Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Durtschi nearly makes it to Longsjo finish

Crashes in the criterium

Community School junior Max Durtschi, 17, of Ketchum nearly made it to the finish of last week's 49th annual, $51,500 Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Fourth of July holiday bicycle stage race in Massachusetts—second oldest race in the U.S.

The Sun Summit Cycling Club racer kept moving up in the Elite Junior Men's 1-4 ranks during the first three days of the largest Pro/Am cycling event in North America. There were 779 riders in eight classes competing last week.

Durtschi finished the 10-kilometer time trial July 3 (36th of 83 racers in 19:05). He then moved up 10 places in the 46-mile Wachusett Mountain road race July 4 (26th of 69 in 2.26:29) and in the 22-mile Fitchburg State College circuit race July 5 (23rd of 68 in 3.12:57).

Poised for a top-10 finish during the final lap of the 15-mile, 17-lap Workers' Credit Union Downtown Criterium Sunday in Fitchburg, Durtschi was hit by another rider.

The collision resulted in a serious crash. Durtschi's uniform was shredded and he suffered significant road rash, according to his mother Kitty. His bicycle was destroyed. Other racers were also hurt.

He arrived home in Ketchum Monday night, having completed three of the four Longsjo stages, and is already trying to find another bicycle.

Durtschi still plans to compete as part of the U.S. Western Regional Cycling Team in the Tour de l'Abitibi (known as the Tour de France for juniors) July 25-29 in Quebec, Canada. The only North American stage of the International Cycling Union Junior World Cup, the Quebec event will be his first international competition.

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