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We accomplished our main objectives again today

21. February 2008

San Jose

Having been talked about as the most dreaded stage of the 2008 Tour of California, the ride from Modesto to San José proved to be exciting, though not decisive.  

For the BMC Racing Team, the stage acted as confirmation that their outstanding performances over the past two days were not flukes.  Scott Nydam again went on the attack early which resulted in his successfully defending the King of the Mountains jersey for the team.  In addition to that, Alex Moos shone as the team’s GC hope, finishing ninth in the main chase group behind the two stage leaders. 

Another good day in the saddle 

“It was a good stage,” Gavin Chilcott was happy to report shortly after the finish.  “This morning in the team meeting we set objectives which we believed would be doable and also help animate the race as a whole,” Chilcott explained.  When asked about how Scott Nydam must have been feeling in order to spend a second day in a main breakaway, Gavin replied, “Well Scott is obviously feeling strong and he was one of the people we planned to sneak into any significant and promising break.” Gavin continued, “And when we saw that his break was going to be able to scoop up the early KOM points, we of course encouraged him to ride for that.”

Killer climbs to come

“The team no longer holds the Most Aggressive jersey, but that was one prize we knew we would probably have to sacrifice today,” Chilcott said.  Happily the long established goal of placing one of their riders in the top 10 or 15 in the general classification was given a big boost today.  “Scott was caught half-way up the Mt. Hamilton climb today, which is just when the action really began,” Chilcott described.  “Moos was extremely strong on the Mt. Hamilton ascent and was able to stay in contention throughout.  Lill and Louder were separated into a second and third group, respectively, but they were at most 40 to50 seconds back, and were able to get onto the main group in the descent off Mt. Hamilton,” Chilcott said. 

Fireworks on Sierra Road hill climb

The race really lit up once it hit the rollers between Mt. Hamilton and Sierra Road.  With the riders having survived the giant Mt. Hamilton, the lid seemed to have been taken off the race.  “Hincappi attacked, and Alex was in the main chase group,” Chilcott said.  “Though he was disappointed with how he climbed Sierra Road, Moos did a very good job and was able to stay tightly in the group which was chasing the Leipheimer-Gesink duo.”  Though the high-powered chase group was only able to trim the leaders advantage down to around 20 seconds by the finish line, BMC could be happy that Moos was in the main chase, while Lill and Louder finshed strongly, well placed in the second and third chasing groups. “So now we still have three riders in with a shouting chance,” a pleased Chilcott reported.

Breathtaking route for Stage 4 

With a beautiful, rolling stage in store for the racers on Thursday, BMC plans on using the undulating course to its advantage.  “Scott certainly will do his best to defend the KOM tomorrow,” Chilcott said.  Though the stage does not offer the steep gradients of today’s stage, it will certainly offer some challenging moments for the racers. Chilcott predicted,“The course tomorrow can be really hard, especially if the winds are up. We always set realistic goals, but the team is riding so well that defending our GC classification and the KOM tomorrow should be well within our capabilities.”