Andy Paulin and Chris Huber of the Coors Light cycling team could not stop Scott McKinley from winning the third stage of the Subaru Cycling Invitational Sunday on the streets of Beverly Hills.
And they were not happy about that result.
McKinley, of the 7-Eleven team, had a quick burst left at the end of the 40-mile, 100-lap race because, after lapping 138 of the 143 men on the congested track, he stayed directly behind Paulin and Huber, thus reducing his wind resistance and about 30% of his workload.
Although it is a normally accepted practice in cycling, Huber was nevertheless upset.
"It wouldn't mean anything to me to win a race that way," said Huber after refusing to shake McKinley's hand.
"What else could I do?" McKinley asked. "It was two of them against one of me. Those aren't good odds."
McKinley, of Sacramento, finished the criterium course in 1 hour 21 minutes 15 seconds.
There was no such controversy in the 50-lap women's race, where defending champion Betsy Davis of Redondo Beach, last in the 39-woman field with five laps to go, put on a spirited surge to easily win what had been a closely contested race.
"I wanted this so bad," Davis said. "My back wheel hit the (television) motorcycle in the 10th lap, and I thought it might fall off. But I just went for it all at the end. I didn't care at that point if the tire disintegrated."
Davis finished the 20-mile course in 46:05, trailed by Tricia Walters of the Empire Wheelmen and Sandy Meister of Team Lycra.
About 20,000 festive fans lined the streets to watch the cyclists along the 2/5-mile course. With parts of four streets blocked, the cyclists, a streak of fluorescent colors, blurred past the line tents where prizes were being given away.
Some watched from their outdoor lunch tables at a fashionable cafe, and others simply brought beach chairs and sat on the sidewalks with coolers.
"We turned what was a city street at 6 a.m. into a high-speed race track and festival," said Barry Siegel, the race promoter. "It's great to see how Beverly Hills has embraced this event."
The race, the third leg of an eight-event series, is different than other such events in that it is conducted one week in posh neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills and the next on the cobblestone roads of Philadelphia. the fourth leg will be held Aug. 6 in San Francisco.
The differences in tracks mean alterations must be made in racing style. As evidenced by the five crashes on Sunday's tight but fast track, some are not made in time. On one lap, five racers tangled up and ran into a fence. All five returned to the race uninjured but not before one groggy cyclist had to be quickly dragged to the side of the track before the rest of the field ran over him.