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Taylor Tolleson: “Today was a good stage for me". (Foto by Tim De Waele)
Taylor Tolleson: “Today was a good stage for me". (Foto by Tim De Waele)

A wet day in Atlanta brings down the curtain

27. April 2008

Atlanta

The 101 km Atlanta circuit race provided the competing teams with one last chance to make a mark on the 2008 Tour de Georgia.  Drenched with rain shortly before the start of the stage, the course never completely dried, adding one more facet to the already difficult race. 

The day also saw an epidemic of punctures which complicated the acting out of pre-race team tactics.  Though BMC would have liked to make an opportunity to move up its two GC riders in the overall, they can be happy with Taylor Tolleson’s fast finish which earned him a top 10 place in the final sprint for the line.

Flats play an unfortunate role

“We went out today with a plan to look for opportunities to advance Scott or Darren on the GC,” Gavin Chilcott said.  “We were well on our way when Darren made it into the main break of the day, but flatted out of it.”  Teams suffered an estimated 40 punctures today, due primarily to a large patch of broken glass which littered a section of the course.  “We had at least 7 flats ourselves,” Chilcott explained.   “And so many other teams had the same problem, I’m sure it had an effect on how the stage played out.”  Though Chilcott said that the outcome of the race had been what he expected, a lot of the racing initiative today was spent getting guys up from the caravan back into the peloton.  “Our guys definitely were very good about taking care of each other,” Chilcott said, “but it would have been nice if we could have spent our efforts and resources in a more productive way than recovering from punctures.”

Uncovering a second sprinter  

After BMC’s Danilo Wyss left the race, the team no longer had a designated sprinter to fight for the flatter stages.  But Gavin Chilcott believed in Taylor Tolleson’s chances to grab some of the spot light.  “Taylor took part in the sprint today and did very well,” Chilcott said.  “He was bumped out of his line with about 200 meters to go and still finished top 10 which gives him the confidence to know that he can deliver a sprint and be competitive against the best in the peloton.”  Taylor also was happy with the stage and his performance.  “Today was a good stage for me,” he said soon after the finish.  “I had good legs and definitely feel better than yesterday!”  Chilcott was so impressed with Tolleson’s ride today that he is considering focusing more on developing Taylor’s top end speed.  “It is frustrating for Taylor not to get on the podium today because he knew he had the legs for it,” Chilcott said.  “But in a way, it will help give him that hunger to fight for more knowing now how he stacks up against the top guys; we’ll definitely work with him on that.”  When asked whether he has an ambition to build on his sprinting talent, Taylor was typically focused on helping the team.  “Well, yes, I think it will be good for me to start focusing on one strength,” he said, “but I also like to be there working for the guys, so I am very happy making myself useful to the team.”

Georgia on my mind

Though the team did not manage to place one of its riders in the top ten, both GC candidates finished in the top 20.  “We would have liked to get Scott or Darren in the top ten,” Chilcott said.  “But Scott was 12th and Darren 16th, which are reasonably good positions with relatively small time gaps, so we can say overall our efforts are succeeding, even if we have to bump it up a bit.”  One thing that should be remembered is that BMC is a team of 16 riders running a European and an American program simultaneously.  “We are dividing our assets between two huge races for us, since Romandie starts on Tuesday,” Chilcott said.  “We can’t have our 8 top-form riders at both races, but feel justified in giving a high priority to both Georgia and Romandie.”  With only 16 riders to fill-out two 8 man teams, there is little room for error.  And now that Tony Cruz is still recovering from his recent collarbone break, the team is very much shorthanded.  “Losing Tony made a big gap in our program, especially for Georgia,” Chilcott said.  “But running the program like this now will only strengthen the team in the future.”

Next stop: Romandie

The BMC racing team will barely have time to catch its breath before lining up on the start line in Geneva for Tuesday’s start of the Tour de Romandie.  “The guys share a really positive team spirit, and having done well this week is strong motivation for up coming races,” Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.  “There is always a friendly competition between the two groups of guys, those racing in Europe and those racing in the States.  When one group goes well at a race, naturally the guys on other racing program want to keep the momentum going.”  Being the team’s first Pro Tour race, there is a natural desire to animate the race and prove the squad has a place among the European big guns.  Lelangue believes that, “it will be great to compete at Romandie, and it will certainly be the highest quality race we have yet done.”  He continued to say, “We will focus our GC resources on Alex Moos and Jeff Louder, and though the Geneva prologue will be a bit short, there will be plenty of opportunities for us to ride aggressively and show our strengths.”