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Mathias Frank enjoying a run of strong performances (Foto by AbbiOrca.com)
Mathias Frank enjoying a run of strong performances (Foto by AbbiOrca.com)

Wyss top 10 in final Picardie stage, Frank 11th overall

17. May 2009

Noyon

With two short stages facing the BMC Racing Team at the Tour of Picardie, the group used its attacking style to open up the opportunities for advancement in the event's final day.  With 84 kilometers to cover in the morning and another 95 kilometers in the afternoon, the short, nervous stages would provide plenty of chances as well as dangers for the remaining peloton. 

Though a crash marred the sprint finish in the morning stage, removing any chance Markus Zberg had at fighting for victory, the afternoon sprint went well finding Danilo Wyss taking yet another top 10 result for the team.  Team Katusha's Robbie McEwen won the morning sprint while a rider from Francaise des Jeux soloed for the afternoon stage win.

Strong team performance, always present in the moves

"We can be very happy with the work we have done this weekend," John Lelangue explained.  "Mathias finished 11th overall and we placed in the top 10 of the stages, so I think we can say that we are certainly moving in the right direction."  The shorter morning stage found the team working together to get into the breaks while protecting Frank's position on the GC and keeping the sprinters Zberg and Wyss well placed.  "The whole team was functioning well for Mathias in the morning stage, and we were riding for Markus in the sprint," Lelangue explained.  "But unfortunately a crash happened right in front of Markus in the final kilometer and he was forced to slow down, taking him out of the sprint."  In spite of the resulting confusion, Jackson Stewart was able to finish in 15th place on the stage. Though Mathias Frank didn't lose any time in the stage, two riders did manage to gain bonification points which allowed them to hop over Frank on the GC.  Consequently, he started the final stage in 10th place, still only 37 seconds out of the lead.

Racing for the win by attacking

"We had a plan to go out and be in the big moves, and like in the morning stage, we did have Frank and Wyss well placed in the first group of 25 riders that initially separated itself," Lelangue explained.  Though this initial lead group was very powerful, they were eventually joined by another 25 riders, making the finishing main peloton around 50 riders.  "We wanted to try for a solo victory with Markus who attacked about 4 kilometers from the finish," Lelangue said.  "Unfortunately, the pack wasn't about to let him get away, so they shut down his jump before he could get a decisive gap."  That left the team to focus on Danilo Wyss' chances to finish well in the sprint.  "A Francaise des Jeux rider attacked and actually won the day because he was so far down on the GC there was no danger to the leaders," Lelangue said.  "But we know that Danilo made a good sprint and was able to catch another top 10 position."  Frank ended up in 11th place overall which will bring the team more UCI points for the top finish.  "Maybe Mathias just barely missed out on a top 10 again after Romandie, but in terms of time, he was very close and his high place will bring UCI points, which is also good," Lelangue said.  "We are really happy with Mathias' recent performances, especially since he is one of our brightest hopes for the future."

Next up: Tour of Belgium

With just over a week for the team to recover and regroup for the Tour of Belgium, Lelangue is hoping that the riders will be able to build on the positive results they have been getting consistently since early April's Circuit de la Sarthe.  "The Tour of Belgium is an important Hors Category race with a strong, mostly ProTour field, so we are very happy to be racing there," Lelangue said.  "It is a complete race with some early sprinter's stages, some tough stages with big-name climbs around the Liège region, and then a final time trial, it will be a race where we will have to bring our most complete riders."  Though the Belgian stage race represents one of the team's top early summer objectives, it will also provide a useful jumping off point for the team which will then head to the Dauphiné Libéré.  "Obviously the Tour of Belgium will be a big objective for us, but since nearly the exact same group of guys will be going on to race the Dauphiné, it will also be an important opportunity to fine tune for that race in France," Lelangue confirmed.