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Sunday, March 18, 2001 -- Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series - Race #1 (iPO Event Id#: 3010)
Story by John Galt with photos by Jeff Martello and Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

Race Pic
Racing the backroads of SW Pennsylvania
Joe Papp was not supposed to win today's race. No, that honor should have gone to Papp's UPMC Pittsburgh Cycling teammate Mike Friedman, the wunderkind first-year senior tapped to lead Team USA at next month's Vuelta a Habana del Este in Cuba. With less than one lap to go in the seven-lap, 60km 1-2-3 event, Friedman was away on his own, headed towards a well-deserved victory. Papp and another teammate, Jeff Timinski, comfortably controlled a seven-rider chase group, content to let Friedman enjoy his first win of the season. However, it was not to be.

Race Pic
Hills were short but not easy
Gunnar Shogren (ACA/Guinness), describes what happened as the chase group rounded a right hand bend at the start of the fastest section of the course: "We came around the turn, and there was a car stopped on the side of the road, and a rider was on the ground behind it." What Shogren and the others didn't know was that rider was Friedman, and he had collided head on with a vehicle being driven up the hill towards the marshal-controlled intersection.

The seven chasers continued to the line, with Papp, Timinski and Shogren gapping the others by 14 seconds before finishing in that order. Bob Riffle (East Suburban Sports Medicine), who led the pursuit of Friedman, finished fourth, Charlie Chulack (TRBC/Trek) was fifth and John Evanko (Schwinn), last year's series runner-up, was fifth. The importance of the race, the first event of the Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series, quickly faded in light of Friedman's crash, however.

Gunnar Shogren breaks wind
Gunnar Shogren pulls 'em throught the headwind
"All I could think about was Davis Phinney's terrible crash in the '88 Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in Belgium," said Papp, referring to the incident in which the 7-Eleven sprinter smashed into the back of a team car at full-speed, opening wounds on his face that required over 100 stitches to close. "The thought of that happening to Mike was terrible."

Thankfully, Friedman escaped the crash relatively unscathed. Despite being rushed to hospital, his injuries were minor, and he was released that evening. He will resume training later this week.

Except for the incident, the first race of the series was a relative success. Fifty-one riders competed in the 34km 4-5 race, won in a field sprint by TRBC/Trek's Hansel Lucas. James Miller, whose Hites Bikes/Fox Velo/ACA teammates served as course marshals, finished second, Colin Sandberg (East Suburban Sports Medicine) was third, Andrew Wulfkuhle (Vicious Cycles) fourth and Todd Copeland (ACA/Cycleworks) fifth.

Race Pic
Going it alone
In the separate women's race, Betsy Schauer (East Suburban Sports Medicine) won, followed by Anna Noller, Susan Law (TRBC/Trek), Page London Stephens (East Suburban Sports Medicine) and Deborah Glossen.

Because of the crash, Chief Referee Gary Bywaters and Papp, whose Pittsburgh Cycling Club promoted the race, postponed the awards ceremony until the next event, scheduled for the following Sunday. Bywaters indicated that 4-5 results would be completed at that time. Anyone able to volunteer as a marshal or pace car driver for the March 25 race should contact Papp via email. Special thanks to all who gave their Sunday morning to help run this race, including: J. Rich Allen, Donnie Panizales, Roger Lutz, Frank Leone and Brion Linnon (Fox Velo marshals); John Mele (pace car driver), Gary Bywaters (Chief Referee), Jimmy Paulovitch (Official), Jeff Martello (Photographer).

Race Report from Hites Bikes / Fox Velo Team Members

Cat 4/5 race description excerpts taken from individual write-ups of Hites Bikes / Fox Velo team members.
The cold overnight temperatures and dusting of snow gave way to sunshine at a 35 degree temperature just in time for the start of the race. The road conditions remained treacherous with many sections of winter-broken pavement, some standing water and one small section of ice. All in all, a great day for the first Mingo race.

The Cat 4-5 Race was a large group, maybe 50 racers. As the peleton rolled out... Hites Bikes/Fox Velo was lined up 2x2 controlling the pack for much of the first lap, defending their 2000 Championship.

The pace was controlled and deliberate. Even as we reached the first climb, and riders began to jockey for clean lines, the pack stayed together. The two turns after the climb were fairly effective in separating experienced riders from the group. The first lap ended with an overlap of the middle pack riders bringing everyone back together.

This time up over the hill, the pace picked up, knocking off the back half of the peleton. Just over the top, A UPMC and a Pizza Guy attacked. The pace stayed up and the peleton stretched out over the windy top section of the course. On the descent, the UPMC rider, a Gary Fischer rider and a Pizza Guy rider continued their attacks. Hites Bikes / Fox Velo closed their gaps towing Jim Miller and the rest of the peleton.

The pace slowed about half way from the Start-Finish to the climb, as everyone at the front was preparing to drop the hammer...and when we got to very base of the hill, the whole front of the lead group attacked...breaking off about 15 riders into a lead group, who remained away for the rest of the race.

Colin Sandberg from East Suburban Sports Medicine went out on a solo break and strung out the field a little bit and then we hit the climb. After going over the top, the group began to wind it up for the descent into the finish. My computer had a Max speed of 40+ Mph. The last 2 stretches of the course were very fast.

The pack approached the finish. There were a lot of racers out of the saddle. The sprint was on....... Then I saw the Hites Bikes/Fox Velo colors and I knew it was Jimmy (Miller). Hansel Lucas (Trek) was leading. Jimmy was now in second and gaining. Hansel looked back...and did a double take. Hansel Lucas took 1st by a 2 bike lengths. Jim Miller (Hites Bikes / Fox Velo) took 2nd, Colin Sandberg (East Suburban Sports) took 3rd.