April 30, 2006 – Symmetrics Cycling started off the Vuelta a El Salvador with a bang, sweeping the podium, and placing all eight riders in the top 16. Svein Tuft, reigning time trial National Champion, won the 5.1km test against the clock, averaging 52.15km/hr. New recruit Andrew Randell took second, followed by Eric Wohlberg and Jake Erker.
The squad arrived early in El Salvador and used the time to hone its team time trialling skills for later in the tour. All in all the race has begun well, but had it not been for the quick response of the CCA’s Kris Westwood, they might not have been able to race at all. As team co-owner Kevin Cunningham explained, “I received a call at 5pm on Friday from team manager Bruce Wenting saying the commissaire would not allow the team to start unless there was a letter stating that each rider was in good standing with the national federation. I was lucky enough to get ahold of Kris Westwood, who said in fact we didn’t need the letter because it is a UCI race and our invitation has the condition implicit in the conditions of racing.” This letter can be requested at races such as BC Superweek for international athletes to make sure they aren’t suspended for drugs or other reasons from their national federation. It also insures that all athletes have the proper insurance. Nonetheless, Westwood rushed home, sent a letter and then called Cunningham twice to make sure the team was good to go. So a big thanks to Westood from the S-Team.
Today, Symmetrics continued to dominate with Randell winning and Erker taking fourth. Based on the small time gap of 10 seconds, that should mean that Randell will take over from Tuft as race leader. The S-team completely controlled the stage today – 20 circuits on yesterday’s prologue course. Towards the finale, a few Columbians attacked and both Randell and Erker covered the move. Randell then took the sprint from a break of four. Looking over the stages, next Friday is a mountaintop finish and is said to be very tough – with riders needing a 27 to get up parts of it; some parts hit 20%.
1 Svein Tuft (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 5.52
2 Andrew Randell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 0.05
3 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 0.09
4 Jacob Erker (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team
6 Christian Meier (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 0.15
11 Andrew Pinfold (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team
12 Will Routley (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 0.20
15 Jeff Sherstobitoff (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team
Stage 1: 102km
1 Andrew Randell (Symmetrics Cycling Team)
2 Francisco Colorado (Columbia)
3 Gregorio Ladino (Columbia)
4 Jake Erker (Symmetrics Cycling Team)