The 2007 Univest Grand Prix in Souderton, Pennsylvania was won by 24-year-old Will Frischkorn of Team Slipstream Presented By Chipotle. The three F’s, Fun, Floyd, and the Future of Cycling preceded this dramatic solo victory and eventual confusion for the final podium in the United States.
The Univest Grand Prix is the brain child of former professional cyclist and
U.S. Professional Champion John Eustace (above). The hard race, modeled after the tough classics held in Europe also gives fans the opportunity to ride the entire race course in what’s called a “Cyclosportif’ ride. Having been led by riders such as Jonathan Vaughters and Frankie Andrea this year’s honor went to Floyd Landis.
• Once out on the course the official PEZ Kit attracted many compliments and suggestions. (Get your jersey at glorycycles.com!)
PEZ was on hand for the pre-race ride and all the day’s activities. We caught up with the logistics persons for the ride, Jackie Shim and Jess White along with rider Don Schmoyer minutes before things started. According to Schmoyer he came out for the ride because “ he loves it and it’s great, always a good time.” Schmoyer went on to say that “Univest is fantastic and really does a nice job with the race.”
The Cyclosportif ride offered a 40 and 60-mile version. This reporter opted for the shorter version so that I could make the start of the pro race. It wasn’t the steep hills and constant up and down course that made the decision for me. Well, maybe it was.
President and owner of Velo Classic Tours, Peter Easton, wanted to make sure that I was being properly paid to cover events for PEZ. Compliments on the cool kit are all I need. Pete hosted the top Pez at the Belgian Classics earlier this year. Hmm, Ok, hmm, Mr. Pez, please take me with next year! I’ll check the dates at veloclassic.com. I haven’t passed out in Belgium since 2003 at Ghent during the Sixes.
• Once the race was underway the action really got going near the start finish line and adjacent areas. There were clowns, games, kids races, and lots and lots of food. This was the perfect venue to bring your family to.
• The announcers and the fans were psyched when Floyd finished the Cyclosportiff ride and came to the announcer’s booth. Floyd first answered questions and gave his thoughts on the race with veteran announcer Michael Aisner. He then went to the radio booth which was broadcasting the race live.
Dressed in jeans and a polo shirt Landis went to the exclusive “Club Morzine” hospitality tent to sign autographs and chat with other Cyclosportiff riders. Pez caught up with Ed Czerpak, a local rider for Bike Addicts in Philadelphia. Ed found the Cyclosportif ride to be the greatest ride of its kind around with the steep climb up Eichele Road really hard. Ed said “he’s been training for the ride and he had the confidence to get up over it. Czerpak went on to say that Floyd was just ahead of him on the ride and that he wanted to wish him luck in the expected ruling due in the next few weeks. Floyd joked and chatted with the countless fans that seemed to continually fill the line to his table.
I took the opportunity to sit down with Floyd for a few questions.
Pez: What does it mean for you to come out to today’s events?
Floyd: It’s good. John Eustace has been supporting me publicly much more than a lot of people and if I can help him in any way I’m happy to. Also, he’s got a good thing going. A lot of cycling fans are cyclists themselves so to have a ride before the race is a very good idea.
Pez: How are you doing these days; mentally, physically, and the hip?
Floyd: My hip is fine. Physically I’m not in bad shape. I’m training a little bit now and pretty much missed a year of training but I’m doing well. Mentally I’m ready for some kind of progress at some point.
Pez: Do you want to get back and race the Tour de France?
Floyd: I would like to race again. Whether it’s at the Tour or not again I don’t know if that’s the only thing that matters but yea, I would like to race.
This reporter is also a fan of cycling and in my old life I was the guy at the office people asked when “cycling was in the news.” I felt that day in July that Floyd was innocent. Like many people I didn’t like some of the weird events that have occurred from all of this but I told Floyd that I believe him and that the system is what should be on trial. Professional athletes cannot be treated this way. According to Landis “the process can not go on this way, it’s a mess.” I can’t agree with him more.
• Leah Birek and Lyndsy Kelly live close by and came to check things out. Local resident Lyndsy said “this race is just fantastic and it’s such a great day for it.” Kelly went on to say that “it’s exciting to cheer everyone on and just fantastic to be here.”
Colavita Sutter Home, Presented by p/b Cooking Light rider Tyler Wren was part of the large group of 60 or so riders pulled prior to entering the final circuits.
I had promised Tyler some Pez socks last year and was just able to hook up with him today. Sorry for the delay.
Pez: How did today’s race go for you?
Wren: We were being patient because usually in this race the race happens on the circuit but the whole field was pulled even though there was 40-miles of racing left. We could have raced harder but we took a wrong turn. A sign said to go right but the cars went straight and we followed the cars. It was no big deal but kind of disrupted things because the race was going hard at that point. The gap was also already seven minutes at that point.
Pez: What’s next for you?
Wren: We’re heading up to Missouri on Monday and the race starts Tuesday. There’s still a lot of racing left. It’s been a long season since the Tour of California in February.
• Pez spoke with Timmy Dugan of Team Slipstream Presented By Chipotle and teammate of race winner Wil Frischkorn. At the time it was believed by almost everyone that Dugan was 3rd on the day. This would change later.
Pez: Did things come together as planned?
Dugan: We hit the hills hard to get rid of the weaker guys and wittled it down. It was really the ideal situation for us, textbook tactics. Missouri is next and I think our team is super strong and we’ll be the team to watch out there.
• Jonathon Vaughters, Director of Team Slipstream was at the awards ceremony.
Pez: Are you proud of how your team performed today?
Vaughters: Absolutely. We always try to get a little bit ahead of the curve and adopt an aggressive posture as opposed to defensive. Sometimes it works and sometimes we blow it to bits and today it worked.
Pez: Does this give you motivation going into Missouri?
Vaughters: Yes but I think the guys are motivated and a win always helps to get that momentum going.
Pez: Will there be any more surprises with signings for next year?
Vaughters: We still have one more surprise with our last rider to announce but I don’t know who that will be just yet. It will be a little ways off before I announce that.
Will Frischkorn takes a super solo win.
Pez: Will Frischkorn, what’s it feel like to have just won the Univest Grand Prix?
Frischkorn: It’s exciting. It’s near the end of the year and it’s nice to bring things to a close on a high note. This gives us great motivation for the rest of the season and next year. We have to step up, It’s exciting looking forward.
Pez: Thanks Will. Congratulations and good luck.
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medfast rider Ryan Roth was awarded 2nd place, Duggan moved to 4th, and John Fredy Parra bumped to 3rd. It was a strange but exciting ending to the race and one that will not soon be forgotten. Can’t wait for next year.
1st place Will Frischkorn, USA, Team Slipstream Presented By Chipotle.
2nd place Ryan Roth, CAN, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
3rd place John Fredy Parra, COL, Alderfer Auction
4th place Timmy Duggan, USA, Team Slipstream Presented By Chipotle.
More information on the Univest Grand Prix, Univest Cyclosportif ride, and the Univest corporation can be found at www.univestgrandprix.com