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20 Apr. 2016
RALEIGH CLEMENT PODIUMS AT SEA OTTER CLASSIC
Cyclocross has been a part of the Sea Otter Classic since 2012. For some it might be hard to muster up the motivation to race cyclocross in April, but for the Raleigh Clement Professional Cycling Team, they were present, ready to race bikes and eager to win. In the elite men’s race Lance Haidet finished second to Tobin Ortenblad (Donkey Label). Third place went to Ben Frederick (Ritchey) with Jamey Driscoll finishing fourth. In the elite women’s race, Caroline Mani, #2 UCI ranked rider in the world, scored a demanding win by riding solo one minute ahead of Courtenay McFadden (GE Capital). Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle) out sprinted Laurel Rathbun to the line for third.
Elite Men’s Race-
On a sunny, sweaty and dusty Saturday at the Laguna Seca Raceway, the elite men got off to a fast start on a course that was made up of tight, twisty turns on loose dirt and wide open sections on hot tarmac. By lap two there were five men, Driscoll, Haidet, Ortenblad, Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes), and Ben Frederick (Ritchey), who had separated themselves from the rest of the field. For 30 minutes, a much shorter race than usual, the five riders threw down attacks to create further separation amongst themselves, but no one was getting away.
With the group still intact on the last lap, minus Clark who was chasing hard behind, Driscoll went to the front to keep the pace high for Haidet in an attempt to keep him in a good position for the finish.
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“Lance is going better than me right now since he already has some pro road racing in his legs this spring,” said Driscoll. “I was working for him, just trying to keep the pace high so we had less surprises and to have him in good position.”
Back on the tarmac with less than a half lap to go, Haidet jumped around Driscoll and Ortenblad to put himself first into the last sandy technical section roughly 100 meters ahead of the finish line.
“I came around Tobin and Jamey heading up the banking of the climb,” said Haidet. “I wanted to go into the sandpit really hard to hopefully force Tobin to make a mistake. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and Tobin went right by me. He had a two to three second gap already coming out of the sandpit with the finish line in sight.”
Despite not scoring the win, the Raleigh Clement riders are still proud of their effort and recognize beating Ortenblad in a sprint is a hard task.