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Alex Moos finished on place 17 in the GC as best rider of the BMC Racing Team. (Photo by Mark Adkinson)
Alex Moos finished on place 17 in the GC as best rider of the BMC Racing Team. (Photo by Mark Adkinson)

A successful morning, a satisfying afternoon

31. March 2008

Charleville-Mézières

Recovery is the silent key to success in any stage race.  A racer’s ability to recover after continuous days of extreme physical exertion often decides the final podium of a race. 

The organizers of the 2008 Critérium International which finished Sunday with two stages, a 98km road race in the morning and a short time trial in the afternoon did not give the riders too much time to recuperate after the long first stage on Saturday.  The riders’ jobs were made that much more difficult by the fact that the time change in Europe this weekend meant that their 6am breakfast felt really like 5.

A successful morning, a satisfying afternoon

The 8:30 start time for the road race from Les Vieilles Forges (Les Mazures) to Monthermé found many racers wishing they were still in bed.  “With the time change, it was a short night for everyone,” John Lelangue reported after the stage.  “Ian was very tired still from his great effort the day before so we didn’t try to defend the polka dot jersey today.”  The team’s main objective, though was to keep Alex Moos close to the leaders, and with that goal, they succeeded very well.  “Alex was in the right place at the right time the whole stage,” Lelangue was happy to say.  “When the breakaway with all the favourites slipped away from the pack, Alex was right in there.”  The hilly, nervous stage was very fast without the wind that plagued the riders the day before, or the rain that would impact the afternoon time trial.  “Alex finished the stage very, very well and going into the time trial, he was 8th on the GC,” Lelangue said.  “The rest of the team finished well enough in the second group, except for Mike Sayers who was separated from the pack at one point, and couldn’t chase back on.”

A short rainy time trial

The afternoon’s 8.3 km time trial around Charleville-Mézières was struck by cool rainy weather.  With such a short course, the finishing times were quite close, offering very little room for errors.  “We are pretty happy with our team’s performance in the TT,” Lelangue said.  “Darren Lill finished an excellent 24th even after not having raced for quite a while, and Martin Kohler was only seconds down from Darren’s great time.”  Alex Moos, as the team’s GC candidate, rode a strong time trial for not being a specialist.  “We know Alex is not a specialist, especially at such a short distance,” Lelangue said.  “He finished the race in 17th place overall, but missed the top ten by barely 15 seconds.”  Moos was a touch harder on himself after the stage, “I’m not very content with my overall,” he said.  “I rode well in the morning, but would have wanted to perform better in the time trial.”  The team’s only crash of the weekend came in the time trial.  “With the rain, Jonathan Garcia took a corner a touch fast and had his wheel slip out from under him,” Lelangue reported.  “But he was able to finish, and has only a little road rash to show for it.”   Danilo Wyss who was happy with his 29th overall also said caution was the name of the game in the wet.  “Today’s TT distance was not one of my favourites,” Wyss reported.  “I just road at my own rhythm and took no chances since the roads were wet and slippery.”

Overall a good weekend

“We are pleased with the team’s performance all weekend,” Lelangue explained.  “We were in all the good breaks in the two road races, and had the added perk of holding the KOM jersey for a day.”  The young team has held its own against the strongest players in the European peloton, and has gained much confidence from the races.  “We are racing now at a very high level, and each time we come away having achieved the majority of our goals, the stronger as a team we will become,” Lelangue said.