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Predictable day ends with unpredictable crash for BMC

22. April 2008

Augusta

Stage 2 of the Tour de Georgia offered up another prime day for the strong sprinting teams in the race.  The 188 km route was a northward trek from Statesboro to Augusta.  

Though the parcours began pancake flat, it eventually offered a series of undulating hills ending in the first King of the Mountains climb 8 miles from the finish.  The chaos this late climb caused would prove unfortunate for three BMC riders.

For once, a long break without a BMC rider

The race circumstances made the day ripe for a long breakaway, though there were few illusions that the break would succeed.  “We didn’t join that breakaway attempt today on purpose,” Gavin Chilcott reported.  “We didn’t want to waste the energy and we knew that the three riders in the break did not offer the right mixture for our purposes.”   Jonathan Garcia said, “Early on everyone was riding aggressively, trying to get into the breaks, but once the Toyota guy got up the road, it settled into a controlled race where the break was not going to be given too much time.” As such, the day became a routine day of keeping out of trouble, not wasting energy and staying alert.  “The day was not very eventful until the KOM climb,” Chilcott said.  “The larger teams like Astana and Gerolsteiner were content to control the bunch, so the field stayed compact.  As such, the day unfolded according to our expectations.”

Going for the KOM

Today’s King of the Mountain points were given on the first of two passes over the race’s first categorized climb just 11 km from the finish.  Like every other team, BMC made a stab at winning the points.  “We made an attempt to win the KOM points today with John Garcia,” Chilcott explained.  “Every team did; but as the hill was not very selective most teams had several riders capable of trying.”  Garcia reiterated this assessment after the stage.  “I went for the points, though it was a hill really more suited for power sprinters,” Jonathan said.  “If it had been twice as long, I may have had a bit more luck.”  The mass sprint up the hill lead to such confusion that the official announcement of the winner took several minutes.  “These are the first KOM points, and no more points will be awarded for two more days,” Chilcott reasoned, “so of course, it was a must for every team to try and win them.  The winner will have the jersey for at least three stages.” 

BMC riders on the ground with 400 meters to go

As BMC joined in the mêlée chasing KOM points so close to the finish, this may have compromised any full-on rush for the stage win.  “We had to divide our resources between the late-coming KOM points, and our ambition to get Danilo into position for the sprint,” Chilcott explained.  “Today was a successful day for the high-powered sprinting teams, which really offers no shock value in terms of results.”  Perhaps the biggest shock of the day for the BMC Racing Team came when three of their riders ended up crashing with less than 500 meters to go.  “No one was hurt badly, though on these rough roads, significant road rash usually results,” Chilcott said.  “I’m sure heavy bandaging will be involved.” 

With confidence in their young sprinter growing, the team was doing its best to set Danilo Wyss up for a shot at the stage.  “The crash didn’t involve Danilo or any of our GC guys,” Chilcott said, “but we were trying to get something together when Taylor, Johnathan and David went down pretty hard.”  “With about 1 km to go, I was on Danilo’s wheel,” Garcia reported.  “A Jittery Joes rider was next to Danilo and trying to jostle with him.  Danilo got away from him, but the guy lost control and started of chain reaction of riders losing control or falling.  There was just no where for me to go.”  The BMC team can feel lucky that though three of their riders went down, none of them have race-threatening injuries.  “I banged up my elbow pretty hard, but these things are a part of cycling,” Garcia said.  “I am definitely looking forward to the climbing stages and helping out Scott and Darren when the road starts to go uphill.”