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Bike collision dampens triathlon Riccitello, Hansen win; Rose falls, is OK


Brett Rose was cruising along yesterday, leading the Baltimore Bud Light Triathlon by less than 2 kilometers during the 40-kilometer bicycling portion of the race. But then he was stopped by a police officer.

Rose, on his way from Gunpowder Falls State Park to the Inner Harbor, collided with a Baltimore police motorcyclist at 33rd and St. Paul streets. Rose suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in his left thigh and deep cuts on his left wrist and shoulder, both of which required stitches, and went on to finish last among the 15 professionals.

Jimmy Riccitello and Joy Hansen strengthened their front-running positions in the Coke Grand Prix Series by winning the men's and women's competitions.

"I was pretty far out in front, and they didn't have the lead vehicle with me," said Rose, who finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 43 seconds. "Finally, a police motorcycle caught up to me, and we both went through a turn where we both were supposed to turn left and I just followed the motorcycle. Trying to get back on course, he U-turned and U-turned right into me, and I T-boned him."

The accident was not reported to police, and the officer involved in the collision could not be reached.

For Riccitello and Hansen, the cool, early-morning temperatures and steady rain that started just minutes before the 7:35 a.m. start of the 1.5-kilometer swim at Gunpowder Falls were perfect.

"I like to race in the rain, because I've never done well here and the heat just kills you," Riccitello said. "I was happy when I woke up and saw the skies."

"The conditions were ideal," said Hansen, winner of the last three triathlons in Baltimore. "It's brutal when it's hot and humid."

Riccitello finished in 1:51:38, and Hansen, with a huge smile and her hands thrust into the air, --ed through the tape in 2:04:16. Garrett McCarthy and Jan Ripple followed as the second male and female finishers in the 2,000-competitor field with 1:52:39 and 2:05:04 times, respectively.

Rose could have beaten those times at the pace he was moving. But he's been down this road before. He had similar collisions in two races this year, though neither was with a police officer.

He appeared woozy as he came to the finish line of the bike race at Rash Field, leaving many of the soaked spectators in disbelief with his effort to finish the triathlon with a 10-kilometer run around Fort McHenry and back. However, he is seventh in the men's Coke Grand Prix standings, and the $30,000 bonus check to the series champion adds motivation.

"It's a Grand Prix [event], and you need points," Rose said. "We're racing for a lot of money, and I was pretty high up in the point standings and I needed the points. I feel fine; I'm just really upset. I had a real good race going. I was way out in front and I know I could have won that race easily."

Riccitello, 27, from Tucson, Ariz., moved into the lead in the series with a victory in San Jose, Calif., last week. Not bad for a guy who considers himself "wimpy" when he goes into weight rooms because most of the women lift more than him.

"I can't really say if I would have caught [Rose] or not, but I felt good the whole race," Riccitello said. "I feel real confident on my bike cornering, and I was happy that it rained actually because this course is so fast, because I felt that we could make up some time on the bikes.

"I was too far back coming out of the water, maybe a minute and a half back. I don't like to run, but today I did. This is about the second time in my life that I haven't been passed on the run."

Hansen, 32, of Newtown Square, Pa., and Lisa Laiti of Leucadia, Calif., finished the bike race tied for second, both nearly two minutes behind Ripple as they quickly changed into their running shoes. Hansen, who was a cross country All-American at the University of Arizona, got into stride from the outset of the 10K run and began a chase after Ripple. She passed Ripple at the halfway mark and increased the distance between them to nearly a minute at the finish line.

"I try not to give up too much distance on the bikes," Hansen said. "I came out of the swim with the leaders and then rode strong. I know that Jan has been running pretty strong this year, so I didn't want to give her too much time. I took off real fast [on the run] the first couple miles, then I got her in sight and just reeled her in. We ran together for a half-mile, then I decided, 'Yo, I don't want to give her too much encouragement.' "

Kirk Corsello of Cockeysville, who was the top local finisher, won the 20-24 male age group in 1:57:49. Baltimorean Oliver Cassell, 48, who quit smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee seven years ago and worked himself into shape to compete in triathlons, finished in 2:52:00.

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