Tour of Missouri 2009

September 7-13, 2009, St. Louis, USA, Road - 2.HC

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Sue George

Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour of Missouri.  Today, we'll bring you all the action from the 114.3-mile (183.9km) stage three from Farmington to Rolla.  The official start will be at 11:00 am local time (Central Daylight Savings).

  1. 15:56:47 GMT

    It's slightly cooler than yesterday. It's in the mid-70s (degrees Fahrenheit) now and expected to go up into the low 80s. It's a little hazy, and humidity will probably be a factor again today - more than the temperature. It's sunny and expected to stay that way until the weekend.

  2. 15:59:20 GMT

    Today we're enjoying the US National anthem, played with trumpets, as we await the start here in Farmington, which is home to two wineries: Crown Valley Champagne House and Twin Oaks Vineyard.

  3. 16:01:11 GMT

    Today will be the most challenging stage in the three-year history of Tour of Missouri.  The start in Farmington’s quaint downtown belies the challenges to come in the Ozark Mountains. With about 7,000 feet of total climbing on hill after hill, this day will begin to shape the race for the overall champion.  It's very possible a breakaway could make it to the end and give us a new overall leader.

  4. 16:01:53 GMT

    The racers are off! They start with 4.8 miles of neutral riding.

  5. 16:04:25 GMT

    Don't forget to check out our Vuelta a Espana coverage for today.  Stage 11 just wrapped up moments ago with an American winner.  Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Slipstream) took his first-ever Grand Tour stage win in a sprint.  Visit to read all about it.

  6. 16:05:25 GMT

    It's just after Labor Day and school is definitely back in session for just about everyone.  Well, sort of... we're passing by a school where all the students are outside, cheering on the racers as we pass by.

  7. 16:06:18 GMT

    We're rolling through a residential area of Farmington, and people are out in force on their lawns and along the sidewalks to support the race.

  8. 16:09:11 GMT

    116 riders started today's stage.  That's two less than yesterday after Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) dropped out and Cody O'Reilly (Bissell Pro Cycling) didn't make the time cut.  Vande Velde broke his hand in a crash at the end of stage one, but the defending Tour of Missouri champion tried hard to continue.  Unfortunately, he realized during yesterday's neutral section that it just wouldn't be possible and he headed home to Chicago, disappointed after dropping out.

  9. 16:10:22 GMT

    We're passing another school with lots of kids out cheering.  Looks like they've been studying geography and culture.  They are waving hand-made flags for all the nationalities of riders in the race.

  10. 16:11:00 GMT

    This neutral section is like a rolling party.  We pass another school - this one has its marching band out front rocking it out.

  11. 16:14:09 GMT

    The riders are passing through the business district.  We're impressed with how many have come out to watch the race.  Farmington is about 60 miles south of St. Louis - where stage one happened.  It has a population (estimated in 2007) of 15,870 and is the county seat of St. Francois County.  It got its starts as an agricultural town.

  12. 16:16:26 GMT

    Today's stage offers two intermediate sprints.  The first one comes quickly, at mile 7.0 at Pilot Knob.  The next sprint comes at 54.7 miles into the stage in Viburnum.

  13. 16:17:26 GMT

    The race has passed where it was to officially start, the 0km mark, so to speak, but the official start has been delayed due to a rider having a mechanical. 

  14. 16:19:47 GMT

    Michael Rogers (Team Columbia-HTC) is getting some assistance as the peloton rolls along relatively flat, rural roads.  The pavement is in fantastic shape. He's actually the second rider to receive support today.  Another rider from Cervelo, who was not identified, also called upon tech support while in the neutral zone.

  15. 16:21:08 GMT

    The peloton is on a two-lane road riding at a leisurely pace.  The riders are stretched wide across the whole road.  That's a good thing for Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-HTC), who just got a flat tire.  Fortunately, everyone is going slow to wait for him as the race leader. What gentlemen!

  16. 178.9km remaining from 183.9km

    16:24:09 GMT

    All three riders with mechanicals are back in the bunch.  The riders are rolling along at 18mph.

  17. 176.7km remaining from 183.9km

    16:28:59 GMT

    Although today's stage is overall quite hilly, running through the Ozarks, at the moment the riders are on a long, straight section of road.  It's flat and there are farms on either side.

  18. 16:31:55 GMT

    Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) and Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank) are tied in points for the mountains classification. Aldape has been really going for all the KOM points so far, and we expect to see more of him today. There are three KOMs at miles 32.6, 62.8 and 66.4.

  19. 16:32:53 GMT

    The hills are looming in the distance.  Some of the riders are getting a bumpy ride.  There are rumble strips on both shoulders as well as beneath the center, yellow line.

  20. 16:33:57 GMT

    Michael Rogers (Team Columbia-HTC) must have been still having some trouble. He got a bike change and was then paced back to the peloton by his teammate Michael Barry.

  21. 16:37:48 GMT

    Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas spoke with our KOM leader, Moises Aldape before the start.  He said, "I will concentrate on the KOM and not the general classification. I'm not a good time trialer so I'll try to get in a break for more KOM points."  Most of the racers we talked to prior to the stage were predicting a break would play a major role in the stage, although they were divided about whether it would stick until the end.

  22. 172.6km remaining from 183.9km

    16:39:00 GMT

    Michael Friedman and William Frischkorn (both Garmin-Slipstream) attack.  They may be extra-motivated after Farrar's win at the Vuelta today!  Three riders are chasing.

  23. 167.9km remaining from 183.9km

    16:41:44 GMT

    The three chasers are caught leaving Friedman and Frischkorn off the front with a 20-second gap.  Team Columbia-HTC is on the front setting tempo.

  24. 16:43:00 GMT

    The Garmin duo is drilling it.  Both are on their drops.  It's nice to have your breakaway companion be your teammate - you know he's going to work with you!  The two are riding a straight section of road through some woods.

  25. 16:47:14 GMT

    Yesterday, Garmin was represented in the major break of the day.  Tim Dugan was at the front for much of the race.  He told us this morning, "I spent all afternoon eating to recover yesterday (after the stage), but now I'm fine. We've had some tough luck losing Christian (Vande Velde), but we still have some cards to play on our team for overall."  Perhaps the team is playing one of those cards right now by sending out two of its riders in a break?  The pair has a gap that is up to 1:30 over the field.

  26. 163.6km remaining from 183.9km

    16:49:24 GMT

    Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) is on his own chasing in between the two leaders and the peloton.  He's about 30 seconds behind the leaders, who are seeing 5km to go until the first sprint of the day at Pilot Knob.

  27. 16:50:41 GMT

    The Garmin team vehicle gets the wave-up to come forward to follow its two riders, and the Team Type 1 vehicle is summoned forward to support the chaser.

  28. 16:53:07 GMT

    The leaders see 1km to go until the sprint.  Wilson is still chasing.  On the straighter sections, he can see the two leaders, so he is making progress toward them.

  29. 16:56:16 GMT

    Matthew Wilson has bridged up, giving us a three-man break of him, Michael Friedman and Will Frischkorn.  Considering today's stage is to be the hilly one, it's still very flat.  Yesterday was different - the rollers started immediately.

  30. 158.6km remaining from 183.9km

    16:58:30 GMT

    Intermediate sprint #1 (Pilot Knob) results are

    1 Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream)
    2 William Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream)
    3 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1)

    The three men are riding together.  At the moment, both Garmin riders are in first and second and Wilson is in third.  He may need a little time to recover from his effort to bridge up.

  31. 153.3km remaining from 183.9km

    17:04:13 GMT

    In the peloton, Columbia is setting the pace.  It has six riders all in a row at the front.  The peloton is strung out - mostly singlefile for as far back as we can see.  Although they are all lined up, it doesn't look like they are chasing too hard - especially since the gap is still growing.  The break, where Friedman is taking a big, long pull, has 2:20.

  32. 17:06:45 GMT

    Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) has been sitting in comfortably in the break while the Garmin riders do the work. Maybe he is thinking, "I'll just let these ProTour guys do the work."  However, he is sitting in second, so presumably his turn to take a pull and do some work will come soon.

    It's looking rather hazy off in the distance.  The riders may appreciate that as it means the sun won't feel so hot on these relatively open, unshaded roads.

  33. 17:10:24 GMT

    For those of you who haven't been following the race too closely yet, Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) is the overall race leader.  He's also the sprint classification leader and the best young rider classification leader.  Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) leads the mountains classification, and Quick Step is the top team.  We're expecting there could be some shuffling in the classifications today.

  34. 17:12:38 GMT

    Jeff Louder of Team BMC, told Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas before the start, "If a break goes to the line, the winner of the Tour of Missouri will come from that selection."  With two intermediate sprints today and three KOMs, we could see some changes in the points and mountains classifications, too.

  35. 17:17:13 GMT

    Our only non-Garmin member of the break is Matt Wilson is 32-years-old, and he's taking his turn at the front now.  He was born in Australia.  Early in his cycling career, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, a cancer that attacks the lymph glands.  He battled the disease for two years before returning to racing.  He's competed twice in the Tour de France and has won the Australian National Road championships and the Herald Sun Tour.  Now he races for Team Type 1.

  36. 146.1km remaining from 183.9km

    17:19:48 GMT

    The race leaders have averaged 23mph for the first 20 miles so far today.  There's been no hills yet - only farmland and some grazing land.  A few horses are looking up at the riders wondering what is going on - usually it's pretty quiet around these parts.  Yesterday we saw some buffalo and emus - we'll see what wildlife is in store for today.

  37. 17:21:35 GMT

    On a very long, straight section of the race, the break is completely out of sight of the peloton.  The break's riders are all taking long, steady pulls as they pass the Bellview school, complete with its students standing out front cheering.

  38. 17:23:13 GMT

    David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) calls for some assistance from his team.  He gets an eyewear change.  Maybe his glasses got too sweaty in this humidity.  In any case, he is comfortably back in the field.

  39. 141.8km remaining from 183.9km

    17:26:57 GMT

    The break makes a turn off the main highway MO 32 onto MO 21.  They're on a narrower, two-lane road with a headwind.  The trio has grown the gap to 3:10.

  40. 140.4km remaining from 183.9km

    17:35:17 GMT

    The rollers are beginning.  In about five miles, the break will reach the first KOM of the day in the town of Banner. 

    We're in Iron County, Missouri.  The county got its name from the bands of iron ore that it contains.  The county is home to Taum Sauk Mountain (1,772 foot / 540 m), the highest point in Missouri. There is plenty of public land in the county with the Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and part of the Mark Twain National Forest.  It's pretty rural here, so we're not too surprised we aren't seeing any people along the roads cheering during this section of the race.

  41. 17:40:11 GMT

    Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins spoke with Floyd Landis of Team OUCH before the start of today's race.  He said, "I'm hoping that because of today's hilly profile, there will be a breakaway. My team will push for a break, and I'd like to be part of it."  The break doesn't contain any OUCH riders at the moment, but if it does come all come back together, Landis' team has a plan B. "If nothing gets away, we're committed to helping our US Pro Crit Champion John Murphy in finale."

  42. 17:42:54 GMT

    Our three break riders are still working nicely together.  We'll get you an update on the current status of the time gap as soon as we can.  Our man on the ground, Peter Hymas, is in a bit of a communications black hole at the moment.  Being in a relatively rural, sparsely populated area such as this, we're not surprised that the communications infrastructure has some gaps.

  43. 17:46:43 GMT

    Michael Friedman is 26-years-old and has ridden for Garmin-Slipstream and its predecessor TIAA Cref since 2005.  He races both on the road and the track plus he knows how to time trial and team pursuit - which means he's a good guy to have in a breakaway.  This year he was sixth at the US Pro time trial championships and at the beginning of the year, he helped his team to a team time trial win at the Tour of Qatar.

  44. 17:49:48 GMT

    The peloton appears to be mostly following the yellow line rule - even though they must have a full rolling enclosure.  It's thin at the front end of the bunch, but further back, riders are taking up about half the road.  They're on some curvy roads now - flying along pretty fast.

  45. 17:52:43 GMT

    It's about 77 degrees Fahrenheit and very hazy.  It's hazy in that heavy gray, summery kind of a way.  Our driver, Steve Hegg, points out an important job of one of the motorcycle drivers.  He watches for loose dogs - a very important job to keep the riders safe.

    Each time we pass a farm, we see people out watching.


  46. 120.9km remaining from 183.9km

    17:57:26 GMT

    First KOM results (from Banner) are in.  They are

    1 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1)
    2 William Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream)
    3 Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream)
    4 Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1)
    5 Shawn Milne (Team Type 1)

  47. 119.6km remaining from 183.9km

    17:59:26 GMT

    Our three fearless leaders have grown their gap a little more.  They have a 3:30 advantage.

    It's about to get ugly.  There is a storm cell ahead.  It really is just like summer time -- despite it being after the Labor Day holiday.

  48. 113.1km remaining from 183.9km

    18:01:53 GMT

    We had to turn our wipers on as there is some rain.  It's wooded everywhere here - as we ride through the Mark Twain National Forest on smooth roads.  We can't help but look out the windows and think about what kind of mountain bike trails must be off in the trees.

  49. 18:02:57 GMT

    We just got word that about 10 miles ago, two riders crashed:  Bradley White (OUCH Presented By Maxxis) and Edward King (Cervelo Test Team). Apparently both are ok and have returned safely to the field.

  50. 18:06:34 GMT

    With his first place in the first KOM today, Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) took home a US$1,000 bonus.

    As the first man from the peloton, Moses Aldape (Team Type 1) took fourth place in that last KOM, which helps him move ahead of Chris Anker Sorensen, who was previously tied with him in points for the mountains classification.

  51. 109.2km remaining from 183.9km

    18:10:35 GMT

    We're not even at the halfway point of today's stage.  Which mean anything could still happen.  Fortunately the rain seems not to be picking up.  In fact, it's almost stopped.  The road are just slightly damp.

    It's interesting - as the riders pass intersections that feel like they are in the middle of nowhere, we see people standing there, waving and cheering.  The Tour of Missouri is getting great support from the locals again this year.

  52. 18:14:01 GMT

    It's almost lunch time.  As racers pass through Bixby, they'll go through the feed zone, the only one for today.  It'll be just in time to fuel up for the next sprint, which will happen three miles later in Viburnum, a town with a population of 825 at last count in the 2000 US census.

  53. 104.1km remaining from 183.9km

    18:16:28 GMT

    The clouds and damp conditions have caused the temperature to drop to a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  It feels very nice with the windows rolled down in our car.

    The gap is holding fairly steady at 3:45.

  54. 18:19:10 GMT

    One of the break riders, Matt Wilson (Team Type 1), won the KOM competition at the recent Tour of Ireland - a race which was shortened to four days for 2009.

    Wilson and his two companions see 1km to go until the feed zone while the break sees the 5km to go until the next sprint.

  55. 18:21:00 GMT

    There are spectators lined up just after the feed zone.  They're waiting to pick up discarded bottles or other possible souvenirs.

  56. 18:23:44 GMT

    We wonder if the town of Viburnum is named after the deciduous small trees and shrubs that are native to parts of North America.  It's the wrong time of year, but when they are blooming in the spring time, they smell very strongly and sweetly fragrant.

  57. 18:27:09 GMT

    The break riders look as comfortable as they can while putting in this kind of an effort.  Will Frischkorn knows our driver Steve Hegg and gives a nod as he rides past.  The 28-year-old Garmin rider is a solid all-arounder for his team and has been a pro for about nine years.

  58. 95.9km remaining from 183.9km

    18:28:14 GMT

    The break passes through the sprint.  Looked like all of Viburnum made it out today to cheer!  Just 0.3 miles after the sprint is a railroad crossing.  Riders will have to be careful in case it is damp and slippery.

  59. 18:32:19 GMT

    We have word from Kirsten Robbins at the finish that the sun is out in Rolla.  Riders will be happy to hear that given the very threatening skies and isolated thunderstorms that are scattered about.

    The staging crew is just finishing their set-up.  Fans are still quite sparse, but the peloton is about two hours from the finish, so they have some time to get here.  Last year, crowds here were huge, and we have no reason to expect differently.

  60. 18:33:09 GMT

    Michael Barry won the stage finishing in Rolla last year.  The Columbia-HTC rider has reportedly not renewed his contract, so we're wondering what his plans are for 2010.

  61. 18:34:46 GMT

    Christopher Jones (Team Type 1) gets a new front wheel from mechanics back in the peloton.  The roads have been buttery smooth lately and we haven't seen many mechanicals since the neutral.

  62. 94.3km remaining from 183.9km

    18:37:27 GMT

    The results from Sprint #2 in Viburnum are

    1 Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream)
    2 William Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream)
    3 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1)

    There are no more intermediate sprints today - only the final sprint.

  63. 87.8km remaining from 183.9km

    18:38:36 GMT

    The leaders see 5km to go until the second KOM of the day.  Less than four miles will separate it from the third and final KOM of the day.

  64. 87.02km remaining from 183.9km

    18:41:53 GMT

    We're on some major rollers now.  The break just took a steep, fast descent.  Now they are out of the saddle on a stiff, short rise.

    The gap has dropped slightly - to 3:30.  In the peloton, riders are fairly bunched up and on the uphills, riders seem to be standing up - maybe to stretch their legs and get a bit more power.

  65. 18:44:35 GMT

    Will Frischkorn was second in a stage at the Tour de France last year.  He lives in Boulder now, but grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  66. 18:46:40 GMT

    The other Garmin break rider, Mike Friedman, is usually known as a good sprinter, but he's also a decent time triallist as we're seeing.  Having either Friedman or Frischkorn in the break, not to mention both, represents a real danger to the overall GC lead of Columbia's Mark Cavendish.

  67. 18:47:53 GMT

    Before the start of today's stage, Cavendish told Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas, "Today will be another hectic day - hopefully a sprint for me. I hope me team can keep me out of danger."  Whether or not he will keep his lead is something that remains to be seen.

  68. 83.8km remaining from 183.9km

    18:48:38 GMT

    1km to go to the KOM #2 for the break.  It doesn't look too tough, but they've been going up and down for some time.

  69. 82.1km remaining from 183.9km

    18:51:49 GMT

    The break in on a nice descent off the second KOM, and they see the 5km to go until KOM#3 sign.  We'll get you KOM results as soon as we have them.

  70. 18:54:59 GMT

    As we mentioned earlier, Wilson won the KOM jersey at the Tour of Ireland.  What we didn't say was that it was his second year in the row. 

    In the two-year history of Team Type 1, its riders have won eight KOM jerseys around the world. Right now Wilson's teammate Moises Aldape is currently leading the KOM competition here in Missouri.

  71. 18:59:42 GMT

    At the finish line, the Rolla High School marching band is rocking it.  They're warming up - or should we say tuning up? - as they get ready to greet the peloton.

  72. 19:04:51 GMT

    We've got word on the second two KOM results.  KOM #2 results are

    1 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1)
    2 William Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream)
    3 Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream)
    4 Tomas Vaitkus (Astana)
    5 Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1)

  73. 19:05:59 GMT

    The third KOM results are

    1 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1)
    2 William Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream)
    3 Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream)
    4 Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1)
    5 Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank)

  74. 79.3km remaining from 183.9km

    19:11:11 GMT

    While the riders have been polishing off the remaining KOMs, they've crossed through the half-way point of the race and have about 80km to go.  For the rest of the stage, there are no more sprints or KOMs.  Riders will continue on the very rolling terrain until the finish in Rolla.

  75. 19:12:24 GMT

    Reid Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies) just made an attempt to bridge up on his own, but his effort was thwarted by a flat tire.

  76. 19:13:30 GMT

    Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) will wear the KOM jersey after today's stage. He's gotten himself enough points to break the tie at the end of yesterday's stage with Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank).

  77. 63.5km remaining from 183.9km

    19:15:26 GMT

    The peloton seems much more interested in chasing the break.  The gap has shrunk to 2:30, largely thanks to Columbia, which has spent most of the day so far at the front of the pack.

  78. 19:18:24 GMT

    Before the start, Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies) called today's race "the most selective day of the tour". He told Cyclingnews, "A lot of guys will try to put the hurt on and hopefully Cavendish won't be there at the finish."

    The riders know that Cavendish is the man to beat if the race does come back together.

  79. 19:21:01 GMT

    Another man with his eye on a stage win is Henrich Haussler (Cervelo). "I hope to get a stage win and finish off my season with a victory," he said to Cyclingnews. "There will likely be a break today, but it just depends on the chemistry of who's in it that will determine whether or not it gets chased down."

    If the peloton lets the break stay far enough away and win the stage, one of our three break riders could take over the lead - possibly for the duration of the race.

    However, if the margins are small enough, the race may well be decided in Friday's individual time trial stage.

  80. 59.3km remaining from 183.9km

    19:25:58 GMT

    The gap to the break continues to shrink slowly. Now it's at 2:15.  Columbia is doing a good job of keeping things under control by keeping the break close enough that it can still probably bring it back before the finish.

    The racers are on rolling terrain through a still wooded area.  The roads are a little damp, but it's been awhile since there was any rain, so it shouldn't be too treacherous at the finish.

  81. 56.9km remaining from 183.9km

    19:30:37 GMT

    The wind seems to have dropped off and the temperature is holding steady at about 75 degrees.  We see some blue sky trying to break through the heavy clouds and haze.

  82. 53.3km remaining from 183.9km

    19:34:20 GMT

    Columbia-HTC is doing all the work in the peloton.  They're mostly single-file and going fast.  No other teams are helping although a few of them would surely benefit from the chance at a sprint if it all came back together.

  83. 19:35:38 GMT

    Another way the peloton's riders might benefit from catching the break is by having the chance to win the cash bonuses on offer for today's stage finish.  The winner will get US$5,000.  Second gets $3,000, and third wins $2,000.

  84. 49.1km remaining from 183.9km

    19:40:55 GMT

    The lead trio is riding along twisty roads.  There are significantly deep drainage ditches on either side of the road - you wouldn't want to drift off and catch your wheel in those!

  85. 19:44:20 GMT

    Today's stage finishes in Rolla, located in the Meramec Valley Region at the intersection of I-44 and State Route 63, Rolla's central location provides easy access to St. Louis, Jefferson City, Columbia and Springfield, which are only an hour and a half away by car.

    Rolla was an important site during the Civil War, because the southwest branch of the Pacific Railroad ended here and the opening of historic US Route 66 in Missouri was celebrated in Rolla in 1932.

  86. 19:47:36 GMT

    Rolla is the county seat for Phelps County (Pop. 44,000). The city itself has about 17,817 people. Huge crowds showed up for last year's race, and we're excited to see how many folks come out again this year.

  87. 19:53:53 GMT

    If the race finishes all together today, that will really set up Friday as a decisive day in the race.  That's when the individual time trial happens.  Tom Zirbel (Bissell) is one rider with his eye on the TT.  He just signed with Garmin-Slipstream for next year, and while his current Bissell team might have liked to see Zirbel or Ben Jacque Maynes or New Zealand National Time Trial Champion Jeremey Venell in today's break, the race isn't over.  "No matter what happens today, I'll focus on the TT on Friday," said Zirbel to Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins.

  88. 37.9km remaining from 183.9km

    19:55:59 GMT

    The gap is still shrinking.  Now it's at 1:40.

    Michael Friedman and William Frischkorn (both Garmin-Slipstream), Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) have been out there all day and have to be hurting.  They are on some leg-breaking rollers which have to be painful at this point in the race.

  89. 19:58:29 GMT

    Everyone expected a big break to succeed today and rip open the GC, but it's starting to look like another day for Mark Cavendish. 

    The three leaders have done a great job, but it's a big task to hold of a chase from a ProTour team like Columbia.  Perhaps a larger break, with more total manpower, would have had more luck?

  90. 20:00:48 GMT

    Looks like Will Frischkorn has bonked and given up his role in the lead group.

  91. 33.1km remaining from 183.9km

    20:02:26 GMT

    That leaves just Wilson and Friedman in the break.

    Frischkorn sat up, took a feed from his team car and drifted back to the peloton, where he is absorbed.

  92. 20:03:29 GMT

    The peloton has backed off a bit.  Columbia is still at the front, and no one else seems interested in helping with the chase with about 30km to go.

  93. 30.9km remaining from 183.9km

    20:06:10 GMT

    Friedman and Wilson are left at the front.  They are still working well together and looking strong.  Both are the kind of men you'd want to have with you off the front ahead of chasing peloton near the end of a stage, but we'll see if they have enough left to hold off the sprinters and their teams.

    With Columbia sitting up a bit, the gap has grown again to 1:50.

  94. 20:08:34 GMT

    Columbia-HTC still has time to make the catch if they choose to get back to work, but at the moment, the team is playing a tactical game, hoping to put some pressure on the other teams with sprinters in order to make them chase and do some work.

  95. 27.9km remaining from 183.9km

    20:09:54 GMT

    Without Frischkorn, Wilson and Friedman are motoring along.  They look smother since they lost Frischkorn.  Seeing the gap go back up might also be a motivator.

  96. 20:12:02 GMT

    One of the lead moto drivers notices two dogs on the loose.  He stops and corals them in the yard so they don't run in front of or into the peloton.

  97. 20:13:49 GMT

    Columbia had decided to get back to work.  It's train is back driving the peloton.

  98. 20km remaining from 183.9km

    20:16:56 GMT

    The gap is holding steady at about 1:50 as the two leaders continue to trade pulls.

  99. 20:19:42 GMT

    The peloton has backed off a bit and is spread wide across the road.  A few riders seem to be talking to each other as they climb a short rolling hill.

  100. 18.1km remaining from 183.9km

    20:21:53 GMT

    Maybe the break is getting a little tired.  The peloton doesn't look like it's going that fast, but the gap is down to 1:05.  The two leaders look to be struggling a little more physically - in contrast with looking to be riding almost effortlessly earlier.

  101. 20:23:16 GMT

    Today's finish is literally straightforward.  Riders will have a straight, 8.5-mile run into the finish, with no turns at all.  It's a slight rise approaching the finish.

  102. 15km remaining from 183.9km

    20:25:17 GMT

    The gap is just below one minute and the team cars are getting the boot.  The leaders are on the narrowest, roughest roads of the race, riding through a tunnel of trees.

  103. 20:26:22 GMT

    Michael Creed (Team Type 1) gets a flat back in the peloton.

  104. 20:28:01 GMT

    Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefit Strategies) has a flat, too!

    The leaders have just 40 seconds now.

  105. 20:29:00 GMT

    Those two flats might have been due to the rougher roads.  Fortunately, the riders are back on nice smooth roads again.

  106. 20:29:42 GMT

    The field has the leaders in sight!  30 seconds is the gap.

  107. 10km remaining from 183.9km

    20:30:43 GMT

    Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light ) gets a flat, but Creed is back in the field after his flat.

  108. 20:31:42 GMT

    There are tons of people at the finish line in Rolla.  Many people have come out.  They want to see if Cavendish will win in their town!

    Just 15 seconds separate the leaders.  They will likely be caught soon.

  109. 20:32:17 GMT

    Floyd Landis (OUCH) just pulled up beside Columbia.  As he told us earlier, he'll be setting up US Pro Criterium champion John Murphy.

  110. 20:33:35 GMT

    The break has been away for 99 miles.  What a long day for them!

    Menawhile in the peloton, Columbia is turning up the heat.  They don't want to get swarmed at the finish like yesterday.

  111. 20:34:15 GMT

    The break is caught, and the field is all together.

  112. 8.2km remaining from 183.9km

    20:35:09 GMT

    It might be straight until the end, but there are still some leg busting rollers for everyone to get over.  At this speed and at this point of the race, the riders will be feeling them.

  113. 20:36:15 GMT

    Planet Energy and Ouch are fighting for Cavendish's wheel.  That's a popular place to be!

  114. 20:37:40 GMT

    The peloton is wide across the road as the top teams jockey for position.  Six riders are at the front in a line - all Columbia, with Mark Cavendish in yellow as rider number six.  He's still sitting on national champion George Hincapie, in his usual place.

  115. 20:38:07 GMT

    Team OUCH makes a move.  It's chaos behind as everyone responds.

  116. 20:38:29 GMT

    Tim Johnson was the rider who made the move.

  117. 20:38:54 GMT

    He pulled four riders with him, but now it's all back together.

  118. 20:39:21 GMT

    The action in the peloton is coming in waves.  It strings out, then swells up, over and over.

  119. 20:39:35 GMT

    A Garmin rider goes for it.

  120. 20:40:07 GMT

    A Columbia guy is chasing him, followed by an Astana rider.

  121. 20:40:25 GMT

    Danny Pate is the Garmin rider at the front, but his time is almost up.

  122. 20:40:59 GMT

    Now Cervelo comes to the front.

  123. 20:41:31 GMT

    They're almost at the 1km to go banner.  Cervelo is still at the front, as they go up an uphill.

  124. 20:42:05 GMT

    Riders are all over the place at the front.  Hincapie is going for it to chase the Cervelo lead rider.

  125. 0.5km remaining from 183.9km

    20:42:35 GMT

    There's an attack on the right.  Then one on the left side.  They are flying along with 500m to go.

  126. 20:42:56 GMT

    200m to go.  Quick step is at the front.  Cavendish is swamped by riders.

  127. 20:43:15 GMT

    Thor Hushovd takes the win - emerging from the chaos.

  128. 20:44:12 GMT

    Hushovd took the stage win, wearing his green jersey.  Behind him was JJ Haedo in second.  Cavendish was surrounded by riders and had nowhere to go to unleash his powerful sprint.

  129. 20:46:31 GMT

    Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) is third.

  130. 20:48:27 GMT

    To summarize, our provisional top five are

    1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team
    2 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
    3 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step
    4 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas
    5 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-HTC
    6 John Murphy (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis


  131. 20:50:00 GMT

    Thor Hushovd takes over the GC lead from Mark Cavendish, who drops to second.

  132. 20:56:01 GMT

    That wraps up Cyclingnews' live coverage for stage three.  Thanks for joining us and we hope you'll be back tomorrow for stage four which will run 109.2 miles from St. James to Jefferson City.  Our coverage will begin at 3:00 PM local time (CDST).

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