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SF Bike Race 2k4

I got in a lot of sports watching this weekend. I got to see USC beat up Colorado State 49-0, and the Redskins defense beatdown the Bucs 16-10 (the offense was a bit lacking). The biggest event of the weekend, though, was watching this year's T-Mobile International (Al and Jill came along, which was great, because I'd never been able to convince anyone to go with me before). As always, the race provided a very exciting finish.

It was a bit of the old and new in this year's race. Armstrong did not start for the first time, and the free "Go Lance!" signs were missing (sad, because I really wanted to get a 6x sign to go with my 4x and 5x signs). The US Postal merchandise tents seemed eager to be dumping old merchandise and was selling 4x and 5x champion gear at a discount.

Previous winners Chris Horner and Charles Dionne were back, but with Horner's Saturn team now defunct, and with Dionne perennially vying for a new contract every September, both were now racing for the local Webcor team.

With three laps to go, everyone (including myself) had thought that the US Olympian Jason McCartney had won it all -- he had a lead of over 4:30, which with 15 miles to go seemed unassailable. When you're watching the riders go by, a 4:30 lead seems like a gigantic distance, especially when the Muni officials are able to let six trolley cars safely cross the race course in-between the leader and the next rider.

US Postal pulled riders back from chase groups and formed an alliance with Webcor to chase McCartney down, but their coordinated pace still did not seem quick enough as McCartney took 1:30 lead into the final lap.

Horner did the pulling for Dionne, and Dionne launched a killer attack on the Taylor hill, which became McCartney's undoing. Hincapie, despite all the efforts of his US Postal teammates, didn't have it in him to give chase, and only Fred Rodriguez gave any pursuit (after wasting time trying to recruit others to help chase).

I got to see Dionne and Rodriguez come around the final bend, and the gap was simply too much to be chased down, so Dionne became the first rider to ever win the SF race twice.

I was amazed to listen to Rodriguez's interview after the race, in which he talked about his crash during the race and mentioned that after the crash he couldn't use his left leg to pedal anymore. So not only did he catch back up to the pursuit group after getting his bike replaced and seat adjusted on the fly, but he was also the only person to give chase to Dionne at the end and did so with only one leg working. It's easy to see why he's the US pro cycling champion.

Dionne repeats as T-Mobile champ

Comments (1)

I was standing at the top of Taylor along the barrier and saw Dione take the lead. I don't think any of us up there were prepared to see the peloton coming around the bend on the last lap with McCartney still in view. Awesome race. Check out my blog since I have a couple of pictures posted (and more posted elsewhere if you let me know you want to see them).

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on September 12, 2004 9:10 PM.

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