By J.P. Partland
Rain has threatened the New York City Cycling Championships every year it has been run. Last year, the rains came late, a deluge hit as the race was on the final lap. This year, the rains came early. The result was a deluge of flats, crashes, and broken wheels-and, despite the conditions, really fast racing.
The 40-kilometer women’s race, held in the morning, was raced in a downpour. The course, in the heart of lower Manhattan must have felt like an obstacle course. Eight turns per two-kilometer lap, with two long stretches between the sets of turns: the course resembles a dog bone. Not only was there plenty of turning, but a short, crowned cobblestone section between two of the turns, and divots, patches, manhole covers, grates, and plenty of road paint. Setting up for a turn meant guiding one’s wheels through all of those things at once. Lucky for the racers, Mavic stationed a pit crew at either end-and the racers were streaming in and out like it was a bike shop on a summer Saturday.
The women’s race was making a return after a year’s absence. The first year, Sarah Uhl took the victory. This year, she was solo, though probably the best sprinter in the race. The field was full of strong regional talent, as well as four members of the La Grange team from California, Mari Holden and Lara Kroepsch of T-Mobile, Anna Milkowski of Rona, and Laura Gaffney and Katy St. Laurent of Basis.
The field was strung out early, and T-Mobile wasted little time in getting the fireworks started. Kroepsch attacked early and she drove a three-woman break. When that was pulled back, Holden took advantage of her teammate’s work and attacked. She drew some company, then attacked them at about half distance. The former world time trial champion was able to find her rhythm and lines and saw her lead start to creep upwards, going up to almost a half-minute.
Behind, the others kept riding fast, not giving away the race. Lap after lap, Holden was driving hard, but the field was single file and keeping the chase on, with Victory Brewing putting on much of the pressure. Uhl was imprisoned by her situation, but didn’t give up hope. She kept in the top five and in the last lap, led the charge to bring back Holden.
But it wasn’t enough. Holden soloed to an 11-second win, with Gina Grain of Victory Brewing beating Shannon Hutchison of Colavita for second. Uhl finished sixth. Impressively, Grain takes over the series lead in the Pro Cycling Tour.
The men started three hours after the women finished. The roads were still soaked and puddled, but the skies were rapidly clearing as they set off on their 100km adventure around and the dog-bone course.
Gord Fraser (HealthNet) and Francisco Ventoso (Prodir-Saunier Duval) drive hard at the front.
Photo (c) 2004, Celia Cole.
The field was pretty stacked. A number of riders came in directly from Altoona, while heavy favorites Fred Rodriguez (Acqua y Sapone) and Francisco Ventoso (Prodir-Saunier Duval) were focusing entirely on this race as they shared the lead in the Pro Cycling Tour. Rodriguez had his top set-up guy Denis Bertolini while Ventoso came with Olivier Zaugg and Alberto Benitez. Despite their impressive finishing kicks, they had to face full squads from every team in the country. Sprinters were in the house. Navigators had Vasili Davidenko, Viktor Rapinski, Henk Vogels, and defending champ Marty Nothstein. Colavita also had three sprinters and Health Net came with four, while Jelly Belly brought only two. US Postal had Robbie Ventura, but they were deep with attackers.
Last years winner Marty Nosthein rides 2nd wheel.
Photo (c) 2004, Celia Cole.
Crashes were the story of the opening laps. Chris Horner (Webcor) was down in a pile-up on a straightaway with TIAA-CREF’s Colby Pearce. While Horner was on the ground the longest, appearing to be stuck under the barriers, he simply got up, spun his wheels and went to the pit. Pearce, both hurting and concerned about racing the Olympics, pulled out of the race. Rodriguez went down on a corner. Health Net’s Greg Henderson crashed on a turn with his directeur sportif watching. That DS, Jeff Corbett, was afraid his guys would come down with Olympic-itis, with three Health Net’s Athens-bound.
Not only were flat tires a common, but so were damaged bikes and wrecked carbon-fiber wheels; Rodriguez, Jonas Carney and Alex Candelario (both Jelly Belly), and several others destroyed wheels racing around the course.
With so much finishing speed in the bunch, it would only be right for attackers to control the race. Peter LoPinto of Ofoto and Ben Brooks of Jelly Belly jumped out to an early lead. Once they were reeled in, LoPinto’s teammate Erik Saunders took a flyer. The NYC course is very good for a rider like Saunders and he kept the field at bay for three laps to win one of the regularly-offered primes.
With Davidenko bridging up, Saunders waited, and the two worked in tandem and Navigators controlled the chase. For almost 30 miles, their lead hovered between six and 19 seconds. The two worked well together, though surprisingly, there seemed to have been no agreement for splitting the primes.
With fifteen laps remaining, the two finally sat up as the field closed in. There was plenty of juice left for escapes, but Health Net had Chris Wherry doing his thing. Wherry was almost Postal in his ability to reel in the attackers. And when he wasn’t there, and Navigators wasn’t in the split, Nav Mark Walters would close down the move.
In the closing laps, Monex’s Italian, Davide Frattini used all his matches to get a breakaway-it seemed like he was either solo or with one or two others in various combinations as the lap cards were running out. And when he was through, Mariano Fredick of Jelly Belly attacked solo with three to go. He timed his move too well, as no one could respond. He was closed down, too.
With less than a lap left, it was all together, with trains running full steam. About the only guy who seemed to be out was the defending champ, who, with a half-lap left was too far back.
Coming out of the last turn, it was still wide open; everyone who mattered was full-on. There didn’t seem to be a leadout train anywhere, so the sprinters were eyeing wheels and not giving an inch. Health Net made a big push on the inside as the final left-hand curve was passed. Hayden Godfrey was leading out Greg Henderson who had Gord Fraser on his wheel. Godfrey came off, and it was up to Henderson to deliver Fraser, but Ivan Dominguez (Colavita) and Jonas Carney (Jelly Belly) were close.
Henderson flashed across the line just ahead of Fraser and Dominguez. Dominguez might have accidentally clipped out on the line, but Rodriguez clipped out deliberately. His crash had left its mark, not just on his bike, but on his leg. He cooled down by pedalling with his left foot unclipped.
Post race interview with (L-R) 3rd place Ivan Dominguez, Race Winner Greg Henderson, new Pro Cycling Tour leader Fred Rodriguez, and 2nd place Gord Fraser.
Photo (c) 2004, Celia Cole.
Fraser explained Health Net’s tactic as a consequence of his Mercury experience. “When we were with Mercury, we learned not to go too early at this sprint.” He was following Godfrey about tenth wheel through the last corner, and he told Godfrey to go. They picked up Henderson who was closer to the front, and then they barreled through.
Carney found the finish, “hectic. There was no real leadout; it was a swarm. I saw Freddy. I thought he was the right wheel to go with. He was flying in Reno. Looking at it, I’d have rather been on Ivan’s wheel…ten years ago, there were maybe three guys to look for in situations like this. Today, there are so many.” Impressed with Health Net’s move, he thought it came almost too late. Carney believed the race stayed close because everyone felt the conditions were slow.
Dominguez thought the conditions were too fast. “To break away, you need to ride 55k and that’s too fast.” The race was finished in 2:05:13, almost a half-minute faster than the 2003 race.
Fred Rodriguez raced most of the event without a front brake. It was damaged in a crash and the lever was taped into place. He also wrecked a rear wheel and finished on a rapidly softening rear tire.
He said his strategy for corners became one of leaving gaps before corners and closing them after. He’s also developed quite a fan base, as he was mobbed both after the finish and after the post-race press conference.
Greg Henderson WAS nervous about the race because of the Olympics-where he’s representing New Zealand in the points race and madison. “I was nervous to begin with and the crash didn’t help any.” He said the main problem was a sore knee that lasted about 20k.
Word has it Jonas Carney’s mom touched up his mohawk right before the race.
1. Greg HENDERSON (NZL) Health Net – Maxxis 2:05:13
2. Gordon FRASER (CAN) Health Net – Maxxis ” “” ”
3. Ivan DOMINGUEZ (CUB) Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine ” “” ”
4. Jonas CARNEY (USA) Jelly Belly – Aramark ” “” ”
5. Robbie VENTURA (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor ” “” ”
6. Antonio CRUZ (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor ” “” ”
7. Juan Jose HAEDO (ARG) Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine ” “” ”
8. Fred RODRIGUEZ (USA) Acqua & Sapone – Caffee Mokambo ” “” ”
9. David MCCOOK (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling ” “” ”
10. Chris HORNER (USA) Webcor Cycling Team ” “” ”
11. Hayden GODFREY NZL Health Net – Maxxis ” “” ”
12. Alex CANDELARIO USA Jelly Belly – Aramark ” “” ”
13. Dennis KRAFT GER Action Ati ” “” ”
14. Charles DIONNE CAN Webcor Cycling Team ” “” ”
15. Matt DUBBERLEY USA Sierra Nevada Cycling ” “” ”
16. Jason WADDELL USA Sharper Image – Mathis Brothers Furniture ” “” ”
17. Buck MILLER CAN Jet Fuel Coffee ” “” ”
18. Jeffrey HANSEN CAN Jet Fuel Coffee ” “” ”
19. Marty NOTHSTEIN USA Navigators Insurance ” “” ”
20. Gustavo ARTACHO ARG Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine ” “” ”
21. Remi MCMANUS USA Subway-Express ” “” ”
22. Emil ABRAHAM TRI Team Monex ” “” ”
23. Cameron HUGHES AUS Subway-Express ” “” ”
24. Chad HARTLEY USA Jittery Joe’s ” “” ”
25. Danny SCHMATZ USA Health Net – Maxxis ” “” ”
26. Jacob ERKER CAN Team Seasilver ” “” ”
27. Ben JACQUES-MAYNES USA Sierra Nevada Cycling ” “” ”
28. Siro CAMPONOGARA ITA Navigators Insurance ” “” ”
29. Ben HALDEMAN USA Webcor Cycling Team ” “” ”
30. Kyle GRITTERS USA Team Monex ” “” ”
31. Timmy DUGGAN USA US National Team ” “” ”
32. Mark MCCORMACK USA Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine ” “” ”
33. David RICHTER USA Subway-Express ” “” ”
34. Ciaran POWER IRL Navigators Insurance ” “” ”
35. Oliver ZAUGG SUI Suanier Duval – Prodir ” “” ”
36. Vogels VOGELS AUS Navigators Insurance ” “” ”
37. Scottie WEISS USA Subway-Express ” “” ”
38. Dan BOWMAN USA US National Team ” “” ”
39. Ciaran POWER USA Team Seasilver ” “” ”
40. Sebastian ALEXANDRE ARG Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine ” “” ”
41. Matthew SVATEK USA Sharper Image – Mathis Brothers Furniture ” “” ”
42. Ernesto LECHUGA MEX Jelly Belly – Aramark ” “” ”
43. Mariano FRIEDICK USA Jelly Belly – Aramark 19
44. Josh GOODWIN USA Team Monex ” “” ”
45. Andrew RANDELL CAN Jet Fuel Coffee 29
46. Josh HALL CAN Jet Fuel Coffee ” “” ”
47. Davide FRATTINI ITA Team Monex 33
48. USA Ofoto Cycling Team ” “” ”
49. Chris WHERRY USA Health Net – Maxxis ” “” ”
50. Denis BERTOLINI ITA Acqua & Sapone – Caffee Mokambo 39
51. Vassili DAVIDENKO RUS Navigators Insurance ” “” ”
52. Christian FOSTER USA Subway-Express 55
53. Kirk ALBERS USA Jelly Belly – Aramark 1:10
54. Michael CREED USA US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor 1:21
55. Adam MYERSON USA Sharper Image – Mathis Brothers Furniture 1:33
56. Erik SAUNDERS USA Ofoto Cycling Team 2:30
DNF Imanol AYESTARAN ODRIOZOLA ESP Webcor Cycling Team
DNF Jason BAUSCH USA Ofoto Cycling Team –
DNF Alberto BENETE ESP Suanier Duval – Prodir –
DNF Benjamin BROOKS AUS Jelly Belly – Aramark –
DNF Nathaniel CORNELIUS USA Subway-Express –
DNF Janiel DANESH USA McGuire Pro Cycling –
DNF Drew DETERS USA Health Net – Maxxis –
DNF Justin ENGLAND USA Webcor Cycling Team –
DNF Russell HAMBY USA Sierra Nevada Cycling –
DNF Trent KLASNA USA Sierra Nevada Cycling –
DNF Damon KLUCK USA US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor –
DNF Peter KNUDSEN USA Team Seasilver –
DNF Jay KU USA US National Team –
DNF Jesse LAWLER USA Jittery Joe’s –
DNF Peter LOPINTO USA Ofoto Cycling Team –
DNF Andrew MANART USA US National Team –
DNF James MATTIS USA Webcor Cycling Team –
DNF Patrick MCCARTY USA US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor –
DNF Nathan MILLER USA McGuire Pro Cycling –
DNF Glen MITCHELL NZL Sierra Nevada Cycling –
DNF Nathan MITCHELL USA US National Team –
DNF Aaron OLSON USA Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wine –
DNF Colby PEARCE USA US National Team –
DNF Lawrence PERERA USA Sharper Image – Mathis Brothers Furniture –
DNF Chris PIC USA Jittery Joe’s –
DNF Viktor RAPINSKI BLR Navigators Insurance –
DNF Jake ROSENBARGER USA Jittery Joe’s –
DNF Jackson STEWART USA Ofoto Cycling Team –
DNF Jonny SUNDT USA Jittery Joe’s –
DNF Francisco Jos VENTOSO ALBERDI ESP Suanier Duval – Prodir –
DNF Devon VIGUS USA McGuire Pro Cycling –
DNF Eric WOHLBERG CAN Sierra Nevada Cycling –
DNF Scott ZWIZANSKI USA Ofoto Cycling Team –
1. Marianne HOLDEN (USA) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 54:21:00
2. Gina GRAIN (CAN) Victory Brewing Cycling Team 11
3. Shannon HUTCHISON (USA) Colavita Olive Oil ” “” ”
4. Lara KROEPSCH (USA) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team ” “” ”
5. Brenda LYONS (USA) Velo Bella ” “” ”
6. Sarah UHL (USA) Team Quark ” “” ”
7. Laura DOWNEY (USA) La Grange Dassani ” “” ”
8. Marianne STOVER (USA) Ind Fabrications/SMRT Inc ” “” ”
9. Rebecca MCCLINTOCK (USA) Colavita Olive Oil 16
10. Sandy ESPESETH (CAN) Victory Brewing Cycling Team 19
11. Brooke O’CONNER (USA) Colavita Olive Oil ” “” ”
12. Kerry SORACI (USA) Unattached ” “” ”
13. Leigh VALLETTI (USA) Genesis Scuba FFCC ” “” ”
14. Rook CAMPBELL (USA) Genesis Scuba FFCC ” “” ”
15. Tracy SPROULE (USA) Colavita Olive Oil ” “” ”
16. Kristy SCHEFFENACKER (USA) Colavita Olive Oil ” “” ”
17. Emma RICKARDS (AUS) Victory Brewing Cycling Team ” “” ”
18. Katrina DAVIS (USA) La Grange Dassani ” “” ”
19. Sheba FARRIN (USA) LSV Kelly 33
20. Charm BREON (USA) Colavita Olive Oil 52
21. Caryl GALE (USA) Argentina National Team 1:22
22. Sarah SAUAYRE (USA) CRCA Sanchez Metro 1:35
23. Anna MILKOWSKI (USA) Equipe Cycliste Rona 1:47
24. Julie HUTSEBAUT (CAN) Canadian National Team 1:56
25. Nicole BRANDT (USA) La Grange Dassani 2:28
26. Catherine POWERS (USA) La Grange Dassani 2:31
27. Mindy ZIFFEN HALL (USA) Spin Cycle Duke Sports Medecine 2:35
28. Katy ST. LAURENT (CAN) Basis Aude 2:37
29. Veronica MARTINEZ (ARG) Argentina National Team ” “” ”
30. Jenette WILLIAMS (USA) LSV Kelly 2:49
31. Heather HARKER (USA) MABRA/NCVC Edge Wells Revolution ” “” ”
32. Heidi GOLDBERG (USA) MABRA/NCVC Edge Wells Revolution ” “” ”
33. Mandy LOZANO (USA) Spin Cycle Duke Sports Medecine ” “” ”
34. Sinead FITZGIBBON (USA) Victory Brewing Cycling Team ” “” ”
35. Lisa MAXWELL (USA) Ind Fabrications/SMRT Inc ” “” ”
36. Kathryn ROSZKO (USA) NCC Bikereg.com ” “” ”
37. Susan HEFLER (USA) LSV Kelly ” “” ”
38. Kelly CHANG (USA) Verizon Wireless ” “” ”
39. Julie MONAGLE (USA) Verizon Wireless ” “” ”
40. Laury SALIGMAN (USA) MABRA/NCVC Edge Wells Revolution ” “” ”
41. Ann Marie MILLER (USA) Verizon Wireless ” “” ”
42. Iona WYNTER (JAM) Genesis Scuba FFCC ” “” ”
43. Lauren GAFFNEY (USA) Snow Valley ” “” ”
44. Heather PECK (USA) Ind Fabrications/SMRT Inc 3:08
45. Rosy MCCALL (USA) MABRA/NCVC Edge Wells Revolution 4:37
DNF Brenda BAHNSON (USA) Ind Fabrications/SMRT Inc –
DNF Elizabeth BEGOSH (USA) Velo Bella –
DNF Susan DUFF (USA) Tri State Velo Amoroso –
DNF Alison FISCHER (USA) East Coast Velo –
DNF Amanda LAWRENCE (USA) Hudson Valley Velo –
DNF Graciela MARTINEZ (ARG) Argentina National Team –
DNF Paula MCNAMARA (USA) Verizon Wireless –
DNF Tara PARSONS (USA) Victory Brewing Cycling Team –
DNF Cassandra RAMIREZ (USA) Tri State Velo Amoroso –
DNF Laura SUMMERS (USA) Hudson Valley Velo –
DNF Laura WEISLO (USA) Spin Cycle Duke Sports Medecine –
DNF Kelly YODER (USA) Freddie Fu Cycling –