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VeloNews brings you the highlights of the 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix bike race.
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Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage 5 Highlights
Jeff Roake: I am Jeff Roake at the finish line of the Mankato road race stage number five of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. It is the queen stage, 91.8 miles. This was a race that was covered by both men and women. In the men’s race there was an interesting breakaway. There are 11 riders in that breakaway, but none of them really had a shot to overtake our top two riders in the men’s side.
We have Tom Zirbel of the Bissell Squad, and we have Rory Sutherland of OUCH Maxxis. Those two guys have their teammates keep control of the men’s stage, and so the 11 men breakaway came down to five, and then it came down to three, and Andy Crater of a small regional team was the one that took the stage, but he was well back in the standing to select the three and it’s time bonus as well did not get him close threatening the two men.
Andrew Crater: Until I stop. This is just awesome. This is my main goal for the whole season up until this point was. Mankato stage, I’ve been telling everyone like, “Wait to Mankato man, wait until Mankato. I’m going to go out there and just going to reap this. So, glad I was a talking too much crowd.
Jeff Roake: And so, in tomorrows very difficult, Chilkoot Hill, Stillwater Criterium. We will have Bissell in Tom Zirbel. We will have OUCH Maxxis led by Rory Sutherland and along with his teammates Floyd Landis. That should be the big battle that should determine the overall, Bissell by seven seconds over Rory Sutherland of the OUCH Maxxis team. The stage is set for a showdown.
Tom Zirbel: We’re going to be reacting to other contenders and it’s going to be tough. Those guys want to win and they’re very strong. So, I’m happy to be in the Jersey one more day, but I know it’s long from finished.
Jeff Roake: On the women’s side, they got much more interesting. There was the six women breakaway and three of the women in the breakaway were less than two and a half minutes behind Kristin Armstrong of the Cervelo TestTeam and when it came right down to it, we had Webcor select this road win the stage, take over the climber’s Jersey and move from two and a half minutes behind Kristin Armstrong, and she is now within about 12 seconds.
Alexis Rhodes: It is pretty much one of those causes’ ways if you are on the front you can drive it, and it’s hard to sit on. Yeah, because all in all I just manage to get away.
Jeff Roake: It’s fast trolling stage for the women, Kristin Armstrong dug deep on the final two circuits here at Mankato and she preserved her race leader’s jersey. So hats off for a woman who rides for their Cervelo TestTeam but has no team members here with her. So she is number one three times, defending champion and everyone saying she loves Chilkoot Hill. She loves tomorrow’s Criterium. The women don’t have 20 lefts. They have 13, whatever one’s saying if Kristin could hang on and do it today, she’s got it. We’ll see tomorrow, the final stage, Stillwater, stage six at Chilkoot Hill. They call it a Criterium. Make sure you are there. It is something out.