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CYCLING

Carney Looks for Going-Away Gift

August 14, 2004|Lauren Peterson | Times Staff Writer

In the homestretch of his cycling career, Jonas Carney is looking for another victory. If past success is any indication, he has come to the right place to find it.

Carney, the defending men's pro champion of the $24,000 Manhattan Beach Grand Prix and the winner in 2001, will be favored again in the 43rd annual event Sunday at Live Oak Park.

The criterium, which will be raced over a closed 1.4-mile road course, will mark the second-to-last race of a 15-year career for Carney, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team who plans to retire from cycling later this month.

"I'm definitely retiring, but I'm torn," said Carney, a sprinter who edged Rashaan Bahati of Los Angeles over the last few meters to win last year's Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

"I don't feel like I'm going any slower, and it's hard to give up something that you're good at. But there's a part of me that's ready to move on, because cycling has kind of precluded me from doing other things."

The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix is the sixth of seven races in the American Criterium Championship Series, which Carney leads after victories in Vancouver, Canada, and Milwaukee in July. He was fourth in the New York City Championships two weeks ago, and seventh in Charlotte, N.C., last week.

"I always started riding good in July, and I just really started getting in form in the last month," Carney said.

The 33-year-old Carney, who placed 12th in the team sprint and 14th in the one-kilometer time trial in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, has dabbled in real estate and plans to give a consulting job his full attention once the season ends.

"I would have really liked to have competed in the Olympics this year," he said. "But the process of making the team is so time-consuming, and I'm really just trying to enjoy myself now."

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Facts

What: 43rd Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

Where: Beginning at Live Oak Park, a 1.4-mile road course along closed streets.

When: Men's pro division, 12:30 p.m.; women's pro division, 11:30 a.m.; lower-level divisions, 7-11 a.m.

Fast facts: Total purse is $24,000; admission is free.

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