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Martin Kohler on his way to the top 10 (photo by Tim de Waele)
Martin Kohler on his way to the top 10 (photo by Tim de Waele)

BMC’s Martin Kohler scores a top 10 at Tour de Romandie opener!

29. April 2008

Geneva

Often seen as prime territory for preparing mid-season stage race form, the Tour de Romandie figures prominently on many teams’ schedules.   Such is the case for the BMC Racing Team. 

Tuesday found them competing with exclusively Pro Tour teams in the Romandie 1,9 km Prologue in the center of Geneva.  Being the team’s first Pro Tour race, BMC has set goals which the management considers achievable. 

Intending to be aggressive animators

BMC comes with a strong team intended to vie for the GC with Alex Moss and Jeff Louder, any possible sprints with Danilo Wyss and Martin Kohler, and all promising breakaways with Brent Bookwalter, Ian Mckissick, Nathan Miller, and Steve Bovay.  The team got off to a great start in the Prologue with Martin Kohler earning a top ten place very much in the middle of the stars of the peloton.  “Martin rode a very good race and we are really happy for him,” Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said after the stage.  “He rode the course perfectly, sprinting to the corner, taking a very fast line around the 180° turn, and then keeping his fast pace all the way to the finish.”  Just three seconds separate the top ten, which makes Kohler’s achievement that much more impressive.  “I am satisfied with my ride,” Kohler explained.  “These sorts of races are a specialty of mine, so I knew I could do well today.”  Kohler along with Danilo Wyss will act as the team’s primary sprinters for a stage race that does not exactly cater to the strengths of the sprinters.  “There are no real sprinters stages in this Tour,” Lelangue explained, “But there should be days where a main pack comes to the line together; we hope that either Danilo or Martin can compete for those sprints.”  “I wanted to come here and do well,” Kohler said.  “I hope I can do something in this race.”

Louder keeps up with other GC riders while Moos suffers a mechanical

Though Martin Kohler’s placing was the standout ride for the team, Jeff Louder also put in a very respectable performance finishing with a time that keeps him right in the thick of the GC candidates’ times.  “Jeff had a good time that places him right along with people like Klöden and other climbing specialists,” Lelangue said.  “Unfortunately Alex had trouble with his rear wheel that made it very hard for him to finish with the sort of speed needed on this course.”  This is a particular disappointment for the team since Alex Moos is currently in stellar shape and has a long history of excelling at this, essentially his home event.  “Alex was definitely set back by the mechanical, but there are a lot of stages to come where we can work to make up the seconds that he lost today,” Lelangue cheerfully explained.  “It is a long way to Lausanne and Alex is feeling very well.  We accept that these mishaps are a part of cycling, and we will just work to regain his time.”

Stage 1: An in-between stage

Wednesday’s Stage 1 offers a very challenging parcours which is not really a climbers’ stage and not really a sprinters’ stage.  “This Tour de Romandie will be very exciting because every day something unexpected can happen,” Lelangue predicted.  “We will focus on protecting Jeff and Alex, and the rest of our guys will especially be trying to get into the right breaks.”  With four Swiss riders excited to be racing their home tour and four American riders excited to be in a top flight Pro Tour stage race, motivation levels will be at an all time high.  “Being a Swiss, I am very motivated for this race and especially the next two stages,” Kohler said.  “The terrain suits my abilities since I can climb as well as sprint, so if a group of 40 make it to the finish of a stage, I can have a good chance in these circumstances.  And if Danilo is there too, then we just check with each other to see who has the better legs.”  Lelangue interjected, “Danilo is strong coming off of his time in Georgia, Steve Bovay now recovered from his broken collarbone is really excited and happy to be racing Romandie, while our American racers are keen to use the knowledge gained from the Belgian Spring campaign many of them participated in.”