The Columbus Dispatch
The bicycle has been around for nearly 200 years, but 21st-century technology helped determine the winner of the Tour de Grandview yesterday.
Jonathan Atwell was crowned the men's pro race winner after he and three other riders crossed the finish line separated by fractions of a second. Upon reviewing video of the finish frame by frame on a MacBook laptop, race officials determined that Atwell, 30, beat out Ryan Knapp by inches.
"None of us really knew," Atwell said, recalling the anxious conversation the riders shared during a cool-down lap after the finish.
Said Knapp: "I felt like I was as likely to come in fourth as I was to be first."
With a lap to go, Atwell made his move. He led by a bike length or two around each early turn and stretched the distance to nearly three lengths as they tackled the Broadview Avenue hill leading to the finish line. Then the three trailing cyclists began to close the gap.
Atwell said he wasn't sure if he'd held on to the lead.
"Had that finish line been a meter sooner, I would have been a lot more confident," he said. "But honestly, I'm so new to the sport, I would have been psyched just to be fourth."
Atwell's victory, earning him the largest chunk of the $3,500 purse, was the first in his career racing at the category 1 and 2 level, the top class in criterium cycling. Atwell, a Ph.D. candidate who will finish his dissertation at Indiana University this fall, picked up the sport only a few years ago and didn't start training to race until 2010.
Baldesare finished in third, and York landed in the fourth spot, one shy of the post-race podium.
The win boosted Atwell into third place in the weekend's total points count and a share of an additional $2,000 purse. Riders collected points based on their finishes in the three Ohio cycling events this weekend, including two Cincinnati-area races: the Madeira Centennial Criterium on Friday and the Hyde Park Blast Criterium on Saturday.
Knapp, a 27-year-old native of Bloomington, Ind., who races for Team Panther, finished just ahead of Atwell for the weekend prize but short of overall winner Clay Murfet.
Columbus' Kirk Albers, also of Team Panther, took fifth place overall.
On the women's side, Kettering native Jane Weakley held off two rivals for first. The Secret Cycling team member rode the last several laps while dueling two Texas Roadhouse riders, Sally Price and Tracy Tolson.
Weakley, 28, made sure to position herself between the two teammates to keep them from working together or making a sudden push from out of sight.
"I just knew they were going to work me over," Weakley said. "If I wasted any energy, I was through."
Left without a teammate of her own, Weakley managed to hold on, despite the tough incline leading to the finish line.
"I've ridden with them before," Weakley said of Price and Tolson. "They're hill-climbers.