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Frick wins first stage of Tour of Washington County

final two races are today

June 22, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SMITHSBURG -- Josh Frick's last road race victory came eight years ago.

But by the accounts of other cyclists at the Tour of Washington County on Saturday, a Frick win at the Smithsburg road race on Saturday wasn't so improbable.

"It's not really that surprising because compared to other road races we do, this is a lot shorter," said Brian Fouche of Hagerstown. "That puts him in good position."

Frick confessed that the 50-mile race pushed his limits, but his surge in the last 50 meters moved him past Pete Cannell to win the first of three stages in the Senior I, II, III pro event category.

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Racing resumes this morning at Boonsboro for time trials and concludes in Williamsport for the criterium.

"I'm pretty good if (the road race) is an hour or less," said Frick, 32, of Bethesda, Md. "I was by far the least confident in winning this one."

Racing for the Clear Currents team, Frick was awarded 27 points for the win. Cannell got 24 and third-place finisher Chris Keane earned 21 points. The rider that accumulates the most points after three stages wins the general classification grand prize.

"The criterium will be very tactical," Frick said. "By the time we get to it, two-thirds of the points will be decided."

Frick edged Cannell, who raced alone for the Mock Orange Bikes team, on the final uphill straightaway just before the finish line.

"I was trying, I just couldn't hold on," said Cannell, who estimated his fitness level at 90 percent after surgery to remove a brain tumor 2 1/2 months ago.

"I needed it to end a little sooner."

Cannell, 33, of Mebane, N.C., won the Smithsburg road race last year when it was not part of the Tour. He said he expects Frick to be the main competition today.

"I'll do a good time trial and I'll do a good criterium," he said. "(Frick) and I will probably be 1-2."

Keane, 20, of Southwest Ranches, Fla., also rallied during the last straightaway, making up at least five spots to finish third. Keane was the lone member for the Preferred Alliance team.

"I felt like I could jump up at the end. I didn't at first because I wasn't sure if it was the finish line," Keane said. "There wasn't enough room. If it was 20 meters longer I think I could have won. Without a team, I think I did pretty well."

Fouche, racing for Antietam Velo Club/Team Hagerstown-Washington County Tourism, said he needed to place well in the road race to reach his goal of a top 10 overall finish for the weekend.

The 25-year-old finished 26th and did not score.

"I was looking to get some (general classification) points, but I didn't," Fouche said. "That was my best chance to score points. (Top 10) is not going to happen now."

Ramon Benitez, of Glenwood, Md., was expected to contend but wiped out on a patch of gravel during the first lap of the 6.1-mile course. He suffered a shoulder injury, did not finish and is unlikely to race today.

n The Master's 40+ event category was the second race in the first wave, and it was won by 40-year-old Andreas Gutzeit, of Washington, D.C.

He pumped his fist as he crossed the finish line to score a win for the Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team (ABRT).

"I felt really good. I was totally psyched because the team said they would race for me," Gutzeit said. "I had two guys leading me out and they did it perfectly. It's as close to the Tour de France as you can get."

Harry Fang finished second, followed by Christopher Clark. AVC/Team Hagerstown-Washington County Tourism member Scott Gordon was 10th.

Also for the local AVC team, Beth Leasure of Saint James placed 10th in the 37-mile Women's Open race, and Mike Spinnler of Hagerstown was 10th in the 37-mile Men's Master's 50+ race.

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