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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Emile Abraham of Trinidad and Tobago wins Blaine Omnium



June 7, 2008
The Great River Energy Bicycle Festival kicked off today in record breaking style at the Fixed Gear Classic held at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. With the weather co-operating, a lively crowd of bike racing enthusiasts filled the bleachers and back stretch to watch world-class track racing. The first major event held at the NSC Velodrome since the 2001 USA National Championships were held here. The crowd was not disappointed as an international field of 25 men and 16 women gave them plenty to cheer about.

The highlight of the evening was a record setting performance by noted Italian sprinter Roberto Chiappa. Chiappa set 2 new NSC Velodrome records. He broke former US Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein’s 15 year old 200 meter sprint record of 10.6 seconds by clocking a 10.575. He also went on to set another track record by doing a flying 250 meter lap in 13.15 seconds. In both record attempts Chiappa went over 40 mph in an awesome display of power. Chiappa is the owner of 41 Italian National Championships as well as being the World Junior Sprint Champion in 1991 and World Champion in 1993 at the Tandem Sprint. Chiappa is an Olympic hopeful for Italy in the Olympics to be held in August in Beijing.

The FGC is a two-day event featuring a plethora of track races in an omnium style format racing with total prize payouts of $5,000 . The race is a new addition to the GRE Bicycle Fest which culminates in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, a 5 day stage race that features the best road racers in the US. Currently leading the men’s Omnium is Emile Abraham (Team Type 1) from Trinidad-Tobago, closely followed by Ben Barczewski of Alliance Environmental Systems Allentown, PA and Chiappa (Gruppo Sportiva Forestale) who is sitting 3rd. 2 local men are in the top ten with Taylor Olson (SpeedFix) of St. Cloud MN in 8th place and Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) of Lino Lakes sitting in 9th.

Not to be outdone by the men, the 16 women present provided exhilarating racing never before seen at the NSC. Cari Higgins from Boulder, CO (America’s Dairlyand) is currently sitting in 1st in the women’s omnium, followed by 17 year old wunderkid Colleen Hayduk from Kutztown, PA and Broadmarks’ Jennifer Triplett who hails from Seattle WA 3rd. 3 local racers grace the top 10 with Elena Dorr Speedfix, 6th Heidi Dahlmann 8th, and Stephanie Thompson 10th. Racing continues Sunday at 1:30 PM at the NSC Velodrome in Blaine, MN.

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Andrew LaCorte placed 12th out of 25 riders in the Omnium.....see results here

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