Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TOM Stage 7 St. Louis

The final podium came as a surprise to Mr. Cavendish (Team Columbia) because for the first time since March of this year someone passed him from behind on the way to the finish line. Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) poured on the gas leaving behind a shocked, disappointed, and perturbed Cavendish. Tyler Farrar (Garmin/Chipotle) claimed third over Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United). Dominguez lost his lead-out man, Henk Vogels, yesterday on the road to St. Charles and he was left to fend for himself after Chris Wherry finished his turn on the front of the peloton at the 3k mark. The final podium answers the question race fans have been asking all season, “Can Cav be beat?” This was a downhill sprint to the line and even though he may have misjudged, went too early, or is tired at the end of his season – Cavendish and the Columbia train were bested on Stage 7.

Garmin/Chipotle defended Vande Velde’s yellow jersey all the way to the finish. Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) claimed the overall KOM jersey. Of course, Mr. Cavendish did take home the sprinter’s jersey. Jeff Louder (BMC) was awarded the most aggressive rider’s jersey and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) the best young rider’s jersey.

Nine different teams were represented in the top twenty places of the general classification at the end of the race. Team Columbia lead the teams classification with BMC and Team Sparkasse right behind them.

For such a young squad (5 of 8 were in the Best Young Rider competition), Rabobank, did well to claim stage 5 at Jefferson City. It will not be a surprise to see Boy Van Poppel, Michael Van Stayen or some of the other young riders win future stages of major races. Steven Cozza (Garmin) and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and the other young riders from the Tour of Missouri will certainly be riding in the front of the peloton over the coming years. Vive le Tour!

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