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Peerless Insurance Twilight Criterium
June 26, 2001
Keene, NH- The inaugural Peerless Twilight Criterium was a big hit on the downtown streets of this working class city in southwestern New Hampshire. Both fans and riders alike were primed for the primes--17 $100 primes to be exact, and $3300 in prize money for the finish. The Tuesday night race, just two days before the start of the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic Stage Race just 45 minutes south from here meant that many of the nations top crit riders would be in town a few days early to mix it up with the best New England had to offer.
For the first 25 laps of the 50-lap race, Net Zeroís grizzled veteran Graeme Miller was the man in charge. Consistently off the front in search of the $100 bonuses, he soon found himself clear with local riders Alec Donahue and Steve Roszko (NCC/BikeReg.com), Mercy Fitnessí Dave Wenger, and the Italian pro riding for the DeFeet/Lemond team, Gabriele Rampolo. The gap rose to 15 seconds before GS Mengoni reacted, putting two riders on the front to cut the gap down, then sending Jason Baer across with Trek/Volkswagen Eastís Justin Lille.
Once the two chasers made contact, Miller took charge again, launching an attack and splitting the break, taking Baer and Rampolo with him and sending the rest of the group back to the field. With 19 to go and out of sight on 1K, 6-corner course, it looked like the winning move was made. The problem was that Saturnís Mark and Frank McCormack didnít agree.
Rather than chasing the break down, the McCormacks took turns attacking and counter-attacking the field while the helpless local riders held on for dear life. The field split under the pressure, but neither McCormack was able to break free, and with 16 to go the break was caught, and the field was back together.
It was here that the primes began to get thick and heavy, with the next two being taken by DeFeet/Lemondís Greg Wolf and GS Mengoniís Adam Hodges Myerson. It was a counter to that prime with 13 to go that finally saw the winning move go clear.
It was Rampolo again, this time going solo, followed by multiple groups of two. The Italian was racking up the primes, but eventually a cohesive chase group formed behind him. With 4 to go, 5 riders made contact: Wenger again for Mercy Fitness, local up-and-comer Scott Plante of CS Ardagna, Excite-SmartFuelís Lincoln Brown, Saturn Development junior Ollie Stiler-Cote, and recent Massachusetts transplant Corey Fisher from Community Bikes.
With many of the top riders missing from the break, the field was navel-gazing while the gap continued to grow. Up front, the cat and mouse game began with a 30-second cushion to toy with. It wasnít until 3 to go that a real lead out began in the field, first from Cannondale-Wheelworks in support of John Page, and then from Team Columbus in support of former World Champion, Aussie Jeff Hopkins.
Twice Mark McCormack tried to go over the top of the lead out, and twice it was to no avail. The gap was down to 10 seconds with one to go, when finally New Zealander Graeme Miller came back to the front to lend a hand to his Oceania friends from Team Columbus. It was too little too late.
Up front it was Ohio native Dave Wenger who attacked the break before the last corner to sail in for the win ahead of Corey Fisher and a surprising Scott Plante. After driving alone 10 hours from the Youngstown area to make the race, Wenger was ecstatic. "I really wanted to do well today, at least to make some money. When I heard about the primes, I had planned to make that my goal, and not worry so much about the finish. I didnít expect to be able to beat Miller or the McCormacks. When I found myself in the break, I definitely went into winning mode. This is the best win of my career so far."
Back in the field, Miller took Hopkins through the last corner, and the Australian was able to gobble up the back of the break to take a frustrating 6th place, finishing on the same time.
The event itself was a huge success for promoter John Wickman, the Heart of New England Cycling Club, and the city of Keene. "We were really happy with the crowd tonight and the way the city showed itís support for the race. We really want this event to grow." With a great course, great prize list, and its proximity to Fitchburg, it looks destined to do just that.
Report filed by Adam Hodges Myerson, courtesy of Cycle-Smart for PEP Results
Results Courtesy of PEP Results 1 David Wenger Mercy Fitness 1:21:24 2 Corey Fisher CBS 3 Scott Plante GS Ardagna 4 Gabriele Rampollo Defeet/LeMond 5 Oliver Stiler-Cote Saturn 6 Jeff Hopkins Team Columbus 7 Lincoln Brown Excite/SmartFuel 8 Graham Miller Net Zero 9 Franky Vanhaesebroucke Navigators 10 Adam Myerson CRCA/Mengoni 11 Steve Stockwell Banagans 12 Jonathan Page Wheelworks/Cannondale 13 Kirt Fitzpatrick HNECC/Pearless 14 Eric Takayama Excite/SmartFuel 15 Mark Light Flyers 16 John Corriveau BOB 17 Andrew Boxer Killington Pico 18 Peter Vollers Trek/Volkswagon 19 Mike Ballou BOB 20 Thomas Deibler Banagans 21 Ben Early Safefit 22 Matt Wilson CRCA/Mengoni 23 Aaron Helminski Putney/West Hill 24 Eric Fleming Horst Engineering 25 Jason Baer CRCA/Mengoni 26 Ian Modestow NCC/BikeReg.com 27 Jay Thomas CCB/Volkswagon 28 Mike Norton Les Cyclists 29 Joseph Alachoyan Ideal Tile/Brielle 30 Ryan Pinkham Wheelworks/Cannondale 31 Justin Lillie Trek/Volkswagon 32 Andrew Donaldson Trek/Volkswagon 33 David Youngblood NCC/BikeReg.com 34 Matthew Loftus NCC/BikeReg.com 35 Tom Lewis HNECC/Pearless 36 Theo Padnos Killington Pico 37 Arlen Wenzel Horst Engineering 38 Peter Rhodes GS Ardagna 39 Jonathan Lowenstein OSVC/AFD 40 Scott Wade Gearworks/SRP 41 Eric Juzysta Excite/SmartFuel 42 Leigh Bryan Team Columbus 43 Bill Gros HNECC/Pearless 44 Kyle Gates Boston CC 45 Tom Saccone Le Chateau 46 Jean Paul Derosiers OSVC/AFD 47 Andrew Ward Dream Bikes 48 David Goodwin NECSA 49 Shawn Milne Wheelworks/Cannondale 50 Chris Naimie Banagans 51 Greg Wolf Defeet/LeMond 75 Starters 51 Finishers