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San Francisco (February 19, 2006) – Taking on arguably the most competitive field of cyclists ever assembled in the U.S., Ben Jacques-Maynes of the Nevada Pro Cycling Team rode to a solid 16th place in front of a huge crowd at today’s 1.9-mile prologue stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Jacques-Maynes’ time of 5’08” was 15 seconds off the pace of stage winner Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), whose mark of 4’53” was a full five seconds faster than that of second-place Bobby Julich (Team CSC).

“I hit it hard and gave it everything,” Jacques-Maynes commented, “so I have to be happy with my result. I’m still in the mix and right up there with some great riders.”

Ben warming up under ideal conditions
Indeed, Jacques-Maynes finished less than 4 tenths of a second behind former USPRO Champion Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) and ahead of time trial specialists like two-time U.S. champion Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United), seven-time Australian champion Nathan O’Neill (Health Net p.b. Maxxis), and three-time world champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile).

With his wife Goldi and 4-month-old son Chase on hand, Jacques-Maynes, 27, anchored the Nevada team, which also got a boost from Martin Gilbert’s second-place result in the California Travel and Tourism KOM competition.

With riders’ time splits from the last 600m of the prologue determining the KOM leader, the young French Canadian held back over the flat portions of the course and sprinted up the final few uphill blocks to Coit Tower.

“I’m not a climber,” said Gilbert, “so this may be as close as I get to the climber’s jersey for a while. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the result that I wanted, but I feel good about my first race as a professional.”

Another Nevada rider making his pro debut, Mike Dietrich recorded the team’s second-fastest time of 5’29”. Dominique Perras was next in 5’31”, followed by Scott Zwizanski in 5’34”, Jackson Stewart in 5’38”, Gilbert in 5’44”, Pete Lopinto in 5’47”, and David Robinson in 5’52”.

Racing Manager Jonas Carney added, “The event itself ran very smoothly and it was really an ideal debut for the Amgen Tour of California. All our riders felt good and Ben showed that he’s very competitive at this level, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do over the next couple days.”

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