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Most Aggressive Rider for Tour of Missouri: BMC's Jeff Louder
Most Aggressive Rider for Tour of Missouri: BMC's Jeff Louder

BMC’s Jeff Louder voted Most Aggressive Rider for Tour of Missouri

15. September 2008

St.Louis

On a day where a deluge had been feared, the race organizers and riders alike felt relief that the torrent of rain that did result from the now Tropical Depression Ike hit several hours before the scheduled start of the stage. 

Though part of the course had to be axed from the route due to flooding, the riders spent much of the day under partly sunny skies, and grateful for a shorter stage.  Pulling together another top 10 sprint finish for Danilo Wyss, the team could celebrate a successful stage race with the added prize of Jeff Louder’s Most Aggressive Rider for the entire week.

Fast, low-impact stage closes out week of racing

After a week of intense effort, many in the peloton were pleased to have a slightly easier day on the streets of St. Louis.  “Definitely everyone is tired, and the conditions on the course were pretty hard with the changing winds,” Jeff Louder explained after the stage.  “It was really fast and hard to get off the wheel in front of you; everyone was pretty happy to let a non-threatening break go.”  Contrary to most other stages in this year’s tour, the day’s main break was very small with only two domestic team riders going for shot at final glory.  “We were pretty certain that the break that did stay away for most of the stage would eventually be brought back, though they did last longer than I would have expected,” General Manager Gavin Chilcott said.  Unusually, this break did not contain a BMC rider.  “We sort of missed that opportunity, though we had been trying to get away,” Chilcott explained.  “But once it had gone, there was no point to try and bridge, so our focus shifted for the stage.”  It was to team Garmin’s advantage to let a small break get away and take the pressure off for another day.  Predictably, the strong sprint teams would be inclined to bring the escape duo back in time for a mass sprint.  “We bided our time and did our best to set up for the sprint,” Chilcott explained.  Trying its hand at establishing a lead-out train, the team massed around Danilo Wyss.  “This is really the first time that the whole team organized itself around me for the sprint,” Danilo said.  “We just missed that little something extra in the final kilometer to make the difference.”  Danilo still managed 7th in the sprinter-rich field.

A race of multiple milestones

BMC has very consciously fashioned itself as an attacking, aggressive team.  The success of that decision is evident in the number of times various riders from the squad have been awarded the Most Aggressive prize for a day or indeed a whole tour.  “It is nice to bookend the year with the Most Aggressive Jersey, first with the team’s at the Tour of California and now with the Tour of Missouri,” Jeff Louder said.  “We started the year with high expectations but no one would have predicted that we would really grow so much as a team this year.”  Chilcott calmly explained the reason behind BMC’s racing style.  “We’re not a team built around one main rider, so our best option for success is to be always on the offensive.  We are accomplishing that goal in some big races, and I think that is the right way to do it.”  Jeff Louder has taken to the BMC method of racing like a fish to water, and feels he has had his best season ever this year.  “Personally this has been the most rewarding year for me, not only in my own racing, but in my involvement with this team,” Jeff explained.  “The team has really evolved and I’m proud to have played a role in that strong team effort.” 

Stage 7 also marked the final professional road race for BMC journeyman, Mike Sayers.  “I didn’t think much about it being my last race this morning or anything,” Sayers said.  “They had a little ceremony for me on the podium after the race and that was pretty emotional for me, but for now I just feel a little numb.”  Though Mike always claimed that the one time of the year he wouldn’t miss at all would be contract time, nevertheless, witnessing his first “silly season” from a distance was a new experience.  “This week I know contracts are being settled and I felt a little left out not being involved!”  Though Sayers says he still doesn’t have any definite plans, he does have several irons in the fire, and will hope to be settling his future arrangements in the next weeks.  “I’ll just transition for the next few weeks and I plan on doing some cross racing for fun.  Nothing concrete is settled but I hope to have something ready in a month or so.”