|- Photos courtesy of Jaime Nichols|
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.
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
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
ready just in time for the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic.
Dentist and self-proclaimed "cyclo-path" John Field has organized
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,
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
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.
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
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:
Juan Jose Haedo
-Reigning United States Professional Road Racing Champion
-considered one of the best tactical based riders in the nation.
-2002 New York City Cycling Champion
-Considered one of the top sprinters in the nation.
Health Net/Maxis Pro Cycling Team:
Health Net Highlights
-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
the worlds best sprinters.
-Over 190 career victories.
-Two time Olympic competitor.
Jelly Belly Cycling Team:
Ofoto-Lombardi Sports Pro Cycling Team
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:
Sierra Nevada Highlights
-Former US Olympian
-2004 Merced Criterium Champion
-2001 #1 ranked rider of the United States Cycling Federation National Racing
-Former Canadian Olympic Team Member
-Considered one of the best all around riders in the nation.
-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
-Started road cycling by watching the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic years
#1 goal for 04 - to be on the US Olympic Team.
Former US Champion
#1 US Professional Rider in 2001
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
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 Montague Breakwell
Webcor Builders Highlights
-#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
-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.
Quark Cycling Team
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
-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
Ideal Tile / Breille Cyclery
Excel Sports Boulder
White Jersey Sports
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:
“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.