Sunday Jun 21 2009
Strong ride for Lance
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports EDITOr
NEVADA CITY CLASSIC
NEVADA CITY — Lance Armstrong made the most of his quick trip to the Nevada City Classic on Sunday. Competing in the historic criterium-style race for the first time since 1991, Armstrong broke away from Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer and Watsonville pro Ben Jacques-Maynes with six laps to go, cruising to victory. Armstrong was the runner-up in his last visit to Nevada City, where the streets were lined with a record number of fans on Sunday. The seven-time Tour de France champion was determined to win from the outset. He pushed himself hard the whole way in his final tuneup before he starts his quest for an eighth title in France. “It’s a hard race,” Armstrong said before jetting off to Colorado Sunday night. “You start to see immediately, who’s strong. It was tough to get away.” Leipheimer raced to second and Jacques-Maynes was third in the 49th annual race — the second-oldest bicycle race in the country. Armstrong was an amateur the last time he raced in Nevada City. He had fond memories of the race and made it a priority to return this year when he got a break from training with his team in Colorado. Armstrong committed to the race on Tuesday, giving the event a buzz like never before. “I think the highlight of this event is the crowd,” Armstrong said. “From the smell of barbecues to the smell of beer. Around turn two I thought I smelled something that I won’t go into. ... The fans sure made my Father’s Day.” Sacramento’s Chad Gerlach had another strong performance on Sunday, placing sixth. Auburn’s Dylan Clark was riding strong with the main pack before crashing on the sixth lap. He was not seriously injured. In the men’s “Elite 3” division, Colfax High graduate Luke Ramseth had a very strong showing, finishing in the top 10. For full results, visit www.ncclassic.com.