Posted by Editor on 04/30/07
Tour of Virgina - USA
Organizer's race report below.
Stage 7 - Charlotte to Albemarle 160 km
1 Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada) 3:13:11
2 Kyle Leogrande (Rock Racing)
3 Graham Howard (Priority health)
4 Marcos Rios (Kahala-La Grange)
5 Dan Bowman ( Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
8 Mark Walters (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada) all s.t.
27 Dominique Perras (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) at 2:14
28 Joel Dion-Poitras (Eva-Devinci)
38 Nick Friesen (Kelly Benefit Strategies/LSV Amateur Cycling)
40 Ryan Roth (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
50 Buck Miller (Team R.A.C.E.)
62 Philllip Cortes (Calyon / Litespeed Pro Cycling Team)
69 Matthew Guse (Calyon / Litespeed Pro Cycling Team) all s.t.
80 Erik Lyman (Calyon / Litespeed Pro Cycling Team) 5:42
84 Adam Thuss (Team R.A.C.E.) 8:13
96 Ryan Belliveau (Calyon / Litespeed Pro Cycling Team) 10:22
100 Eric Boily (Eva-Devinci) s.t.
1 Javier Zapata (Caico) 18:54:18
2 Dan Bowman ( Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) at 1:04
3 Christopher Jones (VMG Racing) 1:12
4 Alejandro Borrajo (Rite Aid Pro Cycling) 2:23
5 Mark Walters (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada) 3:03
12 Dominique Perras (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) 5:05
Javier Zapata (CAICO) of Columbia held off Argentina's Alejandro Borrajo (Rite Aid Pro Cycling) in Sunday's final stage 7 to win the 2007 Tour of Virginia.
After six days and approximately 475 miles of racing, Zapata logged the best total time of 18:54:18.
Zapata led the general classification for the first time when he won stage 3 in Covington last Wednesday - a brutal 100+ mile, mountain stage that blew apart the peloton, shrinking the original starting field from 176 riders to 112 - and held the leader's jersey through the rest of the week.
Zapata displayed his virtuosity as a climber all week. In addition to the GC victory, Zapata won the Augusta Medical Center Mountain Leader Jersey
"I felt very well through the race," said the Spanish-speaking Zapata through a translator. "This is a very important win," said Zapata, explaining how happy he was with his and team CAICO's debut in the United States .
Dan Bowman (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) raced consistently all week, gradually gaining spots. Joining the final day's breakaway propelled Bowman to 2nd in the general classification, a little over a minute behind leader Zapata.
Christopher Jones (VMG Racing) also benefited from the breakaway to take 3rd GC, +1:12.
After a grueling week, 101 remaining racers started stage 7, a 100-mile, course with rolling hills that finished in downtown Charlottesville . The course finished with three laps around a three mile circuit around downtown, before finishing on Market Street in the shadow of the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park.
Approximately ten racers broke away early in the race, at about the 40km mark.
The break included Dan Bowman, Jesse Anthony, Kayle Leogrande, Mark Walters, and Priority Health's Eddy Hilger and Steve Howard, not to mention Zapata in the yellow leader's jersey.
Alejandro Borrajo, who started the day in 2nd on the GC, did not make it into the move.
"We had problems with our radio and never got word that Zapata was in the break," said Rite Aid's Jonathan Wirsing as he explained how Borrajo was left out of the break.
Although he started the day only seconds behind Zapata in the GC, Borrajo's failure to respond and catch the break cost him dearly and caused Borrajo to finish off the podium in 4 th overall.
By mile 68, the break held a 2:45 lead, and Borrajo's shot at the GC win slipped away.
The break showed no signs of slowing down as it approached downtown. With a 3 1⁄2 minute cutoff to make before the three final finishing circuits, there was a possibility that the bulk of racers would not even make it to the finish.
Unfortunately, coming into town for the first circuit, the police escort mistakenly led the breakaway down a wrong street before realizing the error and guiding the break back to the race course.
Riders involved described the journey as a one to two kilometer detour.
Eddy Hilger (Priority Health) had trailed the breakaway, but managed to stay on the correct course, which temporarily placed him ahead of the wayward break.
The breakaway group regained semblance of what had transpired, but the rest of the field gained back much of the ground it had lost before the breakaway's detour.
Assessing the situation, race officials quickly made an on-the-fly decision and announced an extra lap for the break riders.
After the stage, the Race Commission determined for results purposes that the gap between the break and the main field was 2:15, which is the last legitimate split taken before the circuit finish fell apart.
Order was restored and the break finished in a sprint.
Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada) finished the stage 1st in 3:13:11.
"We kept rolling hard right from the start," said Anthony. "It was a great course," said Anthony.
Anthony said he was happy with his team's progress during the week. "None of us climbed as well as we hoped," said Anthony. "But we got better every day, and we finally got that stage win," he said.
Anthony said the break's detour caused some confusion, but in the end "we knew what we were sprinting for."
Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing) finished the stage 2nd, in the same time as Anthony, his vigorous performance likely inspired by officials relegating him for an illegal move at the finish of yesterday's stage 6's criterium in Harrisonburg.
Steve Howard (Priority Health) finished the stage third, same time.
Howard said it was Priority Health's original intention to try to position Hilger for the stage win. But the team's strategy changed when Hilger appeared to be suffering from a long hard week of racing, including a stage 5 performance in which Hilger raced in the break for nearly the entire 100 miles.
"It just worked out in the end that I came in third," said Howard.
"It's always harder than you expect it to be and this year was that much harder, especially with the big climb," said Tour of Virginia veteran Howard, referring to the long category-1 climb.
"We don't have mountains like that back in Grand Rapids ," said Howard. "A podium here is something to be proud about," he added.
Alejandro Borrajo missed the GC podium, but managed to unseat Jonathan Cantwell (Kahala-La Grange) to win the Peaks Coaching Group Sprint Jersey.
Tempers flared further down the rankings. Jaime Carney (Alliance), John DeLong, Boyd Johnson, and Mark Hardman (UVA Composite) were disqualified from the event for fighting, pursuant to "UCA Penalty 30.1-Serious Aggression," according to chief commissaire Beth Wrenn-Estes.
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