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Nature Valley: Four Days of Blood, Sweat and Gears

With Philly week behind us, all eyes — well, okay, at least those focused on domestic road racing — now turn to the four-day, five-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix. The premiere component of the twin cities’ Great River Energy Bicycle Festival, Nature Valley begins Thursday, June 12, in Two Harbors, Minnesota. Last year’s event, a three-day omnium — scored on cumulative finishing positions, rather than overall time — was won by John Lieswyn (7UP-Maxxis) and Laura Van Gilder, who rode for Trek Plus but now rides for Saturn. For 2003, the event sees several important changes: the event has been

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By Neal Rogers

The Iron Range Road Race

The Iron Range Road Race

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With Philly week behind us, all eyes — well, okay, at least those focused on domestic road racing — now turn to the four-day, five-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix. The premiere component of the twin cities’ Great River Energy Bicycle Festival, Nature Valley begins Thursday, June 12, in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

Last year’s event, a three-day omnium — scored on cumulative finishing positions, rather than overall time — was won by John Lieswyn (7UP-Maxxis) and Laura Van Gilder, who rode for Trek Plus but now rides for Saturn.

For 2003, the event sees several important changes: the event has been expanded by one day and two stages, most notably the opening day’s Iron Range road race; scoring has changed to the more standard cumulative time-based classification; and the race was recently upgraded to a 2.3 ranking on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (from a 2.5 in 2002), making it one of the top-ten stage races in the country, sponsored by Great River Energy, Nature Valley and USA Cycling.

The Stillwater Criterium

The Stillwater Criterium

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The city of Minneapolis will host the third stage on Friday night, June 13. Produced in partnership with the Minneapolis Downtown Council, this event will be the city’s first pro bike race since it hosted the Norwest Cup in 1995, and is expected to draw large crowds as part of a summer concert series. Other race venues include a road race in Winona on June 14, and the final criterium in Stillwater on June 15 — considered the most difficult in North America — where racers climb a brutal 24% grade up Chilkoot Hill.

(Note: Original plans to begin the stage race with a prologue time trial on Wednesday, June 11 were shelved, and that time trial has now been added into a double day on Friday, June 13. Also, the original distance of the men’s Iron Range road race, 120 miles, has been shortened to 98 miles.)

Most notable at this year’s event will be a strong women’s field, featuring squads sent by Saturn, T-Mobile, Diet Rite and RONA-Esker (sans Genevieve Jeanson), as well as an appearance by Nurnberger’s German sprint star Petra Rossner.

“The women’s field is outstanding,” said race director David LaPorte. “We’re making a big effort to help fill the void left by the loss of the HP [Women’s Challenge] and the women have responded big time. Their field is almost as big as the men’s.”

Look for Rossner as well as Saturn’s Ina Teutenberg and Van Gilder to light it up during the flat downtown Minnesota crit, while a safe bet for the road stages has to be Saturn’s Lyne Bessette — recent winner of the Wachovia Liberty Classic — along with teammates Katie Mactier and Manon Jutras. Also toeing the start line will be T-Mobile’s Kim Anderson and Velo Bella’s Lynn Gaggioli, both prominent players in the key break in Philly and threats to the overall, although they’ll have a rough time against Saturn’s deep squad.

The men’s field hosts a slew of powerful sprinters, including Navigators’ Marty Nothstein, Schroeder Iron’s Miguel Meza, U.S. Postal’s Robbie Ventura and Saturn’s Ivan Dominguez, Viktor Rapinski and Mark McCormack, racing for the first time in his new stars-and-stripes national champion’s jersey.Favorites for the men’s overall have to include Saturn’s stage race stars Tom Danielson and Nathan O’Neill, Navigators’ Henk Vogels, Schroeder Iron’s Aaron Olson and, of course, returning champion Lieswyn — although he rides with a squad of just five riders, as opposed to the eight-man teams Saturn, Navigators and Schroeder Iron bring.

I almost hate to say it folks, but we’re likely looking at another Saturn GC sweep on both sides of the fence, with the rest of the field likely left scrapping for stage wins.Stage 1 – Thursday, June 12
Iron Range Road Race
Women – 61 miles (Hoyt Lakes to Virginia, Minnesota)
Men – 98 miles (Two Harbors to Virginia, Minnesota)Both races will finish with multiple laps on a circuit in the city ofVirginia during a community festival.Mr. Rogers’ picks: Nathan O’Neill (Saturn), Lyne Bessette (Saturn)Stage 2 – Friday, June 13
Mesabi Trail Time Trial
Men’s & Women’s Pro/Elite Race: 6 milesRacing continues Friday morning with the Mesabi Trail Time Trial. Locatedin northern Minnesota between Grand Rapids and Ely, the Mesabi Trail offers66 miles of adventure — when completed, it will cover 132 miles and connect25 communities.Mr. Rogers’ picks: Tom Danielson (Saturn), Lyne Bessette (Saturn)Stage 3 – Friday, June 13
Minneapolis Downtown Classic
Women’s Pro/Elite Race: 40 minutes
Men’s Pro/Elite Race: 60 minutesAfter the time trial on the Mesabi Trail, riders will travel to downtownMinneapolis for the second event of the day, an hour-long crit on a flat,fast, six corner course.Mr. Rogers’ picks: Ivan Dominguez (Saturn), Sarah Ulmer (TDS)Stage 4 – Saturday, June 14
Winona Road Race
Women’s Pro/Elite Race: 79 miles
Men’s Pro/Elite Race: 106 milesStage 4 is a grueling road race past some of the most scenic roads inMinnesota. The pro women race first, covering 79 miles and two leg-bustingone-mile climbs. Then the men will race 106 miles, with four one-mile climbs.Both races finish on a two- mile circuit around Lake Park with plenty oftight corners.Mr. Rogers’ picks: Tom Danielson (Saturn), Lyne Bessette (Saturn)Stage 5 – Sunday, June 15
Stillwater Criterium
Women’s Pro/Elite Race: 50 minutes
Men’s Pro/Elite Race: 70 minutesDubbed “The toughest criterium in North America,” the Stillwater coursefeatures two lung-busting hill climbs on each lap and steep downhill turns.Mr. Rogers’ picks: Henk Vogels (Navigators), Petra Rossner (Nurnberger)

MenWomen
7UP-Maxxis
1 John Lieswyn 
2 Hayden Godfrey 
3 Jason McCartney 
4 Oscar Pineda 
5 Dan SchmatzJelly Belly-Carlsbad Clothing
6 Ben Brooks
7 Brent Dawson 
8 Chris Fisher
9 Brian Forbes 
10 Cory SteinbrecherNavigators
11 Edward Beamon
12 Siro Camponogara 
13 Ryan Guay 
14 Glen Mitchell 
15 Marty Nothstein
16 Claran Power
17 Justin Spinelli
18 Henk VogelsPrime Alliance
19 Jonathan PageSaturn
20 Tom Danielson
21 Ivan Dominguez
22 Tim Johnson
23 Trent Klasna
24 Mark McMormack
25 Nathan O’Neill
26 Viktor RapinskiSchroeder Iron
27 Jason Bausch
28 Jacob Erker
29 Cameron Hughes
30 Peter Knudsen
31 Adam Livingston
32 Rigoberto Meza 
33 Miguel Meza
34 Aaron OlsonABD Cycling Team
35 Jesse Bartholomew
36 Frank Dierking
37 Mike Eberts
38 Rob Jungles
39 Ryan Nenninger
40 Frank Pipp
41 John Puffer
42 Kurt Rees Alberto’s sport
43 David SachsBianchi-Grand Performance
44 Jeremy Sartain
45 Paul Ellis
46 Bryce Mead
47 Gus Carrillo
48 Paul Holm
49 Dale Sedgwick
50 Pete HannaBikesource/Whole Foods
51 Brian JensenBirchwood-GIS
52 Daniel Arden
53 Brent Binkowski
54 Shawn Brick
55 Mark Dykes
56 Peter MaxwellBroadmark Capital
57 Calvin Allan
58 Evan Elken 
59 Doug Ollerenshaw
60 Dylan Sebel
61 Craig WilcoxCane Creek Cycling Components
62 Bert HullFirst Endurance-Contender
63 Eric PardyjakFlanders Brothers Cycles-MBRC
64 Murray Carter 
65 Michael Dietzman
66 Chris Doig
67 Timmer Mulrooney Grove Dental Cycling Team
68 Todd Campbell
69 Brian Dziewa
70 Karl Stover
71 Erik Tomlinson
72 Scott WaltersHarvard University Cycling
73 Stuart Gillespie Higher Gear-LeMond
74 Ryan Ramos Mathis Brothers
75 Steve Cate
76 Aron Huerta 
77 Nick Kiernan 
78 Jason WaddellMercy-Cannondale
79 John Olney
80 Aaron Rukgaber
81 Joshua Tack
82 Lee VenteicherMortgage Solutions-DMOS
83 Terry Beenken
84 Tone CoughlinNature Valley
85 Matthew Gates
86 Matt Henry
87 Aaron JohnsonOrbea-Monex
88 Banning Ostrow
89 Andrew Powell
90 Jason SniderPro Peloton Velo
91 John SeehaferSpring Street Sports
92 Mike Johnson
93 David MetzaTeam Apache
94 Jason WagnerTeam Bloomington
95 Robert RhamyTeam Manitoba
96 Cabrel BoucherVeloclips
97 Michael OlheiserU.S. Postal Service
Robbie Ventura 
Kenny Labbe Monex
Roberto Gaggioli  
Saturn
200 Laura Van Gilder
201 Lyne Bessette
202 Megan Elliott
203 Manon Jutras
204 Katie Mactier
205 Amy Moore
206 Jessica Phillips
207 Ina TeutenbergColavita-Bolla Racing
208 Brooke O’Connor Diet Rite
209 Tania Duff-Miller 
210 Cybil Diguistini
211 Kori Kelly
212 Jo Kiesanowski
213 Tina Mayolo-Pic
214 Kerry SoraciEquipe Nurnberger
215 Margaret Hemsley 
216 Madeleine Lindberg
217 Petra RossnerTDS
218 Shawn Heidgen 
219 Erin Carter
220 Helen Kelly
221 Anne Samplonius
222 Sarah Ulmer
223 Joan WilsonT-Mobile
224 Kim Anderson
225 Dotsie Cowden
226 Katrina Grove
227 Kristin Johnson
228 Lara KroepscaABD Cycle Club
229 Kelly Benjamin 
230 Anne Meyer
231 Sarah Tillotson
232 Jane Vanni-NooneAmerica’s Dairyland
233 Allison Dwyer 
234 Rachel Eichers
235 Rebecca Loney 
236 Megan Monroe 
237 Jamie Surges
238 Erin SythBasis
239 Nicole Freedman 
240 Lauren Gaffney
241 Sarah KonradCCB
242 Amanda Lawrence Helens-Trek-VW
243 April Henderson Anderson Hi Tech Bikes-Harbour Lights
244 Rook Campbell Intermountain Cycling Organization
245 Becky Broeder
246 Kathleen Jones
247 Melissa SandbornJamba Juice
248 Courtney Bollman 
249 Debbie Dust
250 Melanie Fitz
251 Megan Long
252 Kate Sherwin
253 Catherine Walberg
254 Crystal YapMCT-Tonka Cycle
255 Laurel Sundberg Mercy-Cannondale
256 Andrea Mugge 
257 Lindsay WetzelNature Valley
258 Anne Grabowski RONA-Esker
259 Karen Bockel 
260 Andrea Hannos
261 Melissa Holt
262 Kristen Lasasso
263 Carrie Tuck
264 Erinne WillockT.E.A.M. Fuji
265 Tracy Lea Team Goldy’s
266 Brooke Ourada Terry Precision
267 Elisa Gagnon VANIQA/Red 5 Racing
268 Michelle Beltran 
269 Betsy Bloom
270 Jennifer Eyerman
271 Felicia Greer
272 Megan McQuaid
273 Cory Page
274 Laura Resor
275 Erika Schwarz
276 Jennifer StevensVictory Brewing-Amoroso’s
277 Veronica Martinez 
278 Graciela Martinez
279 Sophie St. Jacques
280 Lauren Franges
281 Leah Goldstein
282 Kirsten RobbinsFord Racing Team-Orlando Velo
283 Elizabeth Morse Velo Bella
Lynn Gaggioli 
 

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