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A turn for the worse

9th Vuelta Lider al sur Chile

Stage 6 - February 15: Temuco-Los Angeles, 198 km

This won't be a full report, since I'm sweating up a storm in the un-airconditioned 3rd floor internet shop.

After my second place a few days ago, yesterday I made the break again. I left them for dead at 700m to go and thought I had it won, but with 100m left the top sprinters from the chasing peloton overhauled me. I ended up fourth with Sayers fifth. So close again.

Stage 7 - February 16: Los Angeles-Concepción

Today the race took a turn for the worse. From the original 97 starters we're down to about 60 now. The first hour was quite difficult with crosswinds, flat roads, and a shoulder that was missing huge chunks of roadbed. A German hit one of these and broke his collarbone; he's out of the race. Justin had a tangle as well after a winding and steep descent, due to a rider in front of him blowing a front tire. Justin is okay, but his helmet saved him. He will be stiff and sore tomorrow, and is considering pulling the plug. He has gotten over a thousand good quality kilometers so far, and it wouldn't be a great loss to do so.

Frank Pipp was climbing well today, he helped Mike Sayers and me make it back to the front group after the second KOM. He stopped to help Justin after the latter's crash, while Scott and I hung on to the leaders on the final, tough climb. The winning break of three escaped not on the climb but on the descent, and we were happy that Scott could cover it. Mike groveled back on to a decimated front group of about 20, through the caravan by himself. The Brazilian team we call "Blue Man Group" (actually their sponsor is Blumenau, a Brazilian town with a German name) tried to chase Scott's break but they lost time all the way to the line.

The reigning team of Lider had no interest in working at this point since Scott is over four minutes down on GC. Even the Brazilian team "Scott" featuring pretty boy brothers we call the Hansen twins (after the boy group Hansen in the States) couldn't or wouldn't do anything about the break. Scott took second in the three man sprint. Meanwhile Doug Ollenrenshaw seems to be shaking the cold and cough he's had since arrival here and is coming around. He and five others chased back on to the second group. Mike and I fortuitously pulled out of the sprint with 500m to go to play it safe. Good timing, since unmarked monster road dots claimed another German and a Chilean rider in a spectacular crash, bikes flying, and all for a fourth place sprint.

Tomorrow is supposed to be flat and quite a bit shorter. I'd try to describe the beautiful countryside we're racing through but this internet shop is like a sauna. Time to go rest up. Later then!


Email John at

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John Lieswyn is one of Cyclingnews' most popular and sometimes controversial diarists. John started road racing in Florida in 1985. After college graduation in 1990, he raced three seasons for the US National team in Germany, France and Italy, turning professional in 1993 for Coors Light. In 1995 he returned to Europe, scoring numerous top ten results and winning the Delemont (Switzerland) mountain stage of the Regio Tour. After taking a hiatus in 1996, he focused on the US domestic scene with over 40 major wins. In the pre and post season (US) he competes in South America, Australia and New Zealand, notably taking three stage wins in the Herald-Sun Tour (Australia), and overall victory at the Southland Tour (NZ) and Tour de Beauce (Canada). He has written for since 1999 and continues this season with Team Health Net presented by Maxxis.