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“It was a good stage for us,” John Lelangue (left) reported. (Photo by Tim De Waele)
“It was a good stage for us,” John Lelangue (left) reported. (Photo by Tim De Waele)

An aggressive day in the saddle for BMC

1. maggio 2008

Fribourg

The capricious spring continued in Switzerland as the weather gods smiled on the peloton today.

The 170km ride from Moutier to Fribourg was marked by sunshine and comfortably cool temperatures.  The BMC Racing Team had a much sunnier ride today in general as the riders bounced back from a difficult and mildly disappointing Stage 1 to produce a show of aggression that could make the whole team proud.

Giving it gas from the get-go

After seeing their GC hopes trickle away on the wet ride into Signelégier the day before, the team pulled up their socks and decided to take the race by the scruff of the neck.  Right out of the blocks, BMC riders were initiating the attacks.  “It was a good stage for us,” John Lelangue reported.  “We had Ian McKissick in the main break, but even before that, all the guys – Jeff, Nathan, Alex – were working the front of the peloton, trying to get away.”   Ready to prove something, the team planned to use the climb that began the stage as a launch pad. “We started the day with a climb,” McKissick said, “and it was our main objective to get the break formed after our rough day yesterday, so from the gun Jeff was off the front with a Rabobank rider.”  It didn’t take long then for the main break of the day to form.  “With Jeff up front, Brent and I covered a small group getting away and bridged up to Jeff,” McKissick continued, “I attacked out of our little group, was joined quickly by two guys, and that was that.”  “Ian is feeling well and he was the one who found the right break with a Française des Jeux rider and an AG2R rider,” Lelangue said.  “That was of course the strategy for today: get out there and make something happen for the team in the breaks.”  Ian and his two other companions stayed away the majority of the stage, making it to the base of the 2nd Category climb together.  “We made it a pretty fast day, and guys from the pack were saying how hard it was to bring us back,” McKissick explained.  “By the final cobbled climb, we dropped the AG2R guy, but I was also going pretty much as hard as I could.”  The group whittled down to just two would find it hard staying away for the rest of the 30 km.  While his breakaway companion would hold out until the final 8km, Ian dropped back to the group with 13km remaining.  “The dynamic in break was okay and we worked fairly well together; in the end I think the F. des Jeux rider conserved a bit more and held off the pack a touch longer than me,” he said.

But wait, there’s more

Not satisfied with having been a main animator of the stage, BMC sent Alexander Moos on the attack just as the group was sweeping up the final rider from the break.  “We definitely gave it a try to win the stage with Alex,” Lelangue said.  “We sent him on the attack first on the final cobbled categorized climb and then again on that last little rise that came with 8km remaining.”  Both attempts were eventually out-paced by the hungry sprinter’s teams, but there are no regrets in the BMC camp tonight.  “It was going to be difficult for Alex to make the escape stick,” Lelangue reasoned, “but you always have to try; and no matter what happens, it is good to be animating the race and be present in some major moves.”  The race did not go entirely incident free for the team, as Brent Bookwalter did suffer a crash about 45km into the stage.  “Brent got caught up with a Credit Agricole rider, and they went down,” Lelangue said.  “Nothing serious happened, but of course with the high speeds in the race, it was pretty difficult for him to latch back onto the group.”

A time trial to soften the group up before Saturday’s Queen Stage

Alex Moos, showing good form and chagrined at his time loss on stage one, may look to the time trial and Saturday’s toughest stage to regain some positions on the GC.  “Time wise, there is not a lot of time separating Alex from the leaders,” Lelangue said, “but realistically, it will be hard to make up the difference in the TT.”  The temptation to rest up for the challenging ride Saturday may figure into many racers plans.  “Sure, Alex will try his best in the TT,” Lelangue predicted, “but some of the other guys will probably use the stage to keep out of trouble and save some energy so that we can come out punching on Stage 4.”  McKissick is reserving the right to take a stab at the TT.  “Depending on how I feel in the morning, it might be interesting to pretend that I have a GC place to defend and really ride the TT full blast,” he said.  “It would be good practice as I have never raced a time trial at this level.”