Harrisonburg, VA (April 28, 2007) Ben Raby broke the ice with his Stage-5 podium finish and Jesse Anthony kept the streak alive for the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team, presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. by claiming the team’s second consecutive podium appearance with his 2nd place finish in Stage-6 of the Tour of Virginia.
In a respite from the Virginia mountains, Saturday’s stage was a Criterium around the streets of Harrisonburg and finishing in the historic Court Square. An estimated 3,000 fans turned out to watch the race. Riders put on a show that left the fans going crazy. From the gun, attacks came fast and often. Struggling to respond, the field strung out in a single-file line form several city blocks. The Kodak Gallery team rode well in the front of the field with notable efforts from Mark Walters, Mike Dietrich and Ben Raby to keep any major breakaways from forming.
As the race drew to a close, Mark Walters led out teammate Jesse Anthony for the final sprint. Showing a return to his excellent sprinting form, Anthony crossed the line third in a near photo finish. Race officials however relegated the first rider across the line for intentionally changing his line in the final meters. This moved Anthony up one position to second.
After the race, Anthony reflected on the race and the efforts of his teammates, “I feel strong. I’ve been getting better and better each day. As a team, we rode really well today. Mark [Walters] especially – man, he was absolutely on fire today! I just cannot wait for tomorrow!”
Anthony’s performance on Saturday seemed inspired by his failed last minute attempt to win the day before. In the closing miles of Stage-5, after teammate Dan Timmerman’s 80-mile break away was caught, Jesse Anthony, with two other riders, launched a courageous effort for the stage win. With fewer than 200 meters to the finishing line, Anthony was caught by the pack setting up the sprint finish in which Ben Raby captured 3rd.
In a race largely defined by the unexpectedly hard first two mountain stages, that resulted in more than 50 riders missing the time cut and being removed from the race, riders from the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team have been getting stronger as the 7-stage Tour of Virginia has progressed. Following the conclusion of Sunday’s final stage, several riders will join their teammates in Georgia to contest the South East Criterium Series while others will return home to prepare for the upcoming Milk Ras in Ireland.