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U.S. Open: North American Championships?

In what is being billed as the “true North American Championship,” the inauguralU.S. Open CyclingChampionships are set for Saturday, April 7, in Richmond, Virginia.The 112-mile men’s race, a stop on the international UCI Americas Tourand the national USA Cycling Pro Tour, will begin in colonial Williamsburg,Virginia and follow the route along the historic Jamestown Plantationsand Civil War battlefields, ending with eight 5.5-mile circuits in downtownRichmond including a brutal cobblestone climb up Libby Hill. The men’s race begins at 8:10 a.m., and the men are expected to enterthe Richmond

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By Neal Rogers

The Opener: For the men, the U.S. Open kicks off with a route through Virginia's historic countryside.

The Opener: For the men, the U.S. Open kicks off with a route through Virginia’s historic countryside.

Photo:

In what is being billed as the “true North American Championship,” the inauguralU.S. Open CyclingChampionships are set for Saturday, April 7, in Richmond, Virginia.The 112-mile men’s race, a stop on the international UCI Americas Tourand the national USA Cycling Pro Tour, will begin in colonial Williamsburg,Virginia and follow the route along the historic Jamestown Plantationsand Civil War battlefields, ending with eight 5.5-mile circuits in downtownRichmond including a brutal cobblestone climb up Libby Hill.

The men’s race begins at 8:10 a.m., and the men are expected to enterthe Richmond circuit at about 10:30 a.m. The women’s circuit race startsat 9:00 a.m. in Richmond in front of The Library of Virginia, and willfinish at about 10:15 a.m. The women will race nine laps on a challenging3-mile circuit that shares the western section of the men’s course. Themen’s field will fight for $30,000 in prize money, while the women’s fieldwill divide $10,000 in prizes.

However there will be more on the line than prize money in Richmond.For the first time since the 1996 Tour DuPont, an American cycling eventwill have same-day national network coverage, broadcast on NBCSports will be broadcast from 2:30-5:00 p.m. The announcing team forthe U.S. Open Cycling Championships will consist of Al Trautwig, Bob Roll,Frankie Andreu and the race’s director, John Eustice. Award-wining televisionproduction company Kent Gordis Productions will have 10 cameras, includingtwo motorcycle units and a helicopter camera, as well as GPS-based timingand transponders.

“This is a very important milestone for U.S. cycling,” said RichardDurishin, the Principal of Red Five Sports Group, the organizer of theU.S. Open Cycling Championships. “The last time domestic cycling was onnetwork television was in 1996. Since then the sport has grown tremendouslyin the United States. We have created a world-class one-day road cyclingevent specifically designed to be television-friendly.”

2007 U.S. Open CyclingChampionships – Teams
UCI Continental ProfessionalNavigators Insurance – (USA)Health Net presented by Maxxis – (USA)Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle – (USA)UCI ContinentalToyota-United – (USA) Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara – (Mex) Symmetrics – (Can)Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Lightt – (USA)AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork – (USA)BMC Racing – (USA) Calyon-Litespeed – (Can) Équipe Volkswagen-Trek – (Can) Equipe Vallee de L’Aluminium de Vinci – (Can)Jelly Belly – (USA)Jittery Joe’s – (USA) Team Nerac – (USA)Kodak Gallery presented by Sierra Nevada – (USA)Priority Health presented by Bissell – (USA)Rite Aid – (USA)Team Successful Living – (USA)Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast– (USA)National Team USA Cycling National Development Team – (USA)


FullStart List

As a UCI 1.1 event, the race is required to draw a minimum of five internationalteams. Perhaps a byproduct of the event’s financial uncertainty in themonths leading into the race, the international teams attending all hailfrom either the USA, Canada or Mexico, hence the true North American Championship.However, given the riders expected to start the race, an American may notprove to be the winner. Toyota-United, the hottest North American teamthus far in 2007, brings two heavy favorites in Australian HenkVogels and Cuban IvanDominguez.

Held the day before the Tour of Flanders, organizers are hoping theU.S. Open and its cobbled climb up Libby Hill will become a North Americanspring classic. After a circuit around the colonial area, the course followsJamestown Road and then travels up Greensprings Road to Virginia Route5. Heading west along the Route 5 corridor, the cyclists will cross theChickahominy River and then cruise past the historic James River Plantationsand Charles City County Courthouse, and through the Malvern Hill Battlefield.

From Malvern Hill, the route doglegs on Kingsland Road and the OsborneTurnpike. Entering Richmond on Dock Street at about 10:30 a.m., the racerswill begin an arduous 5.5-mile circuit that they’ll traverse eight times.The circuit includes a steep climb over cobblestones in Libby Hill Park,and passage through both Jackson Ward and Shockoe Bottom. Along the way,the athletes will pass close to many Richmond landmarks, including theBill “Bojangles” Robinson statue, the Confederate Soldiers and SailorsMonument and the newly unveiled Reconciliation Memorial. The men will finisharound noon in front of The Library of Virginia. Live television coverageof the race will be broadcast on Jumbotrons set up both at the finish lineand in Libby Hill Park. According to Andreu, the climb up Libby Hill is“brutal.”

“This race is a true test and on this course, only a real champion canwin,” Andreu said. “Viewers across the nation will learn why the UnitedStates offers races for professional cyclists just as exciting as thosewe are more familiar with in Europe.”

Saturday’s weather could play a decisive factor. The current forecastcalls for temperatures in the mid-30s at the start, with a 30 percent chanceof rain and/or sleet and snow mix. Temperatures in Richmond for the finish(expected to be around noon) are forecast to be in the mid-40s under cloudyskies.

Currently the top team in the U.S, Toyota-United brings Dominguez andVogels into the event as pre-race favorites. Dominguez, known as the “CubanMissile,” has proved himself one of the fastest men in the world with hisStage 7 win at the Amgen Tour of California, beating a host of top Europeansprinters. Dominguez has started 20 races to date, scoring seven victories(three in National Race Calendar events) and one third-place finish.

Vogels, the tough-as-nails Australian with years of European racingexperience, will use his experience as a two-time top-10 Paris-Roubaixfinisher on the eight climbs up Libby Hill’s cobblestone path. Toyota-Unitedalso brings ChrisWherry, winner of two important one-day races, the 2003 Saturn Classicfrom Boulder to Breckenridge, Colorado, and the 2005 Wachovia USPRO Championship,and punchy climber IvanStevic. Overall, Toyota-United has four NRC victories, 10 wins and18 podium finishes to date.

The Closer: The men's race ends with eight laps through Richmond

The Closer: The men’s race ends with eight laps through Richmond

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“I will probably designate some of our guys to do a job early on – riderswho have a lesser chance of making it happen,” Toyota-United Team DirectorHarm Jansen said. “They’re there to cover breaks. That’s one thing we cancontrol: being represented in every break that goes up the road. If wedon’t like the representation of the break, we will chase it down immediately.”

Toyota-United will likely face its biggest opposition from Health Net-Maxxis,Navigators Insurance, Slipstream-Chipotle and BMC Racing.

Health Net-Maxxis brings big Aussie Karl Menzies to Virginia, a powerfulrider that might just find the course perfectly to his liking. Also a strongcontender for Health Net is 2001 national criterium champion Kirk O’Bee,a strongman and fast finisher.

Contenders for Navigators Insurance include Belarussian strongman ViktorRapinski, Phil Zajicek, Glen Chadwick and Valeriy Kobzarenko. Slipstream-Choptle’stop riders will likely be Danny Pate and Jason Donald.

BMC Racing brings the experience of Scott Moninger and Mike Sayers,the ProTour skill of Alexandre Moos and the horsepower of Jackson Stewartand Dan Schmatz.

Also racing, for Colavita-Sutter Home, is Charles Dionne, two-time winnerof the San Francisco Grand Prix, a similarly difficult one-day race.

Other top domestic riders on the start list include recent RedlandsClassic winner AndyBajadali (Jelly Belly), who is backed by powerful riders like AlexCandelario and MikeJones, and current NRC leader BenJacques-Maynes (Priority Health-Bissell), who is backed by ScottZwizanski and BrianSheedy.

Another rider to watch will be reigning cross-country and cyclo-cross championRyanTrebon, 25, who makes his debut with Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada. His2006 results riding for AEG-Toshiba included a second place at the Mt.Hood stage race prologue, nine seconds behind Health Net-Maxxis rider NathanO’Neill but ahead of Scott Moninger and Phil Zajicek. Trebon finished fifthoverall.

Team Symmetrics’ Sven Tuft, recent winner of the Tour of Cuba, willlead the Canadian challenge. Mexico’s Tecos de la Universidad Autonomade Guadalajara racing team, currently in a dogfight for the leadershipof the UCI Americas Tour Team classification, will be led by Fausto MarcelinoMuñoz, overall winner of the UCI-ranked Univest Grand Prix in 2006.Cuban Frank Trevisio and 22-year old Keith Norris lead AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork,a team with 20 wins in 2007.

2006 Tour de France Champion Floyd Landis will also be in Richmond tosupport the inaugural U.S. Open Cycling Championships.

“It’s no secret in professional cycling that North American racingis among the most aggressive, and dynamic in the world,” said Eustice.“There’s good reason that 11 out of the past 20 Tours de France have beenwon by U.S. riders and that the ranks of European pro teams are pepperedwith athletes formed in the rough and tumble of our racing.”

In the women’s race, four-time national criterium and NRC individualchampion Tina Pic headlines the women’s peloton. Racing for Colavita-SutterHome, the Buford, Georgia, resident is known for a blazing sprint finish.Jen McRae, winner in 2006 of the Athens Twilight Criterium and wifeof former USPRO national champion Chann McRae, has recently joined theAdvil-Chapstick team. With the added horsepower of that team behind her,McRae is hoping to find the edge to beat her rival Pic in one of NorthAmerica’s most anticipated races. The women’s $10,000 prize list includesa sprinting competition that will be contested on each lap of the race.The finish of the women’s race will be featured in the same-day nationalNBC Sports broadcast.

Photo Gallery

Results

Start List
Health Net p/b Maxxis

1 Tim Johnson, (USA)

2 Karl Menzies, (Aus)

3 Kirk O'bee, (USA)

4 Frank Pipp, (USA)

5 Matthew Crane, (USA)

6 Shawn Milne, (USA)

7 Kyle Gritters, (USA)

8 Russell Downing, (GB)

Navigators Insurance

11 Glen Chadwick, (NZ)

12 Matt Cooke, (USA)

13 Ben Day, (Aus)

14 Valeriy Kobzarenko, (Ukr)

15 Darren Lill, (RSA)

16 Viktor Rapinski, (Blr)

17 David Rodriguez, (USA)

18 Phil Zajicek, (USA)

Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle

21 Danny Pate, (USA)

22 Timmy Duggan, (USA)

23 Craig Lewis, (USA)

24 Jason Donald, (USA)

25 Blake Caldwell, (USA)

26 Pat Mccarty, (USA)

27 Lucas Euser, (USA)

28 Mike Lange, (USA)

AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork

31 Yosvany Falcon, (Cub)

32 Chris Frederick, (USA)

33 Ivan Franco, (USA)

34 Eric Keim, (USA)

35 Keith Norris, (USA)

36 Predrag Prokic, (SCG)

37 Frank Travieso, (Cub)

38 Scottie Weiss, (USA)

BMC Racing

41 Michael Sayers, (USA)

42 Scott Moninger, (USA)

43 Daniel Schmatz, (USA)

44 Ken Hanson, (USA)

45 Jacob Rosenbarger, (USA)

46 Jackson Stewart, (USA)

47 Chad Hartley, (USA)

48 Alexandre Moos, (Swi)

Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light

51 Alejandro Acton, (Arg)

52 Luca Damiana, (I)

53 Charles Dionne, (Can)

54 Peter Hatton, (Aus)

55 David Mccann, (Irl)

56 Daniel Vaillancourt, (USA)

57 Tyler Wren, (USA)

58 Davide Frattini, (I)

Equipe Vallee de L'Aluminium de Vinci

61 Bruno Langlois, (Can)

62 Eric Boily, (Can)

63 Mathieu Toulouse, (Can)

64 Mathieu Roy, (Can)

65 Joel Dion-poitras, (Can)

66 Raphael Tremblay, (Can)

67 Charles Thibault, (Can)

68 Equipe Vallee de L'Aluminium de Vinci

Équipe Volkswagen-Trek

71 Keven Lacombe, (Can)

72 Jean Sébastien Béland, (Can)

73 Ryan Mckenzie, (Can)

74 André Tremblay, (Can)

75 Christian Deshaies, (Can)

76

77

78

Jelly Belly

81 Matthew Rice, (Aus)

82 Alex Candelario, (USA)

83 Brian Dziewa, (USA)

84 Bryce Mead, (USA)

85 Andrew Bajadali, (USA)

86 Nick Reistad, (USA)

87 Mike Jones, (USA)

88 Jelly Belly

Jittery Joe's

91 Trent Wilson, (Aus)

92 Jeffery Hopkins, (Aus)

93 Neil Shirley, (USA)

94 Austin King, (USA)

95 Evan Elken, (USA)

96 Cody Stevenson, (Aus)

97 Tommy Nankervis, (Aus)

98

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling

101 Daniel Bowman, (USA)

102 Martin Gilbert, (Can)

103 Jonathan Mumford, (USA)

104 Dominique Perras, (Can)

105 Ryan Roth, (Can)

106 Justin Spinelli, (USA)

107 Jonathan Sundt, (USA)

108 Waite Nicholas, (USA)

Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada

111 Mark Walters, (Can)

112 Dominique Rollin, (Can)

113 Josh Thornton, (USA)

114 Ben Raby, (USA)

115 Jesse Anthony, (USA)

116 Mike Dietrich, (USA)

117 Dan Timmerman, (USA)

118 Ryan Trebon, (USA)

Nerac Pro Cycling

121 Adam Myerson, (USA)

122 Christopher Jones, (USA)

123 David Wiswell, (USA)

124 Aidan Charles, (USA)

125 Patrick Walsh, (USA)

126 Daniel Holt, (USA)

127

128

Priority Health p/b Bissell

131 Emile Abraham, (Tri)

132 Richard England, (Aus)

133 Ben Jacques-Maynes, (USA)

134 Edward King, (USA)

135 Garrett Peltonen, (USA)

136 Brian Sheedy, (USA)

137 Omer Kem, (USA)

138 Scott Zwizanski, (USA)

Rite Aid

141 Alejandro Borrajo, (Arg)

142 Sebastian Alexander, (Arg)

143 Jake Rytlewski, (USA)

144 Mike Norton, (USA)

145 Clayton Barrows, (USA)

146 Stephan Kincaid, (USA)

147 Bill Elliston, (USA)

148 Ryan Dewald, (USA)

Symmetrics

151 Svein Tuft, (Can)

152 Cameron Evans, (Can)

153 Andrew Randell, (Can)

154 Andrew Pinfold, (Can)

155 Zach Bell, (Can)

156 Eric Wohlberg, (Can)

157 Jacob Erker, (Can)

158 Marsh Cooper, (Can)

Team Successful Living

161 Alessandro Bazzana, (I)

162 Ricardo Escuela, (Arg)

163 Dusan Ganic, (SCG)

164 Curtis Gunn, (USA)

165 Christian Valenzuela, (Mex)

166

167

168

Tecos

171 Gregorio Ladino Vega, (Col)

172 Fausto Marcelino Esparza Munos, (Mex)

173 Jesus Zarate Estrada, (Mex)

174 John Fredy Parra Celada, (Col)

175 Bernardo Colex Tepoz, (Mex)

176

177

178

Toyota-United

181 Ivan Dominguez, (Cub)

182 Justin England, (USA)

183 Jose-Manuel Garcia, (Mex)

184 Caleb Manion, (Aus)

185 Ivan Stevic, (SCG)

186 Sean Sullivan, (Aus)

187 Henk Vogels, (Aus)

188 Chris Wherry, (USA)

USA Cycling National Development Team

191 Tejay Van Garderen, (USA)

192 Zachary Grabowski, (USA)

193 Eric Riggs, (USA)

194 Christopher Stockburger, (USA)

195 Spencer Beamer, (USA)

196 Scott Stewart, (USA)

197 Kevin Soller, (USA)

198 Alex Boyd, (USA)