Quick spins: Willamette is racing on an epic scale

Scott Moninger (here at the '95 Tour Dupont) took the overall at the Tour of Willamette April 11 - 16  Credit: Mike Powell/Allsport
Riders at this years Tour of Willamette, April 11 - 16, climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest. Thankfully, they had four days to do it.

With 29,000 feet of climbing, the six-day race sandwiched four grueling road stages between a prologue, time-trial and criterium. Held on Bureau of Land Management roads in the wet forests around Eugene, Ore., the National Calendar race always draws riders eager for a taste of epic racing.

Mercurys Scott Moninger took the overall, but the top-ranked team in the United States was under pressure all the way from the Saturn and Nutra Fig squads, led by Saturns Mark McCormack, who won two stages of the race.

For amateur riders like Brad Doll, the race was a chance to race, and suffer, on the same roads as the pros: Friday we did Kill Hill and I had a half-flat rear tire. I couldn't stop to change it or I would've lost contact with the group. I died 10 times that day.

Sunday was Brownsville and we did Shotgun Creek," Doll said. "The hill in that race is 8.5 miles, with mile 6 at 17 percent (grade). Oh my God. I was doing about 30 rpm's in my 39x25. I came by a guy who sounded like he was giving up the ghost.

Womens race leader Mari Holden (Timex) held off two Saturn riders on the final Brownsville stage, which offered back-to-back ascents of the Shotgun and Brush Creek climbs, to take the overall.

Results, Men
1. Scott Moninger (Mercury): 17:44:38
2. John Lieswyn (Shaklee): 0:46
3. Clark Sheehan (7up): 1:20
4. Eddy Gragus (Jelly Belly): 1:28
5. Mark McCormack (Saturn): 1:50
6. Justin Spinelli, (JW Sports): 1:52
7. Ron Schmeer (Nutra Fig): 2:08
8. Antonio Cruz (Saturn): 2:26
9. Damon Kluck (Spokesman/Ss Cruz): 2:55
10. Gord Fraser (Mercury): 3:16

Results, Women
1. Mari Holden (Timex): 14:50:13
2. Dede Demet (Saturn): 2:13
3. Lynne Bessette (Saturn): 3:42
4. Tina Mayolo (Auto Trader.com): 5:14
5. Pam Schuster (Auto Trader.com): 5:14
6. Katrina Berger (Harbour Lights/Velo): 5:22
7. Anne Samplonius (Interspors Inc. Raci): 5:38
8. Sandy Espeseth (Interspors Inc. Raci): 5:51
9. Annie Gariepy (Elita): 6:04
10. Stacey Peters (800.com): 6:14


Olympic cycling trials to be televised in primetime

PAX TV will air 38 hours of prime-time coverage of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, in 21 sports, for 14 consecutive Saturday nights leading up to the Sydney Games. Coverage begins Saturday, June 3 (9 - 11 p.m. ET/PT). Cycling coverage begins June 10.

The track trials will be held at the Superdrome in Frisco, Texas, April 25 - 29; the road trials are slated for May 18 and 20 in Jackson, Miss.

Cycling coverage:

  • Track cycling, women's road cycling: Saturday, June 10 (9 - 11 p.m. ET/PT)
  • Men's road cycling: Saturday, July 1 (9 - 11 p.m. ET/PT)

    Other sports to be broadcast include: gymnastics, swimming, track and field, archery, canoeing, equestrian, marathon, rowing, sailing, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

    PAX TV (Paxson Communications Corporation), the newest broadcast television network, reaches 77 percent of U.S. television households via the company's nationwide broadcast television and cable distribution system.


    No knighthood for Riis

    Queen Margrethe conferred knighthoods upon Denmark's greatest sports heroes on April 15, but 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis was conspicuously left of the list.

    His win was widely cheered by Danes as the years top athletic performance in 1996, but Danish Sports Federation president Kaj Holm alluded to the ongoing doping scandals within cycling as an explanation for Riis being left off the list of athletes being granted knighthood.

    With regard to the decision, Holm said: "Cycling is currently in a situation which precludes any possibility of recommending riders."

    Riis, who formally retired from Team Deutsche Telekom earlier this year, has been referred to by other riders as "Mr. 60 Percent due to his reportedly sky-high hematocrit levels. A level higher than 50 percent indicates the use of the performance-enhancing drug EPO.


    Ullrich to return to racing in May

    Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich plans to return to racing in Mays Midi Libre race in France.

    The German has been out of action since mid-March due to a variety of bugs, including a bout of influenza. Ulrich, Tour winner in 1997, has been hounded by injuries and weight gain over the past three years. He is one of the few, if only, professional who would automatically be considered a favorite to win if he starts the Tour de France.

    Last year he missed the race due to a knee injury, but recovered to win the Tour of Spain in September and the time trial world championship.

    "I'm feeling better every day," said Ulrich, who this year has overcome his shyness with the media. "I still have an endurance problem and I need long training rides."

    As for Ulrichs main foe, Lance Armstrong? Things are right on target, said team manager Johan Bruyneel, but a pre-Tour showdown with Ulrich at the Midi Libre is unlikely.

    "In May we're not sure what we're going to do Midi Libre maybe, Bruyneel said. We will try to do the same program as last year, the Dauphine and Route du Sud. We're not pre-riding the courses like last year, because some of those stages the big climbs at Mont Ventoux and Col d'Izoard are the exactly the same stage of the Dauphine."


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