Air Force Earns First Gold in Warrior Games
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 13, 2010 The Air Force Warrior Games team earned two medals, including its first gold, in cycling at the U.S. Air Force Academy today.
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Michael Sanders races to the finish line of the 10-kilometer recumbent bike race for the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 13, 2010. Sanders won the gold medal in the event. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Senior Master Sgt. Michael Sanders took gold in the 10-kilometer recumbent bike race, smoking the competition with a time of 24:03, six minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.
“After the first half mile or so, we shifted gears and just kept going really hard,” he said. “We shifted into the hardest gears we could go and just kept hammering. I kind of pulled away at that point.
“Today I wanted to make a memory, and we made a memory today, and I praise God for all that,” he said.
The 20-kilometer upright bike race was tight from the beginning, with the two Air Force cyclists, Staff Sgt. Marc Esposito and former Capt. Adam Tanverdi, leading the pack after the first 10 kilometers.
The team led the race until last kilometer.
“Marc was on my wheel [up the last hill and] as soon as we started to crest the hill, I pulled off and Marc took over,” Tanverdi said. “I wanted to pull uphill to put him in a good position for the sprint.”
Esposito finished five seconds behind the first-place Marine Corps cyclist, and two seconds behind the second-place Marine cyclist to earn bronze. Tanverdi finished shortly after in fourth place.
“I would’ve liked to have been first and second, but we raced exactly how we planned it,” Tanverdi said.
Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro finished sixth in the recumbent 10-kilometer race with a time of 35:44, and Jeanne Goldy-Sanitate finished the handcycling 10-kilometer race in 42:24.