BMC's Louder wins Redlands
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Monday, March 30, 2009

BMC's Louder wins Redlands

by VeloNation Press at 7:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Press Release
Finishing the weekend with his biggest win since taking the overall at the 2008 Tour of Utah, BMC's Jeff Louder unequivocally proclaimed the victory as being impossible without the team support he enjoyed throughout the weekend. The Sunset Road Race has thrown a spanner into the plans of many teams in the past.

As one of the most difficult road race circuits on the US calendar, only the very strongest teams can hope to defend a lead the entire 146 kilometers. Colavita Sutter Home's Kyle Wamsley took the stage win Sunday, but the BMC squad protected the overall lead to perfection, notching up one more prestegious stage win for the American-Swiss team.

Consolidated Team effort

"Obviously the outcome today was successful and we are very pleased," General Manager Gavin Chilcott related. "There was no wasted effort but a full commitment to the cause from everyone of the riders with everyone living 100% up to his potential." Though the team felt very confident and had proved throughout the race that they were meticulously prepared to execute the game plans, the Sunset Loop has acted as the bête noir for many teams in the past. "We had such a small time advantage that everyone felt that they had a chance to take the lead," overall victor Jeff Louder said. "All the teams had been looking for chinks in the armor though, and when they don't really find any, that can be very demoralizing for their cause." With some of the strongest riders in America within shouting distance of the lead, the BMC team had their hands full covering all attacks. "OUCH obviously had a pretty serious plan coming into the race, and certainly had the riders to try and execute it,"
Louder explained. "In addition, Stetina, Baldwin and Day all put in multiple strong attacks, but our guys kept fighting back."

Outstanding individual performances for the team

"All 8 members made significant contributions to the overall victory," Chilcott said. "Brent Bookwalter and Jackson Stewart really deserve a special mention though because they both fought back beyond all reasonable expectations." Late in the race, after the field had been considerably whittled down, Jackson Stewart drove the front of the peloton for several laps, working a tempo few could exceed. "It really seemed like Jackson and Brent had nine lives today; Jackson rode tempo for about three laps entirely by himself," Louder explained. "And Brent had been pushing the group on the second to last climb, but was still able to come back and help me when I was hurting at the top of the final climb while Rory Sutherland was still hanging off the front of the group." Louder continued: "I couldn't believe it that Brent had come back after all the work he had already done; I am really thankful to him and everyone else on the team for all the hard work." Chilcott also recognized Bookwalter's prominent contribution. "Brent kept coming back even after he could have been written off with honour," Chilcott described. "But he never gave up and that proves just how big of a future he has in this sport."

Encouraging result within a larger context

"You can't get a group to rally like our guys did without having at least one deal closer on the team," Chilcott said. "Today, Jeff filled that role perfectly." The humble Louder was quick to point out that flawless riding by the team formed the backbone of his success. "I am so honoured to see how these guys have ridden for me," Louder said. "It is such a pleasure and an honour to be racing with a team as good as ours." Redlands has a deep, rich history in American cycling, as even a cursory glance over the past winners will reveal. For a team that aims to be racing in European Grand Tours within a few years, this race acts as a confirmation of the team's abilities. "This is certainly a great result for the team," Chilcott reasoned. "But in the bigger context it acts as a stepping stone to our larger goals." The pressure of defending the lead in a race as hotly contested as Redlands can only help to teach the riders how to handle the pressures. "The lessons we learn and the added pressure we deal with in a situation like this helps us uncover and address any weak points," Chilcott said. "We deal with them quickly and our improvements will yield returns not only for this weekend, but for all races in the future."

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