By Bryan Jew, VeloNews managing editor
Over the last few years, a trip to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles has meant either sneaking out late at night for a fourth meal of the day while visiting family in SoCal, or insane 16-hour stealth road trips. But now chicken and waffles have landed in the least likely of places, Boulder, at a new restaurant here in town. A report will definitely be forthcoming.
On a related topic, according to an AP report, a 53-year-old man is suing the company that promotes the Atkins Diet, “alleging that following the high-fat meal plan clogged his arteries and threatened his health.” Gee, you think?
Seems an appropriate time to steal that old SNL line that, in a related story, McDonald’s has introduced its latest offering, “Butter McCheese.”
Of course, anyone in the Philly area for Wachovia Week next week might just want to put any nutrition talk on hold while they search out the perfect Philly cheesesteak. The racing starts Tuesday in Lancaster, followed by Trenton on Thursday and then Philadelphia on Sunday June 6, but last week’s Tour of Connecticut gave us a few peeks at how some of the favorites and U.S. teams are looking heading into the most important week of racing in the U.S. Among the teams on hand in Connecticut were four that could be considered potential favorites in Wachovia Week: Webcor, Colavita, Navigators and Health Net.
One rider who made a strong statement after three weeks off from racing following the Tour de Georgia was Webcor Builders’ Chris Horner. When Horner went with a move just 30 miles into the 100-mile Housatonic Valley Classic stage, it took even his own team by surprise, but 70 miles later he completed an epic escape in a downpour in Danbury. VeloNews photographer Casey Gibson, who was on a moto behind Horner and Dominque Perras for much of the day, said it was one of the most impressive efforts he has seen in his years of covering the sport. Earlier in the month Horner had said that his form is not what it was in March at Pomona and Redlands, but it looks like he’ll be on the upswing heading into Wachovia Week, and his chief lieutenant and another potential contender during the week, Charles Dionne, was looking sharp in Connecticut as well.
While Horner is still hunting a first USPRO title, Colavita Olive Oil’s Mark McCormack will be looking to become only the third rider to win the jersey twice, and both McCormack and his Colavita team seemed to up their level in Connecticut, with McCormack and his younger teammates playing their cards right on the opening Sunday race in Litchfield and then defending the leader’s jersey all week; Ivan Dominguez winning the New Haven criterium; and Will Frischkorn riding strongly in the winning break on the Waterbury circuit. It’s been a steep learning curve for some of the holdovers from last year to reach a level where they can work to defend McCormack’s stars-and-stripes, but their progress, combined with the veteran leadership of McCormack, Dominguez, Frischkorn, Aaron Olson and Nathan O’Neill, could bode well for Philly.
After coming on strong at Georgia, Health Net has continued to roll in the month of May. They garnered one stage win for Gord Fraser in the Lime Rock Park circuit race, but more importantly they got strong rides during the week from two riders who they’ll need to perform well in Philly week, Chris Wherry and Danny Pate. With Fraser, John Lieswyn, Wherry, Pate, Jason McCartney and Mike Sayers leading the way, Health Net may have the most potential podium threats in terms of sheer numbers of any other team in the race.
Navigators Insurance took a much-needed win at the Waterbury circuit race when Jeff Louder outsprinted Wherry and Frischkorn after 13 laps of the difficult 4-mile climbing circuit. Though they had a string of podium finishes while in Europe this spring, they never did crack through for a win, so Louder’s W was a big confidence booster for the squad, which suffered through miserable cold weather during its spring campaign in Europe, and then had to race through the Georgia heat on its return to the U.S.
And finally, you can’t overlook the performance of Ofoto’s Perras in taking the week’s KoM jersey and sticking with Horner for almost 70 miles. Though his focus is on repeating as Canadian champion later in the month, he’ll obviously be a weapon for Ofoto on the East Coast.
As of Thursday, it looked like the U.S. team’s peformance at the track world’s was headed toward worst-case-scenario status in terms of Olympic qualification. USA Cycling had hoped that the team sprint squad would place in the top 10 to qualify a starting position not only in the team sprint, but in the keirin, match sprint and kilometer. That plan went up in smoke when the team managed only 11th, though they will qualify for a team sprint start through World Cup standings. And the best performance of the first two days, Jennie Reed’s keirin bronze medal, had no Olympic implications whatsoever, as there’s no women’s keirin in the Olympics.
I’ve gotta admit I didn’t pay any attention to “American Idol” over the past month. What’s the big deal? Hasn’t William Hung’s CD already been out for weeks? Talk about livin’ the dream.
Have you been paying attention? Send us your thoughts with an e-mail to email@example.com. We can’t promise you a shot on “American Idol,” but there might be a waffle in it for you.