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Sunday, March 18, 2001 -- Trexlertown, PA
Lehigh Wheelmen Bike Line Criterium 3 (iPO Event Id#: 2927)
Story by Randy Inglis

[Details] [Coverage] (Top 5 Results listed Below)

Race Pic
The Pack is rolling!

It's spring. As a cyclist that means two things: wind and training. All over the country, spring training races have begun. In the Eastern Pennsylvania region there is none better than the Bike Line Criterium Training Series run by the Lehigh Wheelman. Held each Sunday in March, the criterium gives riders of every ability a chance to test their early season fitness. Four categories comprised the day's racing: Junior, Category B, Citizens/Cat 5/Women and finally Category A. The races are run using a "points race" format with every fifth lap being a sprint for points (first-5pts, second-3pts, third-2pts & fourth-1pt). The rider at the end of the race with the most points wins. Sounds simple until the riders and officials try to figure out where each rider stands as the end of the race nears.

The day's racing started with the Juniors under 15 event. Taking first place was Daniel Scott, who walked away with the lions share of the points (20), followed by second and third place finishers Taylor Brown and Richie Herring.

In the Category 5 race, which was the third race run during the day, a six man break formed and managed to stay away. Unfortunately for one of the Host teams riders, the wind on the final turn proved to be a bigger factor than anticipated and he went down hard, leaving five riders to contest the final sprint. In the end the win was taken by Jay DeJesus over second place finisher Nino Musiti.

Race Pic
Leaders work away from the field

The second and last races of the day were almost interchangeable. The only difference was how the top finishers placed. In the B race, a group of five got off the front and proceeded to grab all the points. With an average lap time of 1:30 on a one kilometer course, the pace was anything but pedestrian. On one sprint lap, the official lap time was clocked at 1:14. That's a little over 30 miles per hour! And they call this "training." It's not nearly as big a surprise when you consider that the winner was Marty Nothstein. Yes, THE Marty Nothstein, new Mercury Pro, many times National Champion on the track, Olympic silver medalist at the Atlanta game and let's not forget, Gold medalist in the Sydney games this past summer.

In the A race, things got interesting from the gun. Apparently the B race was just a warm-up for the A race. This was made obvious when an almost identical field of over forty riders assembled at the starting line to contest the last race of the day. With forty-five laps and a twenty-five MPH head wind there was nowhere to hide.

The first four laps were controlled. The last forty-one were not. After the first sprint, a break formed with three riders: Mike Miller of the Target team who finished fifth in the "B" race; Neil Stansberry of the Tri-State Velo Club, second in the "B" race; and the winner of the "B" race, Marty Nothstein. The triumvirate worked well together and were never threatened by the pack. Each rider took points in rotation, never really contesting the sprint. Within the pack, a large contingent of Target riders controlled the race. With supreme team tactics the Target team allowed the break to get a lead of over 15 seconds before launching two more team members off the front in an attempt to bridge up to the leaders. It was never to be. With the three riders averaging consistent 1:17 lap speeds, it became impossible for the Target team plan to materialize. Never the less, Ken Walsh's gallant effort to bridge did garner enough points to give him a fourth place finish.

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Racin in Trexlertown

In the end it was Neil Stansberry, resplendent in his Stars and Strips Masters National Jersey, who took the win. Marty Nothstein, in his new Mercury team kit finished third behind Target team member Mike Miller who has to have been pleased with how well his team controlled the rest of the race.

Next Sunday, March 25th, is the last in this series of training races (see details), before the wind and the training races go away and the season starts in for real.

Results:

Juniors 15 & under
1 Daniel Scott
2 Taylor Brown
3 Richie Herring
4 Cindy Latatosh
5 Christine Detris

B race
1 Marty Nothstein
2 Neal Stansberry
3 Leigh Bryan
4 Ken Walsh
5 Mike Miller

Citizen/Cat 5/ Jr/Women
1 Jay DeJesus
2 Nino Musiti
3 Chris Stulb
4 Peter Tkactuk
5 Tom Amick

A race
1 Neil Stansberry/Tri-State Velo
2 Mike Miller/Target
3 Marty Nothstein/Mercury
4 Ken Walsh/Target
5 Rich Liebfried/Target