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Winner flies past pack in run

After trailing in the swimming and biking events, former track star Dave Picciano takes control in the 3-mile run.

By JESSICA FISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 9, 2002


After trailing in the swimming and biking events, former track star Dave Picciano takes control in the 3-mile run.

SPA BEACH -- Defending champion Dave Picciano ran to his most recent victory Sunday at the St. Petersburg Triathlon, with a winning time of 1 hour, 3 minutes, 47 seconds.

USA Triathlon coach Sara Rosenkranz, 32, of Clermont won the women's title, five months after becoming a mother, with a time of 1:15:12.

Picciano of Oakland, Fla., a former University of Houston track star, fell behind in the half-mile swim in choppy Tampa Bay, which left him pedaling after locals Marty Gaal, Mike Hofstetter and Danny Nolan in the 15-mile bike segment. Picciano took the lead at the beginning of the 3-mile run and held off Gaal, 30, of Orlando who finished in 1:05:39.

Largo's Hofstetter, 36, hung on for third in 1:06:12, and Nolan, 43, of St. Petersburg was fourth in 1:06:59.

"The wind was brutal on the way back on the bike," said Picciano, 36. "I know I can usually outrun Marty, but you never know. You can't count guys out.

"I just won in Abaco, Bahamas, and I've had some good days lately. But, you never know when someone else is going to have a better day."

Hofstetter, the top Pinellas finisher, said his new aerodynamic cycling position worked, and he was happy to make it to the podium.

"The swim was rough, just like at St. Anthony's, and I like that," Hofstetter said. "Danny set a blistering pace on the bike, and came by me like a rocket ship. I couldn't stay with him, but I ended up running pretty well. I got lucky out here today."

On the women's side, Rosenkranz was followed by USA Triathlon's top Florida junior woman, 16-year-old Gainesville high school junior Amanda Hahn, who finished second in 1:16:30.

Open water swimming champ Emily Smith, 28, of Clermont was the first woman out of the water and recorded the third fastest swim time in the entire field. She finished third in 1:18:18.

Top masters at the St. Petersburg Triathlon were Dave Rowland, 40, in 1:08:24 and Linda Musante, 48, in 1:17:56. Rowland, a dentist from North Redington Beach, is set for the Ironman World Triathlon Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, next month. Musante, a University of Tampa professor, will focus on the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Cancun, Mexico, in November.

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