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Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report Stage 6
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 3/10/2006
Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report Stage 6
 

Tour of Taiwan Health Net Report Stage 6
in which the "sprinter" puts time into the climber on a hilltop finish.

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.
By Doug Ollerenshaw

Stage 6: Yilan to Yangmingshan Hsiaoyukeng Road Race 110km
After an impressive display of climbing form in today's mountaintop finish, Kirk O'Bee managed not only to defend his yellow jersey, but to actually put more time into his closest rival.

With only one rider within a minute of Kirk's GC lead at the start of the day, defending the jersey was a fairly straightforward proposition, but that didn't mean it would be easy. The one rider we needed to watch was Stephen Gallagher of Giant Asia. But, with Gallagher being the King of the Mountain leader and the stage finishing atop an 18km climb, we certainly had reason to be a bit nervous.

Our plan was very simple: let a small, non-threatening breakaway go clear early on, use as little power as possible to hold it within a few minutes by the base of the climb, then do everything possible to guide Kirk to the top without letting Gallagher gain too much time. We also planned to try and preserve Jeff Louder's and Garrett Peltonen's respective 5th and 6th positions by allowing them to do little to no work until the climb began. That meant the majority of the tempo duties leading into the climb would fall to me and Roman Kilun.

The plan worked nearly to perfection. After weathering an initial flurry of attacks from the start, the group called a brief truce due to a dog causing a small crash midfield. As soon as word came through that everyone was alright, a Japanese rider jumped away solo. A Merida rider then set off in pursuit with a second Japanese rider on his wheel. At the front of the field, we simply upped the pace enough to discourage any further attacks, but stayed slow enough to allow the three breakaway riders to begin gaining time.

A little bad luck then entered into the equation as Garrett, one of our protected riders for the stage, began to succumb to the same stomach bug that had swept through the Australian team and had just yesterday hit our soigneur, Kim. Unsure of how long he would last on the stage and not wanting to leave Kirk with just one remaining teammate for the final climb, we decided to put Garrett on the front along with Roman and save me for later.

As expected, the base of the final climb is where things began to get interesting. Giant Asia did a full lead out up the first steep pitch to try to spring Gallagher away from the group and disrupt our rotation at the front. But the team only succeeded in putting Gallagher himself in difficulty. After realizing their error, Giant Asia pulled their riders from the front and Jeff and I began setting tempo for Kirk. Amazingly, after spending the day alternately riding on the front and vomiting on the side of the road, Garrett was able to claw his way back to the lead group and take some more pulls on the front. It was a very admirable ride on his part.

Kirk himself was never in the slightest bit of difficulty as the lead group began to shrink to an elite group of 15 or so riders. In fact, he actually had enough left to put in an attack inside of two kilometers, which managed to dislodge Gallagher from the bunch. The breakaway was swallowed up partway up the climb, though another Japanese rider did manage to get clear with a Drapac/Porsche rider. The two of them fought out the stage, with the Japanese National Team rider coming out on top. Kirk came across the line in fourth and thereby increased his lead on the GC. With only a flat, four corner criterium in Taipei remaining tomorrow, the chances for other teams to take back time are basically behind us now. That will leave us with the freedom to ride aggressively and look for one more stage win to top off an already great Tour of Taiwan for Health Net Presented by Maxxis.

Stage 6 Results:
Yilan to Yangmingshan Hsiaoyukeng Road Race

1 Kirk O'Bee (HealthNet/Maxxis) 3.05.25
2 Kazuyuki Manabe (Japan)  :10
3 Roman Bronis (Svk-Duk)    :13

4 Budi Santoso (Ina-Psn)  :13
5 Matnur (Ina-Wit)  :13

General Classification:
1 Kirk O'Bee (HealthNet/Maxxis)14.52.20
2 Stephen Gallagher (Giant Asia) 0.39
3 Robert McLachlan (Aus-Drapac/Porsche) 4.42

4 Kai Tsun Lam (HKg-Pur) 4.49
5 Jeff Louder (HealthNet/Maxxis) 4.49
6 Garrett Peltonen (HealthNet/Maxxis) 5.25
7 David McCann (Giant Asia) 6.05
8 Kazuya Okazaki (Japan Elite 2) 6.27
9 Maros Kovac (Svk-Duk) 6.28
19 Michael Schweizer (Germany Elite 2)  6.30

For additional information regarding the Team, please visit www.teamhealthnet.com

 
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