Posted by Editoress on 09/16/06
2006 Tour of Hokkaido - Japan
Symmetrics Cycling has had a good last few days in Japan. Here is an update:
There was lots of climbing including a fast 13km climb that Marsh crested near the front--then he promptly flatted and got a slow change and could not regain the front. Meanwhile, Eric Wohlberg, Andrew Randell and Jake Erker made it over in the second group and rejoined on the descent.
Eventually the front 35 pulled out about 5 minutes over the rest. The sprint was a bit hectic with Randell pulling off a solid-top-10, ending up 9th.
The stage started with some early climbs that weren't super steep, with the peloton going 40kph up the long one. The team and peloton all crested together. After the points sprint, Jeff Sherby attacked and got a gap. He was joined by 3 guys and then 3 more. They had a tenuous gap of 30 seconds for a long time along the coast until the Asian team chase slowed a bit and gave them 4:30.
Attacks and more teams helping in the chase finally brought the break back with about 40km to go. Sherby was away for 100km and just to mess those guys up some more he attacked again when the peloton caught him. This was followed by more attacks and then the race took a sharp left and Erker followed a Skil Shimano guy and a South Australia guy. Eric opened up the gap and they were away with 25km to go. Then 4 guys came across and the break slowly created a 50 second gap.
A Vang/Yahoo guy snuck away with 1km to go and Erker was 4th in the sprint. Randell was 4th in the field sprint, with about a 30 second gap behind the break at the finish
Today's stage--Stage 3---has more big climbs but everyone is feeling pretty good. So if the S-Team survives the big climbs then maybe the squad will have another shot at a stage and keep Andrew, Eric and Erker up near the front of the G.C.
Note: Today at the finish, a fan came up to get Eric's autograph. He signed it and then the guy showed Eric a photo that was taken of him and Eric back when Eric won the race in '96. It was hilarious because the fan was a little kid back then. So Eric is feeling a little bit old tonight...
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