The T-Mobile cycling road race was run in San Francisco on September 12th, 2004. I managed to get some pictures of the race from the top of Taylor street. Taylor is not a steep as Fillmore, but they had to go up it more times.
The sun had barely risen before the woman started their race at 7am. The local bicycle racing clubs were well represented, with teams from Velo Bella, Webcor, Los Gatos Bicycle Club, and Palo Alto Bicycles. Also racing was the strong T-Mobile team. (Being the T-Mobile race, it would stand to reason that the T-Mobile team would be racing. That logic didn’t hold for the men’s race however, with nary a T-Mobile rider showing up for that race.)
Despite the fog, the race was exciting, with Lyne Bessette of Canada gobbling up the Master the Mountain points on Taylor street. Although not as long as the men’s race, it was tough enough to make a good selection, leaving only the top riders at the front. On the final climb up Taylor, Nicole Cooke launched a blistering attack and put time into her rivals. She held on for the run to the finish to win the race, making it two years in a row.
The men also started under foggy skies, although it cleared up about halfway through the race. Lance Armstrong didn’t start the race, due to tendinitis in his knee. Who could blame him for not wanting to face the Filmore climb 9 times, and the Taylor street climb 14 times. Almost immediately, Health Net put five riders into a break. Doug Ollerenshaw from Jelly Belly was in the break and gobbled up most of the early Master the Mountains points.
On the last big lap, Jason McCartney broke away and put time between himself and the break. At one point he had over four minutes on the main peloton. With five small laps left, surely that would be enough. However, the main group begain to drive hard, led by U.S. Postal and Chris Horner and the Webcor team. It was hard to believe but on the last climb up Taylor, Charles Dionne launched off the front and blew past McCartney, followed by Fred Rodriguez. However Fast Freddie was suffering from an earlier crash, after which he had to change his bike, get his seat adjusted on the fly, and then waste energy chasing back to the group. That left Dionne to take the solo win, followed by Freddie, trailing in after him by 8 seconds. George Hincapie sprinted out in the remaining group to come in third.
It was a brave solo effort, but even though McCartney came up short, he still won the Master the Mountains competition, just hanging on the last climb up Taylor to break the tie between himself and Ollerenshaw.