What's Cool In Road Cycling

Navigators Action At First Union

– Reported by Ray Cipollini for Team Navigators –

The opening race of the 3-event First Union series of races was held earlier this evening in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 7-mile circuit of mostly up-and-down terrain is considered a course for the strong men of the peloton, and is usually a good indicator of form as the riders get ready for the big event next Sunday in Philadelphia. With 91 miles of racing on
the course, Chris Horner (Prime Alliance) took the first shot with a solo effort on the first lap. Over the next couple of laps, he was joined by Tony Cruz and Dave Zabriskie (both US Postal), Trent Klasna and Eric
Wohlberg (both Saturn), and David O’Laughlin (OFoto).

Although it appeared to be a high-powered break, they never gained more than 50-seconds on the peloton. Each of the major teams, in turn, would do their part to keep the 6 leaders in check over the next 7 (of 13) laps. Unfortunately for the breakaway, Cruz had to drop back with a mechanical and Klasna eventually stopped working.

As the 5 leaders came back into the fold, a new break of 10 formed with just under 3 laps remaining. Over the next half-lap, several more groups joined up to make it an escape party of 29 riders. However, during all of
the excitement, David Clinger (US Postal) and Chris Wherry (Mercury) snuck away from the front and quickly built a gap of over 1-minute on the chasers. Over the next 2 laps, the two leaders held the chasers at bay,
until Navigators’ Tom Leaper attacked on his own with 1-and a half laps to go. Tom’s gap to the leaders hovered at 1:25 while his lead over the chase group climbed to about 1-minute. With 4 miles remaining, Clinger attacked Wherry and pulled himself clear to a 30-second advantage while Leaper was now losing time to the chasers, his gap down to 45-seconds. Digging deep, Tom held his advantage on the chasing group over the final miles of terrain. At the line, it was Clinger followed shortly by Wherry, then Leaper, all arriving alone. Navigators’ Oleg Grichkine took the field
sprint to make it a 3-4 day for the men in blue.

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