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Sunday, April 29, 2001 -- Aliquippa, PA
Quip City Crits - Race 1 (iPO Event Id#: 3335)
Story by John Galt and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Race Pic
Leif Hands takes the lead of the chase pack
ALIQUIPPA, April 29 2001 - Aliquippa resident John Evanko (UPMC Pittsburgh Cycling) captured the inaugural Quip City Criterium today, ending a long winless streak. "I've waited 32 years to win a race in my hometown," commented a delighted Evanko. Of course, the fact that he is only 32, and there has never before been a bike race in Aliquippa may have contributed to the delay. Technicalities aside, a Hollywood screenwriter could not have scripted Evanko's win any better.

Though relatively few riders attended the separate 1-2-3 and 4-5 races, those who did compete were treated to a classic four-corner, 1.5-mile long circuit featuring only 12 feet of climbing per lap. The course suited Evanko perfectly and he was determined to make the most of the opportunity to race in front of a partisan crowd.

Having departed Team Schwinn in favor of UPMC Pittsburgh Cycling after a disappointing spring campaign, Evanko also enjoyed the newfound support of two of Pittsburgh's best riders: Jeff Timinski and Joe Papp. Realizing the almost unfair advantage enjoyed by the red-white-and blue trio, race promoter Gary Dugovich offered sagely advice to the rest of the 1-2-3 field before the start. "Ok, Evanko, Timinski and Papp represent UPMC, so the rest of you should gang up on them during the race," intoned Dugovich. Gunnar Shogren (Guinness/ACA), Leif Hands (Squadra Coppoi), Craig Radar (ACA/ABS/Schwinn), Jack Neyer (Schwinn) and Jeff Paul (East Suburban Sports Medicine) all had a good laugh before promising to execute the plan to perfection.

Race Pic
UPMC makes a break
With no traffic on the course, which circled an industrial complex on the site of an old J&L steel mill, the field was free to concentrate on one thing: going fast. Timinski set a blistering tempo from the start, and was quickly followed by Evanko and Papp. Shogren took several pulls, as did Radar, but UPMC asserted control early and sent Evanko up the road alone. After Timinski drew Shogren from the peloton in an attempt to bridge, Hands responded with a Herculean effort to close the gap. Before the main group could come back together, however, Papp jumped across to his teammate Evanko. Once together, the two rode as if they were in the Trofeo Angelo Baracchi, a now defunct, invitation-only two-up European team time trial.

West Virginians Shogren and Hands chased valiantly, despite Timinski's initial attempts to disrupt their effort. After Hands won a field prime, Timinski launched a savage attack that nearly split the field, before attacking twice more to drop Neyer and Radar.

Urged on by the crowd and a lone goose standing guard in turn four, Evanko and Papp rode their hearts out. They completed the 25.5 mile parcours in just under an hour (59:43), with Evanko taking a well-deserved win. Timinski claimed the sprint for third ahead of Hands, though Shogren was not so tired as to be unable to offer a smile upon crossing the line in fifth.

Race Pic
The ESSM Team works to a 1-2 finish in the Cat 4/5 race
In the 4-5 race, relentless attacking by the East Suburban Sports team finally wore down ACA/ABS rider Frank Hersh and resulted in a 1-2 ESSM finish with Rob Masterson taking the win and teammate Colin Sandberg in second (47:05 - st).

The Quip City Crits continue next weekend, and offer a wonderful racing opportunity to those road riders looking to fine tune their fitness for the upcoming ACA Summer Criterium Series. Since many of the biggest local teams were absent from this first race, independent riders and smaller squads have an excellent chance to add to their palmares.