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Locals have banner day in Dade City races

By JESSICA MUNDIE
Published February 28, 2007


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Bicycle racers are sprinting for Florida Series Points, and the first flurry of events saw a new group of talented locals who already are at the top of the rankings.

East Pasco Habitat for Humanity Road Race and Criterium Weekend in Dade City Feb. 17-18 brought out the competition several weeks ago. The best USA Cycling racers in the Southeast battled area racers for thousands in cash and FPS points.

Pro Josh Thornton Toyota/United Cycling Team turned a trip home into a lucrative stage race win, surviving team tactics of Miami's powerful JetNetworks Team.

Top locals at the road races, breaking into the top 10 in Pro 1-2, were: Chris Scott (Locos), Gary Yates (Team Outspokin) and Frank Lopez (Preferred Alliance). Scott placed fourth at Lake Mary Criterium on Feb. 11.

Women's Category 1-2 riders Jacquelyn Crowell and experienced champion Tina Elliott (both Cycle Science Team) lived up to their reputations as fast Miami female cyclists, and the "combine" tactics they used were impossible to beat. Third went to St. Petersburg's Elizabeth Morse-Hill (Ford Cycling Team/Orlando Velo), who just came off a win at the State Cyclocross Championships in Largo.

True to her word, former UCI Masters World Mountain Bike Champion Shelly Allen (Team Outspokin) of Pinellas Park showed up with her skinny tires and sprinted to a strong third place in the Women's Category 4 road race.

"I just came out to watch the cross races in Largo, and riders asked if I was going to race again," Allen said. "I jumped into this road race for fun, and I may do a few more."

USA Cycling's top-ranked Master 55-plus racer Mike McCollum of Largo has shown consistent results, with his second in the road race. McCollum does well in major races, and if he can get around this season's high-speed crashes, he will earn another national championship medal. McCollum (Jacksonville Racing Club), 61, also beat Miami's national champ, Manny Aguilera, in Lake Mary the previous week.

Also in the mix in the road race: Team Neptune Category 35-plus racers Mark Yaeger of St. Petersburg and Paul Kavan of Tampa. Kavan, 36, was undefeated in last month's state championships.

Windswept criteriums on Feb. 18 brought out Florida's fastest speed merchants, sprinting around the multi-lap course in historic downtown Dade City.

Keeping the cash and trophies in Pinellas County: Trish Cohen (Team Neptune), Sheila Lopez (Team Outspokin), Jonathan Levie (Team Gearlink), Mark McGarry (Team Neptune), Pavel Stuchlik (Team American Classic).

GEARLINK CUP: Jared Zimlin and Mirek Magdziak will play host at the Gearlink Cup Criterium in downtown Palm Harbor on March 10. Part of the Squiggy Classic Race Weekend, the criteriums offer racing for most USA Cycling categories. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m.

The premier event will be the Pro 1-2 race, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. For details, call Jared Zimlin at (727) 204-3461 or e-mail jzimlin@gearlink.com or Mirek Magdziak at (727) 447-4007 or info@gearlink.com.

Times Correspondent Jessica Mundie can be reached at sptimescycling@yahoo.com

[Last modified February 27, 2007, 20:39:12]


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