Rock Racing & Bissell Race Reports

September 12, 2008
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Pe¤a Scores Rock Racing’s Second Top Five Finish

For the second straight day, a Rock Racing rider figured prominently in a long breakaway at the Tour of Britain. But the difference Thursday on Stage 5 was the end result.

Victor Hugo Pe¤a earned Rock Racing its second top five finish with fourth place in a challenging 102-mile (164 km) race from Hull to Dalby Forest that finished with back-to-back-to-back categorized climbs in the final 17 miles (27 km).

On the opening stage in London, Rahsaan Bahati scored a fifth-place finish for Rock Racing in a field sprint.

It was on the final climb to the finish Thursday that Pe¤a ? a former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer ? made his move, attacking his four breakaway companions with less than a mile to go. His valiant effort to solo away followed a monumental chase after he had been dropped on each of the two previous climbs.

‘I closed a 30-second gap to (Danilo) Di Luca and (Matthew) Goss and caught up to them with five kilometers (3.1 miles) to go,’ Pe¤a said. ‘At the end, I played my game and did what I thought to win.’

But 500 meters from the finish, Edval Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) powered his way back to Pe¤a and passed the Colombian climber on the steep pitch to the line to secure his second straight stage victory.

‘At the moment I attacked, I was thinking I could win,’ Pe¤a said, ‘but he (Hagen) was really strong.’

Hagen, who was also part of a day-long breakaway on Stage 4, bridged across a 12-second gap with Pe¤a at the 24-mile mark after Team Columbia worked hard to reduce a minute’s lead to an original breakaway trio of Goss, Di Luca and Travis Meyer (South Australia.com).

Once together, the five in front stretched their lead to as many as six minutes before the Agritubel team worked to reduce the margin. Later, Team Slipstream-Chipotle presented by H30 assisted in the chase.

Rock Racing’s Fred Rodriguez, who was part of an earlier breakaway, said covering moves has become the team’s game plan after the disappointment of Stage 3 on Tuesday. On that rainy, crash-filled afternoon, all but 23 of 91 riders finished in a group more than 13 minutes behind the leaders ? effectively ending Rock Racing’s hopes for the overall classification.

‘It’s a big gamble on what break is going to work, so we cover as many as we can,’ Rodriguez said. ‘I’m not so interested in being in (a break) myself as I am covering them so I can help out my teammates.’

Friday’s Stage 6 figures to be another challenging day in the saddle. Two Category 3 climbs come in the first half of the 96-mile (154 km) race. What follows is a jaunt through twisting, up-and-down coastal roads as the course heads north to its finish in NewcastleGateshead.

Attached Photos Copyright: Vero Image


Team BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Tom Zirbel made the crucial 18-strong split today to maintain a solid top ten footing in the overall General Classification at the Tour of Missouri.  With Zirbel currently sitting in eighth, and the team in 6th, BPC will be looking to take advantage of the battle being waged between Team Columbia to Garmin-Chipotle to move up on GC.

Fast and furious from the gun with team BISSELL’s Ben Jacques-Maynes the first to attack today, there was no mercy in the peloton. Team Columbia laid down one attack after the other trying to break the=2 0Garmin-Chipotle boys and forcing them to control the breaks.  Garmin-Chipotle, however, had a few friends in the peloton today, including Team BISSELL, who came to the front to lend a hand and set the pace.

Shortly after the feed zone and last KOM, Teddy King launched an attack, quickly building to a group of ten with a 40 second gap. With Michael Rogers in that break ? only 18 seconds behind Garmin’s Vandevelde on GC – it was unlikely that the group would be allowed to go and soon enough it was brought back.

A group of 18 including Tom Zirbel ? the group that contained eventual stage winner Michael Barry ? finally went clear with about 20 miles to go. Omer Kem joined forces with a Tecos and Rabobank in effort to bridge up to the leaders but the pace at the front with an engine of 18 riders was just too20much.

The team effort today put Tom Zirbel in 8th on GC and the team in a very impressive 6th overall ? much of that jump due to the work of Kem in no man’s land. Kem explained, ‘It’s too bad I couldn’t get across to help Tom but it was three against 18. The rest of the field is pretty much out of the race so hopefully we can turn this into something more, later in the week.’


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