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By Joe McDermott, Special to VeloNews.com
Marty Nothstein and Sarah Uhl each ended a week of frustration by taking gold medals and national championship jerseys in the final men’s and women’s events of the 2002 U.S. Track Cycling Championships on their home track at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, PA.
Nothstein easily outsprinted nemesis Jame Carney in the final sprint of a crash-marred men’s 10-mile scratch race to secure his spot at the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of September.
Uhl, the former junior world women’s sprint champ competing in her first year as an elite senior, won a rain-delayed women’s points race by outsprinting defending champion Erin Mirabella on the final lap. She also goes to world’s.
Nothstein (Navigators) was stymied by Carney in the points race and Madison earlier in the week and knew going into the final event that Carney was depending on several Prime Alliance teammates, including his brother, Jonas, to keep the pace high and keep Nothstein at bay.
But the Olympic gold medalist in the sprints had too much at the end and Carney couldn’t match his sprint.
“Going into it I knew it would be a race between Jame, his teammates, [Mike] Tillman (Schroeder Iron),” Nothstein said afterward. “This is what I’ve been shooting for my whole track season. When I looked at the schedule and saw the 10-mile was added to the worlds, that’s what I wanted.”
Carney, who added the team pursuit gold to his points and Madison victories, said the full week of racing after an illness-prone season affected his performance. He was also racing in a larger-than-usual gear, expecting constant attacks, he said.
“It’s been the roughest season for me since 1995 when I crashed on my face, had Epstein-Barr and shin problems,” Carney said. But, he said, he has three golds to his credit. “Almost nobody wins four national titles in one year.”
A crash on the back straight sent Jon Frederick, Larry Detris (both East Coast Velo), Marcus Black (Cody Racing) and Garth Blackburn (FOCUS 2004) to the pavement and caused a delay in racing while the injured riders were tended to by medical personnel. Saturn espoir rider Tim Reinhart, 19, made a breakaway when racing resumed and finished third in the race.
Uhl, fresh off her junior world championship year and a freshman season on the University of Vermont cross-country ski team, came close in several events before finally winning her first points race title. She placed second in the match sprint and keirin and came in third in the women’s 500-meter race.
“I tell you, I have to wait until last to do everything,” she joked afterward, referring to the junior world title she also won in Trexlertown last year on the final night of racing. “I was in so much pain. I was almost dropped a couple times, I was in tears.”
She also felt the pressure of going winless at her home track, where she was named The Morning Call Rider of the Year at the end of the regular season based on a summer-long points competition.
“I’m proud that I got a silver in the sprints, a photo finish in the keirin and then won the points race,” she said. “Do you know any other athlete who can do that?”