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2004 McLane Pacific Bicycle Classic News
By Staff
Date: 3/5/2004
2004 McLane Pacific Bicycle Classic News
- Photos courtesy of Jaime Nichols

Three days of racing are in store for the California Central Valley area around Merced next weekend. The McLane Pacific Cycling Classic, in its tenth edition, offers three races - Saturday a tourism century through the Sierra Nevada Foothills and for the pros, a downtown Merced super-fast 40 mile Criterium, and a 120 mile Foothills Road Race on Sunday.

The Surroundings

In the Central Valley of California, the largest agricultural region in the world, temperatures this time of year can be pleasant, approximately 60-70 degrees (15-20 C), The region is very green right now and simply beautiful, though starting in about May, temperatures soar past 100 degrees most days until autumn and sometimes even later - the whole valley is an oven. This early in the year however, rain is also not out of the question, in which case conditions can be on the chilly side with wind. Last year's riders were rained on.

Drive or ride west, south or north from Merced and it is flat, flat, flat for hundreds of miles. But, drive or ride east and you quickly climb into the Sierra Nevada mountain foothills, past vast citrus orchards to the Gateway of Yosemite, the state's most renowned moutainous area. The Century and the Road Race take advantage of this area's rolling terrain.

Merced prides itself on its extensive city bike route system so hordes of cyclists should not be a foreign site. One local merchant gearing up for the bike race is the Firehouse Brewpub micro-brewer/restaurant in Merced, which has perfected its newest wheat beer, dubbed the "Bicycle Classic Beer." It will be ready just in time for the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic.

The Weekend

Dentist and self-proclaimed "cyclo-path" John Field has organized the first annual Foothills Century which kicks off the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic weekend, March 13th and 14th.

While world-class cyclists converge in Merced on the path to international competition and Olympic fame, recreational cyclists toting their tandems, trikes, and bikes of all types are invited to enjoy the same sensation.

The Foothills Century is geared toward all skill levels, including three different course lengths and conditions. The 100 Mile route welcomes its riders with rolling hills, vineyards, and orchards before a breakfast break at Hilltop Ranch. It then weaves past Turlock Lake to the Don Pedro Dam, overlooking the Tuolomne River Gorge, where all riders can downshift for a delicious lunch stop. After re-fueling, the trail will continue through the old mining town of Merced Falls and on to the final destination in historic Snelling. Total elevation for the 100 mile ride is 3500 feet. For more information, click here.

On Sunday is also Mercy Fun Day for visitors and townspeople, held at the Downtown Grand Prix park area with clowns, magicians, bounce houses, a bike rodeo, obstacle courses, and climbing walls. Visit the race website here:

The Pro Races

The Merced Grand Prix

This is fifty laps over a .8 mile loop in downtown Merced - flat, wide and fast. One hundred fifty riders are expected to take the start.

Previous Winners

1 Gord Fraser HealthNet
2 Miquel Meza Schroeder Iron
3 Jonas Carney Prime Alliance

1 Gord Fraser Mercury
2 Harm Jansen Saturn
3 Charles Dionne 7-Up / Nutra Fig

1 Baden Cooke Mercury
2 Gordon Fraser Mercury
3 Ivan Dominquez Saturn

The Foothills Road Race

A 24 mile rolling loop through the countryside - five laps. Can be windy...

Previous Winners

1 Chris Horner Saturn
2 Gord Fraser HealthNet
3 Syne Lionel Webcor

1 Jay Sweet Saturn
2 Charles Dionne 7up / Nutra Fig
3 Gord Fraser Mercury

1 Baden Cooke Mercury
2 Harm Jansen Saturn
3 Jamie Drew Mercury

2004 McLane Pacific Team Highlights

Colavita Bolla Pro Cycling Team:
Mark McCormack
Tyler Wren
Thad Dulin
Will Frischkorn
Sebastian Alexandre
Nathan O'Neill
Juan Jose Haedo
Ivan Dominguez
Gustavo Artacho
Aaron Olson
Todd Herriott

Colavita-Bolla Highlights
Mark McCormack
-Reigning United States Professional Road Racing Champion
-considered one of the best tactical based riders in the nation.

Ivan Dominquez
-2002 New York City Cycling Champion
-Considered one of the top sprinters in the nation.

Health Net/Maxis Pro Cycling Team:
Walker Ferguson
Gord Fraser
Mike Jones
Jason Lokkesmoe
John Lieswyn
Jason McCartney
Danny Pate
Mike Sayers
Chris Wherry

Health Net Highlights
Gord Fraiser
-2002 and 2003 McLane Pacific Cycling Classic Champion (no rider has ever
won 3 years in a row)
-2004 Tour of Langkawi Best Sprinter Award.
-Veteran of the Tour de France
-Considered the leader of the professional "peloton" in America, and one of
the worlds best sprinters.
-Over 190 career victories.
-Two time Olympic competitor.

Jelly Belly Cycling Team:
Ben Brooks
Alex Candelario
Jonas Carney
Mariano Friedick
Ernie Lechuga
Caleb Manion

Ofoto-Lombardi Sports Pro Cycling Team
Erik Saunders
Jackson Stewart
Nieko Biskner
Pete Lopinto
Andy Bajadali
Tim Larkin
Jon Erdeyli
Zack Walker
Scott Zwizanski
Jason Bausch

Ofoto-Lombardi Highlights
Ofoto-Lombardi Sports Pro Cycling Team emailed me this yesterday The Team looks forward to the McClane Pacific as its official opener after its training camp in nearby Napa March 1-10. Additionally the riders are anxious for the new finish to the road race which will offer a and additional challenge at the end of the race.

Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team:
John Hygelund
Russell Hamby
Chris McGovern
Eric Wohlberg
Jason Klikna
Trent Klasna
Sterling Magnell
Glen Mitchell
David Washburn
Matt Dubberley
Troy White
Ben Jacques-Maynes

Sierra Nevada Highlights
Trent Klasna
-Former US Olympian
-2004 Merced Criterium Champion
-2001 #1 ranked rider of the United States Cycling Federation National Racing Calendar

Eric Wolberg
-Former Canadian Olympic Team Member
-Considered one of the best all around riders in the nation.

Jason Klikna
-One of three current professional riders to ever come out of Merced.
-Third year professional, finally at the level where he can be a threat in professional races.
-Started road cycling by watching the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic years ago.

Trent Klasna
#1 goal for 04 - to be on the US Olympic Team.
Former US Champion
#1 US Professional Rider in 2001

Eric Wohlberg-
96 and 00 Olympian for Canada
8 Time Canadian National Champ
Won one stage of the 04 Tour of Langkawi, Malaysia
Won the overall 04 Tour of Wellington, Australia
Gold medal in 99 Pan AM Games

Glen Mitchell
00 Olympian for New Zealand.
New Zealand National Champion (Currently)
Gold Medal in Oceana Games (Olympics for the Down Under Countries)

Webcor Cycling Team:
Chris Horner
Charles Dionne
John Kelly
Imanol Ayestaran
Jonas Boli
Greg Drake
Justin England
Marc Hagenlocher
Ben Haldeman
Ted Huang
James Mattis
Chris Montague Breakwell
John Peters
Ben Stafford
Bernard VanUlden

Webcor Builders Highlights
Chris Horner
-#1 ranked rider in 2002 and 2003 on the United States Cycling Federation National Racing Calendar (of which McLane Pacific is the first race of the year).
-2003 1st place, San Francisco Grand Prix
-2003 McLane Pacific Foothills Road Race Champion.
-considered one of the top all around riders in the nation.

John Peters -
-1998 and 1999 McLane Pacific Downtown Grand Prix Champion.

Charles Dionne -
-2004 1st place, stage of the Tour of Wellington (Australia)
-2002 1st place, San Francisco Grand Prix
-2003 1st place, stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic
-considered one of the top sprinters in the nation.

Team Basis:
Nicole Freedman
Lauren Gaffney
Kate Maher

Quark Cycling Team
Amy Moore
Lyne Bessette
Megan Elliott
Sarah Uhl
Audrey Lemiuex
Magali LeFloch

Quark Highlights
Amy Moore 2003 Highlights -1st Tour of Okinawa, 4th National Road Race, Hamilton, 7th G.C. Nature Valley G.P., 10th Tour du Grande Montreal, Montreal, Member of the Canadian National Team at the World Championships

Lyne Bessette 2003 Highlights
-Reigning National Champion of Canada.
-2003 Pomona Valley Stage Race, stage winner.
-2003 2nd place, Tour de l'Aude, France.
-2003 1st place, Tour de Toona
-Voted most friendly and beautiful female cyclist for 2003
-Considered one of the top women racers in the world.

Sarah Uhl ­ 2003 United States National Professional Champion.
2003 - 15 Worlds TT.17th road race, Hamilton, Canadian National TT Champion, 2nd Canadian National Road Race, 9th Plouay World Cup France, 14th Fleche Wallonne in Belgium, 10th in Amstel Gold race in Holland, 2nd Tour de l Aude, 7th Montreal World Cup, 1st Philly, 1st Altoona, 1st Cascade Classic, 2nd Tour du Grand Montreal, 2nd Redlands, 2nd Sea Otter

Victory Brewing Cycling Team:
Gina Grain (Canada)
Sandy Espeseth (Canada)
Nicole Demars (Canada)
Kirsten Robbins (Canada)
Sophie St-Jacques (Canada)
Johanna Buick (New Zealand)
Brooke Ourada (US)
Emma Rickards (Australia)

ABC Cycling Center, Belguim
Justin Hale
-One of four riders to turn professional from Merced (had to revert back to amatuer status for Belguim -ABC Cycling Center - team in 04)
-Started road cycling after meeting the Saturn Professional Cycling Team at
the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic.
-Only rider from Merced to ever have International competition experience
and experience racing for the US National Team in Europe.

Additional Teams Competing

Red Edge Cycling
Intermountain Color
McGuire Cycling
Ideal Tile / Breille Cyclery
Excel Sports Boulder
White Jersey Sports
Reno Wheelman
Stewart Title

Health Net Presented by Maxxis Final Lineup for McLane Pacific

Oakland, CA – The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis will be sending a strong team of rolleurs to the McLane Pacific Bicycle Classic, March 13-14, the first significant race on the 2004 NRC schedule.

The squad will be comprised of:

Walker Ferguson
Gord Fraser
Mike Jones
Jason Lokkesmoe
John Lieswyn
Jason McCartney
Danny Pate
Mike Sayers
Chris Wherry

“Gord is on good form after winning the points competition at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia,” notes team Directeur Sportif Jeff Corbett, “so we feel like he has a shot at defending his title in the criterium. And with all the big, strong guys we’re bringing like Pate, Lokkesmoe, Wherry and McCartney, we’re actually hoping for some windy conditions for the road race.”

McLane is the first opportunity for the top teams in the domestic peloton to stretch their legs. Mike Sayers has competed in every McLane race since it was a local crit, winning the crit and the road race one time each. “The two races present some of the most challenging courses of the year, and every race is a hard fought battle,” he notes.

The two days of McLane should give a good indication of who’s on form going into the rest of “California series” of critical NRC races, including Pomona, Redlands and Sea Otter.

Thanks to McLane Pacific Cycling Classic and Health Net.

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