Burns / TSV Complete Fitchburg With Overall Win

2006 Fitchburg Podium 1

Coming into the 3rd Stage of the 2006 Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Cory Burns was sitting 1st in General Classification based on his outstanding performance in the opening two stages. Cory won both of those stages and held an 18 second advantage to his nearest competitor.

On day 3 of the 4 day race, the riders would face a challenging 92 mile road race that consisted of 8 laps of a rolling circuit with some tough leg breaking climbs and ending in one final 2 mile ascent up to the Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort.

Cory's teammates rode early at the front preventing any early breakaway from succeeding. Glenn Murray got into an early move that got more than two minutes on the peloton. That early group consisted of some of the top GC contenders and made the leaders in the peloton nervous. With more than half the race complete and the heat of the day and the rising pace taking its toll, it was time to have the cream rise to the surface. A group of about 12 riders started a move off the front and only two riders from the group could keep up the pace and actually succeed in escaping the field. Burns and his chasing companion bridged the nearly 3 minute gap to the 4 leaders. Now the front group of 6 riders worked smoothly together to keep the gap but with only one lap remaining the group was joined by 7 other riders that contained the eventual stage winner and Burn's main GC rivals.

With about 10 miles remaining Christian Kearny from Montanta Velo attacked the break on the rollers heading into the final series of climbs and led the break onto the final 2 mile ascent of to the ski station summit. During the final climb the 12 man break detonated and Kearny was caught and passed eventually finishing 3rd. The race was won by Joe Saperstien of Bang Salon Racing but the real story was the second place finish of Mark Santurbane of Ice / Rocky Mountain Surge. His second place finish and 5 second time bonus gave him the overall GC lead by 4 seconds on Cory Burns who struggled up the final climb to finish 6th just 26 seconds down on the winner.

2006 TeamThe final day was the 40 lap, 36 mile, Workers Credit Union Criterium in downtown Fitchburg. Although early thunderstorms dampened some of the earlier events, only the heat and humidity stayed around for the later races. The plan was simple. Time bonuses were 10, 5 and 1 second for the first three places. Cory had to win or get second in the race and also had to keep Saperstein out of the top three.

Right from the start there was attack after attack but Cory's TSV teammates, Gerrits, Brown, Royal and Murray covered all the moves and made sure that nothing got too far out in front. All was going as planned except for the penultimate lap when Santurbane made the ultimate mistake by thinking that the race was finishing, throwing his hands up in the air in the orange race leaders jersey he was quickly and and sadly made aware that there was still one lap to go. The peloton swarmed around the front of the leading group that had to sprint just to keep pace and now they had to do it all over again!

One rider jumped clear and that led to a furious chase down the backstretch and coming into the final finishing stretch still one rider remained out in front and Jake Hollenback from CCB / Volkwagon was not going to be caught today. Burns came out of the pack about 5th wheel and started his run to the line from about 300 meters out, a long way but there was no time to wait and as the rush to the line approached, Burns was bumping handlebars with Jason Harpp of Kenda / Raleigh Racing and they fought right to the line with Burns taking that all important second place and the 5 second time bonus. That gave him a one second advantage over Santurbane who would finish 41st on the day. It was just like out of good movie script with the hero getting the win in the grandest of fashion in the most dramatic of ways. Only this wasn't any movie, this was real and we did it.
2006 Fitchburg
I just want to congratulate Cory Burns, Tucker Brown, Adrian Gerrits, Glenn Murray and Jon Royal for their superlative efforts in this event. I was very honored to be a part of it and to witness it unfolding.