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Millward and Davidenko Victorious in Housatonic

(Danbury, CT.) For Vassily Davidenko and Anna Millward, Sunday’s Saturn-Timex Housatonic Classic was a race of redemption.

Davidenko (Navigators) who served a 6-month ban from racing over the winter for
banned substances stunned the hotly contested pro men’s race. Millward
(Saturn/Timex) won in classic fashion, dropping her two breakaway
partners, Amber Neben (T-Mobile) and Canadian Clara Hughes (Quebec).


Hughes surprised many with her stunning form, after a winter spent
speedskating, highlighted by a bronze medal at the Olympics. The 200 strong
men’s field raced hard from the gun over the twisty, hilly Connecticut
roads. The fast pace and never-ending attacks whittled the pack away to
just under 50 riders by the time the field hit the 131.4 mile finishing
laps. On the last few laps, several small breakaways from the lead group
hinted that the race would not be a bunch sprint. With 5 laps to go, each
lap produced a new break that each and every time had representation from
the main teams.


Eric Wohlberg (Saturn-Timex) and Mark Walters (Navigators) were active in
each successive attempt, driving the breakaway for their teammates
Davidenko (Navigators), Kirk O’Bee (Navigators), or Frank McCormmack
(Saturn-Timex). Eventually, however, things came together for a small
field sprint. Through the final, fast downhill finish, Davidenko took the
lead over Henk Vogels (Mercury), John Peters (Mercury) and John Lieswyn
(7up/NutraFig). Charles Dionne (7-Up/NutraFig) was the top Canadian
(5th), with Andrew Pinfold (Atlas Cold Storage/Italpasta) in 7th, and
Martin Gilbert (VW/Trek) in 10th.


The Women’s race began tough and fast and just sped up. With under 2km
between the start of the race and the first Queen of the Mountains, the
pack took off on a blistering pace that shattered the field in the first
10km. An initial 15 strong breakaway that included Canadians Hughes
(VW/Trek), Cybil Diguistini (Diet-Rite), Julie Hutsebaut (Quebec) and Kim
Davidge (Saturn/Timex), looked poised to roll away with the race before
the 30 women chase pack managed to chase it back.


Only a minute behind
that group was a 50 strong group that included Canadians Julia Farrell
(Verizon) and Kirsten Robbins (Amoroso’s /HH racing) that chased in vain for
the rest of the day. The main group was too strong and it soon became
apparent that the winner would come from there. Soon after the large
breakaway was caught, Millward and Neben made their move. Hughes, aware
of the threat Millward was, bridged over the hilly terrain, taking chances
on the twisty descent that saw her join the break with still well over 60
km to go. The dominant Saturn team seemed perfectly content to let the trio
ride away, and thwarted Diet-Rite’s attempts to bring them back.


By the last few climbs before the finishing circuit, Millward attacked hard,
leaving the three riders riding solo on the short finishing circuit, with
the chase group hot on their heels.


For Millward, it was a sweet victory, both for her team and herself.
Saturn-Timex sponsored the huge race, (which hopes to have UCI status in
2003) and it seems that Millward has put an end to an injury-plagued
spring.


For Clara Hughes, it was a remarkable display of her awesome
capabilities. After a winter spent speed-skating, the peloton was quick to
witness that the triple Olympic bronze medallist is still hungry to win
bike races.


Women:
1. Anna Millward (AUS) Saturn
2. Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile
3. Clara Hughes (CAN) Quebec
4. Tania Duff-Miller (USA) Freddy Fu Cycling Team
5. Laura Van Gilder (USA)Trek Plus
6. Suzy Pryde (NZL) Talgo America
7. Tina-Mayolo Pic (USA) Diet-Rite
8. Roz Reekie-May (NZL) Mercy Fanini
9. Suzanne Sonye S(USA) Saturn
10. Catherine Bearce (USA) CBB Volkswagen



Men:
1. Vassili Davidenko (RUS) Navigators
2. Henk Vogels (AUS) Mercury
3. John Peters (USA) Mercury
4. John Lieswyn (USA) 7up/NutraFig
5. Plamon Stoyanov (BUL) Mercury
6. Frank McCormack (USA) Saturn
7. Andrew Pinfold (CAN) Atlas Cold Storage/Italpasta
8. Luke Stockwell (USA) Jiterry Joes
9. Jonathan Page (USA) Wheelworks
10. Martin Gilbert (CAN) VW/Trek





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