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Teutenberg, Haedo score at McLane Pacific

Beautiful sunny weather and a near absence of wind opened the door for the sprinters as T-Mobile’s Ina Teutenberg and Juan Jose Haedo of Colavita scored wins in the McLane Pacific Foothills Road Race in California’s Central Valley on Sunday. The course, a 24-mile loop with a long flat stretch on the back side, was full of power hills that kept racers’ legs humming as the fields threw attacks and kept the pace high for the NRC’s season-opener. In the women’s race, active was the key word for the day as T-Mobile, Quark, and Webcor threw off a steady stream of attacks. Usually a windy race,

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By Ella Lawrence, Special to VeloNews

Teutenberg is her old self again

Teutenberg is her old self again

Photo: AbbiOrca.com

Beautiful sunny weather and a near absence of wind opened the door for the sprinters as T-Mobile’s Ina Teutenberg and Juan Jose Haedo of Colavita scored wins in the McLane Pacific Foothills Road Race in California’s Central Valley on Sunday.

The course, a 24-mile loop with a long flat stretch on the back side, was full of power hills that kept racers’ legs humming as the fields threw attacks and kept the pace high for the NRC’s season-opener.

In the women’s race, active was the key word for the day as T-Mobile, Quark, and Webcor threw off a steady stream of attacks. Usually a windy race, McLane Pacific this year was sunny and calm, which didn’t allow for a breakaway in the early stages of the race to stay off the front.

Rider after rider was reeled in, and the race ended with a pack sprint for the finish. Teutenberg’s massive power led her to a clear victory; racer Sarah Uhl (Quark Cycling) jumped into the T-Mobile setup and followed Teutenberg to a second-place spot. The German’s win comes on the heels of her victory on Saturday in the Downtown Grand Prix in Merced.

Teutenberg of T-Mobile kept her weekend of glory intact with a win Sunday in the women’s Pro 1/2 race.

“The weather was at least pleasant for a change here,” Teutenberg said. “It’s the first time since I’ve done this race that there’s been good weather. We started out pretty slow, I think people were tired from yesterday. It was pretty fast, with constant attacks. Breakaways didn’t really stay, when there was a little gap, other girls just kept closing the gap. At the end, Kristin kind of attacked and had Sarah Uhl on her back and I bridged up because I knew Kristin couldn’t beat Sarah and the group caught us just on top of the hill but that was ok because I didn’t work in the break and was fresh to sprint and pass everybody.”

Brenda Lyons, a first year pro with grassroots team Velo Bella had a big smile after her race.

“There was lots of attacking, some lulls; mostly when there had been three or four attacks in a row and girls would sit up because nothing was going away,” she said. “It was definitely an active race. Because it was shorter, people were more aggressive. I think it proves how fit everybody really is for this season, because this is a fast race. I think Today is a good sign of a really strong women’s field in 2005, which I think makes everyone happy.”

The pro 1/2 men’s race was relatively uneventful for the first hundred miles; sprinters’ teams Health Net and Jelly Belly kept the field together in hopes of a pack sprint. A breakaway including a rider from Symmetrics and a rider from Subway held a 1:45 gap for a bit; McGuire’s Mike Taylor bridged when they’d fallen back to a 25-second gap and brought the rest of the field with him.

In a bold move, Tim Larkin (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) soloed off the front with eight miles to go, keeping a thirty second gap for two miles. Health Net moved to the front of the pack and their train of six sacrificed half their men in a massive effort to reel Larkin back into the field.

With just four miles to go, the road narrowed into a single lane and elbows started to shove. The solo break was absorbed and with three miles to go the red and green men (Colavita-Sutter and Health Net) duked it out, with Health Net sacrificing yet another rider for its sprinter Gord Fraser.

But Haedo timed his move nicely and passed Fraser at the finish to take the win, denying the Canadian sprint ace a chance to win for the second day in a row. Webcor’s Charles Dionne claimed third on the day.

At the finish, Colavita’s Tyler Wren was pleased with the outcome.

“We just wanted to have good representation in every single move so we had about seven guys rotating, covering moves, and all the early guys did a great job, and all the guys we saved for the finish did a great job of taking over the Health Net train and beating them to the line,” he said.

Photo: AbbiOrca.com

Haedo said he was grateful that his team had enough faith in him to put in such a big effort.

“Basically, the guys saved me for the sprint,” he said. “The guys did a little work for me, and I’m so happy for that. They raced a good race, racing for me today. It was decided before the race, because it was not too windy. It was like eighty percent field sprint and so the guys covered all the moves, it’s the way to go!”

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