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Stetina impressive in Tour of Pennsylvania win

| Friday, June 27, 2008

BEDFORD - Peter Stetina came into the Tour of Pennsylvania as one of the favorites to win the whole thing -- and for good reason.

For starters, the 20-year-old cyclist is from Boulder, Colo., and grew up riding in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a perfect primer for the hill-heavy later stages of the six-day race.

He comes from impressive bloodlines. His father, Dale, was a cyclist on the 1976 and 1980 Olympic squads, and his uncle, Wayne, was a 10-time national champion and a member of the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympic squads.

To top it off, Stetina's girlfriend attends Pitt, and he's spent time riding and racing in Western Pennsylvania, including a 12th-place overall finish in the Altoona-based Tour de Toona professional stage race last year.

On Thursday, Stetina turned in the most impressive individual performance of the 104-mile Stage 3 from Camp Hill to Bedford, even if it didn't end the way he wanted.

Stetina broke away from the pack on the first mountain climb, 66 miles in, and led for more than 35 miles until the sprinters attacked down the stretch and passed him up just 75 meters from the finish line.

"I was losing so much time in the headwind on the highway," said Stetina, who rides for the Colorado-based VMG/Felt team. "I was kind of skeptical then (whether I could win). But with 5K to go, I really thought I had it. I got a second wind, my legs started feeling better, I got an adrenaline rush. ... I almost pulled it out. I was so close."

James Driscoll, who is from the Fiordifrutta Cycling Team out of New England, won the stage. Stetina finished in the pack, although he did take two jerseys for his efforts - the King of the Mountain as the best climber and the Most Aggressive rider.

Overall leader Steven Van Vooren of the Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy finished in the pack with Stetina and retains the yellow jersey. He admitted that Stetina's lead, at one point four minutes, had him worried.

"The headwind didn't help him, just being out there by himself with a couple teams chasing," Van Vooren said of Stetina, who is 14 seconds behind him in the overall results. "But it is what it is. You just have to answer with whatever you can, and that's what we did."

That Stetina was able to pull out such a lead and keep it for so long in the heat and headwind impressed many of his fellow cyclists.

"I almost would have liked to see him win, because that would have just been amazing," said the second-place finisher yesterday, Sheldon Deeny of New York-based Sakonnet Technology. "That's just how it goes sometimes. It's just so close."

The race lost six more riders yesterday, including Pittsburgh-based Penn St. Cancer/GPOA/Cannondale team rider Christopher Kuhl, bringing the total to 91. Kuhl was part of a group of eight that broke away before the first climb and built a lead of 1:30 but was out of gas early into the first of the two major climbs.

Today's stage from Bedford to Latrobe is a little shorter - 60 miles - but most expect it to be even more difficult. Just 15 miles in, the riders will start uphill for 5.5 miles at a 10-15 percent grade to Bald Knob Summit. Then at Mile 40, they will come to a two-mile club at 15 percent to Laurel Hill Summit.

Stetina has climbed Bald Knob before in the Tour de Toona. Does that give him an advantage?

"We'll see how well I sleep first, but losing today has made me angry," he said. "I'm coming out with guns blazing (today). I can promise you that."

Tour of Pennsylvania overall standings

Through Stage 3

1. Steven Van Vooren, 8:48:04

2. Keven Lacombe, 8:48:07

3. Christoff Van Heerden, 8:48:08

4. David Veilleux, 8:48:09

5. Stefano Barberi, 8:48:14

6. Adrian Gerrits, 8:48:17

7. Gaston Aguero, 8:48:18

8. Peter Stetina, 8:48:18

9. Aaron Pool, 8:48:18

10. Alex Boyd, 8:48:19

11. Peter Salon, 8:48:21

12. Dennis Luyt, 8:48:29

13. Max Jenkings, 8:48:30

14. Charles Marzot, 8:48:36

15. Caleb Fairly, 8:49:23

16. Alex Welch, 8:49:30

17. Phil Gaimon, 8:49:32

18. Keir Plaice, 8:49:35

19. Pieter Seyffert, 8:49:39

20. Dylan Newell, 8:51:06

21. Sheldon Deeny, 8:51:15

22. Alex Howes, 8:51:22

23. Travis Burandt, 8:51:35

24. Benjamin King, 8:51:36

25. Herman Fouche, 8:51:39

26. Sven Forberger, 8:51:39

27. Walker Savidge, 8:51:40

28. Travis Allen, 8:51:41

29. James Driscoll, 8:51:42

30. Nathaniel English, 8:51:42

31. Stevie Cullinan, 8:51:43

32. Ben Showman, 8:51:45

33. Chad Beyer, 8:51:45

34. Joshua Wilson, 8:51:46

35. David Nelson, 8:51:48

36. Jacob Keough, 8:51:49

37. Sean Mazich, 8:51:49

38. Eric Riggs, 8:52:09

39. James Camut, 8:52:23

40. Dennis Van Niekerk, 8:52:47

41. Reid Pletcher, 8:54:16

42. Joel Dion-Poitras, 8:59:40

43. Mark Pozniak, 9:00:34

44. Cheyne Hoag, 9:01:14

45. Erik Barlevav, 9:02:18

46. Ryan Baumann, 9:04:48

47. Nick Frey, 9:04:53

48. Shawn Rosenthal, 9:05:00

49. Geert Dijkshoorn, 9:05:02

50. Nick Keough, 9:05:34

51. Adam Thuss, 9:05:38

52. Hayden Brooks, 9:05:39

53. David Guttenplan, 9:06:04

54. Jeff Salvitti, 9:06:32

55. Christopher Ruhl, 9:07:25

56. Michael Chauner, 9:07:49

57. Sander Aardenburg, 9:07:56

58. Andrew Baker, 9:08:10

59. Michael Stoop, 9:08:10

60. Daniel Holloway, 9:08:13

61. Michael Kreutzburg, 9:08:13

62. Kiel Reijnen, 9:08:16

63. Eric Chrabot, 9:08:17

64. Eric Schildge, 9:08:19

65. Demis Aleman, 9:08:19

66. Bjorn Selander, 9:08:19

67. Mathias Kupke, 9:08:23

68. Jelmer Asjes, 9:08:24

69. Clay Murfet, 9:08:24

70. Marcos Santucho, 9:08:25

71. Vincent Roberge, 9:08:27

72. Taylor Brown, 9:08:34

73. Peter Horn, 9:08:35

74. Chance Noble, 9:08:54

75. Ben Grieve-Johnson, 9:08:56

76. Toni Franke, 9:09:06

77. Justin Brown, 9:09:24

78. Julian Martinez, 9:09:38

79. Mohamed Aounseghir, 9:12:48

80. Adam Farabaugh, 9:13:57

81. Daniel Furmston, 9:14:27

82. Peter Rennie, 9:16:59

83. Gustavo Borcard, 9:17:34

84. Tyler Dibble, 9:17:36

85. Andrew Hunt, 9:18:12

86. Jori Pol, 9:18:15

87. Adam Branfman, 9:18:16

88. Jackie Simes, 9:18:42

89. Mark Batty, 9:19:03

90. Turner Johnson, 9:19:30

91. Timothy Walker, 9:35:48

Additional Information:

Today's stage

Stage: 4 of 6

Start: Bedford

Finish: Latrobe

Distance: 60 miles

Forecast: High of 85 degrees with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms

Leader, team, time: Steven Van Vooren, Johan Bruyneel Race Academy, 8:48:04 (3 second lead)

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