August 15, 2005 — The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis rode a tactically perfect Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Sunday. Not only did the team put reigning New Zealand National Criterium Champion Greg Henderson on the top step of the podium, but they also occupied the other two steps with Tyler Farrar and Ivan Dominguez, much to the delight of the large contingent from title sponsor Health Net in attendance.
The team controlled the front of the race throughout, keeping the pace high and preventing any breaks from staying away until only 10 laps remained. Then an eight-rider strong group, including Health Net Presented by Maxxis teammates Gord Fraser and Doug Ollerenshaw, escaped and built a significant gap on the bunch.
Fraser felt that the group had the horsepower and the margin to stay away, but his presence in the break may have deterred several other members from doing their share of the work. When it became clear that the burden of work in the break would fall to Fraser and Ollerenshaw, they pulled the plug knowing that they had three fresh, strong teammates waiting for finishing sprint.
Even so, Henderson, Farrar and Dominguez still got a free ride for the last few laps of the race, as other teams were forced to chase.
With a half lap to go, the break was re-absorbed. Jelly Belly took over the front of the pack on the back stretch, with Dave McCook trying to get teammate and SoCal resident Alex Candelario out of the tight final turn in position to win. But Henderson was glued to Candelario’s wheel, and all three Health Net Presented by Maxxis sprinters had the momentum to get around the Jellys coming up the 200 meter finishing straight, with Henderson taking the clean win ahead of last year’s winner Farrar, and Dominguez.
While several of his teammates have gotten more of the spotlight this season, Henderson is quietly putting together an outstanding 2005 campaign. His accomplishments include winning the Maxxis points competition at the Tour de Georgia, out-sprinting Fast Freddie Rodriguez to win Wachovia Lancaster, as well as two stage wins, the points competition and a hard-earned 6th overall at the International Tour de “˜Toona two weeks ago that put him near the top five in the individual NRC standings. He also will represent New Zealand at the world championships in Madrid in October.
Farrar wins Health Net Portland criterium.
When your title sponsor is also the race sponsor, it’s a good idea to win. Health Net Presented by Maxxis didn’t disappoint Friday evening, as Tyler Farrar won the Health Net Portland Grand Prix. He and his five teammates controlled the front of the race from the start, and delivered the 21-year-old to the victory. Teammate Greg Henderson hung on after his lead-out to take 4th place. In addition, three other Health Net Presented by Maxxis riders finished in the top 10.
The two wins in two weekend criteriums showed that the squad is firing on all cylinders going into next weekend’s USPRO Criterium Championships in Downer’s Grove, IL.
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Results
1 Greg Henderson (NZL) Health Net pb Maxxis
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis
3 Ivan Dominguez (Cuba) Health Net pb Maxxis
Health Net Portland Grand Prix Results
1 Tyler Farrar (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis
2 Aaron Olson (USA) Coltavita
3 Russell Stevenson (USA) Benaroya Research Institute
4 Greg Henderson (NZL) Health Net pb Maxxis
5 Mike Sayers (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis
6 Ivan Dominguez (Cuba) Health Net pb Maxxis
7 Andrew Pinfold (Can) Symmetrics
8 Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joes
9 Shannon Skerritt (USA) Bike Gallery
10 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis
17 Adam Craig (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis