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Riders steer toward race in S. Florida

By JESSICA FISH
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 18, 2002

The Great Coconut Grove Bicycle Race has been a late-season tradition since the mid-1970s.

The top U.S. riders come to south Florida for one more chance to gain ranking points and compete for lucrative prizes.

For northern racers, it is an opportunity to prolong their tans, squeeze in extra miles and delay putting on lycra tights and arm warmers.

For Florida's cyclists, it's a chance to rub handlebars with the sport's best. For some state riders who do not travel to big events, the weekend may be the only opportunity they get.

Intense racing is expected Sept.28-29 in the Miami Cycling Classic.

All categories will have competition. But the professional events, televised in several different languages, attract thousands of Miami fans who mill around dozens of team vans in search of autographs and photos.

Threshold Sports, the pro organization that had the recent New York City Championship Criteriums, guarantees an elite field and $30,000 cash purse for the Sept.29 professional race near the upscale CocoWalk shopping area.

Crowds have reached 50,000 for the event.

To receive information, call (610) 676-0390 or go online to www.thresholdsports.com.

Some bay area cyclists have wondered who will appear in next Wednesday's Pasco County Hill Ride in San Antonio. Team directors will keep competitors in the region in between the weekends of Florida racing.

Some of the registrations that have been received are from Navigators, Saturn, 7up, Prime Alliance and the U.S. Postal Service Team.

CYCLEFEST: The annual event is scheduled for Oct.4-6 in West Palm Beach.

The weekend offers something for every cyclist -- fun touring rides, competitive USA Cycling and a chance to collect autographs.

The event is hosted by the West Palm Beach Rotary Club and Bill Bone.

USA Cycling racers will turn out 7 p.m. Oct.4 in their colorful uniforms for the J-Town Bikes Evening Criterium on a 1-kilometer course at City Place.

The criterium is for the Professional 1-2 category and Category 3 riders. The $30,000 prize list and National Racing Calendar points attract the sport's superstars.

The weekend's agenda will include three days of community activities, a bicycle marketplace and expo, safety course, 5-kilometer running race, Cyclefest Village and the Bicycle World Sunshine Metric Century (100 kilometers) tour.

JUNIOR OLYMPIC EVENT: Top area rider Chris Magazino (BBC/Jetworks) is expected to sprint to the podium in the men's competition of the Lance Armstrong Races, Oct.4-6 in West Palm Beach.

Magazino, who won both events in Stuart last weekend, may be challenged by northern juniors but is atop the Florida Points Series standings.

Magazino, 17, of St.Peters-

burg, works as a mechanic at ABC Bicycles and is coached by store owner Rick Fidanzato, a standout Category 3 rider.

Magazino gained international experience in this summer's prestigious Tour D'Abiti in Canada as a member of the USA Cycling Southeast Regional Team.

Lutz champions Sherri and David Stedje (BBC/Jetworks) also coach Magazino.

"Winning the Category 3 race in Fort Lauderdale a few weeks ago was as good as a national title, considering the field he was competing against," David said.

For Cyclefest 2002 information, go online to www.cyclefest.org or call Mark Hassell, (561) 968-7726.

ARMSTRONG IN D.C.: Armstrong joined President Bush last week for the Celebrating American Spirit program in the Concert For America at Washington's Kennedy Center.

The Tour deFrance champion (U.S. Postal Service) was among a select group of artists and heroes who participated in a patriotic tribute to Sept.11 victims, delivering famous quotations with James Earl Jones and Angela Bassett.

WORLD CHAMP: Born in Trinidad but a longtime resident of Pinellas Park, cyclist Earl Henry won the masters world track championships in Manchester, England.

Henry, 61, who works as an electrical engineer systems consultant, is a member of St.Petersburg's West Coast Wheelmen racing team. He hopes to return in time to compete in Coconut Grove.

MAD DOG LUAU: The St.Pete Mad Dogs Triathlon Club is inviting all multisport enthusiasts and their families and friends to its ninth annual luau.

It's 6-10 p.m. Saturday at the St.Petersburg Pier's Cha Cha Coconuts.

York Somerville, triathlete Nickey Ezell of St.Petersburg, Bill Addler of Revolution Bicycles and St.Petersburg sports physician Koco Eaton have been organizing the event.

All Ironman competitors will be honored, and the organization will present the annual Ralph G. Perry Award.

For information, call (727) 582-1910 or go online to www.stpetemaddogs.com.

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