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On the road with a sprint king

When Team Cannondale racer Kenny Faliero of Lutz travels through Florida on company business for Cannondale, his bike, helmet, and cycling shoes all get packed in the car.

Despite 60-hour work weeks, Faliero, 32, gets in a lot of riding and manages to win most of the field sprints in bay area race. He also placed second recently at the Florida State Criterium Championships in Orlando.

"I liked the technical course at states," said Faliero, a former USF softball player (class of '86) who began racing after watching Greg LeMond win the 1986 Tour de France on television.

A U.S. Cycling Federation category 2 rider, Faliero manages to ride between 200 and 350 miles a week, with higher mileage during the winter months when he trains with elite visiting road riders such as Yugoslavian Radisa Cubric. Cubric, now ranked among the top five national professionals, gave Faliero some quick tips to help him survive bad situations and field sprints with top national riders.

"At the Dole Classic in Vero Beach last April, my handlebar stem cracked," said Faliero. "I was riding through the turns holding my stem until the Mavic support guys gave me a spare bike. I only ride a 50-centimeter frame, and they gave me a 56. Here I am sprinting on the bell lap with this giant bike, and Coors Light riders are grabbing my jersey to move me back during the sprint. I was on Radisa's wheel, and the pros are wondering who the heck this Cannondale rider is, on this big bike with the saddle all the way down."

Faliero will compete at Milwaukee's Superweek Race Week during July along with Team Cannondale's Brian Eldridge of Carrollwood. Eldridge, 21, a former state junior champion, won his share of races this past season, including a prestigious stage victory last month in Tennessee, where he rode away from a nationally ranked senior field on a tough climb.

Florida Point Series: Showtime Promotions will sponsor the Florida Point Series Sunday at Brooksville's Gran Canyon course. Registration is 7-9 a.m. A riders meeting is at 9:30, with racing at 10. All classes welcome.