Oakley Athletes Take 4 out of 7 Stages at Tour of Missouri


Oakley athletes take 4 out of 7 stages last week at the Tour of Missouri.

Oakley’s Mark Cavendish proved he’s all business as he outkicked his sprint rivals in the closing metres to claim stage one honours. Despite having his Columbia-HTC team controlling the peloton throughout the afternoon, it took a bit of improvisation approaching the finish for Cavendish to earn his 22nd victory of 2009.

“George [Hincapie] hit a pothole with about 200 metres to go and he was obviously in pain immediately,” said Cavendish. "I told him to ease off and I jumped on Thor’s wheel as he got a lead-out from his team-mates. I got on Thor’s wheel and it was just a case of coming off his wheel and coming around him as close to the line as I could to save energy. It was an uphill, headwind finish and I think that plays to my advantage, to get the jump.

“It’s great around here and there is so much support for me and my team that makes it special to be here,” he added. “There’s nothing more depressing than going to a race with dead roads and a dead finish. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, all the people down the finish straight were tremendous.”

In Stage 2, despite a stage with a patch of flat terrain, spectators gathered in the Mississippi River town were treated to another display of field sprinting prowess from Cavendish.

Today’s terrain struck a familiar chord with Cavendish, who felt like he was back in the Tour de France. “It was hard terrain that resembled central eastern France and the roads we rode on in the transitional stages of the Tour,” he said. “Obviously the speeds weren’t so high, like at Tour, but riding slower made it harder because you were kind of laboring up each climb. The climbs aren’t short enough that you roll up them and they aren’t long enough that you suffer up, you stop and start and stop and start. That takes a lot more energy. It was tough terrain that becomes quite grippy over 180 kilometres.”

Oakley’s Thor Hushovd gets the better of Cavendish is stage 3 and takes the win in the city of Rolla. Third on Monday and second on Tuesday, Hushovd could taste victory on both of the prior stages, yet each day Columbia-HTC’s Mark Cavendish stole his thunder and leapt around the Norwegian in the closing metres. Not today, as Hushovd claimed his first career Tour of Missouri stage win.

In the Tour of Missouri’s fourth consecutive bunch sprint, Oakley’s Juan Jose (JJ) Haedo pounced on the steeply pitched “Capital Wall”, adjacent to Jefferson City’s majestic Capitol Building, to out-power the mighty Hushovd for that tantalizingly elusive victory.

Without the feared finishing kick of Cavendish to worry about this stage, race leader Hushovd’s Cervélo TestTeam reverted to a classic lead-out over the second of two 4.8-kilometre finishing circuits, only to have it derailed slightly by a crash. Haedo was also affected by the incident, forced to fight his way back to the head of affairs to contest for stage honours.

“There was a crash with three kilometres to go,” said Haedo. “I sat back in the group because I got caught behind the crash. With one kilometre to go I got back around and I was about five or six guys behind Thor so I had to start my sprint from farther back. I didn’t want to wait like I did yesterday and miss out. I preferred to be passed or not maybe because I wasn’t strong enough. I ended up being good enough for a win today.”


Erin Edwards


September 16, 2009