Home-town favorites top the podium. Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) wins the sprint in front
of returning from injury Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) and teammate Kayle Leogrande
The expected showdown between the local team Rock Racing and the Toyota-United Pro Cycling team
led by Ivan Dominguez returning from injury led to a thrilling sprint finish at the 46th Annual
Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, with Rock Racing's Rahsaan Bahati winning and Dominguez finished second.
Rounding off the podium was Bahati's teammate Kayle Leogrande.
The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix race is all about the last turn, with breakaways attempted and
not succeeding, and this year stayed true to form, with Bahati moving in the inside of the last turn
to come out behind Dominguez and winning the sprint to the finish line.
"Sometimes I don't like to say pressure but I got a little pressure coming into today's race, but
not only from my friends and family but the team, it's a sponsored race for Rock & Republic and
Rock Racing, and you know I had to come through." said local favorite Bahati whose mom lives in Manhattan Beach.
"(Rahsaan) Bahati is strong, he was five or ten kilometers faster than me, he's riding too fast right now."
said Dominguez after his first race back after being injured a month a half ago at a crash at the Tri-Peaks Challenge.
"He deserved it, it's good for his team you know there are from here so it's good that he won, it was a little bit
dangerous in the end."
"We are trying to stay up and not crash, and we came through the last corner, and Rahsaan came off
Ivan's wheel and Henk (Vogels) went left,
I was on Rahsaan's wheel and I saw that he had the gap and so I just held my speed, and stayed in
third place as Ivan and he were still sprinting. It worked out perfectly." stated a very happy Kayle Leogrande
while waiting for the podium.
Strong field comes ready to battle and sprinter ace Ivan Dominguez returns after injury
Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) wins the sprint as his teammate Kayle Leogande celebrates
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
A strong field came to the NRC-rated 46th Annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix in Sunday July 1st
and delivered the shoot out between the 10-man strong Rock Racing team and the defending
Toyota-United Pro Cycling team.
Fast man Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) was returning to racing after a freak crash at
Tri-Peaks Challenge where he landed very hard on his back and after days in pain, was diagnosed
with a cracked rib. Dominguez is still uncertain how the crash happened but thinks
it has to do with throwing the bike at slow speed.
"I was doing a sprint, and talking at the same time with (Sean) Sullivan. I don't know,
I guess we were going so slow, it's not the same when you do it (throw the bike) fast, so I was going 20 k/hour,
I threw the bike and my front wheel slipped and took me over the bars."
Dominguez was shaken up and stunned after his crash and had trouble breathing and underwent multiple
tests such as catscans, X-rays and even an MRI to finally diagnose his injury.
After being off his bike and resting to recover, Dominguez started training
again two weeks before the race and still has trouble sleeping due to pain.
"I feel good but I'm not 100% yet. To do a race, I can be there but to win, it's hard. These guys have been
racing for a month a half that I stopped, they keep riding and racing I don't know if I can deliver today but
I'm going to do my best. " said Dominguez about his prospects.
Toyota-United won the 2006 edition of the race, with JJ Haedo out sprinting the field.
to Dominguez, the original plan was to bring him to the line and he "was behind Tony (Cruz)
and JJ (Haedo) was on my wheel sweeping and something happened, and we stayed on the left side."
On the last turn, right before the small incline, the riders "have to go right away to the right side, but
we stayed on the left side and people started going around us so JJ moved to the right side,
and I came behind his wheel, we were okay but a
guy came in the inside with no space, right in the turn and almost took JJ and myself and a
lot of guys down, we were so mad."
"I was lucky JJ was there, so he brought it home," said Dominguez who finished fourth that day behind his
teammate. Supporting Dominguez in the 2007 edition are Jose Manuel 'Chepe' Garcia, Caleb Manion,
Ryan Miller, Sean Sullivan,
Chris Wherry and Henk Vogels the other fast man and protected rider on the team.
Wherry is also returning to racing after pulling out of Nature Valley stage race
due to a bad head cold that impacted his lungs.
"I'm getting finally healthy again!! Just the worse luck with my health so I think I'm back on it,
I'm just ready to get some racing."
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
Rock Racing brought four fast men on their team, Rahsaan Bahati, Kayle Leogrande, Sebastian Haedo and
Jeremiah Wiscovitch. Bahati has finished second twice, and third twice again at the
MBGP and is looking for a win as "it's always a goal to win in front of your home crowd, and an NRC race."
"Try and stay out of trouble today and do what we can to be there at the end, to set one of our riders up at
the end to win, that's I think always the plan, especially today. " said Leogrande about the plan for his team.
Hoping to play a wildcard is the four-man Health Net presented by Maxxis team,
with Rory Sutherland, Roman Kilun, Kirk O'Bee and John Murphy.
"We've got a little idea of what we want to do, there a lot of teams with more riders.
With only four of us, it takes a lot of pressure of us. It looks like a really fast course,
we've got some fast guys here and so we'll see what happens," said Sutherland.
Another local favorite is Tony Cruz (Discovery Channel) of nearby Long Beach, riding my himself.
"I'd like to win, so I've got to be pretty attentive to see what is going on with the other teams.
I think there is going to be a little selection in here, and I'll try and be there."
Tony Cruz and Henk Vogels
Other teams hoping to surprise the field include Successful Living presented by Parkpre,
the Australian duo from Navigators, Ben Brooks and Hilton Clarke, and
Dave McCook and Jonathan Sundt of the Kelly Benefit Strategies presented by Medifast team.
Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) wins bunch sprint
The 90-minute criterium is run over a hotdog shaped course
with a pair of long straightaways and two sweeping 180 degree turns and 50-feet of climbing per 1.4 mile (2.2 km) lap.
The race started off fast with the first breakaway launched on the first lap,
a three-man escape made up of Curtis Gunn (Successful Living), Austin Carroll (Rock Racing) and a Team 5 Star Fish rider
stayed away for about seven laps
while gaining at most twenty-five seconds to the field.
Three riders go clear only to be caught by the hard charging field
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
Unsure of his form, Dominguez stayed at the back of the field testing his legs.
"I did a few jumps in the back to see how I feel, I was not great."
Once caught by the peloton, another Successful Living rider,
Dan Ramsey tried his luck and escaped from the field and managed to get a
few primes including $500 for his efforts. After being left to dangle off the front for seven laps,
Ramsey was swallowed with about forty minutes to go.
Dan Ramsey turned in an impressive performance as he went on a long solo breakaway late in the race
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
Other riders tried to escape, including Kirk O'Bee (HealthNet-Maxxis),
Mariano Friedick (Rock Racing) but the field would have none of it, and
the escapees were always caught with Dominguez starting to slowly move upto join his teammates,
and the Rock Racing team staying together and attentive to any move.
With five laps to go, a one thousand-dollar prime was called, and
with Dave Towle's "it's on like Donkey Kong" making the crowd laugh, Australian Joanthan
Cantwell (Kahala-LaGrange) won the field sprint to get the prime.
With three laps to go, the Toyota-United team was massed at the front,
with Dominguez behind his teammates and Cruz following his wheel.
Toyota-United went to the front with one lap to go in an attempt to move Ivan Dominguez into position for the sprint
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
With one lap to go, everyone was jockeying for position with the
Toyota-United lead out train in the front, and Hilton Clarke grabbed the spot behind Dominguez,
and the Rock Racing team was making their move before the final turn and the sprint to the finish line.
"It was so dangerous coming off from the top of the hill, it was probably one of the scariest finishes
I've had. I got through it, on the brakes, off the brakes, bumping here, bumping there, about
10 guys who wanted to win that race." said Bahati about the approach to the final turn.
Coming into the last turn, Vogels led Dominguez with Bahati with his teammate Leogrande
going inside of Hilton Clarke and moving from fourth to third position.
On the final 300 meters to the finish line, Bahati put in a strong acceleration and
sprinted past Dominguez taking the win in front of his family and friends,
with Dominguez holding on for second and Leogrande finishing third.
"Starting off, I knew that I was going to have a good day, my legs felt really good and
I had no worries covering moves, doing whatever I needed to do I felt great." said Bahati.
"They (Toyota-United) had a train going but we wanted to let them do their
train, do their thing. We call it the pop move, popped around real quick so
it's actually really difficult to do what we did, you have to maintain your position while they are
doing their thing. My team, all the guys are phenomenal guys, I couldn't have done it without them."
"Second week of training, I don't know if I buy that," continued a smiling Bahati about Dominguez coming
back to racing after only two weeks of training, "but he is a superstar, you can't take a guy like that
for granted even though he's been off the bike, he's still a phenomenal rider and you can never take a guy like for granted."
"The legs were a little bit heavy, but second place is good. I'm still in pain, and I need more racing."
said a tired and disappointed Dominguez who really wanted to win in front of his fans.
"The key is to carry your speed through the last turn, and win" summarized Leogrande.
The Men's podium (left to right) Ivan Dominguez (ToyotaUnited), Rahsaan Bahati and Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing)
Photo © Kurt Jambretz
1. Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing)
2. Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team)
3. Kayle Leo Grande (Rock Racing)
4. Antonio Cruz (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team)
5. David McCook (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
6. Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living Presented by Parkpre)
7. Hilton Clarke (Navigators)
8. Jeremiah Wiscovitch (Rock Racing)
9. Henk Vogels (Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team)
10. Alexi Martinez (Successful Living Presented by Parkpre)
11. Kirk O'Bee (Health Net presented by Maxxis)
12. cody stevenson (Jittery Joes Pro Cycling Team)
13. Paul Che (Team 5 Star Fish)
14. Chris DeMarchi (Team 5 Star Fish)
15. Craig McCartney
16. John Murphy (Health Net presented by Maxxis)
17. Neil Shirley (Jittery Joes Pro Cycling Team)
18. Victor Ayala (Kahala LaGrange)
19. Rory Sutherland (Health Net presented by Maxxis)
20. Nicholas Onate (Karl Strauss/SDBC)
21. Raul Frias
22. Eric Barlevav (NOW-MS Society)
23. Fabian Reyes
24. Austin Carroll (Rock Racing)
25. Jorge Alavarado (Kahala LaGrange)
26. Tyler Ofstad (Kahala LaGrange)
27. Kris Koke
28. Daniel Vinson (Team 5 Star Fish)
29. Armin Rahm (Sixtufit.com)
30. Brian Forbes (RIDECLEAN)
31. Devon Vigus (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
32. Anthony Morrow (Team 5 Star Fish)
33. Sean Mazich (Team WM)
34. Aron Gadhia (Kahala LaGrange)
35. Patrick Caro (Schroeder Iron/ Incycle Masters)
36. Jamiel Reza Danesh (KodakGallery Pro Cycling Team Presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.)
37. Javier Pimentel Alcaraz
38. Jonathan Cantwell (Kahala LaGrange)
39. Donny Carroll (DeWalt Racing)
40. Christian Valenzuela
41. Sean Sullivan (Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team)
42. Matthew Johnson (Team 5 Star Fish)