Canadian Cyclist


May 19/02 6:48 am - Housatonic Valley Classic & Saturn-Timex Women's Classic

Posted by Editoress on 05/19/02

Housatonic Valley Classic Danbury, CT
Courtesy Sparta Cycling

Vassili Davidenko captures exciting victory at Housatonic Valley Classic∑

Vassili Davidenko, a Russian riding for the Navigators Professional Cycling Team, outsprinted what was left of a class field at the Second Annual Housatonic Valley Classic today. Australian Henk Vogels (Mercury Cycling Team) took second with John Peters (Mercury) the first American home in third place.

The day started with thirty-five, six-man teams lining up in front of a large crowd of excited onlookers. The first break of the day came after only 45 miles of hilly roads and contained stars Antonio Cruz (USA, US Postal Service), Mark McCormack (USA, Saturn Cycling Team), Henk Vogels (AUS, Mercury), and lesser known but talented and hard-charging riders like Erik Saunders (OFOTO/Lombardies). Saunders had this to say about one of his best ever rides in a world class road race, "If I'm going to go well in a race like this I have to go as hard as possible to make sure the break is successful. Almost everyone was working hard except Leeper (AUS, Navigators) as he had Davidenko in the race. Cruz was going hard and Vogels was going like crazy. I took my chance- it's too bad it didn't work out for me."

After a long chase that saw off most of the field, the break was reeled in. With the finishing circuits in Danbury looming, about 45 cyclists came together to contest the finish. While the crowds of the road had been impressive, what met the cyclists in town was a great surprise to seasoned pros like Cruz. "It was cool having all the towns and the spectators in each town. It was just like Europe,"said Cruz. Early estimates put the downtown Danbury crowd at 10,000. An unexpected treat for the fans was the presence of three time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond.

1. Vassili DAVIDENKO, Russia, Navigators Cycling Team
2. Henk VOGELS, Australia, Mercury Cycling Team
3. John PETERS, USA, Prime Alliance
4. John LIESWYN, USA, 7 UP/Nutra Fig
5. Plamon STOYANOV, Bulgaria, Mercury Cycling Team
6. Frank McCormack, USA, Saturn Cycling Team
7. Andrew PINFOLD, Canada, Atlas Gold Storage/ItalPasta
8. Luke STOCKWELL, Australia, Jittery Joe‚s
9. Jonathan PAGE, USA, Wheelworks/Cannondale
10. Martin GILBERT, Canada, Volkswagon/Trek

Report Courtesy Team Saturn

The men's race started in Danbury, covered most of the same terrain as that of the women, and then finished on 13 of the same 1.5 mile circuits. Much like the women's race, an early break set the tone. Ten men escaped up the road at mile ten, and managed to stay clear of the main group until nine miles before entering the finishing laps. Most of the major teams were represented and were content with the break. As the break was whittled away it was Saturn's Mark McCormack and Mercury's Henk Vogels who made the most of the opportunity, working together when only the two of them were left. However, behind them their 3:15 gap was disappearing rapidly as the 7-UP, Prime Alliance and Navigator Teams worked to bring the two back to the fold but not before McCormack had sealed up the Climbers Competition and was crowned as the King of the Mountains for the day. After 100 miles of hard racing, it was a group of thirty arriving into the circuits, promising for an exciting finish.

The group split on the circuit climb, only to rejoin on the descent. For twelve laps all the teams raced for the honor of winning such a tough event, launching all the riders they has left. However, coming into the final 400 meters it was the Navigator Team streaking to the front, with Davidenko eagerly waiting ready to unleash his finishing speed. Saturn's Frank McCormack surged hard, and looked as if he would hold off the swarming field to the finish with his slight gap, but it was just not quite enough, with five coming by him in the final meters. In the end it was Davidenko over Vogels with Mercury's John Peters in third. McCormack finished in sixth.

Saturn-Timex Women's Classic
Courtesy Team Saturn

Saturn's Anna Millward proved she is fully returned to fine form after a spring injury sidelined her for nearly three months by winning the Saturn-Timex Women's Classic today in Danbury, CT. Holding off Amber Neben and her strong T-Mobile Team, Millward soloed in for an impressive victory after 70 miles of racing. Racing on the same roads, the men's field arrived after 120 miles of hard racing with a group of thirty. It was the Russian speedster Davidenko (Navigators) claiming the win over Mercury's Henk Vogels in the fast finishing sprint.

The Saturn-Timex point to point women's race played out early with Millward, Neben and Canadian Clara Hughes breaking away from a shattered peloton with over half the race remaining. The threesome worked well together over the undulating terrain, establishing a gap that at its largest was 2:55. Back in the bunch, the tenacious Diet Rite team was relentlessly chasing, aided by Team Grace (Denmark) and Talgo-America. However, with Millward and Hughes' horsepower, the break was not to be seen until the five 1.5 mile finishing circuits in Danbury. Millward seized her chance to escape on the last long climb on Florida Road. Hughes and Neben tried to come to terms with the Saturn rider's strength, but neither was able to bring her back. She entered the final circuits alone, and powered home for an impressive win. Neben held off Hughes for second. Hughes, in her first NRC race of the year, proved that she will never lose her winning touch, and claimed third.

1. Anna MILWARD, Australia, Saturn Cycling Team
2. Amber NEBEN, USA, T-Mobile USA National
3. Clara HUGHES, Canada, Quebec Provincial
4. Tania DUFF-MILLER, Freddy Fu Cycling Team
5. Laura VAN GILDER, USA, Trek Plus Cycling Team
6. Susy PRYDE, New Zealand, Talgoamerica Cycling
7. Tina MAYOLO-PIC, USA Diet Rite Women‚s Cycling
8. Roz REEKIE-MAY, New Zealand, Mercy/Fanini Composite
9. Suzanne SONYE, USA, Saturn Cycling Team
10. Catherine BEARCE, USA/CBB Volkswagen


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