Slow start then BOOM at Lancaster Wachovia

May 31, 2005

It was the slowest Lancaster opening laps in my memory. A whimsical explanation? Bobby J riding his small ring everywhere. I followed him around and soon was in a tiny gear myself. Everyone around Bobby was watching him, and I think he converted most of the field to riding a smaller than usual gear. It was an unspoken, "Let's wait and see. This race is hard. I won't be first to blow all my power in an early move," kinda race.

I witnessed or heard three major crashes, all in the first half of the race. One occurred on a slow uphill corner: somebody tried to dive the inside and SQUEEZE... boof down. The domino effect came at me pretty swiftly but with a lucky hip twist and flick of the bars I scooted around it. Phew!

The next crash was during the run-in to the park and it's KOM hill. Nervous here every lap. I only heard this one, but Chris Wherry was right behind it. Apparently one of the British trackies tried to advance on the left, as the road narrowed, and had to "bunny hop" a storm grate. He missed. His front wheel hit the lip of the sunken grate squarely and the wheel exploded. Wherry said it was very ugly. To me, luckily at the front, it sounded like the report of a powerful handgun. Our staff in the feedzone, 500m away, heard it!

The next lap I was trying to advance on the right in the same course location, but where the runoff was grass. The team Navigators rider in front of me just decided to 'throw it away'. I was slightly overlapping to his outside (the grass side) and couldn't back out of the space quickly enough. He's going to save it... of course, this is simple, come on DUDE! SAVE IT! arghh. Nope. Boof - he's upside down. I'm clicked out and scrambling out of the ditch, the whole field is past... they're going 60+ km/h in the approach to the single lane park road and now I'm in the caravan. Ivan Dominguez is waiting for me at the back of the field... I've got a head of steam going... draft off COMM3 car and whoosh, right past the rearmost 20 riders. Ivan and I link up for the next 5km... field strung out single file for the first sustained period of tonight's race. Apparently Bobby J took off the gloves and lit it up through the park hills and he's blown the field into bits. Not good. It takes Ivan "The Amereecan Dddream" Dominguez and I half a lap to make it back to the action end of the bike race. Soon after we're away. The rest is history.

Yeah, we are pumped. Still it's bittersweet for me 'cause I haven't won a race this season and I love the Lancaster race. I had a lot of mental energy invested in a possible final season (for me) win at Lancaster. When it came down to it, the choice was easy. Two sprinters, two workers. My only bid for solo victory had to come before I sold out at two laps to go. My move was shut down very quickly by Horner and Stevic. So I had to switch to 'work' mode. Wherry and I had quite the ride and we were able to bring back all (three) attacks in the final 5km. Wherry got me to 500m to go, and I took it to 300m. Ivan blew by with Hendy on his hammer. In hindsight I realize I gave away some # and points by not continuing to pedal, but it was a lot like exercising in front of a TV showing a movie. A good scene comes on and you find yourself not exercising any longer; just watching the unfolding scene in front of you. I knew that there was nothing else I could do for Ivan and Greg, and with Rodriguez there a podium spot was also out of the question. So I basically coasted to the line, hoping to see a green clad rider pumping his fists. Yes,! G-UNIT! Hendy got the perfect leadout from Ivan and we went one-three!

I was passed by two more guys literally on the line but other than giving up some minor dollars and points it wasn't important. Ollerenshaw also delivered for us by taking the KOM competition by virtue of his long early breakaway, so we nearly swept the results today. On a roll. Even with the huge last lap crash at the CSC Arlington, which took down Tyler, Greg and Mike Sayers, we are lucky none of them were injured and obviously Greg is still rocking.

Thanks for reading,

Email John at

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John Lieswyn is one of Cyclingnews' most popular and sometimes controversial diarists. John started road racing in Florida in 1985. After college graduation in 1990, he raced three seasons for the US National team in Germany, France and Italy, turning professional in 1993 for Coors Light. In 1995 he returned to Europe, scoring numerous top ten results and winning the Delemont (Switzerland) mountain stage of the Regio Tour. After taking a hiatus in 1996, he focused on the US domestic scene with over 40 major wins. In the pre and post season (US) he competes in South America, Australia and New Zealand, notably taking three stage wins in the Herald-Sun Tour (Australia), and overall victory at the Southland Tour (NZ) and Tour de Beauce (Canada). He has written for since 1999 and continues this season with Team Health Net presented by Maxxis.