For another amazing day, San Francisco closed off a 10 mile section of roadway to host the BMC Software Grand Prix.
This year Bob Roll even jetted over from mid-Vuelta to orate an incredible verbal history of cycling, and call the race live on OLN.
This year's photos are organized by lap, were taken with an Olympus 3020 Digital camera, and optimized in Photoshop.
|Filmore Hill: Lap 1 - Lap 2 - Lap 3 - Lap 4/5 - Lap 6 - Broadway/Polk: Lap 7 - Lap 8|
San Francisco Grand Prix - 2002
Not wanting to mess with tradition, we again began the day on the Fillmore Street hill. This year,we decided to set up on the "drive side" - so we could see the cranks bending and feel the spray of metal as chains snapped. The crowds seemed a bit denser this year, and they had pushed the barriers out into the roadway a bit further, it seemed. Still, they hadn't managed to do anything about the 18% pitches of the roadway (well, ok, other than reduce the number of times they would hit it to 8), and we were ready to watch blood spurt from the ears of those riders who attacked it. As the roar of the crowd began to drown out the PA system, the first riders (above) crested the cross street and hit the last block of the climb.
|Lap 1 - Fillmore Street Hill|
After a few short loops in the start/finish area, the peleton headed our way. This year, things remained largly intact before they came to the wall of Fillmore. A few riders surged a bit on the crests, hoping to maintain momentum all the way to the top of the climb. Meanwhile, the USPS riders bided their time and remained tucked into the group. In the photo at left, Vlatchislav Ekimov (#4) tags along behind Chann McRae (#7 - in the US Pro Championship jersey), while a second or two later, George Hincapie rolls it over shadowed by Pavel Padrnos. Since they both have their jackets on, their numbers are not visible. Think of it as an anaerobic "Where's Waldo" challenge....Click on any of these photos to get the full effect - that is, see 'em at full size.
|Second time up, and things are at least beginning to shape up - here Czech hammer Pavel Padrnos hammers upward to cover an early group of riders||Meanwhile, a few seconds behind, Vlatchislav Ekimov marks an Aqua & Sapone rider (probably #38 - Filippo Simeoni)||Yep, I know this isn't a sharply focused shot (well, other than the hat in the foreground...) but, I liked it because you get a good sense of the pitch of Fillmore. Also, it's the only shot I managed to get of Kevin Livingston, in Telekom colors at the left side, next to USPS's Dylan Casey.|
|fYou could tell when Lance was rumbling past, because the cacophy became even louder. Biding his time, he eases up the pitch followed by Floyd Landis. The photo at right is the same frame, zoomed in to get more detail.|
|Lap 3 - Filmore Street Hill|
|By The third time up, the pain was rippling through the peleton, and the contenders were beginning to surge forward. Here, 7Up-Colorado Cyclist's John Lieswyn moves hard up the Filmore climb, followed by Cesar Grajales from the Jittery Joe's squad||USPS won't let the effort go unanswered, as Pavel Padrnos and Floyd Landis match his efforts. On the near side, Russell Stevenson (#49?) from Prime Alliance runs up the rails.||USPS rider Dylan Casey stalks the move as well, just behind Mariano Friedrick of Jelly-Belly. It's interesting to note the gearing used, probably a 27 on the rear cog. Of course, they all climb this hill faster than anyone I've ever seen...|
|At the head of the main bunch, Jelly-Belly's Chris McGovern, Saturn's Chris Fisher and 7UP-Colorado Cyclist's Doug Ziewacz pummel themselves||Having gotten rid of his jacket, George Hincapie continues to test his racing form, after a hellacious crash in the Classica San Sebastian in August.|
|Lap 4/5 - Fillmore Street Hill|
|One lap later, Chris Fisher has slid back down to the front of the main pack, here harrassed by two Italian riders - Saeco's Damiano Cunego and (I think) Massimo Giunti from Aqua & Sapone||Still on lap #4, George Hincapie rides up with Jonas Carney from Prime Alliance, Tom Leaper from Navigators and a couple of Webcor riders.||Lap 5 finds Floyd Landis closely marking John Lieswyn.||USPS's Pavel Padrnos and Chann McRae (cut off on the right of the photo) trundle up the hill again. Meanwhile, Pavel must wonder why he left the Czech Republic, only to be screamed at by Americans while he tries to do his job...|
|Lap 6 - Filmore Street Hil|
|The riders crest the last cross street on the 6th lap. The crowd has visibly increased and the noise, if possible, is even more deafening||As they his the last pitch of Filmore, Ivan Dominguez, who sprinted to a first place in the New York City race, surges on the climb. Chann McRae, wearing the US Champion's jersey, cracks molars and splits fillings as he moves to follow the effort||You can tell Floyd Landis is serious, because this time the chain is midway down the cogset. Sorry about the stylin' chapeau...||Clearly, I made an error this year in staying on the "drive side" of the race - George decided to look back over his left shoulder as he accellerates to test the others on the climb. His power was formidable.|
|At the upper right of this shot, Floyd Landis has almost reached the crest. At the lower left, John Lieswyn trails and will not regain the lead. However, one of his teammates (not visible) seems to have a bit of punch left...|
|Lap 7/8 - Broadway onto Polk|
|We decided to move down to the Broadway/Polk turn for the last two laps on the large circuit. As we reached the corner, the lead group few down towards us. Notice that unlike the climbs and main corners, the crowd is held back here only by a thin twine cord.||And the next thing we know, these two riders come hurtling by, just inches away. Could you ask for a better leadout rider?|
|My brother-in-law calls from Shanghai Kelly's on the corner of Broadway and Polk, screaming that it looked like George had attacked on the hill, but he wasn't sure because Channel 7 went to commercial...yes, he ran outside to watch him hit the turn. By the time he reached the corner, he had a good gap, and the race was on for real.||The Chase: I believe that's Vlatchislav Ekimov just riding through the right hand edge of the picture, followed by eventual race winner Charles Dionne of 7UP-Colorado Cyclist.||Rather than fight the crowds near the start/finish line, we retreated to watch the rest of the race on TV. As you probably know, Charles Dionne blasted around Mercury's Henk Vogels to win moving away, while Aqua & Sapone's Massimo Giunti nipped Ekimov at the line for third. Though many seemed visibly shocked that Lance didn't win, that is what racing is all about - if it was predetermined, there'd be no point in running the events... See ya at next year's race!|
- Some links to other photos of the 2002 SF Grand Prix -
|Denison Design Cycling Photos - SFGP and a ton of other NorCal oriented race pix|
If you know of some, or want to be linked, please email email@example.com
Cyclofiend Main Page
Nationals - 2002
- Redline Cup Finals - 2002
San Francisco Grand Prix Road Race - 2002 - SFGP - 2001
Cyclocross Nationals - 1999 - Men's Elite - Women's Elite - Other Photos
Some Photos from 1998 SuperCross
Contact Info - Bicycle Links Page
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note: All Images ©Jim Edgar
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