kissena Cycling Team same time
27 Charlie Issendorf G.S. Mengoni USA 8:38
28 K.C. Kopper AT&T Broadband same time
29 Chris Eatough LSV/Trek/Volkswagen same time
30 Jesse Lawler Zaxby's Cycling Team 9:39

WOMEN'S CRITERIUM (timed event)
1 Kimberly Bruckner Saturn Cycling Team 57:31.8
2 Suzanne Sonye Saturn Cycling Team same time
3 Rebecca Conzelman 0:59
4 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg Saturn Cycling Team same time
5 Laura Van Gilder VeriZon Wireless Cycling Team same time
6 Kim Davidge Saturn Cycling Team same time
7 Sarah Uhl Trek-CYBC 1:00
8 Roz Reekie-May Pittsburgh Cycling Club same time
9 Lauren Franges Tri-State Velo same time
10 Kathryn Wilder Evolution Racing same time
11 Tania Duff-Miller 1:01
12 Kristy Scrymgeour Saturn Cycling Team same time
13 Laura Kibelsbeck same time
14 Jennifer Leonard Evolution Racing same time
15 Brooke O'Connor NEBC/Cycle Loft same time
16 Heather Albert same time
17 Charmian Breon 1:02
18 Andrea Hannos VeriZon Wireless Cycling Team same time
19 Rosemary Coleman same time
20 Cindy Bauwens VeriZon Wireless Cycling Team same time
21 Janice Seherbia HVVC same time
22 Vickie Huffman Kissena Cycling Team 1:03
23 Robin Gilmore-Barnes NEBC/Cycle Loft same time
24 Elizabeth Begosh Tri-State Velo same time
25 Stephanie Hannos VeriZon Wireless Cycling Team 1:07
26 Kristy Scheffenacker 1:17
27 Emily Thorne Trek-CYBC same time
28 Caryl Gale 1:18
29 Jody Diemar 1:19
30 Laura Shuford Trek-CYBC same time
31 Katrina Davis Trek-CYBC same time
32 Kelly Yoder 1:23
33 Tina Skelley-Kunstbeck 1:35
34 Nina Strika 1:36


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