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Danilo Wyss puts in strong sprint to finish top 10 at Missouri stage 6 (foto by Tim De Waele)
Danilo Wyss puts in strong sprint to finish top 10 at Missouri stage 6 (foto by Tim De Waele)

Danilo Wyss sprints to 7th place in Missouri stage six

13. September 2009

St. Joseph

With the time trial passed, the peloton collectively seemed to throw caution to the wind in Missouri's stage six to St. Joseph.  Raced at an average speed of nearly 50 kilometers per hour, the stage was an endless cat and mouse game of attack and counter attack. 

BMC's tactics for the day slipped very nicely into the general mood of firing on all cylinders, and every one of the team's riders was seen covering moves and launching attempts on their own.  At the end of the day, the all-out aggression displayed by nearly every team cancelled each other out as the field formed into one mass just in time for the final sprint to the line.  Liquigas finally justified the price of their plane tickets with Francesco Chicchi taking the day's sprint.  Danilo Wyss put in his best finish of the race by taking seventh place on the line.  The standings on the general classification remained unchanged, leaving just one more day for the crews to battle it out for victory.

All attacking all the time

"Going out we had a plan to attack and all the guys did a good job," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.  "Never once did a big move really gain any traction, but we were in all the moves and even initiated several on our own, so we can be happy with the way we rode today."  The race route took the riders over more rolling, wide open roads.  The potential for echelon-creating winds certainly figured into the pre-race tactics for all the teams, but the light breezes never really became strong enough to make an impact.  "If there had been more wind, the day would have unfolded differently, but we are out there to adapt to any conditions," Lelangue reasoned.  "Regardless of the climate, we have to cover moves and make breaks happen any way we can."  With around 25 kilometers left to race, the continual ebb and flow of the attacking peloton settled down and allowed two riders to slip 20 seconds off the front.  The final King of the Mountains hill with just seven kilometers remaining rattled the group again and saw a new wave of digs jumping off the front.

Revving up for the finale

"In the last five kilometers Jeff made a good attack which almost looked like it would snap the pack," Lelangue said.  "But like all the other moves on the day, it didn't end up working.  That's the way with cycling: sometimes it doesn't work but you still have to try."  With the final sprint a near-certainty, each team began to look to their sprinters to take the lead.  "Tony did a great job working for Danilo and had him well positioned with 1 kilometer to go," Lelangue said.  "Top 10 in the stage is pretty good and meets our basic objectives for any race, so I am happy."  The wide boulevards paradoxically seem to invite chaotic sprints since more riders feel like they have the room and position to give it a shot.  BMC's Danilo Wyss is very good at finding the right wheel, and managed to hold on for seventh in front of the charging group.  "We went out aggressively since we really have nothing to lose," Lelangue reiterated.  "We will go into tomorrow with the same philosophy since it will be a difficult course and could very well work in our favour." 

Light at the end of the tunnel

With another hard day to go, the chances are good that cracks may form in the armour of the race leader's team.  "I think we took a lot out of the Garmin guys today," Tony Cruz explained.  "If tomorrow starts out as aggressively as today did, I think they'll be in trouble."  The stages leading up to the stage five time trial had been unusually controlled by Tour of Missouri standards, which means that the final two stages should benefit from all the pent up aggression.  "I think we'll have a very similar game plan and head out tomorrow to try and really shake things up," Cruz said.  "It should be fun."