Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pals Come in out of Draft, Zip to 1-2 Finish

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pals Come in out of Draft, Zip to 1-2 Finish

Article excerpt

There is an adage in bicycle road racing: "Five can ride faster than one."

To the uneducated, this concept seems puzzling, if not completely senseless. But it's weight and validity were exhibited Friday in the U.S. Olympic Festival road racing finals at Babler State Park.

A "one," Norman Carter of Redlands, Calif., boldly fled from the pack at the start of the men's 110-kilometer (68.2 miles) race. With none of his Southwest teammates providing impetus or support, Carter pedaled the curves and climbs alone. He rode the point around the asphalt road, nearly five miles long, for 11 of 14 laps.

But with less than two laps to go, his ambitious quest for a gold medal was caught and killed by the inescapable truth, and perplexing aspect, of this sport.

Four members of the West team, led by Cory Dominguez of Corvallis, Ore., kept pace in a pack, riding easily by drafting one another and lingering comfortably behind Carter. Approaching a hill on the 10th lap, the West team sent its two strongest - Dominguez and Damon Kluk - on a seek-and-surpass mission. The others ran interference.

"It was a perfect situation to be in," Dominguez said.

Dominguez and Kluk caught the tiring Carter with less than two laps to go and "dropped him" like an empty water bottle.

"As we went by him," Dominguez explained, "I told him there was a pack right behind us so he could work with us if he wanted, but he couldn't keep up. He didn't have anything left."

Dominguez, 18, had a full tank and soared home to capture the gold in 2 hours 55 minutes 40 seconds. Along the way, he made sure to govern his speed so as not to lose his teammate, Kluk, who grabbed the silver medal.

"I was thrilled," said Kluk, of Eureka, Calif. He finished 21st in Thursday's time trial. "This is my best finish by far. It was a lot of teamwork."

Kluk said he and Dominguez "were working together, and I just wanted to stay with him long enough to be sure I wouldn't get caught. Then I told him to go. He was really helping me. …

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