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New York City Cycling Championship: Navigators Report

August 2, 2004 – The 100K BMC New York City Cycling Championship was held earlier yesterday on the streets of lower Manhattan, through the financial district centered on Wall Street and Water Streets. The 1.2-mile course is well known as one of the fastest criterium courses in the U.S. and today’s star-studded field would ensure that the large crowd would be treated to a fine performance.

With heavy, early morning rains giving way to brightening skies just before the start, the roads remained wet with water in several of the course’s eight turns. The Navigators Insurance squad showed up for action with last year’s winner Olympic-bound Marty Nothstein, along with Vassili Davidenko, second place in 2002, and recent multiple stage-winner Viktor Rapinski, who was 2nd last year to Nothstein.

The action started fast and in short order riders were attacking with hopes of gaining an advantage that would stick. About ten laps in, several riders were hammering off the front, and Davidenko decided to join in on the fun. As he bridged across, Erik Saunders (Ofoto) broke clear of the leading group in search of a prime. Vassili drove on and hooked up with Saunders. The duo stayed out in front for the next hour, covering close to 50Km. Although their gap only fluctuated between six seconds and eighteen seconds, the chase from behind was causing a lot of damage in the peloton.

With 30K remaining, they were finally caught, and the response was a flurry of attacks from the field. With all of the speed, and horsepower that was still in the race, it was going to be difficult for any breaks to stick at this late point in the race. With Navigators’ Mark Walters working hard to control any attacks, it looked good for the Navigators to once again put riders on the podium. Unfortunately, just as sprinter Henk Vogels declared that he was feeling the effects of injury from a mid-race crash, Viktor Rapinski punctured a tire. Although he was able to re-join the peloton with five laps remaining, the effort all but finished his day.

With a compromised leadout train, and Nothstein getting caught up in traffic on the final lap, for the first time in the three year history of the event, the Navigators squad missed out on the podium. Taking the win was Hayden Godfrey (Healthnet) ahead of teammate Gord Fraser and Ivan Dominguez (Colavita).

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