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Event Coverage
brought to you by:
Team Aquafina Elite Cycling
and
Monkey Hill Cycle Sports
Saturday, March 17 - Sunday, March 19, 2001 -- Lancaster, PA
Tour de Hempfield (iPO Event Id#: 3216)
Story and photos by Andrew Albright

[Details] [Coverage] [Saturday Results] [Sunday Results] [Team Overall]

In its second year, the Tour de Hempfield has already taken a dominant spot on the ECCC calendar. Emerging from the Great White North, the University of Vermont cycling team, headed by Jason Baer (Lancaster native) promoted two days of racing for a throng of collegiate racers, many of who were escaping New England and traveling to the warm, sunny "South". Well, it wasn't exactly warm and sunny on Saturday, but it was great spring cycling weather - windy, wet, cold, and just warm enough that there was no threat of snow.

Race Pic
Womens road racers complete another lap
To ready the course for the collegiate riders, the promoters graciously added two training races (A & B) for USCF riders. This allowed anyone with a bike the opportunity to race on a really cool Lancaster county course. Past farms, up little hills, and fight the wind and drizzle; one could almost smell Belgium, or was that that farm on one of the turns.

The course was a 5-mile loop, completed various times by the different categories. The USCF "B" race was the first to finish with local rider Dylan Brillhart (Aquafina) outdistancing two other locals, Eric Shirk and Sam Kirk (Green Mtn).
The USCF "A" race was exciting from the gun as Bill Laudien (Aquafina) attacked and solo'd for the first of 7 laps. After a flurry or counterattacking and chasing on the first lap, Brian Trdina (Aquafina) bridged up to teammate Laudien. On the second lap, Laudien came back to the field, but Trdina continued on his own for most of the rest of the race. The field chased and chased, led by Scott Zwisanski (Bicycle Therapy), and other strong riders and teams not represented in the break, such as GS Lancaster riders. Halfway through the second to last lap, a small group dangled off the front of the pack.

Race Pic
Slick and wet race day conditions
As Zwisanski did the last bit of work to pull back Trdina, Albright (Aquafina) attacked. Zwisanski, showing the strength that won him several races last year and put him as one of the top amateur finishers in the 2000 Tour de 'Toone, followed Albright, who then immediately put a large gap on the tiring field. With several km to go, Mark Light (Noble House) and Matt Hollenbach (Aquafina) bridged up to put the lead pack count at four. At the line, Light handily won the sprint finish with Hollenbach narrowly edging out Zwisanski for second.

In Sundays hilly criterium race, Mark Light (one of the top amateur sprinters on the East Coast) showed his overall fitness by soloing away 15 minutes after the start and continued on for the win - completing a Tour de Hempfield double. He was a suitable champion.

Race Pic
Being all that they can be
By contrast, the collegiate racing was rather negative. Given the poor conditions (which usually lead to breakaways) there were no substantial breaks. Rarely would a small group be able to get more than 10 seconds away from the field before being reeled in. There must not have been much teamwork being employed this early in the season. As a result, there was some carnage as the large packs of riders headed into the tight finish. The two notable crashes were in the Men's C race where 300m from the finish, several riders hit the road. When a fellow competitor swerved to avoid the crash, he rocketed into a heavily plowed cornfield - was quite a sight. In the Men's A finish, AFTER the line, single riders started hitting the deck. Amazingly everyone got up from this, the wet pavement easing their slides.

Overall for the weekend, two Pennsylvania schools dominated the Team Points, with Penn State easily winning.