Apr 5-6, 1997 Napa Valley, CA


Bramati takes World Cup opener

by Marti Stephen

Napa, California

Italy's Luca Bramati (Selle Italia) came off the cyclo-cross circuit with superb early season fitness for the Grundig-UCI World Cup cross-country opener in Napa, California, April 6. Bramati shot forward from a placing deep within the starting lineup to a top 10 position at the top of the course's first, major climb and then moved into first overall, around Norway's Rune Hoydahl (Giant) by the middle of the second lap. He never looked back, putting 56 seconds into Hoydahl by the finish of the five-lap, 31-mile race. Reigning world champion Jerome Chiotti (GT) of France was third. Frenchman Miguel Martinez (Sunn) was fourth, to take the top points in the espoirs (under 23) category, beating out Australia's Cadel Evans (Diamondback) who had battled up to fourth place by the middle of the race. Evans finished sixth. Top-placed American was Peter Webber (Gary Fisher) in 17th.


Pro Men: 1. Luca Bramati (I), Selle Italia, 31 miles in 2:37:04; 2. Rune Hoydahl (N), Giant, at 0:56; 3. Jerome Chiotti (F), GT, at 2:15; 4. Miguel Martinez (F), Sunn-Nike, at 2:39; 5. Ludovic Dubau (F), Sunn-Nike, at 3:32; 6. Cadel Evans (Aus), Diamondback, at 3:50; 7. Lennie Kristensen (Dk), Giant, at 5:03; 8. Francisco Javi Notario (Sp), Coronas, at 5:17; 9. David Baker (GB), GT, at 5:32; 10. Christophe Dupouey (F), Sunn-Nike, at 6:01.

Pezzo starts season with World Cup win

by Marti Stephen

Napa, California

Paola Pezzo (Gary Fisher) started her season in top form and won the Grundig-UCI World Cup kick-off in Napa, California, April 5. The Italian rider and Olympic gold medalist beat Canadian Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) by 4:06. Sydor said after the race, "There was just no way (I could go with Pezzo when she passed), she went by so fast." Sydor had initially led the race during the opening half-lap of the 24.8-mile race, but Pezzo passed her during the initial climb on the first full lap and continued to gain on her for the remainder of the race. Swiss rider Chantal Daucourt (Trek-Volkswagen) had an outstanding ride to move into third and keep it for an outstanding beginning to her World Cup season on a new team. Canada's Lesley Tomlinson (Kona) also had an excellent race to place fourth. Three-time World Cup winner Juli Furtado (GT) began her inernational season at Napa as well, beginning her comeback from Lyme Disease. The American rider said that although she wasn't on her usual winning form, she felt healthier than she ever had last year.

The dusty Napa course was two-thirds single-track. An opening two-mile climb on a dirt road was studded with rocks and featured only one smooth line. Racers trying to move up through the field had to expend more energy off the beaten path, but were rewarded with a better position once the single track appeared, because very little passing was possible there. This situation determined the tactics for many racers.


Pro Women: 1. Paola Pezzo (I), Gary Fisher, 24.8 miles in 2:08:16; 2. Alison Sydor (Can), Volvo-Cannondale, at 4:06; 3. Chantal Daucourt (Swit), Trek-Volkswagen, at 5:21; 4. Lesley Tomlinson (Can), Kona, at 7:21; 5. Ruthie Matthes (USA), PowerBar, at 8:03; 6. Alison Dunlap (USA), GT, at 10:32; 7. Mary Hearn (USA), Polo Sport World Cup, at 10:47; 8. Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor), American Eagle, at 11:16; 9. Laurence Leboucher (F), La Poste, at 11:41; 10. Chrissy Redden (Can), Ritchey, at 12:53; 11. Shari Kain (USA), Polo Sport World Cup, at 13:03; 12. Nora Roesch (G), ProFlex-Mastercard, at 13:54; 13. Juli Furtado (USA), GT, at 14:58; 14. Melanie McQuaid (Can), Rocky Mountain, at 15:24; 15. Silvia Furst (Swit), Mountain Dew-Specialized, at 16:13; 16. Sandra Temporelli (F), La Poste, at 16:52; 17. Tracy Brunger (GB), ProFlex, at 16:53; 18. Maria Paola Turcutto (I), Cecini Sport, at 17:52; 19. Karen Wilson (USA), Pearl Izumi, at 18:03; 20. Sara Ellis (USA), Plymouth-Ellsworth, at 18:34.