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World Class Feeling Was Back in
Wheeling Criterium, Stage 2 of the Tour of WV
By Jim Joyce
No, it wasn't long ago. Only a few years back. The memory is still vivid. What a time it was. What a great time.
Standing in downtown Wheeling, watching the pack of Pro Men racers spin down Main Street and hug the curb as they turned the corner of 14th Street, I couldn't help but recall the excitement of the now defunct K-Mart Classic. As I sat in a lawn chair along that former course, a couple of young unknown fellows named Lance Armstrong and Frankie Andreu took the town by storm and led us to glue ouselves in front of ESPN as it covered the rest of the stages throughout the Mountain State.
On August 12, 1999, the pride and excitement were back. Sure, the purse was not as big, and the ESPN cameras mounted on motorcycles didn't show up this time, but--by every other measure--it was a great evening for bicycling.
As dusk was about to fall, the sky was clear and the sun cast a few clear rays on the handsome old brick buildings of Downtown Wheeling, a setting strikingly similar to Downtown Altoona. There was just enough daylight left to complete the 50-lap criterium, the second stage of the Tour of West Virginia, a new race organized by Team Columbus of Ohio.
When the riding finished and the darkness began to really settle in, we had been treated to a classic race, one marked by a constantly changing lead and a tight pack right to the finish--practically a photo finish.
Art Burnside, a cycling junkie from New Martinsville, West Virginia, and I were lucky enough to get in a few shots of the race. Some are quite dark because of the late time of the race, plus the shade of the buildings. Other aren't so bad. We hope you enjoy them.
Links to these photos...
Wheeling Criterium Photo Highlights
Post Race Heroes
Below are the top finishers of the Wheeling Criterium and the overall winners of the Tour of of West Virginia...
2. Trent Klasna, Navigators
3. Juan Pineda, GS Mengoni
4. Chad Gerlach, Merlin Hind
5. Eric Wohlger, Shaklee
Overall Tour of WV Winners
2. Chad Gerlach, Merlin-Hind
3. Greg Walker, Ikon-Lexus
4. Trent Klasna, Navigators
5. Graeme Miller, Shaklee
For more indepth coverage of the Wheeling Criterium and the Tour of WV, visit the WVOutside website.
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