Tour of Missouri - 2.1
USA, September 11-16, 2007
Results & report
Stage 3 - September 13: Branson (ITT), 29 km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Sue George, Steve Medcroft, Mark Zalewski and Kirsten
Welcome to our coverage of Stage 3 of the inaugural Tour of Missouri. The first
riders are away for the start of this 29-kilometer time trial and we expect
to see our first results at about 11:45.
There's a little bit of controversy
in the Tour of Missouri pits this morning. In the daily communique teams receive
from race officials, an announcement was included by a UCI official (Mr. Wauthier)
about time trial handlebar positions that is causing problems for some riders.
I am paraphrasing, but the general language says that all time trial handlebar
bar extensions (the pieces extending forward from the bike the riders grip when
tucked in their most aerodynamic position) must be parallel to the ground. Knowing
that a lot of teams have invested thousands of dollars in wind tunnels to dial
in their riders positions on their time trial bikes, and knowing that for many
riders the optimal position is for the extensions to be at an uphill angle as
high as 20 to 40 degrees, this rule is causing concern for riders who do not
normally sit flat on the time trial bar.
The most famous rider who
rides more upright (in more of a skiers tuck) in this bunch is Levi Liepheimer
(Discovery Channel). Team Director Johan brunyeel is said to be 'communicating'
with official to clarify the ruling to limit the effect on his star rider. Teammate
George Hincapie is not affected since he rides in a flatter position to begin
We'll let you know how this shapes up and try to talk to a
rider or two to see if they feel it is a burden should they be forced to change
their riding position on the day of a major stage.
As for the race today, the riders
are in for a bit of a shock to the system after two days of relatively flat
riding. The 29-kilometer course is peppered with climbs. Reports are that the
final five kilometers are riding pretty steeply as well. And the finish is uphill.
At least they have picture-perfect sunshine to ride in.
The first rider on course is at five
kilometers to go.
it's Justin England of Toyota-United.
Because of the hilly nature of the
course, they are scoring a KOM in the time trial. Utah native Jeff Louder (Health
Net) took the KOM in Tuesday's stage and leads that classification. There were
no elevation gains that could be scored as a KOM in yesterday's 202-kilometer
Englund is in. With Matti Helminen
of the DFL/Cyclingnews.com team right on his wheel.
Helminen made up six minutes on Englund!
Cameron Jennings (DFL/Cyclingnews.com)
is finishing as well. These are the DFL/Cyclingnews team members that lost three
minutes in Tuesday's stage when their leader double flatted ten kilometers from
the finish and they had to go back and help him get back into contention.
Rhys Pollock (DFL/Cyclingnews.com)
is also in and has the best time so far with 44:26.
Correction: Pollack's time is 44:58
bu it is the fastest time so far.
With 22 riders in so far (and riders
coming through every few seconds it feels like), Cameron Jennings of the DFL/Cyclingnews.com
team has the fastest time of the day.
In the KOM competition, Justin
England (Toyota-United), Cameron Jennings (DFL/Cyclingnews.com) and Sean Sullivan
(Toyota-United) are leading. The KOM climb is 2.1 miles long and riders are
being timed from the bottom to the top of the climb.
Correction again - it is Matti Helminen
of the DFL/Cyclingnews.com with the fastest time.
The current fasterst time is from
the four time national time trial champion of Finland, Matti Helminen (DFL -
Cyclingnews - Litespeed).
Helminen said he would ride hard today
as preparation for the time trial at worlds. He called today's course very hilly
and very difficult, but said that was good for preparation for worlds.
Svein Tuft (Symmetrrics) is our new
KOM leader for the day. The officials are timing all the riders out on the course
for an uphill section to determine today's KOM.
Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) is currently
leading the UCI American Tour. He is a Canadian from British Columbia. He's
the national time trial champ, and he'll be racing Worlds for Canada in a few
weeks. He's coming back from being sick at the Tour of Venezuela, where his
whole team became ill. Today, he rode as hard as he could, still being a little
2007 Tour de France winner Alberto
Contador (Discovery Channel) just came through with a 42:34. That'll put him
in fifth for now.
It'll be interesting to see how Levi
Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) does today. Just like at the Tour of Georgia,
we expect him to be gunning for today's time trial stage win.
Matty Rice (Jelly Belly) is getting
ready to start. The riders are starting in reverse order of GC from yesterday's
Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
is still out on the course. He's riding smoothly and steadily.
Dominique Rollin (Kodak Gallery-Sierra
Nevada) is now out on the course and David Canada (Saunier Duval) is on deck,
about to start.
The top ten riders are starting with
a larger interval between them - two minutes.
Nathan O'neill (Health Net-Maxxis)
is having a good ride today. He's already passed five riders.
In fact, he just finished setting
a new best time of 39:53!
O'Neill is an eight-time time Australian
National Time Trial Champion plus he's earned two national road titles.
Ukranian Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators
Insurance Cycling Team), who's sitting in fourth in the GC, is ready to go.
He adjusts his helmet and gets the countdown. Three more riders are to start
Ben Day (Navigators) logs a new best
third place time of 41:09.
Leipheimer has Darren Lill (Navigators)
in his sights, and he's reeling him in out on the course.
We have three riders left to start:
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Dominique Rollin (KodakGallery Pro Cycling)
and Frank Pipp (Health Net). Pipp, third in the GC, is up next.
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)
has one kilometer to go. His team-mate, Hincapie is on the start line. Hincapie
will be riding for T-Mobile next year, after the Discovery Channel team disbands
at the end of 2007.
Hincapie rolls off, clad in the yellow
of the leader's jersey and to the cheers of the crowd.
Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
is nearing the end of his time trial. He's getting 1 km to go. The last 3km
of the course are being timed for the KOM.
Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
stands up and kicks it to the finish. He sets a new best time of 39:37.
Justin England (Toyota-United Pro
Cycling Team) who was the first rider off earlier today commented after his
finish that the course isn't the kind of course you can ride easy. There are
no flat sections and there are plenty of twisty sections and tight turns to
keep riders on their toes.
Cyclingnews is also bringing you live
video coverage for today's stage.
Check it out.
Leipheimer's strong performance also
moved him into the lead in the KOM, by one second ahead of Tuft. He said, after
his ride today that he's happy to ride for team-mate Hincapie the rest of this
Nathan O'Neill, who is sitting in
second place, told Kirsten Robbins after his ride that the course was perfect
for him. He pointed out that the harder the course, the more he tends to excel.
O'Neill added that he was disappointed in how the race unfolded yesterday, but
he was glad his team-mate Frank Pipp still got on the podium.
Our KOM standings are now
Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
2 Svein Tuft (Symmetrics)
O’Neill (Health Net p/b Maxxis)
4 Jeff Louder (Health Net p/b Maxxis)
5 Ben Day (Navigators)
The top three GC riders, Hincapie,
Pipp, and Rollin, are out on the course. Hincapie still has about eight miles
to go out on the course. Hincapie is looking good, with a smooth pedal stroke
and a stationary upper body. If Hincapie is able to keep the lead until the
end of the race, he'll bring Team Discovery yet another big domestic stage race
win this year. The squad took a win at the Tour of California in February and
the Tour of Georgia in April.
Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval)
just finished in style, popping a wheelie as he crossed the line and entertaining
Hincapie has Rollin in his sights
now. He's gained about 1.5 minutes of the two minute gap that separated them
at the start ramp.
We're in Branson today. Hincapie passes
under the 5km to go mark. Chasing Rollin is good motivation for Hincapie - it's
motivating to have your two-minute man in view. The riders are finishing at
a different location than the start today, with the last 3km being generally
uphill, with a few dips.
Leipheimer told Kirsten Robbins after
his ride "The course was really difficult. It was tough with big rollers and
little climbs. There was no way you could this TT with any kind of a rhythm,
but you could recover some on the long downhills. It was technical, in terms
of how you gauged your effort." He added that he's happy Hincapie is in a good
position today. "Everyone knows Hincapie is the best time trialist of the break
riders." Excited to work for Hincapie, Levi added, "I've had a lot of wins this
year, but George has had lots of bad luck."
Hincapie crosses under the 1km to
go banner. Meanwhile, Steven Cozza (Slipstream) has come across as our new Under
Pipp comes in with 44:34. That time
will hurt him in the GC standings.
300 m to go for Hincapie...
Hincapie finishes in 41:48.
Leipheimer wins the stage today with
39:37! Hincapie will be in the top six or so with his ride, but he'll still
extend his lead in the GC.
Correction on Hincapie's time - it
was 41:48. Rollin finished in 44:03.
It's a good day for Discovery Channel
- they win the stage with Leipheimer and extend their lead in the overall for
To wrap up today, our top six (provisionally)
are listed below:
1 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) 39.37
O’Neill (Health Net p/b Maxxis) 0.16
3 Ben Day (Navigators) 1.32
Matti Helminen (DFL - Cyclingnews - Litespeed) 1.35
5 Danny Pate (Team
Slipstream p/b Chipotle) 2.04
6 George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) 2.07
That wraps up our live coverage for
today. Thank you for joining us. Come back tomorrow at 10:30 am local time (US
Central) for live coverage from Stage 4.
Stage four will run 214
km from Lebanon to Columbia. The race will snake through the towns of, Guthrie,
and Ulman, highlighted by a sprint in Jefferson City and points available for
the sprint jersey. The longest stage and potentially the most difficult of the
inaugural event, the first part of the race will be flat before rolling as it
gets closer to Missouri’s beautiful rivers en route to the finish in the educational
center of Columbia. The race will finish near the campus of the University of
Missouri in the heart of downtown Columbia. It will be a double bonus for Mizzou
students as its Parents Weekend.
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