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Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report Stage 5
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 3/9/2006
Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report Stage 5

Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report
Stage 5, In which Kirk O'Bee takes a long break, then breaks through...
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 5, Lake Liyu Circuit Race
Yellow jersey, finally. After a long day in the breakaway, Kirk O'Bee took both the stage honors and the overall lead here at the Tour of Taiwan.

Kirk himself initiated the winning breakaway just 10km into the 140km stage. He jumped clear on his own and was quickly joined by a small group containing teammate Jeff Louder. With no response from the field, the breakaway gained an advantage of almost four minutes by the end of the first lap of six. Race leader Rob McLachlan was left isolated in the field as both of his teammates struggled simply to finish the stage with viral infections. That left no one to take responsibility for containing the breakaway and the gap continued to grow very quickly.

By the start of the third lap, with the gap to the breakaway approaching eight minutes, the Slovakian Merida team finally put three of their riders on the front. McLachlan himself, in a desperate attempt to regain control of the race, began rolling through on the front as well. However, by that point it was very clear that the breakaway was gone. It simply became a matter of which of those 11 riders would win and by how much.

With Health Net/Maxxis being the only team represented by more than one rider in the breakaway, our odds for a win were very good. Jeff worked especially hard to keep the break moving, prevent attacks and make Kirk's job easier.
The entire break showed remarkable cohesiveness with nearly all of the riders rolling together smoothly until the beginning of the gradual uphill at 5km to go on the last lap. Kirk waited until the biggest threat in the bunch, Stephen Gallagher of Giant Asia, had just finished a turn on the front, then attacked. Gallagher attempted to respond, but could only watch as Kirk soloed in for the first win of the tour for Health Net Presented by Maxxis. The time he gained over the rest of the field also moved Jeff into fifth, with Garrett Peltonen falling back a few spots to 6th. It also gave Health Net a very solid lead on the Team GC.

With two stages remaining, this race is by no means over. Tomorrow's 110km stage culminates with an 18km, 800 meter mountain top finish. Gallagher, the current KOM leader, trails by about 50 seconds and will obviously be our primary threat. But if there's one thing this team is accustomed to, it's defending a race lead. We're all very capable of the task.

Results Stage 5
1 Kirk O'Bee (Health Net/Maxxis) 3:05:25
2 Kazuyuki Manabe (Japan) :10
3 Roman Bronis (Svk-Duk) :13

4 Budi Santoso (Ina-Psn)
5 Matnur (Ina-Wit)

General Classification:
1 Kirk O'Bee    (Health Net/Maxxis) 14.52.20
2 Stephen Gallagher (Giant Asia)     0.39
=========== 4:42 ==========
3 Robert McLachlan (Aus-Dpc)        4.42
4 Kai Tsun Lam    (HKg-Pur)                4.49   
5 Jeff Louder        (Health Net/Maxxis)  4.49
6 Garrett Peltonen (Health Net/Maxxis)  5.25
============ 6:05 ==========
7 David McCann   (Giant Asia)              6.05
8 Kazuya Okazaki  (Japan Elite 2)          6.27
9 Maros Kovac (Svk-Duk)                     6.28
10 Michael Schweizer (Germany Elite 2)  6.30


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