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By Joe McDermott, Special to VeloNews.com
Jeff LeBauve (Focus 2004) powered over teammate Gideon Massie in the second ride of the match sprints finals to take the national championship Friday night at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. LeBauve joins teammates Tanya Lindenmuth (women’s match sprint) and Garth Blackburn (keirin) on top of the podium this week at the track nationals in Trexlertown, PA.
“It was a lot tougher than it looked,” the 23-year-old New Orleans native said. He was concerned, he said, about Massie’s ability to hold a long sprint but also confident in his superior speed.
LeBauve’s win made it three of four in the speed events for the young Focus 2004 team, a streak broken only by Jennie Reed’s tire-width win in the first women’s keirin national championship race.
Reed, of Kirkland, WA, took advantage of an opening at the bottom of the track in the six-woman field to motor away on the back straight, but barely edged former junior world sprint champion Sarah Uhl at the line to claim the title.
An ecstatic Reed didn’t even realize she won until a lap-and-a-half into her cool-down when third-place finisher Becky Quinn of Tri-State Velo Amoroso gave her the news.
Quinn came back for an equally close win in the women’s 5-mile scratch race to claim her first national championship.
The T-town regular spent nine weeks in California working with coach Mark Whitehead while recovering from a back injury.
“Gotta go, legs carry me to the finish line, that’s all there was to it,” a smiling Quinn said she was thinking as she came around the fourth turn in the tight field.
Jame Carney (Prime Alliance Cycling) and Colby Pearce (OFOTO-Lombardi Sport) teamed for the win in the 120-lap Madison race by going two laps up early in the race.
Carney outsprinted Marty Nothstein (Navigators) at the end to stamp the win. Nothstein was paired with longtime partner Ryan Oelkers (Flyers BiKyle).
“That’s bike racing,” Nothstein said. “You can’t cover every move, you can’t win every sprint.” Nothstein noted that the Prime Alliance II team of Jonas Carney and John Walrod was working for the Carney-Pearce team and he suspected others may have helped.
“There’s more deals out there than who’s wearing the same jerseys.”Nothstein, who has owned the keirin, match sprint and Olympic sprint titles for six years, remains winless at the 2002 championships.
The 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the match sprint passed on the event this year to focus on endurance races and is pinning his hopes on Saturday’s 10-mile scratch race in his final bid for a national title this year.
Nothstein lost the points race title to Jame Carney on Thursday after backing out of a defense of his 2001 kilo championship.
A rain-compressed schedule led officials to schedule the kilo and points race on the same night. The original schedule had them a day apart.
Carney, though, is hoping for a sprint finish against the Olympic champion.
“I don’t like winning a bike race when there’s no one racing,” Carney said.