|- Race report courtesy of James Lockwood, communications director of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.|
VIRGINIA, Minn. (June 13, 2003) – Saturn’s Katie Mactier finished third again, but this time she was smiling.
Coming off what she described as a disappointing third-place finish in the first stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Mactier and her teammates swept the top three places in the 6-mile time trial on the Mesaba Trail, giving them a big boost going into the circuit race in downtown Minneapolis Friday evening.
Manon Jutras set the best time of the day at 12:06, beating out teammate Lyne Bessette by 10 seconds. Mactier came in at 12:20.
The red jersey leader, Tina Mayolo-Pic of Diet Rite, finished 9th with a time of 12:46. Her 30-second time bonus from Thursday’s road race keeps her in second, but Mactier’s 10-second bonus for third place on Thursday along with her time on the time trial put her in first by 6 seconds.
Given the two circuit races in the next three stages, Mayolo-Pic said the times thrown down by Saturn may have decided the grand prix overall winner.
"I knew they were going to be strong," she said.
Jutras said that the outcome is not so certain, although they welcome the chance to defend the red jersey if given it.
"I think we will be riding [the stages] as we have been since March," she said. "We approach every race to win."
On the men’s side, coming in a half second ahead of Saturn’s Mark McCormack, Jelly Belly’s Adam Bergman showed Friday morning that his second place finish ahead of McCormack in Thursday’s opening stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix was not a fluke.
Bergman, a Minnesota native racing his first time as professional, powered through the 6-mile time trial course on the Mesaba Trail in Minnesota’s Iron Range in 9:28.89, giving him third place. He came in just .34 seconds ahead of the U.S. National Champion.
Without knowing the results of the race, Bergman said he thought he put time on Navigator’s Ciaran Power, the winner of Thursday’s road race, and he did. Power came in at 10:01.
"[Bergman’s] having a real strong race," said Karen Walkerman, Saturn’s soigneur.
While Bergman continued to raise eyebrows, it was Saturn that put on the show Friday morning. Tom Danielson road away with the time trial win at 9:08, followed by teammate Viktor Rapinski at 9:18. The times, along with McCormack’s, gives Saturn many options for the overall win at the end of the weekend.
"It definitely puts us in a good spot for the GC," Walkerman said.
The racers travel to Minneapolis for a twilight circuit race in downtown Friday evening and then go to southern Minnesota for a road race in Winona. The Nature Valley Grand Prix will finish with a hilly criterium on Sunday in Stillwater, Minn., just east of the Twin Cities.
Brief Unofficial Results
1. Manon Jutras - Saturn
2. Lyne Bessette - Saturn
3. Katie Mactier - Saturn
9. Tina Mayola-Pic - Diet Rite
1. Tom Danielson - Saturn
2. Viktor Rapinski - Saturn
3. Adam Bergman - Jelly Belly
4. Mark McCormack - Saturn
5. Ciaran Power - Navigators