By Anthony Cerretani
Dueling big-guns Saturn-Timex and Mercury-Viatel made for high octane and unpredictable racing at the annual Sequoia Cycling Classic in Exeter, California. Men’s and women’s competition was fierce both in the Rocky Hill Road Race and in the Visalia Criterium the following day but Saturn made its presence known, taking the top spots in three out of four races.
Day one of competition found riders seeing rings with Saturn dominating both the men’s and women’s Rocky Hill Road Race, a nine-and-half-mile loop with two climbs on each lap, totaling 600 feet of climbing per lap. Saturn and Mercury battled out the men’s nine-lap, 85-mile course but with four laps to go, a group of six riders; Eric Wohlberg and Mark McCormack of Saturn; Chris Pic and Will Frischkorn of Mercury; Danny Pate of Prime Alliance; and Chris Baldwin of Navigators, powered past the rest of the pack securing an ample gap. Ultimately, the last climb of the course found McCormack attacking and edging past Pic and Frischkorn while Baldwin fell back and Pate blew a flat. Eventually, with the help of Saturn teammates, sprinters Frank McCormack and Ivan Dominguez cruised in behind McCormack securing the top three spots for team Saturn.
For the women, Lynne Bessette (Saturn) grabbed the top spot securing the lead with her climbing prowess. She sealed the deal in the final two laps by continually putting more time between herself and the pack.
Day two’s Visalia Criterium featured a 0.7-mile long, six-corner loop of flat city streets making for high-octane racing and a continuation of the feud of the previous day. In men’s competition, Mercury was out for a bit of retribution and got it, stepping up the pace and taking the top two spots of the day on the 60-lap race. The final eight laps proved to be the most significant of the day with Gord Fraser and Baden Cooke, both of Mercury, taking first and second while Ivan Dominguez snagged the last podium spot for Saturn.
For the women, gaps were hard to come by and the group remained tight throughout the duration of the 40 lap, 28 mile course. Thanks to a significant lead-out from other Saturn mates, Kim Davidge, Lyne Bessette and Suzanne Sonye, Petra Rosner was able to nab the top spot, edging out Nicole Freedman (Credit Suisse), while Joanne Kiesanowski (Proctor and Gamble) rounded out the top three.
1. Mark McCormack, Saturn
2. Frank McCormack, Saturn
3. Ivan Dominguez, Saturn
1. Lyne Bessette, Saturn
1. Gord Fraser, Mercury-Viatel
2. Baden Cooke, Mercury-Viatel
1. Petra Rossner, Saturn
2. Nicole Freedman, Credit Suisse
3. Joanne Kiesanowski, Procter & Gamble