04 | JAN
Lancaster, Penn. (June 4, 2006) - With perfect teamwork helping to open
a huge gap in the final sprint, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Jackson
Stewart took the biggest win of his career at today's Tom Bamford Lancaster
Classic, the 91-mile opener of the "Philly Week" races now known as the
Commerce Bank Triple Crown.
As the field, reduced by 13 trips up the course's
climb through Lancaster's Central Park, entered the race's final kilometer,
Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Scott
Zwizanski singlehandedly powered past the leadout trains of pre-race
favorites Totyota-United and Health Net-Maxxis.
With Stewart on his wheel followed by the team's designated sprinter Martin
Gilbert, Zwizanski held the front until 500 meters from the line.
There - in the race's decisive moment - Stewart made a huge acceleration
intended to bring Gilbert to the line, but Gilbert sensed that he wasn't
at his best and allowed a gap to open.
By the time the field reacted, Stewart was out of reach as J.J Haedo (Toyota-United)
settled for second ahead of Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance).
"With four laps to go, I was just hoping to finish in the field, then all
the way up the finish stretch I was just waiting for Martin and all the
sprinters to swarm me," he recalled. "I've always thought I could win a
race like this but I didn't expect to today. This is a huge win for me and
For the 26 year old, it was the breakthrough win
of an impressive season that began with a strong showing at the Amgen Tour
of California, including the Adobe Most Aggressive Rider jersey on Stage
1 and an 8th place finish in the race's longest stage, followed by 2nd place
at the McLane Pacific criterium, 2nd place at the Garrett Lemire GP, and
4th place in the Sea Otter Classic.
Stewart on the podium with Haedo and Lagutin
Nonetheless, Stewart's only victory of 2006 came two weeks ago in a local
criterium in Northern California.
"This is that elusive win," said Kodakgallery.com/Sierra
Nevada General Manager Robin
Zellner. "He's been waiting for this and now that weight is off his
shoulders. You'll see so much more out of him now."
Racing Manager Jonas
Carney added praise for Zwizanski, noting that "Scott won the race for
us. He was so strong at the end and just handed it to Martin and Jackson."
AND CSC INVITATIONAL
For Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada, today's win in Lancaster was the perfect
response to frustrating outings at the CapTech Classic on Thursday in Richmond,
Virginia and yesterday's CSC Invitational in Arlington, Virginia.
In the CSC race, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada did a good job of staying
near the front and out of trouble in one of the hardest and most technical
criteriums of the season, but sprinter Dan
Schmatz was caught behind a crash near the finish, leaving an out-of-position
Stewart as the team's best hope.
"A lot of the top sprinters were out of the race and at that point there
were only about 20 guys left in the field, but I didn't put myself in the
right place and ended up sprinting for 10th," said Stewart.
At CapTech, Ben Jacques-Maynes
looked comfortable in the winning break of five riders until an asthma attack
with 8 laps to go took him out of the race. After waking up the next day
with a mysteriously sore knee, he opted out of CSC, Lancaster, and Thursday's
Reading Classic but should return for next Sunday's Philadelphia International
"I know my form is great but the body's acting up in weird ways," said the
Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada captain.