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Markus Zberg happy with his sprinting legs in France (foto by Tim de Waele)
Markus Zberg happy with his sprinting legs in France (foto by Tim de Waele)

Markus Zberg takes 9th in Dauphiné stage 3

9. juni 2009

Saint-Étienne

In a day which did not end in the expected bunch sprint, Markus Zberg proved that he was ready to challenge for the victory in case the pack managed to catch the breakaway of five riders. 

The breakaway group containing eventual stage winner and new race leader, Niki Terpstra from Milram, escaped early.  With few teams willing to contribute to the chase, the breakaway succeeded in gaining enough time to stay away to the finish, leaving the rest of the pack to sprint for 6th place.

Had hoped for a bunch sprint

"We are a little disappointed that the day did not end in a pack sprint," John Lelangue said after the stage.  "The breakaway went early like usual but no one was willing to chase and Silence Lotto was satisfied simply to ride tempo."  Though the group contained several strong riders, none of the Pro Tour teams that missed the break showed any interest in working to bring the group back.  "We had two riders in the mix helping to keep the chase speed up, but no other teams joined us in our efforts," Lelangue said.  "With the time trial coming tomorrow and the rest of the week full of hard climbing, I didn't want to spend too much energy so I didn't commit more than the two riders."  When the other teams finally started to help pulling, it was too late to do anything other than mitigate the time loss to the leading five riders.  "We ended up sprinting for 6th which is a shame since Markus was on good form today, so it was certainly a missed opportunity for him," Lelangue explained.

Team showing good form, in good spirits

"Considering what the riders are facing for the rest of the week, it was the right decision to hold back from committing too much energy to the chase," Lelangue said.  "I didn't want to kill the guys with the most important stages yet to come."  Nevertheless, Florian Stalder and Ian McKissick showed in their work on the front of the peloton that they along with the rest of the BMC crew certainly have the strength and will power to be competitive at the highest level.  "Florian and Ian did a great job, and Jeff helped out a lot too," Lelangue said.  "Everyone looks good and we will see tomorrow who emerges as the team leader for the mountains."  Though the men in the break today gained over a minute and a half on the rest of the peloton, Lelangue expects that the length and difficulty of the time trial will level out any time lost in stage 3. 

Will the real team leader please stand up

"It is a long time trial and the gaps are going to be big," Lelangue predicted.  "It is too early to speculate what the GC will look like tomorrow evening, but it is fair to say that it will be the first big day of the race."   Wednesday's race against the clock will most likely shake up the GC and expose which of the BMC riders will be looked to as the leader for the rest of the race.  "I am sure we have a group of guys who will be able to have a strong showing for the time trial," Lelangue said.  "We will count on Brent, Jeff, Alex, Mathias and Thomas.  Any one of those guys could shine in the race tomorrow, and all of them are good climbers; the mountains are our roads so the goal will be to have at least one guy finish the time trial in a position to continue battling for the GC during the second half of the race."