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By VeloNews Interactive
Mercury’s Gord Fraser and Diet Rites’s Tina Mayolo-Pic each took the top spot in the Downtown Grand Prix Criterium in Merced, California on Saturday.
The men’s race was the typical early season barn burner with every team trying its hand at escaping the main group. But with the racing so aggressive, the peloton was strung out from the gun and no breakaways were allowed to escape. Saturn, Mercury, Prime Alliance, Navigators and 7-Up-Nutra Fig all contributed to the last 15 laps of furious tempo riding to keep their lead-out trains near the front.
With two laps to go Prime Alliance was in control on the front with Saturn and Mercury in the hunt. Coming into the final lap it was the three teams side by side making for a breath taking finish. At the line it was Fraser nipping Saturn’s Harm Jansen, with 7-Up-Nutra Fig’s Charles Dionne in third.
In the women’s race it was Mayolo-Pic of the new Diet-Rite team jumped first out of the last turn with 250 meters to go for the win over Saturn’s Lyne Bessette and their breakaway partner Dara Rogers (Helens-Trek).
DOWNTOWN GRAND PRIX, Merced, California. March 2;
Men;1. Gord Fraser, Mercury; 2. Harm Jansen, Saturn; 3. Charles Dionne, 7-Up-Nutra Fig
Women; 1. Tina Mayolo-Pic, Diet Rite; 2. Lynn Bessette, Saturn; 3. Dara Rogers, Helens-Trek