By Ella Lawrence
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile) and Gord Fraser (Health Net-Maxxis) sprinted to victory on Saturday in the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic Downtown Grand Prix in Merced, California.
The course, a flat, fast, 0.8-mile loop, had just enough turns to keep it interesting, and a slight southerly headwind on the one longer straightaway turned the end of most races into a field sprint.
In the women’s pro/1-2 race, T-Mobile kept the pace high, launching attacks from the first lap and finishing with a clean set-up for their sprinter, Teutenberg.
“It’s early in the season and it still hurts! It’s hard to do all of that intensity right now,” said Teutenberg, who joined T-Mobile this year after a knee surgery last year incapacitated her for all of last season.
“Today, we attacked, tried to keep it fast. It was good training and we pretty much figured out a breakaway wouldn’t work, so the girls worked for me in the last five laps.”
The pro/1-2 men’s race started fast and furious and stayed that way with the prime bell ringing. Jackson Stewart (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) scored a $300 prime on the second lap, Karl Menzis (Advantage Benefits-Endeavor) picked up $200 the next time around, and with $100 up for grabs nearly every other lap, there was plenty for the smaller teams to chase, too.
At mid-race, Advantage Benefits and McGuire began launching attacks with a vengeance. Nick Reinstadt (Advantage-Endeavor) kept a solo breakaway going for four laps before getting reeled back in, while Matt Dubberly (McGuire) chased down nearly everything that went off the front.
With 20 to go, Colavita-Sutter Home took control and its train of eight racers monitored the front until there were just five laps remaining. Health Net crept up on the left, and the battle ensued with four laps to go. The men in green eventually overpowered the men in red, and Health Net set up Fraser, to take the win for the fourth year in a row.
“I felt good in the sprint,” Fraser said. “It’s a great feeling to kick off the NRC year with a victory, to get it out of the way, live up to the hype and start off a great year.
“It’s always hard to get that first win, and I’ve been lucky enough the last four years to get that done right away. It takes a lot of pressure off.”
McLane Pacific Cycling Classic
Downtown Grand Prix
Merced, California. March 5
1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile)
2. Laura VanGilder (Quark Cycling)
3. Gina Grain (Victory Brewing)
4. Suzanne Sonye (Helen’s)
5. Laura Yoisten (Diet Cheerwine)
6. Brenna Walfred (Velo Bella)
7. Annette Beutler (Quark Cycling)
8. Laura Charameda (Dewars)
9. Amy Moore (Victory Brewing)
10. Anna Webb (Karl-Strauss)
1. Gord Fraser (Health Net-Maxxis)
2. Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita)
3. Sebastian Alexandre (Colavita)
4. Alex Candelario (Jelly Belly)
5. Ivan Dominguez (Health Net-Maxxis)
6. Charles Dionne (Webcor Builders)
7. Jackson Stewart (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada)
8. Kyle Gritters (Seasilver)
9. Dave McCook (Jelly Belly)
10. Rinaldo Bullentini