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Colavita delivers Dominguez in New Haven

With the laps counting down on Friday night's New Haven criterium and the peloton breathing down the necks of a seven-man breakaway, overall race leader Mark McCormack took it upon himself to keep the lead group out front, and in the process delivered teammate Ivan Dominguez to Colavita Olive Oil's second win in three stages of the Tour of Connecticut. The Friday night festivities in Connecticut featured 60 laps of a pancake-flat, four-corner, half-mile circuit around the New Haven Green, starting and finishing at the steps of the state courthouse. From the gun, the pack set a blistering

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By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Managing Editor

Race leader McCormack does a spot of domestique work

Race leader McCormack does a spot of domestique work

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

With the laps counting down on Friday night’s New Haven criterium and the peloton breathing down the necks of a seven-man breakaway, overall race leader Mark McCormack took it upon himself to keep the lead group out front, and in the process delivered teammate Ivan Dominguez to Colavita Olive Oil’s second win in three stages of the Tour of Connecticut.

The Friday night festivities in Connecticut featured 60 laps of a pancake-flat, four-corner, half-mile circuit around the New Haven Green, starting and finishing at the steps of the state courthouse. From the gun, the pack set a blistering pace, turning laps well under a minute on the way to averaging an announced 36 mph for the 30-mile race.

Despite the fast pace, a dangerous group was able to escape just past the midway point of the race on a beautiful early evening in downtown New Haven. When the group finally settled in, it consisted of three Colavita riders — McCormack, Dominguez and Aaron Olson; Health Net-Maxxis’s Mike Sayers and Danny Pate; Webcor Builders’ Charles Dionne; TIAA-Cref’s Ang Sheldrake; and Volkswagen-Trek’s Alexandre Nadeau.

With the Colavita trio doing the bulk of the work, the break would stay out for 25 laps, but never with a lead of more than about 15-20 seconds, with teams like McGuire, Fior di Frutta and Sharper Image forced to lead the chase.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Missile Crisis takes matters into his own hands

Meanwhile, the Cuban Missile Crisis takes matters into his own hands

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

With about eight laps to go, Olson fell off the pace, and dropped out of the race, giving a little more impetus to the chasers. However, not wanting to have to deal with an on-form Gord Fraser (Health Net-Maxxis), McCormack took it upon himself to hold off the pack, staying at the front for nearly three laps before the finishing sprint, and sacrificing his own chances to score high in the finish to add to his overall points lead in the omnium series.

“Once we got to five laps to go [with the peloton still close behind], the strategy went from let’s try to get a high placing [for me] and the stage win, to let’s just worry about the stage win,” said McCormack.

“Once we lost Aaron and there were only two of us, we had to keep one of us fresh,” he added.

On the final lap, McGuire’s Jamiel Danesh bridged across to the break, and the entire field latched onto the tail end of the break, but not before Sayers jumped with a half lap to go. Dominguez and Dionne, though, marked him straight away, and in the final sprint, the Cuban was able to hold off Dionne for the stage win, with Sayers holding on for third.

“That was all I could do,” said Sayers of his last-lap move, noting that a greater concentration on training for events like the USPRO Championship has left his finishing kick a little short. “I’m not a sprinter; I’m just a big diesel right now.”

“I couldn’t let anyone get a two second, or three second gap,” said Dominguez, who was on Sayers’s wheel immediately.

“When Ivan is in the break, and that close to victory, he’s really hard to beat,” said McCormack, who faded after his effort to finish 12th.

Behind Sayers, Pate led in the rest of the break in the fourth place, followed by Sheldrake, Nadeau and Danesh.

On Saturday, the race continues with the Waterbury circuit race, a 50-mile event consisting of 13 laps of a brutal 4-mile course, and the series wraps up on Sunday with the Housatonic Valley Classic road race, starting and finishing in Danbury.

Photo Gallery

Results

1. Ivan Dominguez, Colavita Olive Oil, 57:11;2. Charles Dionne, Webcor Builders;3. Mike Sayers, Health Net presented by Maxxis;4. Danny Pate, Health Net;5. Ang Sheldrake, TIAA-Cref/5280 Magazine;6. Alexandre Nadeau, Volkswagen TREK;7. Jamiel Danesh, McGuire Pro Cycling Team;8. Juan Jose Haedo, Colavita Olive Oil;9. Gord Fraser, Health Net;10. Shawn Milne, Fior di Frutta, all s.t.;

Overall;

1. McCormack, 57; 2. Milne, 40; 3. Nadeau, 34; 4. Fraser, 27; 5. Dionne, 27.