Canadian Cyclist


May 17/03 9:11 am - Tour of Connecticut, Big Bear report

Posted by Editoress on 05/17/03

Tour of Connecticut
Courtesy Navigators

The 3-day 3-stage Tour of Connecticut began tonight with a 40-km criterium stage on a 4-corner 800-Meter course. In a unique format, the event was conducted as two separate "heats" with the winner of the fastest heat being awarded the Leader's Yellow Jersey. With a maximum of 4 members from each team in each heat, the Navigators squad was represented by Chris Baldwin, Jeff Louder, Justin Spinelli and Ryan Guay in heat #1, while Vassili Davidenko, Glen Mitchell, Mark Walters and Siro Camponogara competed in heat #2.

The first heat started with many attacks and a fast pace. It wasn't until the half-way point was reached that a breakaway containing Navigators' Chris Baldwin and Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) was able to stick. Maintaining a lead of 10-seconds, the duo had the peloton breathing down their backs as they entered the final lap of the race. Coming out of the final corner, they were caught by the sprinters but Wohlberg was able to hold them off to take the win. Heat #2 started in similar fashion as the first, but after only 25 of the 40-laps it was suddenly shortened to 2-laps-to-go due to a dangerous condition with an ambulance on the course from an earlier crash. In the sprint it was Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) taking the win. Due to faster lap times, the winner of heat #1, Eric Wohlberg, was awarded the Leader's Jersey for tomorrow's road stage. The action picks up in the town of Waterbury for a 100-Km hilly, demanding circuit (4.1km) race.

Courtesy John Eustas, Sparta Cycling

Heat #1
1. Eric Wohlberg (Can) Saturn
2. Brice Jones (USA) 7UP Maxxis
3. Jeff Louder (USA) Navigators
4. Ryan Guay (USA) Navigators
5. Jason Snow (USA) TEAM Fuji
6. Joe Guiliano (Can) Atlas Italpasta
7. Jacob Petty (USA) West Virginia Pro Cycling
8. Peter LoPinto (USA) OFOTO-Lombardi Sports
9. Wes Seigler (USA) West Virginia Pro Cycling
10. Carlos Vargas (USA) Saturn Devo.

Heat #2
1. Ivan Dominquez (Cub) Saturn
2. Gord Fraser (Can)
3. Ryan Miller (USA) Prime Alliance
4. Kyle Wamsley (USA) TEAM Fuji
5. David Clinger (USA) Prime Alliance
6. Siro Camponogara (Ita) Navigators
7. Mike Sayers (USA)

Yellow Jersey. Eric Wohlberg (Can)Green Jersey. Ivan Dominquez (Cub)
Climber Jersey. Brice Jones (USA)
Team. Saturn

NORBA Big Bear Report
Courtesy NORBA

The first round of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Championship Series is officially underway at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, CA. Under the flawless weather conditions of sunny skies and warm temperatures, the Semi Pro and Junior Experts took to the Cross Country course for their events, while all non-pro riders contested the Mountain Cross event to the finish, a new option available to them in this year's NORBA NCMBS.

Highlighting the action Friday, however, was the Mountain Cross qualifying rounds for the Pro Men and Women. Leading the way for the men was American and two-time World Champion, Brian Lopes (GT Hyundai) who snared the top seed ahead of fellow countrymen Mick Hannah (Haro-Lee Dungarees) and Eric Carter (Mongoose-Hyundai). In the women's event, Americans Jill Kintner (Staats/Fox) and Tara Llanes (Giant-Pearl Izumi) took the top two spots respectively ahead of Tai-Lee Muxlow (Tioga-Orange) from Australia. The top seeds will be looking to maintain their form for tomorrow night's final.

The anticipation level for today's Pro Men's Cross Country Race is sky high as all eyes will be on Canadians Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen) and Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) as they undertake the quest to continue their streak of 19 consecutive NORBA NCMBS Cross Country victories. Oddly enough, the last time anyone other than the dynamic duo of Green and Ryder won a Pro Cross Country race on the NORBA NCMBS circuit was here in Big Bear at the season opener in 2001. Leading the way for a potential upset will be American Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX-Polo), who will be looking to take advantage of an unfortunate early season crash by Green in last month's Tour de Georgia resulting in a slight muscle tear in his shoulder. According to Trek Volkswagen Team Manager, Eric Wallace, Green is confident in his ability to come back. "Roland's injury has kept him off of his bike, which he absolutely hates. He's super motivated to keep the streak alive and has been training quite a bit", Wallace noted. "He's climbing really well, but his shoulder has been giving him some problems on the descents so it will come down to how much time he can put into people on the climbs." Even with the injury, Green is considered by many to be the outright favorite, although Horgan-Kobelski, Hesjedal, and Canadian, Chris Sheppard, (Haro-Lee Dungarees) will surely give him a run for his money.

Racing on the same course as the men tomorrow will be the Pro Women, led by American Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix) who is the odds on favorite, but Wallace is also confident about Trek-Volkswagen's chances of success in the women's race with American upstart Susan Haywood.

Adding to a full day Saturday, the Experts and Junior Experts will compete in the Downhill event, while those who made it through the Pro Mountain Cross qualifiers this afternoon will battle it out for the top spot on the podium. Also slated for Saturday is the Super D Final, a mass start hybrid downhill race with some short climbs that is expected to last 10-15 minutes.


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