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Jeff Louder has been very active in the breaks the past couple days. Photo: Tim De Waele
Jeff Louder has been very active in the breaks the past couple days. Photo: Tim De Waele

Jeff Louder takes a stab at Stage 6 by powering promising break

14. September 2008


Since Stage 6 was the last point to point stage of the Missouri tour, any big classification moves would almost certainly have to happen during the course of Saturday afternoon.

Jeff Louder, BMC’s best placed rider on the GC, managed to insert himself into the day’s main breakaway, to the chagrin of his breakaway companions.  Unfortunately, in the end the pull of a flat out sprint to the finish line was too great for the other teams to let Louder’s break flourish.

Had to try something  

“Today’s break was definitely very interesting for us with Jeff taking part,” General Manager Gavin Chilcott said.  “With Jeff under three minutes away from the lead, though, it was always going to be a tall order to stay away.”  The break was composed of ten riders, and initially squeezed around 4 minutes out of the peloton.   But once Louder became the virtual leader on the road, some of the impetus and cohesion seemed to go out of the escape.  “It was a hard but sort of funny day, and everyone in the break was mad that I was there too,” Louder said.  “Sure my being there meant that we were never going to be allowed to gain serious time, but if we had worked together I think we could have at least gone to the finish with a minute or so in hand.”  Louder, being the only BMC rider in the break, was not about to drop back to the peloton to give his fellow escapees a better chance for success.  With severe crosswinds dominating particularly the latter half of the race, the stronger teams in the peloton saw an opportunity to chop the group up.  “When Columbia rode to create the echelons in the group, it was a very good situation for us because Jeff, Tony and I were all there in the front for the team,” Danilo Wyss.  “But by the finish it had all basically come back together again.”  The wind did cause a lot of tired riders to loose contact with the group.  “Today saw a lot of gutter racing because of the wind, which also caused a lot of crashes,” Chilcott explained.  “It was a worthwhile attempt with Jeff’s break and something we had to try, but they would have needed 5 or 6 minutes to make the difference.”  A motivated Columbia team began to chase hard as soon as they could smell the finish line.  “This is very tough terrain made even tougher by the cross winds,” Louder said.  “It was hard for everyone in the pack today because it was just a constant gutter fight, and that always makes for fast, dangerous racing.”  BMC riders fell victim to two of the crashes in particular.  “There were two big crashes in the day and both times we had riders go down,” Chilcott explained.  “Late in the stage Mike Sayers crashed hard and needed a bike change, but he was able to chase back onto the main pack which is pretty impressive.”  

Looking forward to short stage with lots of rain   

Though no major classification changes are expected during Sunday’s stage around St. Louis, the weather could wreak havoc with people’s nerves and make for very dangerous cycling.  “The forecast is for heavy rain and we are planning accordingly,” Chilcott explained.  The stages up to this point have been traditional point to point routes, similar to Euro style races, which have played largely to BMC’s strengths.  “I like this race because it has been hard and a lot more like the races you find in Europe,” Louder said.  “It has been fun, aggressive, attacking racing which is something we excel at.”  So close to the end of the racing season for many of the competitors, the week of racing has taken its toll.  “Tomorrow could be tough with the rain and last year it was extremely windy which would be even worse,” Louder said.  “It’s only 70 miles long with five laps around a circuit, so it’ll be fast.  We’re not going down without a fight, though.”  With a solid week of racing under their belts, the guys from BMC will definitely have a few tricks up their sleeves.