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BMC’s Darren Lill moves into high overall position (Foto by Tim De Waele)
BMC’s Darren Lill moves into high overall position (Foto by Tim De Waele)

BMC’s Darren Lill moves into high overall position in Utah’s tough mountain stage

14. August 2008

Salt Lake City

Thursday’s mountainous race from Ogden to Salt Lake City lived up to everyone’s expectations by sharpening the view of who would enter the weekend’s racing with a realistic chance of taking the overall victory on Sunday. 

The race went largely according to plan for BMC, with Darren Lill showing his class and taking 2nd place on the stage.  His efforts also move him within seconds of the race lead.  However, even the best laid plans hit snags, and BMC suffered the loss of Scott Nydam and Steve Bovay due to a crash and suspected illness, respectively.

Darren Lill pulls through for the team

“The guys rode really well today,” Gavin Chilcott reported.  “A break that contained Darren and Ian formed as the race approached the last climb, which was exactly as we had hoped for in our game plan going into the stage.”  With around 15 riders in the break, Ian McKissick took up the pace to help them gain as much of an advantage as possible before the group hit the final climb.  “Ian did a fantastic job for me today since we were in the break of 15, but no one really wanted to pull, so Ian was doing the lion’s share of the work,” Lill reported.  “Ian had a great ride, but unfortunately he flatted out of the break,” Chilcott explained.  “We were able to change his wheel very quickly, so he latched onto the chase group without any trouble, but that left Darren alone to work in the breakaway.” 

Lill was forced to work perhaps a little harder than he would have liked before entering the final climb of the day.  “When Ian flatted out, we still had only about 40 seconds on the chase group, so I decided to ride as hard as I could, especially since none of the other riders were going to help me,” Lill said.  “Darren attacked on the climb and went clear with Garmin’s Blake Caldwell,” Chilcott said.  “Darren was very strong, but since Blake’s team mate and race leader, Jason Donald was in the chase group, he didn’t have to work with Darren on the climb.”  Cresting the 8.5 km climb with Caldwell, Lill powered ahead and kept the two riders away until the finish line.   “Blake was able to come around Darren at the end,” Chilcott explained.  “They managed to put 18 seconds into the next chase group, and we should see Darren probably in third place overall tonight.” 

BMC shorthanded for up coming stages

With one more huge mountain stage and a final time trial to come, BMC feels itself in a perfect position for the overall.  “There is one more mountain stage which will definitely shake up the classification a little more, and Darren is probably one of the best climbers who can time trial at this race, so we are feeling fairly good about the situation tonight,” Chilcott reasoned.  “We are also pretty pleased that the task of defending the jersey hasn’t fallen to us too soon, especially since we are now down two riders.”  The one cloud that hangs over the team’s success at the end of the day is that Nydam and Bovay were forced to leave the race.  “Scott touched wheels with someone mid-race, and went down hard; we suspect he may have fractured his collarbone, though I’m not certain about that,” Chilcott said.  “It was just one of those innocuous, small accidents that happen sometimes, and have a larger impact than we would like.”  Though it is too early to say how badly Nydam was injured, Chilcott is confident that he will be fit to race again this season.  “Sometimes these breaks can be very minor, so we could see Scott back in action pretty soon.” 

Meanwhile, Steve Bovay succumbed to respiratory complaints he had been suffering since his arrival from Europe.  “We’re not exactly certain what is wrong with Steve, whether it is allergies or his respiratory system, but he was suffering today,” Chilcott said.  Friday night will find the group racing a criterium in the streets of Salt Lake City, though Saturday’s queen stage is what will really be on everyone’s mind.  “I’m feeling very well and the team is really riding strongly,” Lill concluded. “Sometimes having the leader’s jersey in a crit helps keep the guys out of trouble by having to ride on the front, but not having to defend the jersey in Saturday’s epic stage will make things much easier on us.”  Friday’s plan will almost certainly revolve around staying safe and rested waiting for everyone to reload for the climb-fest to come Saturday.