Pic & Tuft win US Open despite snowy start

The men's podium

The men's podium (Image credit: Emory Ball)

By Sue George

Only days ago in Virginia, riders were wearing sleeveless jerseys and shorts and enjoying the spring sights of colorful, blooming trees, but Saturday morning racers anticipating the US Open awoke to conditions more appropriate for January and February. An unusual, early spring snow coated roads, bikes, and team cars and brought near-freezing temperatures. The raw conditions left racers and team directors wondering about the fate of the day's events, but the show went on as the sun came out, melted the snow, and dried off the roads.

Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) won the point-to-point 180.2km (112 mile) men's race from Williamsburg to Richmond, Virginia. The race was a stop on the international UCI Americas Tour (UCI 1.1) and the national USA Cycling Pro Tour. Racers approached Richmond all strung out for eight laps on an arduous 8.9km (5.5 mile) circuit which included a cobbled climb over Liberty Hill Park and an uphill finish by the Library of Virginia.

The move of the day came from Patrick McCarty (Slipstream), who launched a successful attack with three laps to go as the peloton climbed the 6% grade hill up the finishing straight. Everyone was expecting the big attack to come on Libby Park Hill, but director sportif Jon Vaughters advised his squad to attack instead on the finishing climb to catch others unaware.

Eventually Tuft bridged to McCarty and the duo raced off the front. However, on the last lap, Tuft attacked McCarty and got away solo for the win. McCarty put in a gutsy ride, holding off the rest of the pack by just a few meters to secure second. Third place went to Argentinean Alejandro Borrajo of Team Rite Aid.

"On a course like this, it was so hard. You can't wait. You just have to go and hope the guys behind are as tired," said Tuft.

While the men were heading toward Richmond, the women raced nine circuits downtown. Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) won the women's race with her powerful final sprint. Her teammate Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Sutter Home) led her out for the win ahead of Jen McRae and Heather Labance, both of Advil/Chapstick.

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