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Lehigh Valley Classic

4. June 2008

Jeff Louder spends day in break, but sprinters rule at Lehigh Classic

Philly week can boast perhaps the most historical clout of any current American race week.  Typically drawing an internationally renowned field, the three races which make up the famous week in Pennsylvania stand out on the calendar for every American team.  BMC has sent a team perfectly balanced to figure in both the breaks and the sprints.  Tuesday’s 85 mile (136km) Lehigh Valley circuit race found BMC being aggressive in the breaks, though their sprinters missed out on the hotly contested podium for the day.

Working to take the break to the finish line

“Going into the day, we planned on being active in the breaks, while saving our sprinters for the finale,” Team Manager Gavin Chilcott explained.  “Our early strategy worked well, as we were represented in nearly every break, especially with Jeff, but we just mistimed our sprint line-up, and unfortunately didn’t really figure in the finale.”  The team brought Tony Cruz, Martin Kohler, Danilo Wyss and the emerging sprinting power of Taylor Tolleson to battle with some of the best sprinters in America and Europe, while Jeff Louder, Mike Sayers, Darren Lill and Jackson Stewart are counted on to make their presence felt in the breakaways.  “It was a good day for me in the breaks,” Louder said after the race.  “Our first goal was to be aggressive, and since we knew this was a course suited to sprinters, we wanted to make it as hard on the pure sprinters teams as possible.”  Chilcott reiterated this point when he said, “We didn’t want today’s race to end in a field sprint, though we weren’t surprised when it did.”  The team had a little bad luck when one of its sprinters, Martin Kohler crashed late in the race.  “We were sprinting for Tony, but Martin crashed, so he wasn’t able to finish, though he will be alright for the rest of the week,” Chilcott explained.  Mike Sayers also had the misfortune of crashing, preventing him from playing a role in the day’s outcome.  “I’m definitely a little disappointed I couldn’t be in at the finish,” Sayers said.  “I crashed but at least I didn’t hurt myself, so I am really hopeful that I will be going strong again for Thursday’s race at Reading.”

Sights turn to Reading

“We were hoping for a better finish in the sprint today,” Chilcott said, “but we are already planning for Reading which should suit the talents of our team a little bit better.”  Of the three races this week, the Commerce Bank Reading Classic course is the most likely to have a breakaway stick until the finish.  BMC has time and again proved its ability to find the right breaks, a talent that they hope will pay dividends come Thursday.  “This is a special week for American cycling like a Classics week in Europe,” Louder said.  “I definitely have my sights set on Reading as a race that I should be able to do well in.”  Sayers concurred. “Considering the course, there were maybe a few too many riders today,” he said.  “But hopefully Thursday will be a little more selective and we can really have a chance to make a difference in the results.”  With the racers facing a much harder climb on the Reading course, there is great hope among all non-sprinters that Thursday might be their day.  “Reading might not end in a sprint,” Chilcott concluded.  “We should definitely be there at the finish.”