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Tour of Missouri - 2.1

USA, September 11-16, 2007

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Stage 2 - September 12: Clinton - Springfield, 202 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Steve Medcroft, Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins

03:41 EDT   
Thanks for tuning in to Cyclingnews coverage of the inaugural Tour of Missouri. After a sprinters stage on Tuesday, the racers are in for a challenging and bumpy 202 kilometers on Wednesday. Check in with us just before 11am US Central time for the start.

12:23 EDT    16km/186km to go
Good morning and welcome to our coverage of Stage 2 of the Tour of Missouri. The race has been underway since 11am Central time (about 20 minutes ago). The race started slow due to a handful of mechanicals and flats in the neutral section.

The peloton was then rolling along at under 20 miles per hour when it appears they ran into an Armadillo. we're not sure if it was alive or was simply a road-kill hazard (although we are certain the poor thing is now dead) but Missouri native Dan Schmatz of the BMC team was caught up in the middle of the crash and has DNF'd.

Other than that, The peloton is still together.

12:31 EDT   
Jonathan Garcia (BMC) was also involved in the Armadillo incident but is riding in the main peloton still. Please send out positive thoughts for the other rider injured in the crash; Dan Schmatz is a little bloody and we are being told his team car is en route to the hospital with him right now.

The main group just entered Deep Water, Missouri, population 507. They were greeted by three school buses of cheering high-school kids that were stopped on an overpass.

The average speed is creeping up as the Navigators squad tries to have a dig off the front of the race but so far it is all staying together.

12:40 EDT    23km/179km to go
A break of two riders has a small lead over the main field; Mike Sayers (BMC) and Tim Duggan (Slipstream). The Navigators, BMC and Colavita teams were active at the front of the race but these are the two riders that escaped.

The race is being run along a series of small, two-lane farm roads that are rolling through the countryside. There is hardly a cloud in the sky.

12:46 EDT    30km/172km to go
The two breakaway riders were caught. Slipstream is extremely active on the front of the race. As is the BMC and Navigators teams. It's still early days but there is a lot of action as teams try to set up a break.

12:52 EDT    33km/169km to go
Slipstream and the DFL/Cyclingnews team are setting the pace at the front of the peloton.

Jonathan Garcia (BMC) went back to the medical car for a little assistance (maybe associated with the Armadillo incident) but is back in the bunch.

13:06 EDT    43km/159km to go
The DFL/Cyclingnews team is trying to have a good show today to make up for the fact that some of the team finished behind the field by more than three minutes. Rider Gert Vanderaerden told us this morning that he suffered a double flat coming into the finishing circuits and his teammates fell back to pace him to the finish and they suffered because of the effort.

As for the race, the main peloton is still all together. Navigators is still animating. Pretty much every team has had a dig to try and snap a break off the front but nothing is sticking.

13:15 EDT    52km/150km to go
There is a pretty big break off the front right now. They have 30 seconds over the main field. We have just crossed Stockton lake and are rolling along a flatter section of the course and are ahead of the promoter's projected schedule (which was based on a 28-mile per hour average).

13:19 EDT   
The riders in the break are George Hincapie (Dicovery Channel), David Canada (Saunier-Duval Prodir), Stefan Parinussa (Team Sparkesse), Frank Pipp (Health Net), William Frischkorn (Slipstream), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators), Michael Friedman (Slipstream), Andrew Randell (Symmetrics), Jonathan Garcia (BMC), Jesse Anthony (Kodakgallery/Sierra Nevada), Andrew Guptill (Colavita), and Matthew Rice (Jelly Belly).

13:22 EDT    58km/144km to go
The gap is up to 35 seconds.

13:25 EDT   
The leaders are on a straight stretch of road and can see the main peloton just behind them. So far, the break is working well together, each rider taking an even pull.

13:32 EDT    63km/139km to go
This is a large break with most teams represented so it may have a decent chance to stay away. The field seems a little lazy about chasing; letting the advantage grow to 1:15 now. But they should worry about the quality of the riders in the break and not let it remain clear into the 30-kilometer to go range; George Hincapie (just to mention one rider) has a long striking distance if he wants to take a solo flyer stage win. He's also a strong sprinter should some of this bunch stay together to the end.

Discovery is sitting on the front of the peloton, possibly controlling the pace to let Hincapie and his breakmates add to their gap.

13:34 EDT    68km/134km to go
The break is up to 2:05 as the leaders pass through the first feed zone and take on food and liquids. The Discovery Channel team, with newly-crowned US National Champion Levi Liepheimer safely tucked in fifth position, are still on the front of the main group.

13:41 EDT   
The leaders are on a stretch of rolling downhill in a double paceline each taking five to ten second pulls. They have built the gap to 3:45.

13:46 EDT   
We have a correction to the make up of the leaders. The Kodakgallery/Sierra Nevada rider present in not cyclo-cross stud Jesse Anthony but the team's GC leader Dominique Rollin. The gap continues to swell quickly and is at 4:45 already.

13:52 EDT    82km/120km to go
The gap is 7:15 now.

13:56 EDT   
The Discovery Channel is still sitting comfortably on the front of the main group, happy to let Hincapie's break continue to build its advantage.

14:04 EDT    88.8km/113.2km to go
The peloton rolling along at 17 miles per hour (I think many of us could ride with that bunch!).

The gap is over 8 minutes and the leaders are all working together; still in a double paceline but taking longer pulls.

BMC riders have been seen moving up the peloton to share the front with Discovery Channel.

14:09 EDT    91km/111km to go
The question was being asked in the race caravan if there was a Toyota-United rider in the break. There is not; which means there is a least one high-power team left in the main peloton to mount a serious chase to what looks like a strong break. Seems like the organizers are having flashbacks to Stage 3 of the Tour de Georgia (Rome to Chattanooga, TN) when a large break got out to over 28 minutes and completely took the big-name GC favorites out of contention.

14:10 EDT    94km/108km to go
The break is at 11 minutes. They are approaching a sprint (five kilometers up the road).

The average speed in the peloton has dropped to 16 miles per hour. Liepheimer himself is sitting on the front. I revise my earlier statement that many of us could ride in the peloton at these speeds - we could lead the peloton at these speeds!

14:18 EDT   
At the sprint line, four riders jumped. Hincapie nips Rollin for the points.

14:20 EDT   
All the breakaway riders are back together.

14:25 EDT   
Stefan Parinussa (Team Sparkesse) was the third rider across the line at the sprint. Will Frischkorn finished fourth (and initiated the action) but they don't award sprint points for fourth so....

The race is just about to cross Stockton dam and lake. There is a nasty bridge for the riders to cross and they will need to be careful; the road surface is iron grating down one side.

14:30 EDT   
We haven't received an updated split time to the main peloton but we are more than halfway through the stage and judging by the way the leaders are rolling through the front of their paceline smoothly, the organizer's nightmare of a repeat of Stage 3 of the Tour of Georgia may be likely. Who out of this group do you think is the best GC contender if they finish way ahead of the main peoloton? Email us at commentator@cyclingnews.com.

14:33 EDT   
The gap is up to fifteen minutes.

14:38 EDT   
Reader Joe Whitman says that "Mike 'meatball' Friedman will win the stage. A good friend of mine/former college roommate is thirsty to prove he's back. look for Frischkorn to work for him."

Slipstream is always aggressive about getting riders into the break who can threaten late in the race so this may be a good call. But I would think Friedman would be a better one-two setup for Frischkorn at the 20-kilometer mark since Frischkorn is the proven time trialist.

14:39 EDT   
The break is more than fifteen minutes ahead of the field. Hector Hugo Rangel and Fausto Marcelino Esparza (both from the Mexican team Tecos) have attacked the field and have a small gap.

14:40 EDT   
One more rider has joined the two chasers. Discovery Channel is still on the front of the peloton.

14:42 EDT   
Reader Robert Esplin thinks that Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) is the rider who can take the stage. He says Andrew is a "Great guy, and a great rider – just won the Ontario Provincial road championships a few weeks ago (on a brutal course), second in the Canadian Nationals this year; Canadian Champ in 2003, all around, just a great guy, and one of those few, if things had been a bit different, that would be a seasoned Euro-pro at this point: he can do it all, TT, Climb and sprint. Just some props from his friends in Toronto."

14:43 EDT   
Many of you think big George Hincapie is the natural choice. Reader john Wickstrom says "He can time trial with the best of them, especially in a short tour like this, where he isn't having to spend it all in the mountains to protect another leader. He is Disco's designated leader for a reason. So today plays perfectly for Georgie."

14:44 EDT   
The peloton has swept up the three breakaway riders and have sat back up.

The difference in average speed between the breakaway and the main peloton is three miles per hour (leaders are running 23 mph, the peloton 20 mph).

14:47 EDT   
John Lang of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has put together a solid piece of analysis while at work today - thanks John.

"My pick for the GC contender in the group is the obvious choice of Hincapie. Disco has been trying to get him SOME sort of recognition all year! As for the stage-win out of this group would be either of the Slipstream boys (Friedman or Frischkorn). Slipstream/Chipotle has been eager to get their name on some headlines and, of course, they're the only team in the group that has the advantage of a leadout rider for the final sprint."

14:48 EDT   
And finally, reader Alex Brochet reminds us not to overlook the Kodakgallery/Sierra Nevada rider in the break. "I think Hincapie has to be considered the favourite for the tour now, or at least for today's stage.
But I also like 2006 Canadian champion Dom Rollin. The 24 year old has been impressive in Ireland earlier this year and I can't wait to see how he will sprint against Hincapie and the others today. I have raced many times against him as a junior in Quebec so that's why I would like to see him win today!"

14:49 EDT    117km/85km to go
The DFL/Cyclingnews team is on the front of the peloton with six riders. The gap is 16:45.

15:01 EDT   
The dynamics of the stage so far are putting the break out of reach of the peloton. if it were a smaller group - maybe a solo rider or a group of a half-dozen riders - closing a 16-minute gap in 80 kilometers is doable by a motivated peloton. but with twelve riders of such quality and still not concerted effort to mount a chase, this peloton may have decided that this break contains today's stage winner.

Do too many teams have only stage-win ambitions for this race; see GC as an unattainable goal so they will not bother to chase down the leaders? or is the lack of chase due to the fact that the break is too strong and populated with riders these teams feel can be their GC leaders come tomorrow? That may be the mentality that opens the door for someone like Hincapie to essentially sew up GC after today.

15:05 EDT   
Reader Robert Kane makes a good argument against my theory that Frischkorn is the most likely Slipstream ride rto try a longer attack off this group. He says "I am not so sure. Friedman recently finished in the top 10 of the US TT championships, only one minute off Zabriskie’s winning time. And I think he finished second at the Elk Grove TT."

15:10 EDT    133km/69km to go
The break is entering Aldrich, Missouri (population 75). The new gap is 17 minutes. DFL/Cyclingnews is still pulling the peloton. If there is not an effort beyond that of the DFL/Cyclingnews team to mount an active chase, the race organizers actually have a case to exert pressure on the peloton to change their approach to the stage. They want to put on an exciting race and sometimes suffer at the hands of what seem like perfectly understandable and logical tactics and go go so far as to fine teams for not participating in the action.

15:14 EDT   
BMC teammate Scott Nydam says Jonathan Garcia is a sleeper in the break. "With all due respect to the big names in the break, look for Garcia to be riding on their coat tails to pull off a big stage win. He's been hungry for an opportunity all season. And coming off his race at the Good Luck Beijing Invitational, he knows how to throw blows against the heavy hitters."

15:23 EDT    144km/58km to go
The gap has now stabilized at 17 minutes. DFL/Cyclingnews is still the team putting all the effort in at the front of the main group. Word from the race caravan is that a mandatory manager's meeting may be called by race organizer's this evening after the race. Is there a call to action going out from the organizer's to the teams?

15:28 EDT   
The break is approaching 5 kilometers to the second sprint of the day. The gap is holding at 17 minutes still although the Tecos team has sent a couple of riders to the front of the peloton to help DFL/Cyclingnews keep the pace high.

15:32 EDT   
We are noticing quite a few cheers and notes from the side of the road for Brad Huff (Slipstream). Huff is from Missouri and brought Slipstream one of their earliest international wins when we won stage 1 of the 2006 Tour of Normandie.

15:35 EDT   
The leaders are one kilometer from the sprint line. Rollin is leading out the sprint.

15:36 EDT   
And he takes the sprint by a good twenty-meter gap. Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators)takes second. Stefan Parinussa takes third.

15:37 EDT   
The leaders are sticking together beyond the sprint and the cooperation appears to be collapsing just a bit; bringing their pace down.

15:43 EDT   
We just chatted with BMC rider Scott Nydam and have good news. He says that Dan Schmatz is okay. Scott says that Schmatz is actually with the team doctor right and not at the hospital as reported.

15:44 EDT   
The gap is down to 16:15 as the leaders realize they have the advantage in the stage and start to think more about preserving energy for a final play for the win than building time over the peloton.

15:49 EDT    163km/39km to go
The DFL/Cyclingnews is still controlling the front of the peloton. The gap is down to 15:55. The leaders are averaging 27 mph.

The race finishes on two circuits of approximately 3.5 kilometers each. The race organizers will likely be faced with a safety issue so that the peloton does not run into the break on the finishing circuit. We saw the same thing a couple of weeks ago at US Pro Road Race Championships where the break would have lapped the peloton on the finishing circuit and confused the final standings. In that case, the peloton was neutralized and left off the placings.

15:58 EDT    168km/34km to go
DFL/Cyclingnews and Tecos are still pulling the peloton along; at 32 miles per hour now! The break is still cooperating. We're waiting for the inevitable attacks out of the break to happen.

16:05 EDT    172km/30km to go
The break is 7-1/2 miles in front of the peloton. They are definitely going to make it to the circuits ahead of the peloton and may even be finished with both final laps before the peloton gets on the circuit.

Which takes away any strange scenarios where the organizers have to hold the peloton or score groups who are operating on completely different laps. And also means no stage win for Brad Huff today in front of his hometown crowd (he's from Springfield but stuck in the peloton).

16:09 EDT    177km/25km to go
The leaders are seeing the 25-kilometers to go sign now and are approximately seventeen kilometers from the finishing circuit. They are still all together and still trading turns at the front.

16:16 EDT    182km/20km to go
The gap has fallen to just under 15 minutes. The leaders are under the 20 kilometers to go banner and still sharing the workload.

16:20 EDT   
The pace is lifting in the break. The twelve riders are still sharing the pace but the speed has risen noticeably in the past few moments.

16:22 EDT    187km/15km to go
The DFL/Cyclingnews team is still on the front of the peloton.

16:24 EDT   
The main group is still ten kilometers behind the leaders. With approximately seven kilometers of finishing circuits to ride, it looks like the two groups will both run the full official course and not run into each other in the finale.

16:27 EDT    189km/13km to go
The increased pace in the lead group is starting to corrode the cooperation between the breakaway riders.

16:28 EDT   
There seems to be a nervousness in a coupe of rider's faces; like they are trying to decide if now is the time to make that suicide solo launch. Or expecting it to come from someone else at any moment.

16:28 EDT   
But again, cooler heads prevail and the group falls back into a paceline rhythm.

16:29 EDT   
Toyota-United has moved riders to the front of the peloton to help with the pacemaking.

16:31 EDT    192km/10km to go
The leaders will be crossing the start/finish line to start the first of the two finishing circuits in just a few moments. There is still no attack; the leaders must be working together to keep the gap open a safe enough distance to take the peloton out of the mix on the final circuits. The last thing these breakaway rider need after all this work is to miss out on a placing because they get tied up in lapped traffic.

16:34 EDT   
The riders are through the start/finish line and on the finishing circuits now.

16:35 EDT   
The gap is holding at 14:30.

16:37 EDT    196km/6km to go
Will Frischkorn (Slipstream) attacks. Hincapie jumps on. Rolling is on his wheel. And they sit up.

16:37 EDT    198km/4km to go
They have one kilometer until they enter the final lap.

16:38 EDT   
Friedman takes a shot.

16:38 EDT   
Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators) pulls him back and the leaders are all together agian.

16:39 EDT    199km/3km to go
They are on the final lap. Hincapie and Canada are playing cat and mouse, keeping themselves off the front and settling for marking attacks rather than making them. That's European experience for you.

16:40 EDT   
Two riders have a gap now; Hincapie and Domonique Rollin.

16:40 EDT   
The other riders bridge up and Frischkorn goes again. Man, the attacks are coming left and right!

16:40 EDT    200.5km/1.5km to go
Andrew Randall is off the front now.

16:41 EDT   
The Symmetrics rider is immediately marked and they are all together.

Can you say 'field sprint?'

16:41 EDT   
Canada is on the front and buckling down.

16:42 EDT    201km/1km to go
Canada has a ten meter gap but Frischkorn is chasing and has pulled everyone together.

16:42 EDT   
And Matthew Rice (Jelly Belly) takes a shot. He is immediately marked.

16:42 EDT   
The riders cluster together for a field sprint.

16:43 EDT   
Hincapie breaks off the front and takes the win out of the sprint!

16:43 EDT   
Unofficially, it's Hincpaie, Pipp and Rollin.

16:46 EDT   
We will stay with our live coverage while the peloton comes onto the finishing circuits.

16:56 EDT   
While we wait for the peloton to finsih their final lap, we can take a quick look ahead.

Tomorrow, the riders are challenged with 29-kilometer individual time trial in Branson, Missouri; a community that has become a country-music and Las Vegas-style show focused tourist attraction.

17:01 EDT   
And the peloton is in without incident. That wraps up our live coverage for today. Catch us tomorrow starting at 11am Central (US) time) for complete coverage of the time trial.

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