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Brent Bookwalter happy to rack up top TT finishes (foto by
Brent Bookwalter happy to rack up top TT finishes (foto by

Brent Bookwalter scores 2nd place in Redlands opener

27. March 2009


Coming into the Redlands Bicycle Classic with a high level of motivation, the BMC Racing Team packed 7 riders in the top 30 finishers of the Sun Time Trial Prologue.  Considered one of the more demanding time trials on the US circuit, the Redlands opener takes the riders 5 kilometers up to Panorama Point. 

Determined to make the results start rolling in, BMC's talented group of riders effectively focused their efforts which resulted in Brent Bookwalter taking 2nd just three seconds off Fly-V Australia's Ben Day's winning pace.  Jeff Louder grabbed 5th, another nine seconds down, while BMC's U23 member, Chris Barton, took an impressive 16th.  

Focused and motivated

"The guys stepped up to the challenge and rode really well today," General Manager Gavin Chilcott explained.  "They were all very serious about living up to expectations and prepared very thoroughly."  Fresh off of their racing together at the San Dimas stage race last weekend, the group benefited from the informal training camp atmosphere of the past week.  "Last weekend was a nice dress rehearsal and since we have been able to train together, we've all been enjoying a sort of morale camp this week," Jeff Louder, who was 5th place on the day, described.  "Everyone is super motivated and went all out in the prologue; placing 7 guys in the top 27 shows just how ready we are."  Brent Bookwalter concurred: "When we get the chance to live together for an extended period, we all start to synch up and get our heads onto the same page."

In good company at the head of the race

In past time trials, Brent Bookwalter has been showing flashes of what he is capable, in particular his 2nd place at the 2008 Tour of Utah time trial.  "I felt really well today which is good since this is a pretty tough uphill course," Bookwalter said.  "Since you're riding at a slower speed, it's a big mental battle and very tactical in terms of choosing equipment and dosing effort."  His impressive riding during the 2009 season has increased the expectations the team has for him.  "Brent really did a great ride today and he is obviously extremely motivated to do well here," Louder said.  "He is just so strong that I think it will be hard for the others to keep him off the top step of the podium at the end of the weekend."  With so many BMC riders within 30 seconds of the lead, the team can feel comfortable with the number of options it has to play.  "I am really happy that we have both Brent and Jeff well placed and within striking distance of the GC going into the Beaumont Circuit Race," Chilcott said.  "We are in good company in the top 10 and are well positioned for the rest of the event." 

Gaining places

Though Bookwalter is barely 4 seconds down on the GC, Fly-V's Ben Day who just won the San Dimas stage race last weekend is clearly hot on a roll.  "Three seconds on a guy like Ben Day can be as hard to make up as 3 minutes," Louder revealed.  "But there is still a lot of tough racing ahead of us and though it is not our race to lose at the moment, I should say we have as good of a chance as anyone to win it."  Slight but significant alterations to the Beaumont Circuit Race course may impact the results and will certainly affect the tactics.  "The course circuit has been lengthened from 30 km to 40 km, but they have reduced the number of loops from 5 to 4," Louder explained.  "This means that the race is a touch longer overall, but we are doing the hard climb on the loop only four times."  With the course being perhaps less selective, the team tactics take even greater precedence.  "I had hoped that they would increase the difficulty of the stage; as it is, the race will become very tactical and selections will have to be made more deliberately," Chilcott reasoned.  But the racing decides the race, and fighting for 156 kilometers is never easy.  "The course might not be some smash-fest, but any course can be hard depending on how we decide to play it," Bookwalter said.