By Ryan Newill , VeloNews correspondent
Even in a good old-fashioned American downtown criterium, Mercury-Viatel’s strengthened European line-up was clearly evident on Sunday. Mercury’s Dutch champion Leon Van Bon sprinted to victory in the second edition of the U.S. Postal Service Capital Cup in Washington D.C. Van Bon was followed closely by fellow Mercury Dutchman Jans Koerts and U.S. Postal’s Kiwi sprinter Julian Dean.
The Capital Cup field included strong lineups from all of the U.S. professional mainstays. Postal, Mercury and Saturn, as well as Navigators and 7UP-Colorado Cyclist all have their Philadelphia men racing their way up the East Coast toward Sunday’s First Union USPRO championship.
The effect of so many strong men on a crit course was easy to see, as breaks seldom gained more than several seconds before being swallowed up by the group. And the field was whittled down by the lap. The one exception was a solid effort by Saturn’s time-trial master Eric Wohlberg, who gained a maximum of 25 seconds on the group with the aid of DeFeet’s Gabriele Rampollo.
After several laps of freedom for that duo, however, the entire Mercury and Navigators squads came to the front to end their hopes and soften the road for the sprinters. From that point on, Mercury did not surrender it’s place at the front, and guided their Dutch duo to a 1-2 finish.
Last year, Mercury’s Henk Vogels took the Capital Cup before marching into Philadelphia to capture the USPRO road race. With Van Bon’s current form, the Capital Cup/Philly tandem could become a Mercury tradition.
In the women’s race, German Saturn pair Ina Teutenburg and Petra Rossner teamed up to take the top steps of the podium and further solidify the team’s hold on the top of the Pro Cycling Tour standings. Teutenburg escaped alone early in the race, and was joined several laps later by pro-tour stalwart Roz Reekie-May (Pittsburgh Cycling Team), who towed Rossner up to her countrywoman.
The three teamed up and worked smoothly, but the fix was clearly in for Reekie-May as the teammates began to work her over with several laps to go. Ultimately, Teutenburg jumped away alone to take the victory, with Rossner winning the two up sprint to the line.
With the 75 Pro Cycling Tour points gained in her victory, Teutenburg moved into mathematical tie for first place in the standings with teammate Anna Milward. As the most recent victor, Teutenburg assumed the top spot in the tour, followed by Milward and Saturn teammate Kimberly Bruckner.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE CAPITAL CUP, June 2. Washington D.C.
Men: 1. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Mercury-Viatel; 2. Jans Koerts (Nl), Mercury-Viatel; 3. Julian Dean (NZ), U.S. Postal Service; 4. Jonas Carney, Prime Alliance; 5. Gord Fraser (Can), Mercury-Viatel, all s.t.
Women: 1. Ina Teutenberg (G), Saturn; 2. Petra Rossner (G), Saturnl 3. Roz Reekie-May, Pittsburgh Cycling Team.