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BMC keeps GC hope Alex Moos (picutre) safe. Foto: Tim De Waele
BMC keeps GC hope Alex Moos (picutre) safe. Foto: Tim De Waele

BMC bides its time and stays safe in Stage 1

14. June 2008

Langnau im Emmental

The first stage of the 2008 Tour of Switzerland took the racers on a circuit around the Bern canton.

The three laps around Langnau would take the riders up the Schallenberg climb twice and the Chuderhusi climb three times.  Though not a stage for the pure climbers, it would offer a difficult introduction into the 72nd edition of the premier Swiss race.

Racing aggressively, BMC keeps GC hope Alex Moos safe

“With three laps with two really nice climbs, today was a difficult stage,” Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.  “In the first main break of the day, we had Alex, Jonathan Garcia and Danilo Wyss represented, which set a good tone for the week.”  BMC, having been invited to race the Tour of Switzerland as a Wildcard team, plans to wage and aggressive campaign, riding in the same style that has earned it the invitation in the first place.   “We will always attack, always be aggressive,” Lelangue reiterated.  “Of course we will want to protect Alex and support his GC hopes since he is in very good form now.  But we are an attacking team, and that’s how we will race.”  The team’s GC hopes for Alex stayed on track today, as Moos finished with the front main group.  “When the three escapees for the day were caught with about 3km to go, the main group was 30 or 40 strong, and Alex was tucked in right there,” Lelangue reported.  “Everything went well today and I had good legs,” Moos said. Gavin Chilcott agreed that the day went smoothly and according to plan for the team.  “We had Alex in the front group which is a good ride for him, and then we had Jeff Louder and Steve Bovay finishing in the next group, a little over a minute down,” Chilcott said.  “I am very pleased with their rides too, as Steve’s form was a little of an unknown element coming in, and Jeff has great legs and only needs to regain the ProTour rhythm.”  The largely positive day was tempered a little by Jonathan Garcia’s crash about 25km from the finish.  “John crashed and soldiered on to finish the stage,” Chilcott reported.  “We are taking him now to the hospital to have his arm looked at.  We hope he’ll be ok, and he has certainly the option of starting the stage tomorrow.”   As another mischance for the team, Darren Lill felt a little sick during the stage, and was unable to hold his usual high pace.  “Darren finished with the sprinters, but we hope that he will get over this bug quickly and be back to his high standard of racing,” Lelangue said.

Sunday’s mountaintop finish

The second stage from Langnau to Flumserberg will finish with a stiff 10 kilometer climb.  “Tomorrow will be a very important stage with the hill top finish,” Lelangue said.  “Alex has had good training, recently won a mountain bike event and is in really good shape, so we are hopeful that he will have an excellent showing there.”  Moos too feels confident for the week.  “Tomorrow (Sunday) will be very important for the rest of the race,” he said.  “I am pretty confident, but we can only start talking about GC hopes after the stage finish tomorrow.  We will see.”  BMC has brought a diverse squad to the race, and will also be looking to protect their three sprinters for the flatter stages.  “With the uphill time trial, and the harder climbs, we know we can count on Alex to do well,” Lelangue said.  “But we also have Danilo Wyss, Martin Kohler and Tony Cruz for the flatter finishes.  We will hope to make a good showing on those stages too.”  “Overall, things are on track,” Chilcott concluded.  “The longer transfers later in the week will contribute to making this a challenging race, but we are all very excited to be here.”