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BMC had a strong showing in the time trial with Kohler and Frank taking top 20 (foto by Richard Sangalli)
BMC had a strong showing in the time trial with Kohler and Frank taking top 20 (foto by Richard Sangalli)

Mathias Frank rides solid time trial; holds sixth place on the GC

11. agosto 2009

St-Genis-Pouilly

In spite of its short distance, the afternoon time trial at the Tour de l'Ain succeeded in playing a role in shaking up the general classification. 

Coming back from a two year suspension, Alexandre Vinokourov of the Kazakhstan team took the time trial victory while Astana's Chris Horner grabbed the leader's jersey by finishing third on the stage.  Both Mathias Frank and Martin Kohler rode strong time trials which meant that Frank was handily able to keep his place in the top ten.  With one more huge climbing stage to come and barely 40 seconds separating the top 6 riders, the potential winners of this race have been narrowed down, but in no way decided.

Just you and the clock

"Mathias did a solid time trial even though he may have hoped to finish a little better," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue explained.  "Maybe he was not super-super, but he successfully managed to defend his sixth place so there is no reason to be disappointed in that." Frank has improved his time trialling a lot over the past year, as he has proved in many races so far this year.  And though he lost 36 seconds today, he lost nearly a minute in last year's shorter time trial at the Tour de l'Ain.  "Mathias succeeded in not loosing too much time so he is still just where he needs to be going into the final stage," Lelangue said.  "Martin Kohler helped since he had a very strong time which was important for Mathias to use as a gauge for his own effort."

Everything can change on the Colombier

"Tomorrow the race will finish with an 18 kilometer climb, so everything can change," Lelangue said.  "We preserved Mathias' other teammates in the time trial so that they could be as fresh as possible to help him in tomorrow's stage."  With Frank sitting only four seconds away from fifth place and barely half a minute away from the race lead, the BMC Racing Team has its GC sights set very high.  "The goal will be to enter the top five or even get on the podium," Lelangue explained.  "On paper Chris Horner should be able to defend, but with such small teams, it can be very difficult to control."  At only 129 kilometers, the stage itself will be quite short which means most riders will be fresh and full of attacks.  Having already lost Markus Zberg to his stage one crash and Thomas Frei to a stomach upset, BMC will only have three riders available to support Frank.  "Kohler and Wyss will be there for Mathias early in the stage and Florian Stalder will be able to stay with him through the hardest climbs," Lelangue said.  "The stage is hard enough that anyone can lose everything, but our objective will be to gain places and try to enter the top five or maybe even the top 3."