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Martin Kohler wins Most Aggressive prize in Missouri opening stage. Foto: Tim De Waele
Martin Kohler wins Most Aggressive prize in Missouri opening stage. Foto: Tim De Waele

Martin Kohler wins Most Aggressive prize in Missouri opening stage

9. September 2008

Kansas City

With the peloton just getting its feet wet – sometimes literally – in this first flattish stage of the Tour of Missouri, the finishing sprint result was indeed predictable.

There was little expectation that the day’s break would stick to the finish, however, the threesome that included BMC’s Martin Kohler managed to stay away for a large part of the 144 kilometre race, snagging Kohler time bonuses and the Most Aggressive jersey for his efforts.

Solid racing in cool, wet conditions  

On a day marked by chilly temperatures and sporadic rain, the team slogged its way through and avoided the many crashes which marked the finishing circuits around Kansas City.  “Today was a good race all around for the team,” John Lelangue reported.  “We wanted to protect our 3 GC leaders, Louder, Lill and Bookwalter, and then have the other five guys find the breakaways.”   Mission accomplished on both fronts as the team leaders kept quietly safe in the pack while Kohler flew the BMC colors in a three man break.  “It was great to have Martin in the break because he was able to pick up time bonifications, and also has been awarded the Most Aggressive rider for the day,” Lelangue said.  BMC has made a habit of gaining such awards, and Lelangue was particularly happy to see Martin come away with the result today.  “I’m really happy for Martin to be most aggressive and to have had such a good ride today,” Lelangue said.  “He has been putting in good performances and solid work for the team all year; it is really satisfying to see him have this success.”  The quiet-spoken Kohler was pleased to have been able to make the move for the team.  “It was good to be in the break especially since I got the jersey and some time bonuses,” Kohler said.  “But it sort of just happened, since my legs have been heavy since flying over from Switzerland, I was trying to follow the team’s plan; I hope my legs will start getting better.”  If this is how Kohler rides with bad legs, the whole team is anxious to see how he’ll do when they loosen up a bit!  

Main sprinting teams call the shots for the day

With several top sprinters in the Missouri field, BMC also focused its late-day efforts on helping its Swiss sprinter Danilo Wyss.  “We knew that Columbia would be riding for Cavendish so we made sure to keep Danilo as well placed as possible for the finale,” Lelangue said.  Wyss has found recent success at the Criterium de Lucens in Switzerland, and the team has high hopes he will come away with a stage win in Missouri.  “Martin was in the lead break for a long time,” Wyss explained, “But we all knew that this stage would end in a field sprint.”  Within the final three kilometres there were several crashes which disrupted the efforts of many teams.  “There were a lot of crashes, but we were quite lucky since we suffered no crashes or punctures all day,” Lelangue said.  “Unfortunately in the final sprint someone did ram into Danilo’s rear wheel breaking a spoke and hamstringing his final kick.”  “I was lucky not to crash, it’s true,” Wyss confirmed.  “But I was obstructed by a crash, and though I didn’t go down, I did break a spoke in my rear wheel.”  Even with this hindrance, Wyss only just finished outside the top 10 for the sprint.  BMC could feel very content with their day overall.  “With Martin’s performance, and the fact no one crashed or punctured, we can be very pleased with today,” Lelangue concluded.  “We even drew the place for the first team car in the support queue, so it was really a perfect day for us.”