By Mark Zalewski in Rolla, Missouri
More crashes rippled through the peloton of the Tour of Missouri in stage four, sending at least two riders to hospital and giving many more road rash. Team Columbia was dealt a blow in their bid to retake the yellow jersey when they lost two riders mid-stage, Craig Lewis and John Devine, with Devine breaking his collarbone.
The two Americans were involved in a crash at the top of a hill that sent many riders to the ground. "I saw [Lewis] hit a chunk of metal in the road," said BMC's Jeff Louder. "He flatted and a bunch of guys slammed into him. Its been a nervous race the entire time here!"
Team Columbia's Michael Barry took the solo win on the stage, which was marked by relentless attacks. A second crash split the field, with most of the GC favourites, including leader Christian Vande Velde, Columbia's Michael Rogers and George Hincapie and Symmetrics' Svein Tuft made the front group. Barry escaped that group with three other riders, and then attacked to ride solo to the finish.
Though the weather has stayed dry, save for a few kilometres on stage one, the forecast is not looking good. Rain started to fall immediately after the stage and is predicted for the rest of the race, which ends Sunday in St. Louis.