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Taylor Tolleson, the Champion of the Tour de Leelanau (Foto by Tim De Waele)
Taylor Tolleson, the Champion of the Tour de Leelanau (Foto by Tim De Waele)

Taylor Tolleson wins Tour de Leelanau for BMC!

26. maggio 2008

Suttons Bay, Michigan

Though a race only in its fourth year, the Northern Michigan Tour de Leelanau attracted a high-quality group of racers and pummelled them with a hilly course and rainy weather. 

Gavin Chilcott expressed the highest expectations for his BMC crew.  “I am certain that it is within the team's capabilities to win,” Chilcott said days before the race.  “And I will be disappointed if we are not represented on the podium.”  With four riders represented in the main break, and two riders present in the final sprint, Chilcott could be very pleased with his team’s performance.

A breakaway of 16 riders high-jacks the race

“The race unfolded much as we expected it,” Chilcott reported.  “It was always going to be a race of attrition where each team was going to be very sensitive to the composition of the breakaways.”  BMC along with Bissell and Team Successful Living would be expected to play a dominate role in this race.  “We played off the obvious concerns of who was in the break,” Chilcott said.  “We knew we had a strong team here, and were able to match Bissell and Successful Living man for man in the main 16 man break that formed.”  The main 16 man breakaway formed after about 72 km (45 miles).  With 4 racers apiece from BMC and Bissell, it soon became clear that the winner of the race would come from this break.  “We had Taylor Tolleson, Mike Sayers, Darren Lill and Brent Bookwalter in the break,” Gavin explained.  “It quickly became apparent that the race was no longer a question of how to stay away from the chasing peloton, but rather how to win out of the break.”  With Bissell and Successful Living matching BMC’s number count, and the Canadian teams introducing an unknown quantity to the proceedings, there was no rest for the weary in Michigan.  “The race was marked by almost constant attacking,” Chilcott said.  “But we had a good group of guys in the break, and were prepared for all possible circumstances.”  “I felt good all day,” Taylor said after the race.  “We had a really strong team performance, and were all confident that we would come away with the win.”

The whittled-down break of five decides the outcome

With just over 20 km remaining, the large break split into several groups, with a front group of 5 containing Tolleson and Lill.  “When the break split, we had Taylor and Darren up front along with 2 riders from Bissell and Charles Dionne who was obviously going to be a danger in a final sprint,” Chilcott said.  “And though Darren was working very hard to cover the attacks and protect Taylor for a final sprint, Taylor ended up having to work really hard to keep it all together.”  “In the last 20 km, there were a lot of attacks and Darren did a fantastic job; we really helped each other,” Taylor explained.  “I felt confident going into the sprint since it was a longish uphill run into the finish, which is the sort of thing I usually like.”  After his performance in the final sprint for the last stage of the Tour of Georgia, Taylor is adding to the team’s confidence in his fast finishing capabilities.  “I like sprinting; it is a good way to win a race!” Taylor joked.  “Whether I should focus more on it, yeah, I guess I can, but I was just really happy to be able to come through for the team.”