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Health Net Tour of Taiwan Report
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 3/7/2006
Health Net Tour of Taiwan Report

Health Net Tour of Taiwan Report
Notes from Stage 3 from Doug Ollerenshaw of the race action in the Taitung County Road Race.
Stage 3, in which everyone shows a lack of control and we show an abundance of second places.
Doug Ollerenshaw, Garrett Peltonen, Roman Kilun, Jeff Louder, Kirk O'Bee, soigneur Kim Budde and assistant DS Gustavo Carrillo, are currently racing the 7-day Tour of Taiwan. Doug O is sending dispatches from the other side of the Big Pond.

Stage 3, Taitung County Road Race
Todayís stage was the longest of the tour at 220km, and unlike most races of that length, it was hard from start to finish. We actually covered the distance in just over five-and-a-half hours, which is quite fast. The speed and difficulty can be attributed to a single cause, five-man teams. Nobody had the manpower to control anything and every team wanted a guy in the break, so it was attacks all day long.

The course today was a loop starting and finishing at the Taitung County Hall. The first 30km were gradually uphill as we traveled to the north into the hills bordering the coast. The attacks started from the moment the flag was dropped, but nothing got far. It wasnít until almost 80km into the stage that a group finally went clear, but it was not good for us. Roman initiated the move, but it quickly grew too large and we didnít manage to get anyone else in it. Roman began sitting on the break as Jeff and I worked for the next 20 or so kilometers to try to bring it back. The plan was to get it close before the second and final KOM of the day, and then for Garrett and Kirk to try to jump across before the summit. Things didnít quite go as planned though, and the majority of the field ended up summiting the KOM together.

At that point, things started getting very chaotic. The descent from the KOM was on twisty, single-lane roads with patches of mud and metal plates from construction. On top of that, there were some very difficult climbs immediately after the KOM that we didnít expect. The field broke apart and came back together a number of times before a Japanese National Team rider finally ended up slipping off on his own. Roman took off on a solo pursuit on the final downhill, and was soon thereafter joined by a Dutch rider. The three of them established a gap of a little over a minute as we left the mountains and began heading back to the south along the coast.

The final 100km along the coast toward Taitung were mostly flat with a tailwind, but that didnít mean things got any easier. There were constant attacks as guys tried bridging across to Romanís group, and Kirk, Jeff, Garrett, and I had our hands full trying to cover them all. A couple strong attacks from Rob McLachlan, winner of the previous two stages, and David McCann of the Giant Asia team, began breaking things up significantly. Jeff was the first to cover and Kirk bridged across a couple minutes later. Garrett then used a small roller as a springboard for his own attack to complete a group of 20 or so at the front of the race. That group quickly caught Romanís breakaway and proved to be the decisive move of the day. All of the work Roman had done began taking its toll, and he drifted back to the second group on the road a short time later.

McLachlan and McCann continued attacking the front group until the two of them went clear with Garrett in tow. McCann fell slightly off the pace about 10km from the line, leaving Garrett and yellow jersey McLachlan alone at the front. The two of them stayed together to the line, with McLachlan bettering Garrett in the sprint to take his third consecutive stage win. Kirk came in a minute or so later with a group of seven and Jeff followed a couple minutes after that. The effort was good enough to move us into the lead on team GC, and Garrett now trails McLachlan by 40 seconds on the individual classification.

Due to some licensing issues with the UCI, the Australian Porsche team lost two of their five riders prior to the start of todayís stage. Even so, overcoming the lead that McLachlan has built up looks to be an increasingly difficult task. But we didnít come all this way to race for second place, so weíll keep fighting until the finish next Sunday in Taipei.

Stage 3 Result:
1 Robert McLachlan (Aus-Dpc) 5.19.02
2 Garrett Peltonen (Usa-HealthNet) 0.03
3 David McCann (Ireland-Giant Asia) 0.41
4 Michael Schweizer (Germany)1.08
5 Kirk O'Bee (Usa-HealthNet) 1.11

G.C. After Stage 3:
1 Robert McLachlan (Aus-Dpc)  7.48.42
2 Garrett Peltonen (Usa-HealthNet)  0.43
3 David McCann (Ireland-Giant Asia)  1.23
4 Kirk O'Bee (Usa-HealthNet)  1.44
5 Maros Kovac (Svk-Duk)  1.46

Result Stage 2:
Robert McLachlan (Aus-Dpc) 1.02.57
Kirk O'Bee (Usa-HealthNet)
Maros Kovac (Svk-Duk)
Makoto Iijima (Japan)
Michael Schweizer (Germany)

Stage 1 Result*:
Robert McLachlan (Aus-Dpc)1.27.07
Kirk O'Bee (Usa-HealthNet)  0.15
Hwa Chien Hung-Hsu (Tpe)  0.18
Lex Nederlof (Nederlands)  0.18
Tjarco Cuppens (Nederlands)  0.19
*after time bonuses.

Photo contributed by a www.dailypeloton Reader Paul of Health Nets's "So Pro" Jones from the McLane Pacific Downtown Criterium half the world away while Doug O and the team race in the Tour of Taiwan.

Tour of Taiwan
Stage 1: Criterium Kaohsiung = 66 km
Stage 2: Criterium Chenqing Lake = 49,6 km
Stage 3: TaiDong-East Coast-Taidong = 220,2 km
Stage 4: Taidong- Liyu Lake = 156 km
Stage 5: Criterium Liyu Lake = 64 km
Stage 6: Yilang-Yangming Mountain National Park = 110,3 km
Stage 7: Criterium Municipal Government - Taipei = 60 km

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