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Jeff Louder: “It was a nice break to be in since everyone wked evenorly and we all wanted to make it succeed." Foto: Tim De Waele
Jeff Louder: “It was a nice break to be in since everyone wked evenorly and we all wanted to make it succeed." Foto: Tim De Waele

Jeff Louder spends day on pointy end of race in 100+km 3-man breakaway

16. June 2008


The rolling parcours for the Tour of Switzerland’s stage three offered an open invitation to an industrious group of riders to try their luck at stealing the stage from the sprinters.

The 155km ride from Flums to Gossau presented the riders with three categorized climbs, though nothing as taxing as the ride up the Flumserberge from the day before.  BMC’s Jeff Louder bridged his was up to an escape duo after around 30km had been covered, and the three stayed together off the front of the peloton until just over 10km from the finish line.

Two pronged game plan: get in the good breaks and keep GC hopeful Moos safe

Shortly after the end of the neutral zone, two riders got away from the peloton and immediately established a healthy gap.  Jeff Louder realized there was a now or never point to join the promising break. He attacked the peloton to bridge up to the duo, erasing a 30 second disadvantage he had to them in a matter of 10 kilometres. “I’m tired but satisfied with the day,” Louder said.  “The two guys went off the front almost immediately, and the team tried to keep the pack close to them so after the yellow jersey came back from a nature break, I took off; the team needed to have someone in the break, so it might as well have been me.” “Jeff really had a good stage,” Gavin Chilcott reported after the finish.  “He had to work hard to bridge up to the break when they had already gained more than 30 seconds on the group, so he was working solo for 15 or 20 minutes in order to catch them.”  Louder who was on extremely good form coming off of his work at the Philly Week of racing, ran into some trouble on the difficult Stage 2 Sunday and lost more time than he would have liked.  “I was disappointed in my ride yesterday, more because I really wanted to be there to help Alex stay in position than because I had any designs on winning the stage,” Louder explained.  “So today I wanted to show these guys that I really can ride my bike.” “Jeff has been feeling better and better each day, but all indications from the guys we had racing at Philly have been that the temperature adjustment from the 40°C in Philly to the wet 13°C we have had here in Switzerland has been pretty hard on their bodies,” Chilcott said.  “We expect they will be all back to full force as the week progresses.”

Break worked well together, but sprinter’s teams were not about to let this one get away

“The three guys in the break had a nice adventure today,” John Lelangue said.  “They worked well together and had a fair gap for much of the race.”  Louder also believed that the three escape partners worked equally.  “It was a nice break to be in since everyone worked evenly and we all wanted to make it succeed,” Jeff said.  But with only a short Category 4 climb near the finish to dissuade the sprinters, the break was going to have difficulty staying away.  “You always think it might work when you get into a break like this, that’s why you play,” Louder said.  “It’s a lottery, and though maybe one out of twenty times that I am in a break, it actually succeeds to the finish, that one time is the reason we go for it.” “It was very good for the team to have Jeff off the front, helping to animate the race,” Chilcott reasoned.  “This year we have seen many more small breaks succeed, and so it is always worthwhile to get ourselves into positions like that today.”  Lelangue optimistically agreed, “It’s always good for the team to be up front like that, and who knows, maybe it will work next time,” he said.  “Unfortunately today the sprinter’s teams gave chase and pulled us back since they too saw an opportunity for a stage win, but tomorrow is a similar stage and we will try again.”  Louder agreed, “You never know, the pack might miscalculate, or the sprinters teams might wait too long, but it is rewarding to be in the front of the race, and good for the BMC jersey to be on display.”

GC priority: keep Alex up front and away from the gaps that form

After his strong ride in Stage 2, Alex Moos was within easy striking distance of the top 10 in the General Classification.  “Aside from going on the attack, we were very concerned with keeping Alex Moos well placed near the front of the group so he would avoid the gaps in the pack which inevitably result during these rolling stages – especially in the wet,” Lelangue said.  The team managed to keep Moos safe, and at the finish even had one of their sprinters going for the stage.  “Once we were organized to keep Alex safe, we then tried to help Danilo Wyss for the sprint,” Chilcott said.  “But Danilo was a little boxed in; the outcome and winner of the sprint is not really a surprise.”  “Today it was obvious for use that Alex was priority number one,” Danilo said.  “I went for the sprint after Martin told me he wasn’t feel great, and though I wasn’t in a great position, was able to finish 13th.  The roads were made very dangerous with the rain, so I had a good sprint but nothing amazing as my legs weren’t that great.”