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BMC bides its time during a long day in the saddle

25. April 2008

Dahlonega

In reviewing the race bible, it could have been easy to over look the Tour de Georgia’s Stage 5 from Suwanee to Dahlonega as being only a stop gap between the team time trial and the decisive climb up Brasstown Bald in Saturday’s Stage 6. 

However, the day was hardly a gentle ride in the country.  Rather it was a long 215 km race containing three Category 3 climbs.  The final climb came with just 2 kilometers remaining and succeeded in blowing the peloton apart.  “That last climb was very hard,” Scott Nydam said.  “It came after 130 miles of racing and when it really kicked up at the summit, it just destroyed the peloton.”

A day of husbanding resources

Today was the first stage of the Tour de Georgia which had a breakaway that looked like it might make it to the finish.  There were no BMC riders in the break, more by design than accident this time.  “We were a bit short-handed today,” the team’s top finisher Scott Nydam said after the stage.  “Danilo didn’t begin the stage, Darren and I are sitting in and protected, Mike Sayers is on patrol for us, so that really only leaves a couple of guys to cover breaks.”  David Galvin had some bad luck when he flatted while trying to make a break, and then had trouble regaining his position in the peloton.   The BMC team car also had some bad luck as it was damaged during the race in a convoy collision when another team car ran into it.  “We had a little trouble with the car wreck,” Gavin Chilcott said.  “I don’t quite know how bad it is yet.  The car is functioning, but there certainly is some damage.”  Aside from these mishaps, the day offered few incidents for the BMC squad.  “After the break went, it became a pretty low-key day for us,” Scott explained.  “The guys did a great job of keeping Darren and me in position, particularly on the KOM summits, because you’re never quite certain what will happen at the top.”

A leg-breaking final climb gives first glimpse of who’s on form

“There was a front group of around 20 riders at the finish, and we are very pleased to have had Scott stay with that group,” Chilcott explained.  “We had tried to set Taylor up for the sprint because he is feeling very strong, but in the confusion of the KOM so close to the finish, that didn’t quite work.”  “Going into the last climb there was an attack by some CSC and Astana riders and Darren covered it really fast and closed the gap,” Nydam said.  “But that was just as everything was getting crazy, and having already made such an effort meant that he couldn’t latch on immediately.  He has great legs, though, and I’m sure Darren will be right up there at Brasstown.”  With both Nydam and Lill riding strongly, the team is still working on the hopes of a high GC finish in Atlanta.  “We’re definitely playing the GC card still,” Nydam said.  “Darren is riding so strongly, and I am feeling much better than I did at this time last year.”  That can only mean good things for the team since Scott finished 6th in the 2007 edition of the race.

Saturday: Brasstown

The respect and fear felt for the Brasstown Bald climb belies the fact that it has been a race destination for only 6 years.  “I am confident for Saturday, but also concerned,” Scott Nydam revealed.  “It’ll be a very tough day with a Cat 1 climb even before we reach Brasstown.”  When asked what he expects from the climb, Nydam said, “Well, I’m one year smarter and physically feeling better, so I have every hope of doing well.  We certainly will finish the stage with honor.”