Dangerous driving from event vehicles caused two race altering incidents at the Tour of Missouri stage five time trial today, including one rider who was hit by a car. Colavita-Sutter Home’s Anibal Borrajo bore the brunt of the two incidents, when he was hit by an event VIP car driving on course during the final two kilometres of his time trial. He was bumped off the road and into the grass, sustaining minor road rash.
“It was an organisation car,” Borrajo said. “I went to take the corner on the inside and the car was in front of me. Before the turn I waved at them to move. I don’t know if they saw me. I was faster and I cut the right hand turn on the inside but she did the same as me and hit me. The girl in the car stopped and asked me if I was OK and I told her yes.”
He broke his front wheel in the accident, but making matters worse he had no team chase car and neutral support was nowhere in sight. He waited nearly 10 minutes at the side of the road until the Columbia- HTC team car approached. The car stopped to assist Borrajo so that he could ride back to the finish line.
“After, the Columbia car stopped and gave me a wheel,” he continued. “I want to say thanks to them for helping me.”
The second incident happened during Gustav Larsson’s time trial. All eyes were on the Swedish time trial specialist as one of the favourites to win the event. However two lead motorcycles slowed down and stopped inside a right-hand turn with three kilometres remaining. Larsson braked hard and narrowly avoided hitting one of the motorcycles. He built his speed back up, only to run into the same two motorcycles in the next corner forcing him to come to a stop a second time.
“It was so annoying that they didn’t see me and it happened twice in the last few kilometres,” said Larsson, who thinks he lost approximately 15 seconds due to the traffic. “You know you lose a lot of momentum and power because you have to stop and start and I was so close to crashing both times. I was full on braking and skidding with my back wheel going sideways just to not hit it, but I was so close.
“It was really annoying that they didn’t see me and that they didn’t move after the first time,” he added. “After the first time you think they would actually move out and make room for the second corner but it happened again - it’s really annoying.”
Despite the two incidents on the time trial course today all 115 riders will start stage six tomorrow, a 177-kilometre road race beginning in Chillicothe and ending in St. Joseph. Larsson finished 30 seconds behind stage winner David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) and is currently in second place overall.
Borrajo finished his time trial in 46’05” and fell outside of the 25-percent time cut rule. Given the nature of his accident, race officials did not enforce the time cut, allowing him to start stage six.
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