September 19, 2007
Well I have just come back from the great Tour of Missouri. It was my first time in the States and I wasn't disappointed. Everything is fast food outlets and Super-Size servings!
Arriving a couple of days early in Kansas City gave us time to look around and adjust to the new time zone. Rhys and I where room buddies for the Tour, and between us, many trips to the BP station for coffee, beef jerky and more coffee were made. Ask for a small coffee and you get 500ml, the fridge in our hotels were stocked with 500ml cans of energy drink and 1lt cans of Fosters, only in America! Most of the time we where just wandering around looking at all the crazy stuff you could buy.
We were lucky enough to be staying close to a Harley-Davidson factory which had a huge open day for the public. So the DFL boys rode through there in our lycra while all the bikers with their tattoos and leather jackets looked on in shock, you had to be there! While we were there we picked up some Harley-Davidson beef jerky, very good.
The Tour started out badly for us, Roudy our GC rider, had an unlucky first day with 3 flats, so Rhys, Worm and I dropped out of the pack to help him limit his time losses, but on the 2nd stage we missed the break and lost all GC chances! A sad day!
Roudy luck eventually turned around and on the fast time trial stage, he placed 3rd. A really good effort on a very tough course and up against some big hitters!
Roudy's 3rd place fired the team up and from then on we were in all the moves over the next stages, we even had a crack at the sprint finishes! Stage 5 was another good day for DFL's silent assassin, Roudy, when he placed 6th.
For me the tour was OK, I had a few hard days on the bike but tried to help the boys for the sprints as much as possible!
The Missouri locals came out in force to support us and they where all so nice. We stayed in some great hotels and rode through some really nice parts of Missouri. The supporters would set up on the climbs and along the course, yelling, "Thank you! You can do it! Go faster!" People where just thanking us when we walked down the street before and after the race, when they where the ones being nice and accommodating us! I will definitely be going back next year!
The last stage was a fast circuit right through the middle of St Louis. Dag was the man in the break for DFL, but it wasn't to be and four of them got caught with 5km to go. We set it up for our sprinter, Skruf, but a very bad crash 100m from the line stuffed our chances.
The whole team had a pretty good time at the Tour and performed well after a few bad days.
After the final stage, Tour organizer put on an after party for us, so we all put our best kit on and attended the party. It was great to have a few beers with the boys and catch up with some other Aussie riders.
I came home with a couple of new T-shirts and an NFL jersey. It was one of the best tours this year for me, great racing, friendly people and good sunny conditions.
Now back in Belgium we are faced with grey sky and drizzle! You gotta love it!! We have more one day races over the next weeks before flying home for the Sun Tour on the 9th!