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Ian McKissick happy to be finding his legs at Cascade (foto by AbbiOrca.com)
Ian McKissick happy to be finding his legs at Cascade (foto by AbbiOrca.com)

After day of constant attacking, Louder and McKissick hold GC spots

25. July 2009

Bend

The profile for Cascade's fourth stage would make anyone but the keenest climbers tremble.  Beginning with a long, difficult climb and finishing on an even longer and more difficult ascent up Mt. Bachelor, the fourth stage had GC potentials written all over it. 

However, in cycling it is only safe to predict that the race will be unpredictable, and so it was with the Cascade Middle School Road Race.  Instead of inciting meaningful fireworks among the top four or five riders on the general classification, a large group managed to make it to the top of the climb together with Team Type 1's Moises Aldape taking the honours for the stage win.  BMC rode an aggressive race, launching attack after attack in an effort to dislodge Oscar Sevilla from the lead.  In spite of their best efforts, no advancement on the GC resulted, which means Jeff Louder, Ian McKissick and the rest of the BMC Racing Team will have to pull out all the stops on Sunday in order to make the necessary time gains.

Status quo reigns

"Unfortunately, nothing really changed for us on the GC today," Director Mike Sayers reported after the stage.  "We tried to make things happen especially on the last climb, but it ended up not being a hard enough climb."  BMC had the good fortune to insert Jackson Stewart into the day's main break of seven riders.  This move managed to put Rock Racing under pressure, though no other teams seemed to be willing to work to take advantage of the situation.  "We kept launching guys into breaks on the climb to disrupt the rhythm of the Rock team, but no one was willing to help us," Sayers said.   That the finishing group contained 20 to 25 riders gives some indication of how the climb unfolded.  "Type 1's climber won the stage out of a big group which contained at least 6 of our riders," Sayers exclaimed.  "You would have expected this climb to be more selective, but it just turned out this way today."   Jeff Louder agreed.  "The last 10-15 kilometers we really tried to shake things up and isolate Rock, but none of the other GC threats wanted to ride," Louder said.  "When you have 30 guys coming to the finish of a climb like that, though, you can tell the overall pace wasn't that hard."

Crit to come

With the challenging Cascade criterium next on the menu for the racers, no one will be able to relax before the deciding stage on Sunday.  "I've ridden tempo at the front of that crit before and it is really hard," Sayers explained.  "They have changed the course a little due to construction, but it comes late in a difficult stage race and a lot of guys are going to be tired. But a lot of guys will know too that the crit is really their only chance to do anything in this race."   Since BMC and Rock Racing each have two of the top four spots, it will be in the interest of both teams to control the criterium in a way that it will not jeopardize their GC ambitions.  "There are a lot of good criterium riders left in the field, and criterium racing is not really this team's cup of tea, so we'll definitely be focused on staying safe and guarding the GC," Sayers revealed.  "But if you have Rock lined up on the front, and we are lined up right behind them, that means the other guys are going to have to come around 16 guys to make a break.  That should play to our advantage."

Quietly eyeing the final stage 

With no big GC moves expected in the Saturday night crit, the entire race is bound to come down to the final road race on Sunday.  "I absolutely think things can turn upside down during Sunday's stage," Sayers exclaimed.  "All the guys will have gotten very little sleep since the crit is so late the night before, and everyone will know that this is the last chance, so we should definitely see some movement on the GC come Sunday."