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Levi Leipheimer (Astana) flanked by BMC team-mates Jeff Louder and Darren Lill. Photo ©: Jonathan Devich/
Levi Leipheimer (Astana) flanked by BMC team-mates Jeff Louder and Darren Lill. Photo ©: Jonathan Devich/

BMC controls peloton on final day to consolidate 2nd and 3rd overall at Cascade

14. July 2008

The 2008 Cascade Cycling Classic lived up to its reputation of being a stomping ground for strong climbers.

The final podium features two of BMC’s ace climbers, Jeff Louder and Darren Lill, along with a member of last year’s Tour de France podium, Levi Leipheimer.  In a week of strong, exciting racing, the team comes away from Cascade satisfied with its accomplishments, but still hungry for even greater future successes.  In the final undulating Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, BMC controlled the peloton from start to finish, mindful not to let any dangerous moves up the road.    

With a commitment to team work everybody wins

“Today’s stage went really well and the whole team did a fantastic job for Jeff and me,” 3rd overall, and one of the stars from the Stage 5 Cascade Lakes road race, Darren Lill said after the stage.  “The guys did a considerable amount of work to consolidate our standings, which included securing our high position in the team GC.”  With over two minutes to make up on race leader, Levi Leipheimer, BMC knew the nature of the final stage probably would not allow for any big gains to be made on the top step of the podium.  “The primary objective coming into the final stage was not to lose anything we have gained,” Gavin Chilcott explained.  “A win is always nice, but having 2nd and 3rd place to Levi is also quite an accomplishment, and something we can be pleased about.”  Since BMC was the strongest overall team at the race, the task of controlling the stage automatically fell to them.  “I felt really good today, but to be honest, the team rode so strongly it was easy,” 2nd place Jeff Louder said.  “We had to control and everyone rose to the occasion; everybody can be really proud of the work they did today.”  “We knew we’d have to control the race, and did so from start to finish,” Chilcott said. “It takes a strong group of guys to have the commitment to do that, and everyone held up under the pressure.”  The team was even riding short-handed since Jonathan Garcia injured his knee too badly in his crash during the criterium to continue the race.  “Yes, we had to ride the race without John, who was actually with me in the car during the race,” Chilcott said.  “Though I know he would have preferred racing, it was a good chance for him to see how the other half lives!”

Keep throwing the dice till you get the combination you want

“Jeff was really the architect of the day,” Chilcott said.  “All the guys were so involved and adept at letting only the right breaks go, and then not giving anyone too much rope.”  Having a clear idea of who they definitely did not want to let slip away in any breaks, BMC’s Bovay, Nydam and Miller dominated the front of the pack, never allowing anyone even a shouting chance at advancement.  “The guys did some pretty solid work today, and they all should realize they are some of the best racers in America,” Louder declared.  “I have had some experience with guys riding for a team on the front, and I really feel like BMC today were stronger than any team I have been with.”  After shutting down any number of attacks, a breakaway finally formed that BMC was content to let go.  “We kept throwing the dice to get the combination we liked,” Chilcott explained.  “A break formed that had no one who would threaten our GC riders and Ian McKissick even managed to insert himself into the move, so we had that card to play in the event that the break made it to the finale.”  The break was caught in the end, but the team managed to neutralize any other pretenders.  “We had a lot of guys pretty close to Darren and me on the GC, but the way we were riding no one could make a move,” Louder said.  In addition to 2nd and 3rd place, BMC also had another top 10 finisher in Brent Bookwalter who figured very prominently in the Cascade Lakes road race as well.  “It was a good day for the team as we took control right from the start,” Bookwalter said.  “It is the first time I have been on a team this strong and able to control a race so completely.”   Bookwalter is particularly happy to be where he is today, since only a year ago he was in the process of recovering from severely breaking his leg.  “I feel whole again and I no longer consider myself a rehabilitating athlete,” Bookwalter was pleased to report.  “Last year at this time I was in the middle of a series of surgeries; and it is great to be on a team that has supported me throughout the whole recovery process.”   With Cascade now completed, many of the riders on the team will turn their attention to the Tour of Wallonia and the Tour of Utah.