By JoE Silva
Punching yet another notch in his extensive victory belt, Gord Fraser recaptured his title at this year’s Nalley Historic Roswell Criterium, north of Atlanta, on Sunday with a markedly reduced squad of riders from his Health Net team.
After 40 minutes of racing, a four-man break composed of heavy hitters Alex Candelario (Jelly Belly), Viktor Rapinski (Colavita-Sutter Home), Vassili Davidenko (Navigators Insurance) and J. J. Haedo(Toyota-United Pro Cycling) lead the field for much of the remainder of the evening with gaps of up to 20seconds. But during the penultimate lap of the 0.8-mile course, the field got twitchy and moved into overdrive.
“It was a bit discombobulated,” said Fraser “but I tried my best to keep it organized and be the gate of the rotation. It was touch and go, and we were running out of guys. Toyota was in a tough place. They wanted to set up Ivan (Dominguez), but they didn’t want to catch J.J. So they were waiting, waiting, waiting, and I was just trying to key off of Ivan. I figured he’d be the best guy to go for the win.”
Dominguez gladly took second to Fraser, and the Jittery Joe’s squad saw sprinter Jeff Hopkins secure another podium spot with his third place finish.
In the women’s race, Team Lipton’s Laura Van Gilder edged out a victory over local favorite Tina Pic in the veterans’ first head-to-head sprint of the year. “(We) were really looking for a breakaway today. We initiated the effort, but with half a lap to go on the backside my teammate Lara Kroepsch led it out for me,which kept the pace really high. And then Tina and I just drag raced to the finish. The type of sprint isTina’s forte, but I just didn’t give up. I was pretty hungry for a victory.”
Nalley Historic Roswell Criterium, Roswell, Georgia
1 Gord Fraser (Health Net presented by Maxxis)
2 Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro Cycling)
3 Jeff Hopkins (Jittery Joe’s)Women
1 Laura van Gilder (Team Lipton)
2 Tina Pic (Colavita/Cooking Light)
3 Kelly Benjamin (Diet Cheerwine)