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By Ben Delaney
Astana’s Levi Leipheimer glided up the finishing climb to victory at the Sea Otter Classic road race Friday, finishing just ahead of the three Bissell men with whom he was in a long breakaway.
Leipheimer’s Santa Rosa training buddy, Paul Mach, took second with his Bissell teammate Morgan Schmitt rounding out the podium. Ben Jacques-Maynes, the fourth man in the break, came in just behind.
“This is home for me,” Leipheimer said. “I came up through the ranks doing these local races and I appreciate them. And I wanted to keep a light spring training schedule. So, this is what I call free training – to get out there and battle with these guys. And it was tough.”
Bissell threw its numbers at Leipheimer, putting a number of riders into early moves.
“We had a pretty good day in the breakaways,” said Mach. “We were trying to send as many guys up the road as possible to try and tire him out.”
But coming up the final 2-mile, eight percent grade to the finish, Leipenheimer looked anything but tired, and easily rolled away from the four seconds.
“We went pretty much into the bottom of the final hill together,” Mach said. “Morgan went first, then Ben, and then I went and Levi was on my wheel. I tried to put in a dig at the end to see what would happen. But basically (Leipheimer) just sat there, and then he passed me.”
Schmitt won Thursday’s criterium, which also unfolded with three Bissell riders clear off the front. On Friday, however, there was a top ProTour rider in the mix.
Leipheimer was relaxed throughout the day, chatting with people at SRAM’s booth before the race, and with a handful of reporters afterward. Even in the final meters of the race, Leipheimer wasn’t so much sprinting for the win so much as just keeping the gear turning easily over.
Cromwell wins women’s race
By Corby Anderson
Tiffany Cromwell (Colavita/Sutter Home) dominated the women’s field, winning by a wide margin after a successful solo breakout.
The 21-year-old, originally from Australia, paced a field that included including Team Tibco’s Joanne Kiesanowski, who finished second for the second day in a row after missing out on first place by less than a bike length in Thursday’s criterium.
The Colavita/Sutter Home team continued to own the middle spot of the Sea Otter Classic winners’ podium with Cromwell’s dominant win, adding to teammate Kelly Benjamin’s dramatic victory the day prior.
Catherine Cheatley added a third place finish to Colavita/Sutter Home’s haul — a remarkable feat considering that just three months prior she fractured her hip in a brutal velodrome accident.
The victorious team also placed riders in the fourth and fifth positions, giving Colavita/Sutter Home four of the top five spots in the 49-mile road race that wound through the hilly circuit of Fort Ord’s backcountry.
Cromwell took advantage of a gorgeously clear, warm California day, which was a change from blustery, rain-drenched Sea Otter Classics of recent years.
“Today was like a perfect day almost. I am really excited, a win is a win, and it’s always a good feeling,” said Cromwell.
With a dominant team of strong riders to support her efforts, Cromwell found the running easy on the way to a 34-second victory.
1. Levi Leipheimer Astana in 58:05.3 36 SANTA ROSA CA USA
2. Paul Mach Bissell Pro Cycling in 58:09.3 27 SANTA ROSA CA USA
3. Morgan Schmitt Bissell Pro Cycling in 58:25.8 24 SANTA ROSA CA USA
4. Ben Jacques-Maynes Bissell Pro Cycling in 58:35.8 31 WATSONVILLE CA
5. Luis Romero, Colavita/sutter Home in 58:36.9 30 LINDEN NJ USA
6. Christopher Jones Team Type 1 in 58:40.7 30 AUBURN CA USA
7. Alex Howes Garmin/holowesko/felt in 58:43.0 21 GOLDEN CO USA
8. Nathaniel English Zteam in 58:46.1 25 BERKELEY CA USA
9. Caleb Fairly Felt-Vmg in 59:26.8 22 COLORADO SPRINGS CO USA
10. Luca Ortolani San Francisco Ca Usa in 59:38.1 39 SAN FRANCISCO CA USA
11. SWINDLEHURST, Burke Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:40.0 36 SALT LAKE CITY UT
12. Daniel Holloway Garmin/holowesko/felt in 03:23.2 22 MORGAN HILL CA USA
13. Vincent Owens Hdr P/b Lombardi Sports in 03:24.0 28 FRESNO CA USA
14. Samuel Pickman Specialized in 03:43.0 28 SAN JOSE CA USA
15. Ian Tuttle Above Category Racing in 04:10.7 28 MILL VALLEY CA USA
16. Thomas Nelson Liquid Fitness/adage in 04:40.9 29 LA MESA CA USA
17. JACQUES-MAYNES, Andy Bissell Pro Cycling in 04:54.1 31 WATSONVILLE CA
18. Chris Winn Rmcef in 04:54.9 25 LAKEWOOD CO SUA
19. Adam Switters in 04:55.0 22 SAN LUIS OBISPO CA USA
20. Alejandro Borrajo Colavita/sutter Home in 04:55.4 29 LINDEN NJ USA
21. Evan Hyde Nashvillecyclist.com in 04:55.7 25 NASHVILLE TN USA
22. Hayden Brooks Fly V Australia in 04:56.8 23 DARLING HEIGHTS QL AUS
23. Tyler Brandt Hdr P/b Lombardi Sports in 04:57.4 19 FAIRFAX CA USA
24. Kris Lunning Above Category in 04:58.3 30 CORTE MADERA CA USA
25. Jason King Swamis/fppi in 04:58.6 24 SAN DIEGO CA USA
26. Zack Stein Iscorp/nova Cycle in 04:59.5 18 SAINT CHARLES MO USA
27. Aaron Schneider Now-Ms Society in 05:00.2 23 NORTH HILLS CA USA
28. Ben King Fly V Australia in 05:00.4 21 SAN DIEGO CA USA
29. NAPOLITANO, Rudolp Liquid Fitness/adage in 05:00.4 35 SANTA MONICA CA USA
30. Matt Landen Liquid Fitness/adage in 05:00.4 28 LAKE FOREST CA USA
31. Julian Martinez in 05:02.7 21 WALNUT CREEK CA USA
32. Spencer Smitheman Now-Ms Society in 05:03.5 20 SANTA MONICA CA USA
33. Anibal Borrajo Colavita/sutter Home in 05:04.1 27 LINDEN NJ USA
34. Chris Turner Above Category Racing in 05:04.6 26 MOUNTAIN VIEW CA USA
35. Ian Holt Rmcef in 05:06.0 27 FORT COLLINS CO USA
36. Jesse Moore in 05:06.4 35 SACRAMENTO CA USA
37. John Hunt in 05:06.7 44 FAIRFAX CA USA
38. Ryan Ramos Berkeley Ca Usa in 05:07.3 31 BERKELEY CA USA
39. Peter Latham Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:09.4 25 SANTA ROSA CA USA
40. Evan Bowman Team Waste Mgmt in 05:12.9 22 MORAGA CA USA
41. Tyler Dibble in 05:20.8 23 OAKLAND CA USA
42. Thomas Novikoff Webcor/alto Velo in 05:21.5 28 SAN JOSE CA USA
43. Guido Palma Colavita/sutter Home in 05:24.1 22 LINDEN NJ USA
44. Tim Farnham Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:27.8 27 SANTA ROSA CA USA
45. Corey Farrell Swamis/fppi in 05:40.6 20 CAMARILLO CA USA
46. Marcel Delisser Cmg in 05:47.3 19 PORTLAND OR USA
47. Lucas Haedo Colavita/Sutter Home in 06:20.0 26 LINDEN NJ USA
48. Daniel Carruthers Leanderq Tx Sua in 05:31.0 34 LEANDERQ TX SUA
49. Nick Schaffner Cyclepaths/wild Cherries in 05:34.1 27 TRUCKEE CA USA
50. Jd Bergmann Bpg in 06:15.7 33 ALBANY CA USA
51. Peter Rennie Now-Ms Society in 06:35.9 23 SANTA MONICA CA USA
1. Tiffany Cromwell Colavita-Sutter in 20:40.1 21 PETALUMA CA USA
2. Joanne Kiesanowski Team Tibco in 21:14.1 30 COLORADO SPRINGS CO
3. Catherine Cheatley Petaluma Ca Usa in 21:14.6 26 PETALUMA CA USA
4. Rachel Heal Petaluma Ca Usa in 22:42.8 36 PETALUMA CA USA
5. Tina Pic Colavita/sutter Home in 22:42.9 43 BUFORD GA USA
6. Jenn Halladay in 22:43.4 38 KUNA ID USA
7. Emma Rickards Team Tibco in 22:46.8 36 BRISBANE CA USA
8. Ruth Clemence Simple Green in 22:47.0 50 NEWPORT BEACH CA USA
9. Annie Malouin Team Bc in 22:52.2 32 FOLSOM CA USA
10. Olivia Dillon Touchstone Climbing in 23:03.8 36 SAN FRANCISCO CA USA
11. Melinda Weiner Kahala Lagrange in 23:14.2 29 LOS ANGELES CA USA
12. Kelly Mcdonald Touchstone Climbing in 24:11.3 38 DAVIS CA USA
13. Rushlee Buchanan Brisbane Ca Usa in 24:54.8 21 BRISBANE CA USA
14. Coryn Rivera Metro Vw in 27:45.0 17 TUSTIN CA USA
15. Kimberly Fong Wines Of Washington in 27:46.8 23 BERKELEY CA USA
16. Kathryn Donovan Kahala Lagrange in 27:55.6 27 SIMI VALLEY CA USA
17. Kate Ligler Dolce Vita in 30:20.3 28 SAN LUIS OBISPO CA USA
18. Yukie Nakamura Metromint Cycling in 32:08.0 37 LOS ALTOS CA USA
19. Ashley Anderson Metro Vw in 32:56.6 22 GREENVILLE SC USA
20. Alison Rosenthal Team Tibco in 34:09.4 33 PALO ALTO CA USA
21. Stacy Sims Metromint Cycling in 40:50.2 36 MENLO PARK CA USA
22. Kelsey Withrow in 40:50.4 27