Amateur David Ware of Miami nosed out professional Ian Jackson of Australia in the men's 50-kilometer race, and Canadian Karen Strong continued her success around the Ellipse in the 25-kilometer women's race in the feature events of yesterday's Great Mohawk Carpet Cycling Classic.
Ware, Jackson, Eddie Slaughter of Bethesda and Gerry Fornes of Athens, Ga., broke away from the field of 71 with 33 laps left in the 50-lap men's race. Tom Chew, the Pittsburgh resident who won a prime (prize awarded for the winner of specific lap) on the bell lap worth $130, joined the frontrunners with 18 laps left and the five pulled away.
The temporary alliance broke down on the last lap as the five pedaled furiously until Ware edged out Jackson at the finish line.
"Me and Ian worked pretty well; the five of us worked pretty well," said Ware, the 26-year-old national champion in criterium (short, flat track) events who received $600 for his effort. "We all had a common interest. As long as we kept the lead, none of us would finish worse than fifth. And I sprint pretty well."
Ware had planned before the race to try to break away as soon as possible. A seven-bike spill in the juniors 15 kilometer aided that decision. p"On this kind of course -- weirdly enough, it's a dangerous course -- I was looking to get away from the group. It's flat and fast and the wind can slide you over (into another biker's path)."
Strong, who lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, grabbed a 40-yard lead with 13 laps left, increased it to 100 on the next circuit and cruised unchallenged thereafter, earning $290 in primes to go with the $600 first-place award. The Canadian national champ in the 3,000-meter pursuit (she was second in the World Championships in France) and 10,000 meter on track won the National Capital Open on this same track three weeks ago.
"I wanted to try it alone," said Strong after receiving flowers from singer Tony Bennett. "It would have been nice to have someone there helping me. When you're alone you've got to keep pumping and do all the work. But it was worth it."
Mary Pelz of Takoma Park finished just ahead of Betty Brandemarte of Allentown, Pa., for second place.
Brian Leiphart, 17, of York, Pa., came from the middle of the field to win the juniors 25 kilometer. In the race's 16th lap seven bikers piled up and Steve Pursel of Allentown, Pa., dislocated a shoulder. He was treated and released at George Washington Hospital.
Robert Brown of Philadelphia won the senior 3 & 4 (beginners division) 25 kilometer.
The Classic, for the benefit of the Society for Crippled Children and Easter Seals, is the first biking event to offer equal prizes to men and women.