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Truckin' hell in Toona

By Greg Johnson

There were frightening scenes in the International Tour de Toona's Stage 3 overnight, with a break in the men's forced to take evasive action as a truck pulled out into the cyclist's path. The 11 man break, containing riders from Navigators Insurance, Toyota United, Team Slipstream, Team BMC, Colavita-Sutter Home and Health Net, were forced to swerve aggressively as the Mack-powered semi-trailer - carrying earthmoving equipment - decided to disobey orders and pull back onto the road.

A race official following the break watched on in amazement as a clearly upset Navigators rider gestured at the rogue driver.

Meanwhile a poorly designed final 100 metres of the race caused some riders to sprint off course causing more controversy. Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis), leading into the well-known final turn, took the wrong way around a newly constructed traffic island and jumped a curb. His path turned out to be a slight shortcut around the final turn, possibly giving him an advantage as he came across the line first.

"It's an unfortunate situation and a mess," said Health Net-Maxxis director Jeff Corbett. "There is no way to know what would have happened if everybody had gone the right way, so there is no way to sort it out."

There were plenty of unhappy team directors and riders, with four managers quickly tracking down race officials to file a protest. "The guy cut the course, he should have been relegated," said Kodak Gallery's Kurt Stockton. "It's tough because my guy was the first guy through the corner 'on the course' and he comes around the corner and sees Menzies come through the corner, jump the median and sprint in front of him."

Race officials decided to let the results stand as is originally, however after several reconsiderations, the stage was ultimately neutralized for the men's race. The women's race, however, went off without a hitch, with Kori Seehafer (TEAm Lipton) taking the stage victory as well as the yellow jersey.

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