Posted by Editoress on 09/13/08
Tour of Missouri
Report courtesy Tour of Missouri
Photos by Tom Evans
Photos by Amy Smolens
As humid as it was hot, Friday's Tour of Missouri stage 5 from St. James to Jefferson City saw a sluggish peloton let a 12-man breakaway scoop up all the intermediate sprint and KOM points. As the day's only significant breakaway, the dozen riders - with Columbia's Mark Cavendish along for the ride - hit off in pursuit of points around mile 19.
Though the Sparkasse team tried to bring the break back in order to defend Eric Baumann's sprint jersey from Cavendish, the peloton was content to let the group get up to a three-minute gap. Cavendish easily took the two intermediate sprints, earning 10 points and moving into first overall in the sprint classification.
Lead by teams Bissell, Jelly Belly and Sparkasse, the peloton closed down on the dirty dozen with 19 miles to go. A short-lived break of four with BMC's Darren Lill, Kelly Benefit's David Veilleux, Toyota-United's Chris Wherry and Rock Racing's Micheal Creed hit off seeking the glory of a stage win for their domestic squads. Eventually only Lill and Veilleux were left hanging out front with the peloton hard on their heels.
As the race hit the state capitol, Jefferson City, for the 1.6 mi/3 km finishing circuits, the two lone escapees were absorbed by the hard charging peloton. Having had most of the day off, Team Garmin-Chipotle went to the front along with Team Columbia to try and control the race for the hilly final. Despite their efforts, attacks off the front were fast and furious.
One of the youngest riders in the race - the 20-year-old Dutch cyclist Boy Van Poppel of Rabobank - put his world-class cyclocross skills* to work, making his way to the front in time to lead the charge up the final 300-meter hill to the finish. Poppel's win was his first road victory and his first on American soil. Poppel's teammate Michael Van Stayen finished second and Kevin Lacomb of Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast finished third.
With no major changes to the overall classification, Christian Vande Velde is still in yellow and Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas is still the Best Young Rider. Cavendish took over the sprint jersey, Dominique Rollin of Toyota-United held on to his KOM jersey and the most aggressive jersey went to David Veilleux of Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast.
Interviews with Michael Barry, David Veilleux and Keven Lacombe
by Amy Smolens
Team Columbia is down two riders after Craig Lewis and John Devine crashed out of yesterday's Stage 4 from Lebanon to Rolla. This morning I spoke to yesterday's stage winner Michael Barry to see how that would affect Team Columbia:
Amy Smolens: What happened to Craig Lewis and John Devine yesterday, how are they and how will that affect your team strategy?
Michael Barry: Yesterday Craig unfortunately had a flat tire and when he was at the side of the road waiting to get his wheel changed a group of riders crashed into him because they had their heads down trying to chase to get back on. And John Devine happened to be in that group and he crashed as well and broke his collarbone. So both of them are out of the race today. Craig is pretty cut up but he'll be ok and John will recover in a few weeks I guess from the broken collarbone. I mean, we'll miss them a lot - both of them did a lot of work in the first few stages, and obviously we only have six guys right now so it'll be harder control the race and harder to attack but the rest of the guys are strong and healthy.
AS: And with the amount of work that you did in your stage win yesterday did you spend a lot so it might make it more difficult to help Mick Rogers take some time out of Christian Vande Velde?
MB: Not necessarily, I still feel good. I've been recovering well. I definitely put in a big effort yesterday but I feel good today.
AS: So you still feel that the team can chip away at Vande Velde's lead?
MB: Yeah, for sure. We have our tactics planned out and we'll race for the win until the end.
AS: Good luck.
MB: Thank you.
At breakfast at the Rolla Super 8 I saw David Veilleux limping around in obvious discomfort as he waited to make his waffle. So I approached him before the Stage 5 start in St. James to find out the full story:
Amy Smolens: Talk about what happened in the stage 3 Time Trial.
David Veilleux: Well, I tried to take a sip of water and the bottle fell and it went right under my rear wheel as I was turning so I lost control and the rear wheel jumped. So I went down and I just kept going after that and here I am trying to hold on. I have a sprained ankle - it's ok on the bike but it's just really hard walking around on it, so it's ok.
AS: And other than that it's mostly skin?
DV: Yeah, yeah, the other parts it's a little bit of skin, but what hurts the most is the ankle.
AS: So you feel like today might be a chance for you and your Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast teammates, maybe Keven Lacombe or Alex Candelario, to do something?
DV: Yeah, maybe, we'll see. I mean yesterday was pretty aggressive so we'll have to wait until the start of the race to see how the it unfolds. For sure we're going to try to do something.
AS: And for you, you are just fine putting pressure on your ankle?
DV: Yeah, on the bike it's not bothering me.
Little did I know that David would be in the day's twelve-man break from the 19 mile point, surviving along with BMC's Darren Lill as one of the last two remaining riders away from the field. The two of them were absorbed by the Sparkasse-led peloton during the first finishing circuit, but in the ensuing field sprint, Veilleux's teammate and fellow Quebecer Keven Lacombe showed his strength with a third place. I spoke to them both before their podium appearances:
Amy Smolens: Racing with the sprained ankle along with various aches and pains, you didn't stay away but does it give you some satisfaction having been in the break all day and earning the Most Aggressive Rider jersey?
David Veilleux: Yeah, I guess so. I would have wanted to make it to the finish and compete for the podium but it didn't happen so it's good I have the Most Aggressive Jersey. You know I tried to ride a little bit conservative at the beginning of the week because I had hopes for the Best Young Riders' jersey, and that went away for me with my bike crash in the TT. Yesterday I had a little bit of a rough time, it was really hard so today I was hoping to do something, to get in a break and get it to the end. And when the break went I was sure we were going to be able to get it to the finish line but Sparkasse wasn't happy about it so when it came down to about 20-25k to go and one minute to the pack I just tried to give it everything I could to make it to the finish.
AS: How did your ankle feel out there?
DV: On the bike it's fine, I don't feel the pain from it. But today the taping was a little bit too tight and just underneath it got worse, on the bike it was hurting a little bit but now all the adrenaline is down so it hurts more.
AS: Did you feel like you were the strongest guy left in the break and it was time for you to attack when there were fewer guys left?
DV: (Director) Jonas (Carney) just gave me a cue on what guys to follow because I don't know all these guys so Jonas told me who to follow and he told me to follow the guy from BMC so it was a good call. Well, I was trying to maybe get away and do at least one lap in front and Lill is a good rider and really strong so we made a good duo at the end. I think I had more punch, a little bit more kick than him but he was really a good rider so he would bring me back all the time.
AS: And even though at the end you and Lill got caught, your teammate Keven Lacombe ended up in third place.
DV: Yeah, yeah, that's good. I know I didn't make it but I knew it was a really good sprint for us, (Alex) Candelario and Keven, they have a lot of power on these kinds of sprints so it was good for us, I knew they could do good.
Amy Smolens: You had David in the break, did that help take the pressure of you all day?
Keven Lacombe: Yeah, exactly, it's what we tried to do. All the guys rode really great. (Teammate Alex) Candelario did an awesome job at the end, I think we had the best leadout at the end, Candelario was flying from the bottom of the climb and he gave me the momentum to start the climb and I just failed with 50 meters to go and two guys passed me, but it was really great.
AS: Does it give you confidence to get on the podium in a race with Mark Cavendish in the field sprint?
KL: Yeah, yeah (laughs.) You know, it's a team effort and for the team it's really great and there's still two more chances. We're just going to try the same thing tomorrow and the same thing the last stage and we're going to hope it's going to work.
AS: Are you impressed with the effort David put in with his sprained ankle, being out in the break and getting the Most Aggressive Rider jersey?
KL: Yeah, I think David deserves it right now, his right ankle is twice as big as his left ankle and he's going really well right now so it's great for us.
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