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Martin Kohler (left) and Tony Cruz were BMC's top finishers in Philly (foto by
Martin Kohler (left) and Tony Cruz were BMC's top finishers in Philly (foto by

Tony Cruz takes 13th, Martin Kohler 16th at Philly

8. June 2009


The element of chance takes on unique meaning in a one day race like the Philadelphia International Championship.  Covering 251 kilometers in nearly six and a half hours of racing, the event in Philly really challenges the strongest of riders and demands the utmost respect and concentration. 

Avoiding mishaps is also paramount.  BMC rode hard and managed to place three riders in a position to sprint for the top 10, but a crash close to the finish took out best placed member, Danilo Wyss while Tony Cruz and Martin Kohler were able to hold on for top 20 finishes.  Columbia riders went 1-2 in the sprint with German sprinting phenomenon Andre Greipel taking the victory. 

Sayers: "Craziest Philly maybe in my whole career"

"We wanted a top 10 in this race that's for sure," Team Director Mike Sayers reported.  "The guys rode well but unfortunately Danilo was taken out of the sprint by that late stage crash, and up till that point he had basically been our go-to guy."  In a hot day of racing characterized by flurries of attacks, the BMC Racing Team had a plan to be present in every major attack, something they accomplished almost perfectly.  "Everyone did a super job today, especially Taylor Tolleson and Jackson Stewart who both did a lot of work for the team," Sayers said.  "It was a really strange race, probably the craziest of my career since there were all these breaks that would get away with a ton of time and then come back really fast too."  Tony Cruz confirmed that the race contained some unusual elements.  "The race was not as aggressively fast as it has been in the past," Cruz said.  "And when that one break with Zirbel and the Liquigas guy took off, everyone just sat and watched." 

The one that got away   

"The guys were really good about reading the race and getting the gaps.  For instance, there was a 20 man break that separated itself and we had five guys in there," Sayers said.  Though BMC riders were well represented in just about every escape of significance, the one break that did get away without a BMC jersey was perhaps the only break that had any chance at success.  "We probably should have had a guy in that three-man break with Tom Zirbel," Sayers admitted.  "We played a big role in bringing that one back and if we had been up there, it very well could have made it to the end."  Nevertheless, in a hectic sprint where a touch of the breaks at the wrong moment can cost you a dozen spots at the finish line, the team can feel satisfied with its placings and the knowledge that they animated and impacted the hardest one day race in America.  "You know with one day races it sometimes falls your way and sometimes it doesn't," Sayers philosophically said.  "I'm happy that everyone did his job as well as he could, and now we'll move onto the next race." 

Heading now to Canada

With the difficult Tour de Beauce stage race next in line for the BMC squad racing in America, there will be little time for recovery before the Beauce start on Tuesday.  "I think in general we have a better chance for victory in Beauce since that plays much more to our strengths as a team," Sayers explained.  "If the right conditions are there, it can be the hardest stage race of the year on the North American calendar."   With hardly a mile of flat roads, and generally rough tarmac, the Tour de Beauce offers some stiff racing miles for any team.  "Every single stage is hard, and if the weather turns out to be very dodgy, then anything can happen," Sayers remembered.  "But the countryside is so beautiful with the rolling green hills, it will certainly be an interesting stage race."