The difficult first stage from Silver City to Mogollon, New Mexico saw BMC come out fighting. They managed to stack all three of their participating riders into the top 10. Though Levi Leipheimer rode away with the stage win, BMC was the team with the strongest representation at the finish line.
The guys rode a very strong race today," Directeur Sportif Mike Sayers reported. "We had everyone in the top 10 and were by far the strongest team, though Astana did lose Chris Horner to a flat near the end which was unfortunate for them." Chad Beyer built on his reputation as being one of the most aggressive riders on this very aggressive team by getting himself into one of the day’s best breakaways.
"It was a really good day for the team. Since the stage started off on a sort of descent, we decided not to go with any of the early moves, though there were a lot of them," Beyer explained. "Once the course flattened out a bit, we became a lot more intent of finding the right move." With only three team members to work with, BMC had to be selective with its aggression. "I got into a good move of about 12 guys and we had between 45 seconds and a minute going into the main climb," Beyer said. "I hit it hard at the bottom of the climb and only two other guys could keep up, but they wouldn’t work with me, so Levi’s group with 6 or 7 guys eventually caught us."
Three against Three
Astana brought three guys here and we have three guys here," Sayers said. "I don’t know how the race is going to unfold, but I can tell you there will be three Astana guys and three BMC guys at the front." That prediction has already proved true in stage 1. BMC’s Florian Stalder stuck with the Leipheimer/Armstrong group until Leipheimer attacked, and still held on for 6th place 1:23 back. Scott Nydam and Chad Beyer worked together to keep within shouting distance, finishing 9th and 10th, respectively, 1:46 behind the day’s winner. "I hung with Levi’s group for a while, but I was pretty tired from the break and attacking so I fell back a little," Beyer recounted. "Nydam caught up with me and we worked together until the finish while Florian did a great ride to stick closer to Leipheimer."
Good day’s Work
Sayers was very happy with the work of his crew: "The guys rode well and Chad in particular had another stand-out day. Florian and Scott were on top of everything; the confidence is there." Every day at Gila is a suffer-fest, so the group is certain that there will be multiple opportunities to make an impact. "That time trial is so tough that it will be a big task to keep up with the likes of Leipheimer and Armstrong," Sayers reasoned. "But the final stage could still turn everything upside down; the cream will definitely rise to the top."