Posted by Editor on 05/11/08
Team RACE Pro Reports from Joe Martin
By Mark Walters
Today's stage (Friday) took the peloton from Fayetteville to the Ozark Mountains and back. After yesterday's uphill time trial, which was won by Health-Net's Rory Sutherland, the race was controlled most of the day by team Health-Net. A strong TT result by Dustin MacBurnie (12th), Joel Poitras (13th) and Dan Timmerman (21st), gave Team RACE Pro some good GC positions to protect, but also a good excuse to attack in the hope of improving their GC positions; or go for a stage win.
An early break formed quickly and Health-Net controlled the gap at two to three minutes, until about 50 km to go, when the break started crack just before the climb. As soon as the road turned up, the attacks started. I felt strong covering the first attacks and continued attacking most of the way up the climb, splitting off the front two times, in groups that were both caught. In the last kilometre before the summit, a larger group escaped that included Team RACE Pro's Dan Timmerman and Dustin MacBurnie. They got up to 45 seconds, but team Jelly Belly missed the move and brought it back.
As the break was being caught, Dan Timmerman attacked with Richard England (Bissell Pro) and John Fredy Parra (Toshiba-Santo). The trio stayed away until four or five kilometres to go until they were caught by the Health-Net chase. Meanwhile the rest of Team RACE Pro worked hard protecting me and Dustin for the sprint. I was really proud of all the guys today, because they all rode really strong at the end and I have rarely had so much help in a lead out for a bunch sprint. They rode like a top professional team, not like a small underdog team.
The sprint went pretty well for me. In the last kilometre I had good legs because of the efforts of Team RACE Pro and finished 8th on the stage. Not bad for a non-bunch sprinter. Dustin, JoÃƒÂ«l and Dan all finished at "same time" safely in the bunch and maintained their GC positions.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is another road race (145km) with three circuits at the end. It will be a little less hilly than today. In past years this stage has finished in a bunch sprint. Team RACE Pro will be looking to form a break for a better shot at a stage win. If it's a sprint I'll try to pretend I'm a bunch sprinter again and hopefully improve on today's result.
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