US Postal News: Zurich WC + US Crit Champs
– Reported by Dan Osipow for Tailwind Sports –
The United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team’s Lance Armstrong equaled the team’s top effort in a World Cup event this season today by placing third at the Championship of Zurich while teammate Robbie Ventura narrowly missed claiming the stars and stripes jersey at the U.S. Pro Criterium Championship in Downers Grove, IL, finishing third in a photo finish.
Armstrong, clearly maintaining his Tour de France form from last month, and a group of 10 riders came to the line in the 236.6 kilometer event sprinting for second place just over one minute behind winner Dario Frigo of Tacconi Sport. Mapei’s Paolo Bettini took the sprint for second and thus claimed the lead in the season long World Cup points series from Domo’s Johan Museeuw, who abandoned today’s race.
Armstrong’s third place today matched teammate Tom Boonen’s finish at Paris-Roubaix back in April and gave the USPS team its fifth top-five finish in eight World Cup events this year. Armstrong placed fourth at the Amstel Gold Race while George Hincapie, a non-starter in Zurich as he recovers from last week’s crash at the Clasica San Sebastian, finished fourth at the Tour of Flanders and fifth at the HEW Classic in Germany. The World Cup wraps up with two events in October – Paris-Tours on October 6 and the Tour of Lombardy on October 19.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Ventura almost gave the USPS team its second national championship this season but was edged out by Kevin Monahan of 7-Up/Nutra Fig for the jersey. In the 100 km criterium, the field was split due to a huge pile-up with just five laps remaining. The only two USPS riders to avoid the crash were an on-form Ventura and Chann McRae. As they fought for position in the final laps, Ventura was able to make his way through the group and went for the victory. While Mercury’s Henk Vogels, an Australian, took the win, Ventura and Monahan came to the line together in a photo finish and it took several minutes to determine Monahan placed second and thus earned the stars and stripes jersey, awarded to the first American finisher.
“Robbie rode a great race,” said Frankie Andreu, the USPS team’s U.S. race director. “Chann helped him a lot in the last few laps and helped get him in position to go for the win or the jersey. Robbie wound up his sprint and did his best. We thought he may have had it but the photo showed Monahan winning by the smallest of margins. Our guys did a good race despite some problems. David Clinger dropped out early due to a knee problem and Dave Zabriskie looked great until a crash took him out of the race.”
CHAMPIONSHIP OF ZURICH
1. Dario Frigo, Tacconi Sport; 236.6 kms in 5:56:54
2. Paolo Bettini, Mapei; at 1:06
3. Lance Armstrong, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
4. Massimiliano Gentili, Acqua e Sapone; s.t.
5. Carlo Sastre, CSC-Tiscali; s.t.
USPRO CRITERIUM CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Henk Vogels, Mercury; 100 kms in 2:11:16
2. Kevin Monahan, 7-Up/Nutra Fig; s.t.
3. Robbie Ventura, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
4. Roberto Gaggioli, Schroder Iron; s.t.
5. Vassili Davidenko, Navigators; s.t.
18. Chann McrRae, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
DNF – Dylan Casey, U.S. Postal Service
DNF – David Clinger, U.S. Postal Service
DNF – Kenny Labbe, U.S. Postal Service
DNF – Dave Zabriskie, U.S. Postal Service
# # #