Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TOM Stage 2

After Cavendish’s American sprint debut on Stage 1 in Kansas City he secured the leaders jersey for Columbia to defend on the way to Springfield. The five men who decided to gamble for the win spent most of the day in front of the Columbia juggernaut. Sayers (BMC), Guptill (Colavita Sutter Home), Schillinger (Team Sparkasse), Mumford (Kelly Benefits), and Randell (Symmetrics) had all rolled the dice to stay out in front for the afternoon. None of the break riders seemed to be in contention for sprint points so maybe they were thinking of last year’s stage when the peloton let the break run away with the race. Not this year. Sayers attacked before the last sprint zone, it was, in fact, the last gasping efforts of doomed men.

Columbia waited, biding their time, finally reeling in the break at the start of the finishing circuits taking the entire peloton on a parade route for the several thousand fans packing the finish area. In the final meters Bernhard Eisel led big George and it was fait accompli for Mr. Cavendish.

In the press conference afterwards Cavendish provided a most gentlemanly answer on tomorrow’s time trial in Branson, he will be putting forth his best effort to keep the yellow leader’s jersey even though he clearly will be struggling through the hilly time trial. (to honor the race organizers’ efforts??)

Brad Huff with Jelly Belly joined the conference as the local hometown hero and Andy Guptill as the most aggressive rider for the stage. Lance rumors still bounce around without any real meaning to the riders. They all suggest it would be great to ride against him but they seem to shrug their shoulders and ask, “What about the rest of us?” Huff expressed a little Lance fatigue while Cavendish put it in perspective, “he was an inspiration to me when I was growing up.”

What else can one expect from a young man who in addition to the yellow race leader’s jersey also holds the best young rider, and green sprinter’s jersey. The attached photo is what the peleton saw of Cavendish as he crossed the line.

1 comment:

Nathan Scot said...

The Manxman (from the Isle of Man, Phil and Paul like to say ad nauseum) is he really as fast as he looks on Versus coverage of the Tour?

Cycling news commented that his challengers were crashing before they even got an opportunity to test themselves.