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San Fran GP LIVE on Pedal!

September 4, 2005 – Welcome to Pedal’s live coverage of this weekend’s San Francisco GP, in conjunction with Jet Fuel – Sympatico. Today’s race is 170km.

1:00pm EDT – The action is about to get underway but we already have a few photos up from pre-race. Check out the Jet Fuel Boys and some other familiar faces.

1:05pm EDT – Monex’s wily vet, Roberto Gaggioli has attacked for kicks and giggles. He has a small lead on the first lap.

1:10pm EDT – We are getting images from the team car now. Bear in mind some are better than others but we will post them all.

1:11pm EDT – Things are strung out now on the course. The thing to remember about San Fran is although there are two very sharp climbs – Filmore and Taylor, the pack is also riding 45-50km/h on all the straightaways, and 80km/h on the downhills. So it’s pretty much single file all day for these guys.

1:13pm EDT – The San Fran GP begins with three “parade” laps of 6.3km, followed by nine laps of 14.2km with the aforementioned climbs, and finishes with five laps of 8km that climbs only Taylor. Riders are on the second of the first two parade laps. And by the way, not surprisingly Mr. Gaggioli’s gap is dropping: Perhaps he has had his fun.

1:19pm EDT – Attacks galore as riders try to make the early move. The latest is Manuel Quinziato (Saunier Duval) that launches, but he is caught too. Lots of Navigators riders are guarding the front as they make their way toward Fillmore. It’s single file again.

1:21pm EDT – So this is the first of the long laps, which means riders will go up Fillmore and Taylor each time. These climbs are so tough words can’t do justice, and both of them are lined with people. At the top of these monsters riders’ arms will throb like they’ve just done 20 benchpress reps, only to turn and zoom down the descent.

1:25pm EDT – Pictures won’t do justice but if you were a rider and turned the corner and saw the latest shot, what would you say?

1:26pm EDT – 10 riders are off the front as they crest the climb. They might likely get caught as it is very early and there’s a fast descent.

1:32pm EDT – The break is still away. There is one Canadian – Dom Perras (Sierra Nevada), as well as Gerolsteiner’s Levi Leipheimer, Tim Johnson (Jittery Joes), a Discovery rider, Nathan O’Neill (Navigators), US National Champ Chris Wherry and 5 or 6 other riders.

1:32pm EDT – One long lap done and the break has just over 30 seconds on the field.

1:40pm EDT – Here’s an update on the breakaway, whose lead is hovering at around 20-25 seconds. In it are Chris Wherry, Doug Ollerenshaw (both Health Net), Fumiyuki Beppu (Discovery), Nathan O’Neill, Cesar Grajales (both Navigators), Tim Johsnon (Jittery Joes – Kalahari), Glen Mitchell, Dominique Perras (both Sierra Nevada), a TIAA rider, and two Seasilver riders.

1:45pm EDT – Discovery is leading the pack, the break is about to be caught.

1:46pm EDT – A note for Canadians: Symmetrics is the lead car in the caravan today – they won the random draw.

1:48pm EDT – Ooh la la – Two riders have managed to bridge the short gap to the break – John Lieswyn (Health Net) and Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery). Does that mean Discovery will stop ramping it?

1:52pm EDT – Another Canuck is in the move – Navigator’s Mark Walters, as well as another unidentified Discovery rider who bridged up with Walters. Walters, by the way, has just moved back to Peterborough, Ontario, so Ontarians may be seeing more of the former National champion at local races. Eek!

2:01pm EDT – More Discovery riders in the move – now it’s Jason McCartney (Discovery) with a Jelly Belly rider. Looks like Candelario?

2:02pm EDT – This breakaway is getting too big 30-odd riders – and the pack is right at its heels; less than 10 seconds. Will it make it up the climbs one more time?

2:10pm EDT – There’s chaos in the break now – it’s just too big. Disco’s Michael Creed has attacked solo to shake things up. Samuele Marzoli (Lampre) is trying to follow and the gap from the main break to the pack is actually increasing somehow.

2:15pm EDT – The 30 rider breakawy is about to be caught – but Creed has a sizable lead and is looking good solo.

2:16pm EDT – Creed has crossed the finish line all alone, but behind Ollerenshaw (Health Net) and Frank Pipp (Advantage/Endeavour. If they catch up that move might have some legs. So the riders have done three of the long laps.

2:20pm EDT – Creed’s gap is around 1min30s.

2:28pm EDT – Creed is still solo, ahead of the duo, and the pack is breaking up.

2:30pm EDT – Creed is up and over Fillmore. Did we mention it’s steep?

2:34pm EDT – Eek! Now Lieswyn has bridged up to the trio chasing Creed. These four are: Doug Ollerenshaw and John Lieswyn (Health Net), Frank Pipp (Advantage/Endeavour)and Gerolsteiner’s Andrea Moletta. They are still 25 seconds behind. Might be good idea for Creed to wait – although last year Jason McCartney did solo for almost the whole last half of the race.

2:42pm EDT – So four of the large laps are done and here is an update on the race. Michael Creed (Discovery) has around 40 seconds on a group or riders, including: Doug Ollerenshaw John Lieswyn (Health Net), Frank Pipp (Advantage/Endeavour), Aaron Olsen and Todd Herriott (Colavita), Andrea Moletta (Gerolsteiner), Caleb Manion (Jelly Belly PoolGel), and Andy and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Kodak Sierra Nevada). Behind them is the pack, almost 2 minutes behind Creed.

2:45pm EDT – Time checks. Creed has 50 seconds on the chase group of nine, and two minutes on the field. Yowsa.

2:48 EDT – FYI, Creed’s contract has apparently not been renewed by Discovery, so methinks he is trying to impress to get a new ride for 2006. Ever read his blog on his site? Funny stuff. That alone is enough to get him a new job: http://www.mikecreed.com/

2:51 EDT – Creed’s gap is going UP on the chasers. Hey, who needs drafting anyway? He’s almost got a minute on the nine chasers.

3:03pm EDT – Less than 100km to go now and Creed is still away, beginning his sixth long lap.

3:10pm EDT – 8 more riders have bridged to the chase group – so there are now 16 in that move. Still aren’t catching Creed.

3:12pm EDT – That chase group just doubled. We’ll get some more names as soon as we can.

3:14pm EDT – Anyone interested in seeing more about the Jet Fuel team’s trip here to San Fran and their preparation in the past few days can visit this link: http://www.cyclingteam.info/2005/09/arrived-in-palo-alto.php

3:15pm EDT – Colavita’s Todd Herriot just thought he was Superman and decided to try and bridge a minute up to Creed after 17 riders couldn’t…but guess what? He just came back. Nice try, Todd. By the way, the peloton is almost 5 minutes behind at this time.

3:20pm EDT – Anyone who has any questions for Discovery’s Michael Barry after the TT at the Vuelta today, or anything bike-related, should send their questions to news@pedalmag.com for our Tour of Spain Q and A. Hey, how often do you get to ask a pro something?

3:21pm EDT – Creed is almost finished his sixth long lap. Even though the times are slightly decreasing, he is still looking solid out there.

3:25pm EDT – But alas, the natives are getting restless. The break is splintering up Fillmore and Taylor, and the pack is singlefile again.

3:30pm EDT – Check out the latest pic. Literally, the cars and moto are almost coming to a stop. Fillmore and Taylor are so steep riders are almost trackstanding – they’re not going faster than 5km/h, max, on some of the steepest sections.

3:31pm EDT – For those of you who dream of a career as a pro bike team director, you can view the latest pic. That’s your vantage point for more or less that for 5 hours.

3:32pm EDT – Time checks: Creed has almost a minute on the 20-man chase group, and 4:50 on the pack.

3:43pm EDT – It’s not especially warm today and you’ll notice in the most recent photos that riders are wearing armwarmers. San Fran is always cool due to the bay effect, and as Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.”

3:44pm EDT – Get this: each time Creed makes it to the top of Fillmore and Taylor he’s putting his fist in the air, as he conquers the climbs! And Discovery doesn’t want to renew his contract, come on!

3:39pm EDT – Well, Creed has finally been caught and is now in a group of five riders, three of whom are Disco boys. (Yay Team.) In the move are McCartney, Canada’s Hesjedal, Lieswyn and Mitchell.

3:55pm EDT – Just to clarify the photos so readers can follow along – the topmost shots are the most recent.

3:56pm EDT – And then there were six. Moletta has now reached the leading five, and the pack is now tiny, but are gaining mega-time on the break.

3:58pm EDT – Creed has now sat up, having been out there all day. So there’s a shakeup: 4 out front – Hesjedal, McCartney (both Discovery), and Mitchell and Lieswyn – then the hapless Herriot, Johnson, Manion and a Saunier Duval rider, Moletta, about 30s behind, then the pack which has closed the gap to around a minute and a half.

4:00pm EDT – The riders have on more time up Fillmore, then the shorter laps with only Taylor begin, so I suppose that is a relief, sorta.

4:10pm EDT – Hesjedal has been dropped. There are now three leaders.

4:15pm EDT – Here’s the latest: There’s three riders ahead – McCartney, Lieswyn and Mitchell, and just behind is Hesjedal. Behind them is: Bertogliati, Herriott, Johnson, Manon, and Moletta at around 50s. The pack is 1m30s behind.

4:20pm EDT – The chase group has been caught by the peloton, but the three leaders are really working hard.

4:26pm EDT – The gap from the leading trio is falling slightly, but it’s still healthy – well over a minute. However, if some of the guns in the small remainder of the peloton push it, that gap could disappear in a lap or two.

4:31pm EDT – Time check: the gap to the pack is 1m40s, as the riders head out for their final 40km: 5 8km laps with only the Taylor climb each lap.
A Colavita rider has attacked and is trying to bridge.

4:33pm EDT – The Colavita rider is none other than Italian David Frattini – winner of the “Baby Giro” (Amateur Tour of Italy) a few years ago.

4:38pm EDT – Frattini has been caught by the pack.

4:40pm EDT – Hesjedal was caught by the pack and has promptly quit. We will try and talk to him after the race to see what happened. There are 35 riders in the group as the final four laps begin.

4:45pm EDT – That means we are in the final 30km of the race. Can this trio hold off the bunch? There’s three more times up Taylor and if there’s any horsepower in the group, now would be the time to use it. Otherwise, on paper, the cunning vet Lieswyn looks set to take this.

4:46pm EDT – Horsepower alert! Two Gerolsteiners have just launched. One of them is Fabian Wegmann – famous for his long breakaway this year at the Tour on stage 7.

4:47pm EDT – The other Gerolsteiner rider is – you guessed it – Moletta. He must be feeling spry today.

4:52pm EDT – The boys in baby blue are making time on the lead three. Can the Gerolsteiners catch them?

4:53pm EDT – Less than a minute from Moletta and Wegmann to the leaders. They can see them on Taylor.

4:54pm EDT – The gap is now 30s from the leading three to the Gerolsteiner duo.

5:00pm EDT – A Health Net rider and a CSC rider are chasing the Gerolsteiners, who are still chasing the lead three. And behind, it’s carnage in the “peloton”.

5:01pm EDT – The Health Net rider is Mike Sayers, and he and the CSC rider have been joined by Colavita’s Frattini and it appears, Mark McCormack.

5:02pm EDT – The CSC rider is Aussie Luke Roberts. The Gerolsteiners are in no-man’s land and are not closing the gap.

5:04pm EDT – Mitchell is coming off the lead trio and the Gerolsteiners are hovering at 25s. Two laps to go when they cross the line and anything could happen. Lieswyn is set to retire after this year so it would be incredible if he could stay away. His teammate Sayers won’t help if his group catches the Gerolsteiner.

5:11 EDT – The Gerolsteiners have caught Mitchell. The Foursome behind are 1:40 behind – and running out of time to catch them. The “peloton” is barely over 10 riders.

5:13pm EDT – McCartney and Lieswyn are holding off the Gerolsteiner group. They might stay away. Remember, last year McCartney soloed until getting caught at the end – so he must have learned something in the past 365 days about the benefits of drafting. But will Lieswyn win the final kick if they stay?

5:18pm EDT – Less than 10km to go and Liewsyn and McCartney are still holding off the Moletta and Wegmann. Place your bets, folks.

5:20pm EDT – One lap to go and the tension is as thick as butter. Ray Deluse has just emailed us asking about what gears the pros are using today. Most riders are either running a smaller front chainring – 38, with a 25 or 27 rear, whereas others are using triples with normal cassettes. Ray also wants to get a “shout-out” to his “homie” Jeff.

5:22 pm EDT – The race is between these four now: McCartney and Lieswyn, and Moletta and Wegmann. Wegmann has won the Climber’s jersey at the Tour of Italy so he may have something special in store for Taylor. But there’s still 25 seconds to the lead duo.

5:27pm EDT – Achtung! Wegmann has caught them!

5:28pm EDT – Tabernouche! Wegmann has attacked them!

5:29pm EDT – Huzzah! Wegmann has beat them!

5:30pm EDT – McCartney tried to follow Wegmann’s attack but couldn’t. Liewsyn tried to come around Wegmann, but couldn’t.

Unofficial Results:

1. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
2. John Lieswyn (Health Net)
3. Jason McCartney (Discovery)

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San Fran GP LIVE on Pedal!

August 29, 2005 – Get ready, get set for some great live coverage of next week’s San Francisco GP, on September 4. In conjunction with Jet Fuel – Sympatico we will be providing LIVE coverage – both text AND photos from the team car and from along the race route will be posted on pedalmag.com.

More details soon…

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