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Wednesday, April 26, 2000 -- Pittsburgh, PA
2000 ACA Summer Criterium Series
Story by Joe Papp with photos by Jeff Martello (Pittsburgh Cycling Club) and Dave McKain (Whitetail Cycle & Fitness)

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]

Dizzy
All this spinning in circles is enough to make you dizzy
For the third week in a row, cool temperatures greeted racers at the Allegheny Cycling Association's Summer Criterium Series. No matter, though, as the racing was hot from the gun.

In the C Race, 27 riders took to the line for 15 dizzying laps of the Washington Boulevard Bike Oval, known locally as the "Pseudodrome." The City of Pittsburgh constructed the facility in late 1998 to provide a permanent home to the ACA's criterium series, which is now in its 28th consecutive year. In addition to hosting the Pittsburgh Master Velo Club's spring time trials and the ACA's summer series, last year, the 'drome played host a special night of racing when five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain attended the UPMC Sports Medicine Celebration of Cycling.

While Michael Walewski claimed the Most Aggressive Rider award in the C's for leading the most number of laps, it was Charlie Chulack (Pittsburgh Cycling Club) who sprinted to victory for the third week in a row. After the race there was talk of Chulack moving to the B's as soon as he upgrades to Category 4.

Racing
Another blur of color races around Pittsburgh's oval
Ian Sandberg kept things rolling for the PCC by attacking the B field almost from the gun. The college freshman had no hopes of holding off 27 other determined riders for the race's duration, but nonetheless, his early move showed both class and panache. Once he was reeled in, Sandberg's PCC teammates traded attacks with the strong East Suburban Sports Medicine squad and several cagey independents. Late in the race, Jody Lobert (Pittsburgh Masters Velo Club) countered a move by the PCC's Rob Masterson, but he was caught by the field before the final sprint. Bill Powers (East Suburb. Sports Med.) claimed the dash to the line ahead of Colin Sandberg (PCC - and brother of Ian!), Ryan Mele (Volpatti's) and Team Brooklyn's Carl Thomas.

The final event of the evening, the category 1-2-3 "A" race, quickly devolved the PCC's elite squad and the rest of the field . The first serious escape to move clear of the field was a two-up break initiated by the ageless Dick Brink (Guinness) and taken up by John Gamble (PCC). After working together for several laps, Brink increased the pace and cracked Gamble, which caused an immediate reaction from the PCC riders in field. A full-lap pull by PCC leader Joe Papp brought Brink back to the bunch, but not before Rob Acciavatti (WVU) launched a brutal counterattack that was followed by former mountain bike pro Kyle Dixon (Schwinn) and last week's winner, wunderkind Mike Friedman (PCC). Acciavatti, who cut his teeth racing in Europe for the Spanish Kiko squad, quickly settled into a rhythm that both Dixon and Friedman matched. Back in the bunch, a desperate chase was underway as Schwinn sprinter John Evanko made an epic attempt to bridge. He fell short, and while Dave Klipper (Guinness) also seemed capable of closing the gap, he too failed to catch the leaders.

Jennifer Shogren
Jennifer Shogren has all the boys chasing her wheel
With their gap established, the leaders concentrated on working together while the rest of the PCC bullied the field. Had the peloton organized itself, the break might still have been caught, but no serious chase emerged as individual riders instead tried to close the gap on their own.

After the break lapped the field in the final kilometers, team tactics again became an issue, since both Dixon and Friedman had support in the group while Acciavatti was unaided. Realizing that a field sprint would greatly reduce his chances of victory, "Rob A." exploded off the front with one lap to go. He blew Dixon off his wheel and looked set to steal victory from Friedman and his lead-out train, before Papp jumped to the front and began the chase. Despite turning a 53x11 at close to 70km/h, it took Papp until turn three to catch the determined Acciavatti. At 250m to go, Friedman made his move, and while Matt Brungard (MVC) pipped him on the line, he finished ahead of his breakaway companions to secure victory for the second week in a row. Brungard was 4th and his teammate Bret Baronak 5th.

With three weeks of racing completed, quite a rivalry looks to be brewing between Acciavatti and his WVU teammates and the Mapei-esque PCC. However, don't count out Dixon and John Evanko (Schwinn), Dave Klipper and Gunnar Shogren (Guinness), or the dark-horse Greensberg Cycling team.