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Nature Valley Grand Prix – Stage 2 – Canada\’s Rollin 5th

June 13, 2008 (Cannon Falls, MN) – In a stage race where “epic” is an apropos word used to describe weather conditions, Thursday’s second stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix — the Cannon Falls Road Race — provided a bit of a surprise. It was sunny, in the 70s, with little crosswinds.

“We were waiting for the crosswinds to come, but they never did,” said Healthnet-Maxxis’ Kirk O’Bee. “We were actually hoping for a lot of crosswinds,” his director sportif, Mike Tamayo added.

Without those winds, Healthnet-Maxxis did what any team with a national criterium champion would do. They sat in on the 60-mile jaunt through the rolling farm country of east-central Minnesota until the finishing circuits, led four of five finishing laps through the 2-mile circuit, and delivered O’Bee to the win he was denied in the first stage of Nature Valley.

“Normally you wouldn’t start [leading] from eight-and-a-half miles out, but our guys were strong,” Tamayo said. O’Bee tipped his hat to his team for the pace they pushed. “They did it perfectly,” O’Bee said. “Without those guys, I wouldn’t have won.”

It was a humble statement from a rider who made this a repeat win from 2007. However, as O’Bee told the story, he was not the rider who was supposed to win. “I was actually trying to help John,” O’Bee said, referring to his teammate, John Murphy, who took third on the stage. “He was in front of me coming out of the last corner. I came around him and was hoping he would get on my wheel.”

With 500 meters from that corner into the uphill finish, it was a daring move for O’Bee, who made it stick to the end. “I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he admitted. Just a little longer, he might not have. At least, that is the story Alex Candelario of Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast told. “If I had another 10 feet, I would have caught him,” said Candelario, who finished second on the race.

Still, his placing was a bit of surprise, as he said he was not planning to sprint but lead out his teammate, Martin Gilbert. When Gilbert was not on his wheel coming out of the last corner, Candelario said he was told to open it up and go for the win.

But O’Bee had experience on the course. “Tactically, it was similar to last year,” O’Bee said. “The course is so tight, you have to get up front. It is hard to come around.” And his team had motivation after race officials called off the first stage of the nature Valley Grand Prix with O’Bee leading. “[Wednesday’s decision] acted as a great motivator for the guys,” Tamayo said.

O’Bee stopped short of calling Thursday’s second stage win vindication for Wednesday’s cut-short effort, but he said he was upset after the first stage, an emotion he didn’t seem to be showing after the second stage. “Who knows what would have happened if they had restarted the race. Maybe I wouldn’t have won,” he said.

It was a sentiment Candelario shared, as his team was charging hard in Wednesday’s stage chasing O’Bee down when the race was stopped. He said the team was disappointed with the call to stop the race, and there was little to compliment on the action on Thursday, too, outside of his placing.

“It was just not hard enough,” Candelario said about Thursday’s action. “It was pretty negative racing. It was such a short race, it was difficult to split things apart. “ Not that Kelly Benefit Strategies didn’t try. They played at the front of the peloton most of the race and featured in the best break of the day, a solo effort by Jonny Sundt for 12 miles that was never more than a minute from the field.

Only a few other attacks were made, and the field stayed together most of the day. Jelly Belly’s director sportif, Danny Van Haute, chalked up the lack of action to spent riders coming out of a 250-kilometer effort in 100-degree heat in Philadelphia. “I think Philly took a little more out of everyone than they thought it had,” he said.

His rider, Nick Reistad, who took the Sports Beans King of the Mountains jersey on the stage, called the racing nervous with everyone packed tight for the whole stage. “No team was willing to take the helm,” he said. That is until Health Net hit the circuit.

And with the win on Thursday, Tamayo said they plan to keep control of the race and the leader’s jersey going into Friday’s third and fourth stages, the 6-mile Saint Paul Riverfront Time Trial in the morning and the Downtown Minneapolis Classic criterium in the evening. “We’re confident,” he said. “We’re here to win.”

Sun Shines on Tina Pic – Earns Yellow Jersey
by Lindsey Dickinson

Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light rider Tina Pic won the Cannon Falls Road Race, stage two of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, in a sprint finish to earn the Nature Valley GP overall yellow jersey and a spot on top of the podium. Joanne Kiesanowski of Team TIBCO took second and Cheerwine’s Laura VanGilder took third in the stage.

“I was just trying to keep myself up there,” said Pic of her time in the finishing circuits. “It was dicey. You really had to be in top five. Once you got back a little bit, it was that slinky effect and you had to be up there, just fighting.”

Pic’s fighting finish came after 55 miles among the rolling farm fields of east-central Minnesota, marred by one serious crash involving several riders, including Pic. “I chased for a long time,” said Pic. “Then two of my teammates came back to help but I think they didn’t know I was down and it took a long time to get a wheel change”¦ When I got up everyone was gone, so it was just a long time chasing…I’m okay. I landed on people, poor things.”

The Jelly Belly Queen of the Hill jersey went to Canada’s Felicia Gomez of Aaaron’s Professional Women’s Cycling Team, while Joanne Kiesanowski of TIBCO took home the Wheaties Sprint jersey. Cheerwine’s Catherine Cheatley earned the BOOST Best Young Rider jersey.

If the prior night’s rainy, cold criterium in Saint Paul was a bike racer’s hell, then Thursday’s Cannon Falls Road Race was a little slice of heaven for the women’s peloton. In a stage that has historically been marred by adverse weather””extreme heat one year and tornadoes the next””today’s race presented what can only be described as a beautiful sunny day, complete with moderate temperatures and light winds. The teams started from scratch after a controversial decision by the officials to cancel the results of the first stage due to the negative weather events. The decision negatively impacted riders and teams who fought through the weather, including Team TIBCO.

“It’s water under the bridge and we’re going to focus on our race and doing the best we can,” said TIBCO’s Brooke Miller. “We’re pretty upset, because we raced really hard”¦ We’re a bunch of tough riders and we’re a little disappointed they didn’t think highly enough of our performance yesterday to reward us with a time.

Taking the decision in stride seemed to motivate the team. “The team raced a great race today,” said Miller. “We were really aggressive. We wanted to make it a hard race. I think all of our girls did a really good job. Coming into the finishing circuit bad luck struck, and Lauren [Franges] had a mechanical that was horrible timing”¦I had a rider slide out in front of me on the second to last corner and I had nowhere to go but somebody’s front yard. It was great that Jo [Kiesanowski] closed and sealed the deal, but we did have higher hopes than just one rider on the podium.”

In addition to her second place finish, TIBCO’s Joanne Kiesanowski earned the Wheaties Sprint Jersey while Amber Rais, another TIBCO rider, took the Freewheel Most Aggressive jersey for the evening. Kristin McGrath, a Ryan Collegiate All-Stars alum and Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light rider, was awarded the Nature Valley Top Amateur jersey for her efforts in the stage.

Kristin Armstrong, two-time Nature Valley Grand Prix women’s champion riding for CervÈlo-Lifeforce, was noticeably absent from the podiums in Cannon Falls. “Emma [Rickards] and I are just two of us and”¦There are a lot of big teams out there and they had a lot of sprinters on their teams and they wanted a win at the finish today,” said Armstrong. “Emma and I kind of watched, sat back and we decided we’d take a shot at it on the circuits. You never know with these sort of circuits if you can get away.”

Laura VanGilder was one of the riders benefiting from having a large team present. “We performed great. There were several laps where when there weren’t attacks going by the CervÈlo riders, my team took over to maintain the high speed,” said Cheerwine’s Van Gilder. “On the last lap, they gave me a really great lead-out. I wasn’t able to capitalize on that for the finish, but podium is certainly good and we’re happy with that.” Van Gilder will be going for her third win in a row at the Minneapolis criterium Friday night.

For her part, Kristin Armstrong was looking forward to the Saint Paul time trial coming up Friday morning, which was altered this year to include a one kilometer climb at the end. “I’m definitely excited about it. I love all time trials””flat, hilly, rolling terrain, technical””I think when you’re a time trialist, you have to like them all,” said Armstrong. “I think the more challenging the better.”

Results

Elite Men

1. Kirk O’Bee (Team Health Net p/b Maxxis) 2.25:53
2. Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
3. John Murphy (Team Health Net p/b Maxxis)
4. Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United)
5. Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United)
6. Shawn Milne (Team Type 1)
7. Alex Boyd (Team Waste Management)
8. Caleb Manion (Toyota-United)
9. Keil Reijnen (Team Waste Management)
10. Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)

20. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
40. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) 0:09


Elite Women

1. Tina Pic (Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) 2.42.19
2. Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)
3. Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine Cycling)
4. Shelley Olds (PROMAN Racing) 0.02
5. Katharine Carroll (Aaron’s Professional Women’s Cycling Team)
6. Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple Cycling Team)
7. Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce Professional Cycling Team) 0.05
8. Lara Kroepsch (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)
9. Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine Cycling)
10. Anne Samplonius (Cheerwine Cycling) 0.08

13. Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine Cycling)
35. Marni Hambleton (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)
89. Gina Grain (Webcor Builders) 3.12
90. Felicia Gomez (Aaron’s Professional Women’s Cycling Team)



GC after Stage 2

Elite Men

1. Kirk O’Bee (Team Health Net p/b Maxxis) 2.25:38
2. Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) 0:05
3. John Murphy (Team Health Net p/b Maxxis) 0:09
4. Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United) 0:15
5. Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United)
6. Shawn Milne (Team Type 1)
7. Alex Boyd (Team Waste Management)
8. Caleb Manion (Toyota-United)
9. Keil Reijnen (Team Waste Management)
10. Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)

20. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
40. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) 0:24


Elite Women

1. Tina Pic (Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) 2.42.04
2. Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO) 0.05
3. Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine Cycling) 0.09
4. Shelley Olds (PROMAN Racing) 0.17
5. Katharine Carroll (Aaron’s Professional Women’s Cycling Team)
6. Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple Cycling Team)
7. Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce Professional Cycling Team) 0.20
8. Lara Kroepsch (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)
9. Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine Cycling)
10. Anne Samplonius (Cheerwine Cycling) 0.23

13. Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine Cycling)
35. Marni Hambleton (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)
67. Gina Grain (Webcor Builders)
68. Felicia Gomez (Aaron’s Professional Women’s Cycling Team)








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