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Posted: 6/9/2003 6:14:07 AM EDT
[url]http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/6045225.htm[/url] On two previous trips to Philadelphia to compete in the world's biggest one-day bike race, Stefano Zanini finished far out of first place once and dropped out the other time. Yesterday, however, Zanini found the third time was the charm when he rocketed through a manic sprint finish down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to capture the 156-mile Wachovia USPro Championship in a photo finish. So close was the margin between Zanini, 34, who rides for the Italian team Saeco, and Uros Murn, 28, a Slovenian riding for Formaggi Pinzolo, that the winner did not know he had won until race officials announced it. "I wanted to wait for the official verdict from the jury," Zanini said through an interpreter. "They had to look at the photo, and I didn't want to ask and hurt my luck." Murn estimated that Zanini's margin of victory was a couple of centimeters - not quite an inch. "I was a little slow," Murn said. Third place went to Julian Dean, 28, a New Zealand cyclist who competes for the U.S. team CSC. It was the third podium finish for Dean, who dominated the Wachovia Cycling Series with a third in Lancaster and a victory in Trenton last week to maintain his lead in the 2003 Pro Cycling Tour points standings. Mark McCormack, 32, a Saturn rider from North Easton, Mass., finished fourth, about 10 meters behind Zanini, but he was hardly out of the money. As the first American to cross the finish line, McCormack won the 2003 U.S. road racing championship. "It's a great honor," said McCormack, who started bike racing as a 10-year-old aboard a BMX and rode Philadelphia for the 10th time yesterday. "It's always been a dream of mine to put on a USPro jersey. My teammates were excited for me." Zanini and all the other riders in the sprint finish were timed in 5 hours, 56 minutes, 21 seconds, the fourth-fastest mark in the 19-year history of the race. Zanini was helped by the Parkway's long, straight finishing stretch and his team's resolve to win the race. "My teammates really helped me win the sprint," said Zanini, who started his winning bolt with 200 meters to go. "I gave it my all." The first two laps of the 14.4-mile course were led by a four-man breakaway group consisting of Saturn's Trent Klasna, from Littleton, Colo.; Jonathan Vaughters of Prime Alliance, a 5-foot-11, 135-pound cyclist from Denver; Siro Camponogara, an Italian riding for Navigators; and CSC's Tristan Hoffman, a Dutch cyclist. They had distanced themselves from the pack in the first 10 miles and continued to lead for more than 110 miles, building a 6-minute, 45-second time gap at one point, before it began to erode. Even when the breakaway foursome had fashioned its biggest lead, no other riders gave chase, knowing the margin could not be sustained through the finish. Somewhere during the seventh or eighth tour of the course, Camponogara fell out of the gang of four and fell back in the pack. The lead trio's time margin at that point had diminished to 1:19. A dozen attacks occurred over and over again as the cyclists started running out of road. But each ended with the lead rider looking back over his shoulder, ostensibly deciding it wasn't going to work, and drifting back into the pack. Two of the attacks were staged by former winners Jakob Piil of CSC, who went out of the race with a broken chain, and Fred Rodriguez of Vini Caldirola, who ran out of gas. With no clear winner emerging from all that gamesmanship, it was inevitable that the race would end in a field sprint. Did it ever. Good to see the Cannondale guys win one in the states!!
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:41:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 10:42:37 AM EDT by bung]
who competes for the U.S. team CSC
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I thought CSC was a French or Italian team. Isn't that the team (CSC/Tiscali) that Laurent Jalaber was riding for?
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:46:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 10:48:14 AM EDT by John_Harrison]
Yes, it is the same team that Jalabert road for but CSC is a Danish squad.
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