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Kenny Adams to Challenge Top Cyclists : Bicycling: He will be facing one of his toughest tests in the 160-mile, one-day road race at the World Championships.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The choice of honeymoon spots was a bit puzzling to Kenny Adams, whose parents are giving him and fiancee Stephanie Ward a week’s vacation in San Francisco as a present for their October marriage.

Marge Atkinson, momentarily forgetting her son’s devotion to cycling, thought the hilly streets of San Francisco would be an ideal setting for newlyweds.

Adams was not so sure.

“He said to me, ‘Well, Mom, I don’t know if that would be a good place to ride. I need to be out in the country,’ ” Atkinson said.

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Adams needs to pedal--even on his honeymoon--because he will be preparing for an upcoming road race in Mexico. Such is the life of a professional cyclist.

“She’s real understanding,” Adams said of Ward.

Besides, the couple plans to take a second honeymoon after Adams’ race in Mexico.

“With no bike,” Adams promised.

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In the midst of his biggest season, Adams has difficulty thinking beyond the world of spokes and wheels. He is one of 13 professional U.S. riders who will compete in the World Cycling Championships, starting today in Japan.

The track portion of the professional and amateur championships are scheduled from today through Sunday at Maebashi. The road events are scheduled for Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 at Utsunomiya.

Adams qualified for the championships by finishing third at this year’s U.S. professional championships.

The World Championships will initiate Adams to a new level of racing. When he lines up in the 160-mile, one-day road race he will know many of his competitors by name only.

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He has read about the great Dutch, French and Italian riders in bicycling magazines, but has never raced against them.

Adams, like most U.S. pros, has not advanced to an international level, and has not qualified for the top European races such as the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Paris-Roubaix.

“It will be an eye opener for Kenny,” said Greg Miller, a mechanic for defending world champion Greg LeMond.

Jirri Manus, manager of the U.S. national team, said road races are difficult to predict because they are one-stage events. In the three-week Tour de France, the best rider undoubtedly emerges victorious. But in the course of one day . . .

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“It’s like one big lottery,” Manus said.

Adams said the best climbers such as Andy Hampsten of Boulder, Colo., and Pedro Delgado of Spain, will have an advantage in Japan because of the course’s design. The layout is spread over a 14-kilometer loop with a steep two-kilometer incline and a winding, twisting descent.

“It’s not going to come down to a big field sprint,” Adams said.

To prepare for such arduous treks, Adams goes to great lengths to find challenging rides in Southern California. His favorites take him over Ortega Highway to Lake Elsinore, past Temecula to the summit of Mt. Palomar.

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But with the encroachment of suburbia congesting these back roads, Adams must ride when commuters are not.

Early this year, Adams, John Brady of the 7-Eleven team and Jamie Paolinetti of his American Commerce National Bank team, decided to get away from the nettlesome motorists.

Taking a detour off Highway 76 on the Pala Indian Reservation, the riders found a good climb through heavy bush and trees. But when they came upon a house, they were greeted by some watch dogs who were less than gracious hosts.

Emulating a team pursuit, the dogs gave chase.

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Adams and Paolinetti sprinted ahead. As they turned to watch Brady fend off the charging beasts, Paolinetti hit some soft sand and took a spill.

“He got up in time and just barely escaped,” Adams said.

Such is the quiet life of a cyclist.

“There’s always confrontations with motorists where they swerve to try to run you off the road and you catch them at a light and squirt water in their window,” Adams said.

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Cycling has been in his blood since he realized his running career was going nowhere at San Clemente High School. Adams had a successful freshman season in cross-country but said a nagging shin splint injury made it difficult to pursue the sport.

Which led him to bicycling.

As with many of his colleagues, Adams rides mountain bikes during the off-season to stay in shape. He and Stephanie ride in the Cleveland National Forest near Saddleback Peak or behind Crystal Cove State Park along the Orange Coast.

When they really want to get away, however, they rock climb at Joshua Tree National Monument or Idyllwild near Hemet, Calif.

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Some of the ascents are steep. But none are as challenging as Adams’ first World Championships.

Cycling Notes

Greg LeMond, who rearranged his schedule after last July’s Tour de France victory because of saddle soreness, will train in Hawaii until a couple days before his race in Japan. . . . Other leading U.S. pros competing are Andy Hampsten and Ron Kiefel, who are 7-Eleven teammates from Boulder, Colo. And leading U.S. amateurs--those who are gearing toward the 1992 Olympics--Janie Eickhoff, Connie Paraskevin-Young, Inga Thompson, Ken Carpenter and Steve Hegg.

The World Championship track races will follow an Olympic-type format with six men’s races and three women’s races in amateur competition. The men’s races are a match sprint, a four-kilometer individual pursuit, a one-kilometer time trial, a four-kilometer team pursuit, a 55-kilometer point race in which every fifth lap counts for team score and a tandem sprint against the clock. . . .The women’s races are a match sprint, a three-kilometer individual pursuit and a 30-kilometer points race.

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