Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.
By VeloNews Interactive
The third time was not a charm for Jason McCartney, who was off the front alone and apparently bound for victory in the final miles of the T-Mobile International in San Francisco Sunday.
His Health Net-Maxxis team had put five riders – McCartney, Danny Pate, Mike Sayers, John Lieswyn and Mike Jones – into an early 15-man break in the hilly 108.4-mile race, the finale of the 2004 Pro Cycling Tour. With nine 8.8-mile laps and five five-mile laps, the course dished up a total of 23 trips up the steep Fillmore and Taylor Street climbs, peaking at gradients of over 20 percent.
Also in the break were two Domina Vacanze riders, Valerio Agnoli and Massimo Iannetti; two Webcor riders, John Kelly and James Mattis; Navigators Insurance’s Jeff Louder; U.S. Postal-Berry Floor’s Pavel Padrnos; Sierra Nevada’s Ben Jacques-Maynes; Team Seasilver’s Neil Shirley; Phonak’s Swiss champion Daniel Schnider; and Jelly Belly-Aramak’s Doug Ollerenshaw.
Hovering with a gap of around two minutes, the group began to shed riders, with Lieswyn and Jacques-Maynes among the early victims.Coming into the last of nine trips around the nine-mile loop, McCartney surged away and only Doug Ollerenshaw (Jelly Belly) could follow.
Then on the final climb up Fillmore Street, McCartney attacked his sole breakaway companion.
“Ollerenshaw had been sprinting all day for the climbers points,” McCartney said. “[Health Net team director Jeff Corbett] said you have to say with him, but I told him, ‘I know I can go faster. On Fillmore the last time, I gotta go.’”
As the race segued into five five-mile laps that included only the Taylor Street climb, the Health Net rider was off on his own, just as he was back in June when he won the Olympic-selection road race in Redlands, California. The go-long tactic also worked for him in April’s Tour of Georgia, where McCartney soloed to victory in the mountainous 137.5-mile fifth stage.
And it looked as though it would work for him in San Francisco, too. McCartney began that first five-mile lap with a gap of 1:15 over Ollerenshaw and 4:30 over the peloton, with a scattering of riders – many of them his teammates – in between.
But the pressure from behind never relented – instead, it grew, as U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor launched a furious chase on the shorter circuit, and a tiring McCartney gradually began surrendering ground.
“The wind picked up at the end of the day,” McCartney said. “I knew my speed was coming down, but I didn’t know if it was the wind or if I was just getting tired. I felt pretty good until two laps to go, and I was still trying to go as fast as I could.”
Entering the final lap McCartney held a 1:15 lead, but on the final trip up Taylor, 2002 winner Charles Dionne (Webcor) shot out of the charging bunch. The Canadian sprinter overtook the struggling Health Net rider and rocketed on past toward the finish.
For Dionne, the win came as redemption following a 2003 season marred with injuries and a 2004 season that has been spent in the services of Webcor Builders teammate Chris Horner, the winner of the event last year.
“Chris Horner is my hero today,” said Dionne after Horner helped drive a small chase group over the final 20 miles. “My teammates on Webcor were chasing and Chris and I were saving ourselves, but at one point I said, ‘Hey, [McCartney] has got a big gap. Somebody’s got to sacrifice.’ I was willing to do it, but Chris said, ‘You know what? You’re the strongest here. You do it.’ I was like, ‘Yeah baby, just bring it to me. I’m not going to disappoint you.’”
U.S. national champion Fred Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone) launched his own pursuit in the final miles to the line, but his move proved too little, too late – Dionne held on to win for his second time here, with Rodriguez second. George Hincapie (U.S. Postal Service), himself a winner here in 2001, took the field sprint for third.
“I didn’t have super legs today,” Hincapie said. “It’s been a long year. I’m disappointed we couldn’t win for the Postal Service. It’s my last race in their jersey, but it’s been a long season for me and I haven’t quite gotten back to normal from the Tour. Given that, it was an okay day.
If the day was tough for Hincapie, it was downright rotten for Rodriguez, who was caught up in a crash on the eighth of the nine longer laps — with about 33 miles remaining — and was forced to wait during a devastatingly long bike change.
“The crash was in front of me,” Rodriguez said. “It happened to be on a fast corner in the wind. I flexed a little bit and my wheels slid out and I crashed. My bike broke and I had to wait for the cars. My team came a little unprepared, and the spare bike wasn’t ready and they had to spend a lot of time getting the second bike ready. I was very disappointed I had to spend a lot of energy in the cars, working on the bike, for most of the race, even on the last lap. In the crash, I activated an injury I’ve had the last couple of weeks, and basically I couldn’t pedal with my left leg. I was trying to save as much energy as I could, and not pedal with my left leg until the hills, and when [Dionne] went I just couldn’t do it with one leg.”
Rodriguez was able to take some consolation with his overall win in the 2004 Pro Cycling Tour.
The day’s outcome certainly was no surprise to Dionne, who like teammate (and 2003 winner) Chris Horner had predicted the victory – if not for himself, then certainly for the team.
“We’ll see how the team wants to play it,” Dionne told VeloNews before the race, “but one Webcor is going to win it.”
Hey – if you can do it, it ain’t braggin.
San Francisco, CA. September 12
1. Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Cycling Team, 4:24:32
2. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Acqua & Sapone-Rabobank, 0:08
3. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 0:16
4 Ben Brooks (Aus), Jelly Belly-Aramark, same time
5. Kirk O’bee (USA), Navigators Insurance, s.t.
6. Massimilano Mori (I), Domina Vacanze, s.t.
7. Uros Murn (Slo), Phonak Hearing Systems, s.t.
8. Massimo Giunti (I), Domina Vacanze, s.t.
9. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly-Aramark, s.t.
10. Johan Tschopp, (Swi), Phonak Hearing Systems, s.t.
11. Chris Horner (USA), Webcor Cycling Team, s.t.
12. Jason McCartney (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 0:20
13. Chris Baldwin (USA), Navigators Insurance, 0:23
14. Jose Rubiera (Sp), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 0:59
15. Eric Wohlberg (Can), Sierra Nevada Cycling, 2:01
16. Marco Fertonani (I), Phonak Hearing Systems, s.t.
17. Daniel Schnider (Swi), Phonak Hearing Systems, s.t.
18. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, s.t.
19. Jorg Ludewig (G), Saeco-Alessio-Bianchi, s.t.
20. Dominique Perras (Can), Ofoto Cycling Team, s.t.
21. Aaron Olson (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Bolla Wine, s.t.
22. Francesco Failli (I), Domina Vacanze, s.t.
23. Jacob Erker (Can), Team Seasilver, s.t.
24. Cameron Hughes (Aus), Subway-Express, 2:16
25. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Acqua & Sapone -Rabobank, 2:23
26. Tim Larkin (USA), Ofoto Cycling Team, 4:17
27. Alberto Rodriguez Oliver (Sp), Suanier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
28. David Dela Fuente (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
29. Brian Sheedy (USA), Team Seasilver, s.t.
30. Chris Wherry (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 5:08
31. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), Sierra Nevada Cycling, 5:13
32. Andrew Randell (Can), Jet Fuel Coffee, 6:00
33. Arquimedes Lam (Mex), Canel’s UB Racing, 7:01
34. Doug Ollerenshaw (USA), Jelly Belly-Aramark, 8:40
35. Valerio Agnoli (I), Domina Vacanze, 8:52
36. Josh Hall (Can), Jet Fuel Coffee, 9:31
Final Pro Tour overall
1. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Acqua & Sapone-Rabobank, 202pts
2. Francisco Jos Ventoso Alberdi (Sp), Suanier Duval-Prodir, 126
3. Gordon Fraser (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, 125
4. Charles Dionne (Can), Webcor Cycling Team, 100
5. Lars Michaelsen, Den, Team CSC, 76
6. Ben Brooks (Aus), Jelly Belly-Aramark, 75
7. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 60
7. Antonio Bucciero (I), Saeco-Alessio-Bianchi, 60
7. Greg Henderson (NZ), Health Net-Maxxis, 60
10. Kirk O’Bee (USA), Navigators Insurance, 54
10. Alberto Loddo (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, 54
12. Jonas Carney (USA), Jelly Belly-Aramark, 44
13. Plamen Stoyanov, Bul, Hoop Ccc Polstat, 42
14. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 40
15. Ivan Dominguez, Cub, Colavita Olive Oil-Bolla Wine, 38
16. Michael Barry (Can), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 36
16. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 36
18. Juan Jose Haedo, Arg, Colavita Olive Oil-Bolla Wine, 32
19. Massimilano Mori (I), Domina Vacanze, 28
20. Chris Horner (USA), Webcor Cycling Team, 26
21. Piotr Chmielewski (Pol), Action ATI, 24
21. Uros Murn (Slo), Phonak Hearing Systems, 24
23. Robbie Ventura (USA), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 22
23. Ciaran Power (Irl), Navigators Insurance, 22
25. Ruggero Marzoli (I), Acqua & Sapone-Caffee Mokambo, 20
25. Dennis Kraft (G), Action ATI, 20
25. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly-Aramark, 20
25. Massimo Giunti (I), Domina Vacanze, 20
29. Alex Candelario (USA), Jelly Belly-Aramark, 18
29. Gordon Mccauley (NZ), Team Monex, 18
31. (Rus)sell Hamby (USA), Sierra Nevada Cycling, 16
31. Johan Tschopp (Swi), Phonak Hearing Systems, 16
33. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 14
33. Arkadiusz Wojtas (Pol), Hoop Ccc Polstat, 14
33. David McCook (USA), McGuire Pro Cycling, 14
36. Mark McCormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Bolla Wine, 12
36. Jakob Piil, Den, Team CSC, 12
36. Jason McCartney (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 12
36. Jaroslaw Zarebski (Pol), Hoop Ccc Polstat, 12
40. Denis Bertolini (I), Acqua & Sapone-Caffee Mokambo, 11
40. Eric Wohlberg (Can), Sierra Nevada Cycling, 11
42. Tristan Hoffman (Ned), Team CSC, 10
42. Chris Baldwin (USA), Navigators Insurance, 10
42. Hayden Godfrey (NZ), Health Net-Maxxis, 10
45. Adam Wadecki (Pol), Action ATI, 9
45. Jose Rubiera (Sp), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 9
47. Kazimierz Stafiej (Pol), Action ATI, 8
47. Brice Jones (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 8
49. Radoslaw Romanik (Pol), Hoop CCC Polstat, 7
49. Marco Fertonani (I), Phonak Hearing Systems, 7
51. Chris Wherry (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 6
51. Matthew Dubberly (USA), Sierra Nevada Cycling, 6
51. Jason Waddell (USA), Sharper Image-Mathis Brothers Furniture, 6
51. Daniel Schnider (Swi), Phonak Hearing Systems, 6
55. Danny Schmatz (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 5
55. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor, 5
57. Buck Miller (Can), Jet Fuel Coffee, 4
57. Chad Hartley (USA), Jittery Joe’s, 4
57. Jorg Ludewig (G), Saeco-Alessio-Bianchi, 4
60. Jeff Hansen (Can), Jet Fuel Coffee, 3
60. Dominique Perras (Can), Ofoto Cycling Team, 3
60. Brian Sheedy (USA), Team Seasilver, 3
63. Marty Nothstein (USA), Navigators Insurance, 2
64. Gustavo Artacho (Arg), Colavita Olive Oil-Bolla Wine, 1
64. John Lieswyn (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, 1