Posted by Editoress on 09/9/08
Tour of Missouri Stage 2
Amy Smolens interviews: Keven Lacombe pre-race, Andrew Randell and Michael Barry post-race
Keven Lacombe of Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast finished Monday's Stage 1 in last place, 16:46 behind winner Mark Cavendish. This morning I caught up with him before Stage 2's start in the town of Clinton, to find out the story:
Amy Smolens: What happened yesterday?
Keven Lacombe: I got a flat (on the circuits) - wrong time!
AS: And team Columbia was just pushing the pace, eh?
KL: Yeah, and if we had a second team car behind it would be good but we didn't have it so... Ah, it's not that bad because I don't really focus on the GC, I focus on the finish stage and Cando (teammate Alex Candelario) did pretty well, he did 6th. So I hope today it's gonna be a field sprint and me and Cando we're going to try to win the stage.
AS: What's it like knowing that Mark Cavendish, the fastest sprinter in the world, is in the field?
KL: Aaaah, I don't really know, we just try to win a stage. I don't know, it don't matter if he's there or not.
AS: But with him in the field if you could win it would be extra impressive.
KL: Yeah, yeah, exactly!
At 126.3 miles, Stage 2 from Clinton to Springfield was the longest of the 2008 Tour of Missouri. Andrew Randell of Symmetrics was in the break of the day, a five-man group that was away from mile 15, staying out for over 100 miles. I spoke with him after his tiring day in the saddle:
Amy Smolens: Talk about the break - four hours out there - did you think that was the right combination?
Andrew Randell: Well, I think everyone realized from the start that it was going to be a long day. We got up to 3:15 (ahead of the peloton) at one point but then right away they brought it back down under 3 minutes. So we did our thing and Columbia rolled behind. And then we picked it up towards the end - and who knows? I think the Aggressive Rider's jersey doesn't help us get to the finish because guys start attacking to try and get that. But that's how it goes, you know?
AS: It gets people to be active and do things...
AR: Yeah, it's getting people to do things but instead we could have been riding harder and maybe got a bit closer to the finish, and then who knows, you know?
AS: It's good showing your colours, though - you, Andrew Pinfold in 4th, Will Routley with a late attack again - how important is that in the last race for Symmetrics?
AR: Oh, yeah, that's what it's all about. I mean, what else are we going to do? I mean Cavendish is obviously head and shoulders above everybody else. So it's good to get the name out there, at least and then, I mean who knows? Maybe toward the end of the week Columbia will start getting a bit tired. MAYBE (laughs!) So anyway, it's good to get out there, why ride around in the field for seven days without doing anything?
Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish took his second stage victory in as many tries and held on to the Yellow Jersey, thanks in no small part to the hard work of teammate Michael Barry. I spoke to Michael about the team chemistry his squad has shown:
Amy Smolens: Talk about the work you and your team did in setting up Mark Cavendish for his second stage win.
Michael Barry: The team rode really well today, we controlled it from the start. Two guys, John Devine and Craig Lewis, rode for I think maybe 170k or something, the two of them. I started riding with 50k to go. The team knows how to lead out the sprints really well now, we've been doing it all year. We mesh well together, everybody knows what their job is and falls into that position right away. When you have a guy like Mark as a sprinter it's pretty easy, too. He's the fastest guys easily in the peloton right now so our job's actually pretty easy.
AS: The past two days when I've interviewed him after the stage he's always said that you guys make it easy for him, so he really appreciates what the team is doing for him, too.
MB: Yeah, I think it goes both ways - we have confidence in him and he has confidence in us. I think one big reason our team has been so successful this year is because everybody's selfless and rides for the team and not for their individual results. I think this was our 75th win (of the season) today, which is the most a team has won in many, many years so it's really impressive. We have a lot of fun together so that's a big part of it.
AS: And what are your thoughts about tomorrow's Time Trial and how you'll keep the Yellow Jersey with Team Columbia?
MB: We have George (Hincapie), Michael Rogers and Marco (Pinotti) have the best shot at doing a great TT tomorrow and the team can control the race from after that and I'm pretty sure one of those guys is going to perform really well, if not all three of them.
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