Charlottesville, VA (April 29, 2007) Jesse Anthony earned the first National Racing Calendar (NRC) win of his career on Sunday stamping his name on the 7th and final stage of the 2007 Tour of Virginia for the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team, presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Only 25-miles into the 100 mile race through the roads of scenic Albermarle County, Mark Walters and Jesse Anthony joined a 10-man breakaway that included race leader, Javier Zapata of Colombia (CAICO). Working well together, the group opened a significant gap on the field. As they raced along the Jamestown River and past Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, the gap continued to grow before topping out just shy of four minutes. “We were really rolling,” eventual winner Jesse Anthony noted after the race, “early on we kept the pace between 50-60kph [31-37mph] – there were times when we came over hills at 45kph [~28mph]!”
As the breakaway rolled into Charlottesville for three laps of a three-mile finishing circuit, the police escort took a wrong turn and misguided the leaders more than a kilometer off course. In the time it took for the escort to return the riders to the circuit, the field had leapfrogged the breakaway riders. Quick thinking race officials averted a potentially chaotic scene by sending the field out for an extra lap and by fixing the breakaway’s winning margin to the last confirmed time split before they entered the finishing circuit.
Despite the confusion and re-direction, riders in the breakaway took it in stride and stayed focused on the job at hand. Anthony explained, “It was a bit chaotic and I wasn’t feeling really strong at that point, but we all knew what we were sprinting for.” With two corners to go on the final lap, Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing) jumped and Anthony was able to follow the move. In the final meters, Anthony came around Leogrande to win by half a bike length.
Mark Walters efforts in the breakaway paid dividends as the group’s 2:15 advantage over the main field catapulted him up through the General Classification standings to 5th place overall. In addition to the stage win, Anthony also earned second place in the week-long points competition.
Team Communications Director, Rob O’Dea summarized the team’s performance as being, “exactly what we needed heading into next month’s Milk Ras in Ireland. It was a great confidence boost for the organization. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard to beat two NRC wins in a single day!”
Race results recap: