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14th Merco Merced Cycling Classic
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 3/2/2007
14th Merco Merced Cycling Classic
 

14th Merco Merced Cycling Classic
America's Spring Classic returns for its 14th edition March 3rd & 4th with a new sponsor one week after the finish of the Tour of California. Drawing the top domestic pro and elite teams in the National Race Calendar Opener.

 

The usual suspects return each Spring for the first carnival of speed for duo of one day races of racing in Merced California. With $21,000 at stake it draws the cream of the North American pros, Elite teams and races for all classes of racers for a total of over 1200 riders for the weekend of racing.

Saturday is the Downtown Criterium a 40 miles on a .08 seven corner circuit racing through downtown Merced around the historic downtown with both women and men's pro teams competing to add their names to a list of familiar names of some of the best talent and teams in North America. Last year Mike Jones stamped his name on the race after a rare breakaway succeeded and he held off  a hard charging peloton for victory.

Gord Fraser of Healthnet has stamped his name indelibly on this criterium and road race with multiple wins; twice denying Juan Jose Haedo twice. In 2005 J.J. came back for revenge adding his name to the winners of the 125 mile road race. But that wasn't the first domestic rider to launch his drive to a European career in this race. Baden Cooke, Chris Horner, and Charles Dionne and Jonas Carney have graced the podium.

The Women are as determined as the men to strike the first victory of the season and add their names to the list that include past winners in this fast paced event: Tina Pic, Sarah Uhl, Ina Teutenberg, Lyne Bessette and Dede Barry.

The Favorites
The fields this year are no less strong than in the past the new some new domestic pro teams making their debut on the NRC Calendar wanting to show their sponsor something in the first race out. Not to mention the pros who come fresh from the second tour of California it should be a demanding and very competitive race.

Ivan Dominguez with his win on the final stage will be the marked man on the first day. But watch for Dave McCook of  and Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing), among the list of sprinters on day one will be Priority Health's Tom Zirbel, Devon Vigus (California Giant),  Daniel Schmatz (BMC), Russel Downing (Health Net) and Henk Vogels if Ivan falters... but if you only watch one guy keep an eye on Alessandro Bazzana of the new Successful Living team in his USA debut, this Italian import is a pocket rocket ready to test the domestic sprinters.

Again the women's teams are stacked with talent with T-Mobile bringing some of their European squad to enjoy the California weather: Suzanne DeGoode and Chantal Beltman, Anke Wichmann  and local talent Kim Anderson all fast women. Don't count out Advil ChapStick's Laura Charameda last years winner, Katharine Carrol (Aaron's Pro) or speedster Sarah Uhl of Cheerwine. Team Lipton's Lauren Franges and Lara Kroepsch add another dimension to a fast finish. Brooke Miller of TIBCO comes fresh off two weekends of winning races with the new team looking to make a good first impression in the season opener.

The Foothills Road Race.
March 4th, Sunday the Foothills Classic race is a race often influenced by the Central Valley of California's variable Spring weather that could provide a wet and windy 120 miles with 5 laps on the 20.4 mile rolling circuit that climbs the Merced River escarpment each lap, the course favors the hard man or classics specialist that can survives the

Notables in the past that have stood on the podium the men's event include: Baden Cooke, Chris Horner, Charles Dionne, Mike Sayers, Tony Cruse, and Kirk Willet returning this week as D.S. of Toyota/United Pro. The Women's road race has as enviable list though prettier podiums including: Lyne Bessette, Manon Jutras, Ina Teutenberg, Nicole Freedman, Tina Pic and Dotsie Bausch the winner last year who will be busy this Sunday morning at the Geelong World Cup in Australia.
(Selected palmares and last years podium below.)

Merced is a racing town, with numerous scenic trails snaking their way through its quaint location 70 miles southwest of Yosemite National Park.
For more information about the race, visit the race website.

MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic
Toyota United Pro Cycling Team Coming to Merced
USA 2007 National Racing Calendar

2006 Grand Prix Results
Men
1 Mike Jones Health Net
2 Jackson Stewart Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada 
3 Mark McCormack Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter HomesWinery

Women:
1 Laura Charameda McGuire Cycling Team
2 Laura Yoisten Victory Brewing Team
3 Christina Becker Tmobile


2006 Classic Road Race Results
Mens
1 Hayden Roulston Health Net/Maxxus
2 Ivan Dominguez Toyota/United Pro
3 Mark McCormack ColavitaOliveOil/Sutter Home

Women
1 Dotsie  Bausch Colavita/Cooking Light
2 VanGilder Laura Team Lipton
3 Kimberly Anderson T- mobile

Race Palmares:
Classic Road Race:
2005

1 Juan Jose Haedo Colavita
2 Gord Fraser Healthnet
3 Charles Dionne Webcor
2004
1 Gord Fraser HealthNet
2 Jonas Carney Jelly Belly
3  Juan Jose Haedo Colavita Bolla
2003
1 Chris Horner Saturn
2 Gord Fraser HealthNet
3 Syne Lionel Webcor
2002
1 Jay Sweet Saturn
2 Charles Dionne 7up / Nutra Fig
3 Gord Fraser Mercury
2001
1 Baden Cooke Mercury
2 Harm Jansen Saturn
3 Jamie Drew Mercury

Merced Criterium
2005
1 Gordon Fraser (Healthnet)
2 Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita Oil)
3  Sebastian Alexandre (Colavita Oil)
2004
1 Gord Fraser HealthNet
2 Jonas Carney Jelly Belly
3  Juan Jose Haedo Colavita Bolla
2003

1 Gord Fraser HealthNet
2 Miquel Meza Schroeder Iron
3 Jonas Carney Prime Alliance
2002
1 Gord Fraser Mercury
2 Harm Jansen Saturn
3 Charles Dionne 7-Up / Nutra Fig
2001
1 Baden Cooke Mercury
2 Gordon Fraser Mercury
3 Ivan Dominquez Saturn

Women
Merced Criterium
2005
1 Ina Yoko Teutenberg T-Mobile
2 Laura Van Gilder Quark Cycling
3 Gina Grain Victory Brewing
2004
1 Tina Pic Genesis Scuba
2  Sarah Uhl Quark Cycling Team
3  Nicole Freedman
2003
1 Ina Teutenberg Saturn Cycling
2 Dede Barry T-MOBILE
3 Carla Koehler Minute Maid/Dasani/La Grange
2002
1 Tina Mayolo-Pic Diet Rite
2 Lyne Bessette Saturn
3 Dara Rogers Helens Trek

Foothills Road Race:
2005

1 Ina Yoko Teutenberg T-Mobile
2 Sarah Uhl Quark Cycling
3 Michelle Beltran 
2003
1 Manon Jutras Saturn
2 Mari Holden T Mobile
3 Laura Van Gilder Saturn
2002

1 Lyne Bessette Saturn
2 Tina Mayolo-Pic Diet Rite
3 Nicole Freedman Rona

 
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