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Several local cyclists appear near top of leaderboard

By JESSICA FISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 18, 2001


USA Cycling road racers are in the midst of their spring season, during which locals have been sprinting, climbing and time trialing away for Florida Series Points.

The following Bay area USA Cycling racers are near the top of the points leaderboard: Sherri Stedje of Lutz, Dennis Sullivan of St. Pete Beach, Earl Henry of Pinellas Park, Mike McCollum of Largo, Robin Kavan, Paul Kavan, Kurt Fritz and Winston Edwards of Tampa and Jim Zimmer, Mark Yeager and Mark McGarry of St. Petersburg.

ROGUT'S BIRTHDAY: Florida's district represenative for bicycle racing, E.J. Rogut, is resting comfortably at home after surviving hospitalization for a lung clot and other complications.

Team American Classic rider Ellen Kast helped organize an Easter weekend surprise birthday party at Rogut's Tampa home. Many riders showed up after their morning training rides in Pasco's hills to cheer Rogut up. Rogut is receiving e-mail messages at ejrogue@aol.com.

HINCAPIE WINS: George Hincapie, a teammate of Lance Armstrong, recently became the first American to win the Ghent-Wevelgem Belgian classic. Referred to in films and books as "The Hell Of The North," Ghent-Wevelgem brings out raw strength and guts in the world's top pros with its rainstorms, slippery mud, cold, cobblestones and vicious headwind.

Traditionally, Belgian fans line certain sections of the brutal pavement, the ancient cobblestone roads that have not been used since World War II. Sunday, Hincapie placed fourth in another world class field at the Paris-Roubaix, the French version of a sliding and skidding peloton on cobblestones.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Offering the only live race coverage of this year's tour, Outdoor Life Network will feature same-day coverage from July 7-29.

Armstrong will try for a three-peat, and fans are already jamming his Web site (www.lancearmstrong.com). OLN will broadcast daily coverage from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, check out www.OLNTV.com.

MOUNTAIN BIKE RACING: Sunshine State Games mountain biking competition is set for May 12 and will be at Carter Road Park, 500 W. Carter Road, in Lakeland.

Sunshine State Games event director Dave Berger expects huge turnouts for all categories, including kids, juniors, masters, women, sport, expert and clydesdales. Preregistration is recommended. Gates open at 8 a.m., and there will be a riders meeting at 9:45 a.m. For more information, call Berger at (352) 873-9279. JUNIOR NATIONALS: The Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee announced it will host the 2001 USA Cycling Junior National Cycling Road Race Championships Aug. 2-5. A 7-kilometer loop road race course at the University of Florida campus will be used. Espoirs riders who are 22 and younger will race non-championship events.

Time trials of 40 kilometers will be held as well as a flat, fast criterium championship at Gainesville Raceway.

Riders must register by July 19. For more information, call Jack Hughes at (352) 338-9300.

TRI-NOTES: Fred Rzymek the race director for Escape From Fort DeSoto 2001 Triathlon, is getting things ready for Saturday's season opener at Fort DeSoto Park.

Race distances are swim one-half mile, bike 15 miles and run 3 miles. Packet pickup opens at 6 a.m. The first wave leaves the beach at 7:30 a.m. For more information, call (727) 398-2453 or go to www.escapefromftdesoto.com.

SENIOR HEALTH FAIR: Tropicana Field held a Senior Health Fair on April 5, and St. Pete Mad Dog triathletes were honored.

Receiving awards were Pinellas grandmaster champions Roger Burke, 65, Katie Knight-Perry, 65, Patrick Fitzgerald, 71, Jack Parr, 83, and 87-year-old two-time Olympic cyclist John Sinibaldi.

REBACK WINS WORLD CUP: Spectators at the April 28-29 St. Anthony's Triathlon weekend will be watching for Laura Reback.

Reback, from North Palm Beach, won the World Cup race in Gamagori, Japan, in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 12 seconds on Sunday, beating a field that included reigning world champion Nicole Hackett. MAD BEACH: York Somerville now is working full time on preparing for the Mad Dog Mad Beach Triathlon, which will be May 19-20 in Madeira Beach. Last year, 850 triathletes competed.

Somerville is organizing a Mighty Kids mini-triathlon for May 19 at Madeira Beach. The latest father and son to register is Chuck Coit and his son, Austin. Chuck Coit, a firefighter and triathlete, won a silver medal at the 2000 Fire and Police Olympics just before last year's triathlon.

He works out with Austin, a third-grader who made the honor roll while training for his running win at the Lansbrooke Lakefront Classic. For more information, call Somerville at (727) 527-8869.

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