What's Cool In Road Cycling

Heat Shortens Fitchburg Stage 2

– Reported by Team Navigators – The Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic Stage Race continued Friday with the 100-Km (shortened from 125) circuit race held on a demanding 5-Km course through the outskirts of Fitchburg. Under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 90’s, the riders took the start.

As is the case more often than not, this stage has been known to affect the overall classification in years past, and this year was no different. Many of the 160 riders were suffering in the heat directly from the start, and it seemed to keep the pace moderate, at least from the sidelines. For the first 6 of the 20 laps, any attack on the peloton was very short-lived as the steep hill andtemperature immediately took its toll. With 12 laps remaining, a group of about 20 broke clear and moved to a 40- second gap, which held for several laps. With all of the teams represented, it appeared to be a temporary advantage. However, an attack from the front group by Chris Horner (Saturn) was matched by Mike Sayers (Health Net) and the 2 quickly built a lead over the chasers. With Sayers :57 back and Horner 1:08 back on the overall standings, the duo wasn’t a threat to any of the other leaders. It wasn’t until Saturn’s Viktor Rapinski broke clear and bridged up to the 2 leaders that the race broke open, as Rapinski was only :18 off the lead held by Navigators’ Chris Baldwin. The race changed dramatically over the last 8 laps as the trio continued to gain time on the chase group, and the chase group continued to gain time on the main field.

With 2 laps remaining, the three leaders lapped the main pack while the 15 chasers remained several minutes in front. At the end, it was Horner taking the stage ahead of Sayers with Rapinski in 3rd. Navigators’ Jeff Louder finished in 4th, about 8-seconds in front of the remaining chasers. The overall G.C. has now been re-arranged as the riders get set for tomorrow’s 104-Mile Mt Wachusett stage, will definitely prove to be difficult for the challengers.

Stage Results (Unofficial):
1) Chris Horner (Saturn)
2) Mike Sayers (Health Net)
3) Viktor Repinski (Saturn)

Overall G.C. (Unofficial):
1) Viktor Repinski (Saturn)
2) Mike Sayers (Health Net)
3) Chris Horner (Saturn)

Navigators Riders:
Chris Baldwin
Ryan Guay
Justin Spinelli
Jeff Louder
Henk Vogels

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