Cavendish sprints to win in Missouri opener

British rider also wins motorcycle

 The Labor Day holiday may be a day of leisure and a portent of an end to summer fun for the masses gathered in downtown St. Louis, but Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) proved he's all business as he outkicked his sprint rivals in the closing metres to claim stage one honours. Despite having his Columbia-HTC team controlling the peloton throughout the afternoon, it took a bit of improvisation approaching the finish for Cavendish to earn his 22nd victory of 2009.

Cavendish won in sight of the iconic Gateway Arch ahead of Juan Jose Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) and Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam).

"George [Hincapie] hit a pothole with about 200 metres to go and he was obviously in pain immediately," said Cavendish. "I told him to ease off and I jumped on Thor's wheel as he got a lead-out from his team-mates. I got on Thor's wheel and it was just a case of coming off his wheel and coming around him as close to the line as I could to save energy. It was an uphill, headwind finish and I think that plays to my advantage, to get the jump.

"It's great around here and there is so much support for me and my team that makes it special to be here,” he added. “There’s nothing more depressing than going to a race with dead roads and a dead finish. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, all the people down the finish straight were tremendous."

Runner-up Haedo took the sometimes challenging road surface in his stride, although his final kilometres were a punishing affair for other reasons as he sought the most coveted wheel in the peloton.

"I followed Cavendish today in the sprint probably from two kilometres to go," said Haedo. "The other guys tried to kill me pretty much to get that wheel. I felt like I was in an Argentinean sandwich, I had one guy on the right and one guy on the left. I managed to be in one piece but for me, I'm pretty happy.

"I don't have too much support because most of my team is general classification guys so I have to go on my own,” he added. “I don't have a lead-out like these guys [Cavendish and Hushovd - Ed] and not to many options to play so I got on Cavendish's wheel."

Someone with options to play was Norway's Thor Hushovd whose final lead-out rider brought him around Cavendish with 300 metres remaining on the wide-open, slightly uphill finishing straight. Hushovd, though, also came to grief with a manhole cover in the final kilometre which made for a less than ideal sprint finish.

"It was a 70 km/h sprint. It wasn't too dangerous except for the holes in the road," said Hushovd. "I broke my [front] wheel with one kilometre to go but I sprinted anyway. With that much speed and my weight it is dangerous, but what can you do. In a sprint you don't slow down because there are 20 other guys who want to knock you down.

"Today Columbia controlled the race and Cervelo TestTeam overtook them in the last 300 metres, so I was really happy with my guys today,” he added. “I had Brett Lancaster as my last lead-out so that was perfect. He pulled all the way through the last corner and to 60 meters to go. I started my sprint but JJ and Cav passed me."

The first rider to cross the finish line in St. Louis had a special prize awaiting - a Buell 1125R motorcycle, valued at USD $15,000. Cavendish was well aware of the victor's award.

"I could see that white moto at the finish line and it was dangling like a carrot in front of me," said Cavendish.

When asked how the team will split the moto prize, Cavendish was quick to respond. "F*** 'em," he said with a laugh. "No, I don't know. I'm sure there's a way. We all celebrate our successes together and that includes prizes. As a professional bike rider that's usually prize money and obviously with a prize like this we will figure out a way to do it fairly."

Five riders crashed within the final kilometre at the latter portion of the peloton, including defending champion Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), Heinrich Haussler and Andreas Klier (Cervelo TestTeam) plus Tom Zirbel and Peter Latham (Bissell Pro Cycling). All of the riders were given the same finishing time as stage winner Cavendish.

Gateway City kicks off third Tour of Missouri

The rains blanketing St. Louis in the days approaching the Tour of Missouri's opening stage were long gone on Monday, and the 118-rider strong field rolled off the downtown start line facing 10 laps of a 7.5-mile (12.1km) circuit. Perhaps soaking in the early lap scenery of St. Louis' majestic Gateway Arch and the aroma of hops wafting from the Anheuser-Busch brewery 4.1 kilometres into the downtown circuit, the peloton rolled along at a moderate 35 km/h.

Having completed the first pass of the famed brewery, two riders - Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly Cycling Team) - fired the opening salvo of the Tour of Missouri and quickly gained 10 seconds on the field. The American duo remained off the front, but within sight, of the peloton after the first circuit.

Bradley White (OUCH Presented By Maxxis) jumped away from the peloton and attempted to reach the two escapees as he crossed the Market Street start/finish line. White's attempt proved unsuccessful, but two others counterattacked when White was brought back, Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo TestTeam). Cataldo and Hunt joined Pipp and Powers to form a leading four, but their stint together proved short-lived as they were all absorbed by the field on the circuit's longest straight, the 3.9-kilometre section of Broadway between the loop's second and third turns.

The next act of aggression would prove to be the day's decisive break as Tomas Vaitkus (Astana), Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank), and Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) escaped the peloton mid-way through the second lap. The leading trio scooped up all of the bonus seconds at the conclusion of lap two, the first of three intermediate sprints, as Vaitkus led Aldape Chavez and Anker Sorensen across the line. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) would try to make the leading trio a quartet, but the Canadian's effort soon came to naught as he was brought back into the peloton.

In addition to three intermediate sprints during the stage at the end of laps two, five and eight, the riders had two opportunities to earn mountain classification points on Russell Boulevard's gradual ascent, 6.9 kilometres into laps four and seven. Anker Sorensen led Aldape Chavez and Vaitkus across the KOM line on lap four as the trio's lead stabilized at one minute over a Columbia-HTC led peloton.

The break's advantage ever so gradually decreased over the following four laps until the trio found itself only 15 seconds in front of a fast-moving peloton paced by Columbia-HTC. While the break was kept in check by Cavendish's teammates, the juncture to the escapees was not made before Aldape Chavez won the second and third intermediate sprints and Anker Sorensen captured the second KOM sprint.

The trio's seven-lap escape came to a close on lap nine as the teams of the sprinters - Columbia-HTC and Cervelo TestTeam - upped the tempo in anticipation of delivering their respective fast finishers to the line in a field sprint. Several riders were not content to let the sprinters get an armchair ride to the finish as first Matthew Crane (Jelly Belly) made a solo attack on the penultimate lap and Bradley White (OUCH Presented By Maxxis) and Shawn Milne (Team Type 1) sought stage glory on the final lap, but each break was soon neutralized after gaining no more than 10 seconds.

With five kilometres remaining on the final lap White and Milne were brought back by a Columbia-HTC driven peloton, who despite a hiccup in the final 300 metres delivered Cavendish to his 22nd win of 2009.

Musical jerseys

The 10-second bonus earned by Cavendish for the stage victory put him in the race lead, and the Briton also found himself at the top of the sprint classification and the young rider classification.

Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank) would claim the Tour of Missouri's first mountains classification jersey for his efforts off the front, while Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) would be unsure of what jersey he'd wear on Tuesday's second stage. The Mexican Team Type 1 rider won the most aggressive rider jersey and finished second in the sprinter's green jersey competition to Cavendish. Cavendish, however, has to wear the leader's yellow jersey on Tuesday's second stage.

"The break was good for my team because it would have been difficult to win in the sprint against a rider like Cavendish," said Aldape Chavez. "Sorensen won the first KOM. Thomas went for the sprint with me and he won. But I believe won the next two sprints. I'm not sure what jersey I'm supposed to wear tomorrow, the most aggressive or the green. Either way, having or wearing a jersey is really good for my team."

Aldape Chavez will wear the green sprinter's jersey on Tuesday, while his most aggressive rider's jersey will be worn by breakaway companion Tomas Vaitkus on tomorrow's 180.9km second stage from Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia-HTC2:43:56 
2J.J. Haedo AGR Team Saxo Bank  
3Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam  
4Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas  
5Martin Gilbert (Can) Planet Energy  
6Sebastian Haedo Lucas (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
7Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team  
8Alex Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
9John Murphy (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
10Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
11Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quick Step  
12Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
13Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
14Karl Menzies (Aus) OUCH-Maxxis  
15Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step  
16Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1  
17Frederique Robert (Bel) Quick Step  
18Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
19Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana  
20Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas  
21Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
22Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
23Neil Shirley (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
24Dominique Cornu (Bel) Quick Step  
25Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam  
26Guillaume Boivin (Can) Planet Energy  
27Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana  
28Danny Pate (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
29Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
30Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
31George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia-HTC  
32Kevin Lacombe (Can) Planet Energy  
33Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
34Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step  
35Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia-HTC  
36David Veilleux (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
37Jason Donald (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
38Bradley White (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
39Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
40Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
41Jason Mccartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank  
42Michael Barry (Can) Team Columbia-HTC  
43Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas  
44Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
45Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana  
46Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1  
47Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
48Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
49Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
50Ryan Roth (Can) Planet Energy  
51Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
52Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quick Step  
53Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team  
54Edward King (USA) Cervélo TestTeam  
55Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam  
56Ryan Anderson (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
57Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia-HTC  
58Rory Sutherland (Aus) OUCH-Maxxis  
59Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
60Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
61Michael Creed (USA) Team Type 1  
62Floyd Landis (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
63Walle Jurgen Van De (Bel) Quick Step  
64David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
65William Frischkorn (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
66Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana  
67Darren Lill (RSA) Team Type 1  
68Anker Sorensen Chris (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
69Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia-HTC  
70Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
71Reid Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
72Bradley Huff Charles (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
73Francois Parisien (Can) Planet Energy  
74Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana  
75Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team  
76Andrew Randell (Can) Planet Energy  
77Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
78Bruno Langlois (Can) Planet Energy  
79Christopher Baldwin (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
80Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step  
81Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
82Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling  
83Will Routley (Can) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
84Andrew Guptill (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
85Andrew Bajadali (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
86Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas  
87Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia-HTC  
88Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
89Andrew Pinfold (Can) OUCH-Maxxis  
90Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia-HTC  
91Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
92Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas  
93Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
94Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
95Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
96Anibal Borrajo (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
97Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana  
98Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas  
99Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
100Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana  
101Kyle Wamsley (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
102Joaquin Novoa Menedez (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam  
103Christopher Jones (USA) Team Type 1  
104Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:00:29 
105Charly Vives (Can) Planet Energy  
106Omer Kem (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:37 
107Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:39 
108Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light0:00:44 
109Moises Aldape Chavez (Mex) Team Type 1  
110Timothy Johnson (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
111Shawn Milne (USA) Team Type 1  
112Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1  
113Cody O'reilly (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
114Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
115Peter Latham (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling  
116Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam  
117Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam  
118Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
General Classification after Stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia-HTC2:43:46 
2Moises Aldape Chavez (Mex) Team Type 10:00:02 
3J.J. Haedo AGR Team Saxo Bank0:00:04 
4Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana  
5Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:06 
6Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
7Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas0:00:10 
8Martin Gilbert (Can) Planet Energy  
9Sebastian Haedo Lucas (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
10Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team  
11Alex Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
12John Murphy (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
13Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
14Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quick Step  
15Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
16Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
17Karl Menzies (Aus) OUCH-Maxxis  
18Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step  
19Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1  
20Frederique Robert (Bel) Quick Step  
21Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
22Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana  
23Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas  
24Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
25Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
26Neil Shirley (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
27Dominique Cornu (Bel) Quick Step  
28Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam  
29Guillaume Boivin (Can) Planet Energy  
30Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana  
31Danny Pate (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
32Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
33Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
34George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia-HTC  
35Kevin Lacombe (Can) Planet Energy  
36Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
37Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step  
38Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia-HTC  
39David Veilleux (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
40Jason Donald (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
41Bradley White (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
42Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
43Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
44Jason Mccartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank  
45Michael Barry (Can) Team Columbia-HTC  
46Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas  
47Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
48Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana  
49Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1  
50Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
51Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
52Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
53Ryan Roth (Can) Planet Energy  
54Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
55Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quick Step  
56Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team  
57Edward King (USA) Cervélo TestTeam  
58Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam  
59Ryan Anderson (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
60Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia-HTC  
61Rory Sutherland (Aus) OUCH-Maxxis  
62Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
63Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
64Michael Creed (USA) Team Type 1  
65Floyd Landis (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
66Walle Jurgen Van De (Bel) Quick Step  
67David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
68William Frischkorn (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
69Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana  
70Darren Lill (RSA) Team Type 1  
71Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia-HTC  
72Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
73Reid Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
74Bradley Huff Charles (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
75Francois Parisien (Can) Planet Energy  
76Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana  
77Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team  
78Andrew Randell (Can) Planet Energy  
79Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
80Bruno Langlois (Can) Planet Energy  
81Christopher Baldwin (USA) OUCH-Maxxis  
82Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step  
83Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
84Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling  
85Will Routley (Can) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
86Andrew Guptill (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
87Andrew Bajadali (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies  
88Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas  
89Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia-HTC  
90Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
91Andrew Pinfold (Can) OUCH-Maxxis  
92Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia-HTC  
93Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
94Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas  
95Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
96Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
97Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
98Anibal Borrajo (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
99Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas  
100Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
101Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana  
102Kyle Wamsley (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light  
103Joaquin Novoa Menedez (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam  
104Christopher Jones (USA) Team Type 1  
105Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling  
106Peter Latham (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling  
107Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam  
108Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam  
109Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream  
110Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:00:39 
111Charly Vives (Can) Planet Energy  
112Omer Kem (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:47 
113Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:49 
114Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light0:00:53 
115Timothy Johnson (USA) OUCH-Maxxis0:01:24 
116Shawn Milne (USA) Team Type 10:01:58 
117Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1  
118Cody O'reilly (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:02:01 

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