TOSHIBA-Santo Pro Cycling Team presented by HerbalifeDominate the Gainesville Georgia Cup.
The sky’s above Georgia turned gray and began to spit rain as the Gainesville Georgia Cup drew near only to open up with torrential rain the morning of the first of three stages in what would be a race dominated by the TOSHIBA-Santo Pro Cycling Team presented by Herbalife.
Saturday morning found seven TOSHIBA riders layering up with warm clothes, rain jackets, and skin suits! The first stage was a 14km time trial that tested the riders’ ability to stay focused in adverse weather conditions, as well as their ability to stay upright on slippery roads. All the TOSHIBA riders did well with Frank Travieso coming in second place to HealthNet presented by Maxxis rider John Murphy.. Bobby Sweeting, Mark Hekman, Tommy Nankervis, Dan Vaillancourt, Keith Norris and Alex Hagman all put in top ten times making the General Classification wide open for the road race later in the afternoon.
Time Trial, 14 k
1. John Murphy, HealthNet presented by Maxxis, 18:48.7
2. Frank Travieso, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife, 19:07.4
3. Chris Butler, Hincapie-Barkley Devo, 19:25.2
4. Bobby Sweeting, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife, 19:25.5
6. Dan Vaillancourt, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife, 19:50.4
7. Alex Hagman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife, 19:54.3
10. Mark Hekman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife, 19:57.8
As the 82 mile, three lap road race began, the rain subsided briefly, though it looked as if the sky’s could open up in a deluge at any moment. Attacks came early and hard from the region’s top teams including MyogenesisNutrition.com, Clinica Union, and Pacesetters Steel. Vaillancourt in his usual style got into the first early move, and it seemed his form was good, building a one minute gap almost instantly with another rider from Pacesetters Steel. For a lap they were together, but Vaillancourt’s form cracked his escapee partner. He was riding solo only to be chased down by Michael Olheiser (Marx and Bensdorf), a former world Time Trial Champion. As soon as Vaillancourt came back to the group, Hagman attacked on the course’s 1.5km hill and was joined at the top by Travieso and Myogenesis rider Chris Klem. They drove hard, but the field was not ready to let another break go up the road, so the third lap began with vicious attacks coming from every angle. Eventually it was Travieso who broke away with five other riders, and the winning move was established. However the course took its toll on all but Travieso and Klem. With 20k to go, Hekman went on the attack and was joined by Hagman. The duo laid down the power and was clear of the field and stayed away while Travieso was going for better GC time driving his duo and finishing second. Hagman and Hekman finished third and fourth respectively, and in the field sprint, Nankervis finished 5th for the day. The day of racing could not have been more dominated by the TOSHIBA riders who are coming into fine form individually and as a team.
Road Race, 82 miles
1. Chris Klem, MyogenesisNutrition.com
2. Frank Travieso, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
3. Alex Hagman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
4. Mark Hekman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
5. Tommy Nankervis, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
The final day hosted a 60 lap criterium around the square in Downtown Gainesville. The course was a fast, 4 corner crit with 2 long straights and 2 very short ones, and there were many time bonuses up for grabs. The TOSHIBA-Santo Pro Cycling Team presented by Herbalife was leading the race after 2 stages and wanted to protect Travieso’s lead. The other teams and racers were going to make it tough on the TOSHIBA team, and the race was going to be very exciting.
The goal of the team for the criterium was to not lose any time to any of the competitors, covering all MAR (most aggressive rider) points, and after that the team would be very happy with the stage win.
The race got off to a very fast start, with the second lap contesting a MAR sprint, and the other teams immediately attacked the TOSHIBA team. The race settled in a bit and Vallincourt put in a huge attack which helped the boys in red get a bit of rest. After Vaillacourt was reeled in, Hekman countered Vaillancourt's move. Hekman stayed off the front for a while and was soon bridged up to by Travieso, Sweeting, and Clinica Union's Oscar Henao, who was the 2007 Overall Georgia Cup Champion. Back in the field, the remaining TOSHIBA boys man-handled the pack, making sure no one was going anywhere. The breakaway ended up lapping the field, and TOSHIBA lined up in the red train, covered Murphy's late race attack,and took the stage win, as they already had the overall locked up when the breakaway lapped. The team did an amazing lead-out, dropping Travieso and Hekman off a couple hundred meters from the finish. It was an amazing weekend of wonderful teamwork, which bodes well for the team as they head into criterium season and the USA CRITS Speed Week and National Series.
Criterium, 60 laps
1. Mark Hekman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
2. Oscar Henao, Clinica Union
3. Frank Travieso, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
4. Bobby Sweeting, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
1. Frank Travieso, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
2. Mark Hekman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
3. Bobby Sweeting, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
6. Alex Hagman, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
8. Dan Vaillancourt, TOSHIBA-Santo presented by Herbalife
Next up for the team is the Chattanooga Georgia Cup this weekend, the USA CRITS Speed Week (www.usacrits.com), The Athens Twilight (www.athenstwilight.com), and the Tri-Peaks and Joe Martin Stage Races.