After being on a solo break for 40 miles (64 km), gaining nearly 4 minutes to a dwindling field, Peter Stetina (VMG/Felt) was caught in the final 100 meters in a dramatic finish to the 104-mile (168 km) Stage 5 in the Tour of Pennsylvania.
“It was very tough out there on my own, but I felt really, really good,” said Stetina. “It was a pure headwind and a false flat and without this, I think I could have taken the win. All losing did was make me mad, and I’m going to come back tomorrow and win. It’s on, this is my race now.”
As the 40-man field, dwindled by strong headwinds and tough terrain charged up to the finish line, Jamie Driscoll (Fiordifrutta) timed his sprint to make it to the line ahead of Sheldon Deeny (Sakonnet Technology) and David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) to take the win.
“I was dying hanging onto the chase group while Kelly Benefits and Johan Bruyneel teams were doing all the work to catch Stetina,” said Driscoll. “I don’t know where my sprint came from, but I am really surprised to win here today.”
No changes on top of the leader board as yellow jersey Steven Van Vooren (Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy) made it in with the lead group. After three days, Van Vooren still leads with 3 seconds ahead of Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) and 4 seconds ahead of Christoff Van Heerden (Konica Minolta).
“I’m very happy to be leading this event,” said Van Vooren who landed the leading role at the Stage 1 prologue and expected to have to give it up on the climbing stages. “My team worked really hard today to hold onto it but I’m not sure we can do it again tomorrow where the climbs are more difficult.”
The 97 riders stayed together for the first 63-mile (101 km) of the rolling course, multiple attacks tried but negated, while the sprinters fought for the 2 intermediate sprints. Lacombe came out on top and increased his lead in the Sprint competition and kept the green jersey for another day.
Stetina stormed ahead of the peloton on the climb to the first KOM and became the virtual American Eagle Outfitters overall race leader, gaining more than a three minute lead over his nearest competitors. Stetina continued to increase his lead over the field riding into the second decisiveKOM, located at mile 82, 4.8 kilometres to the top of Sideling Hill, an elevation gain of 2,500 feet.
The reduced field chased hard under the impetus of yellow jersey Van Vooren and his Johan Brunyeel Cycling Academy, Lacombe’s team Kelly Benefit/Medifast and third place Van Heerden’s Konica Minolta team, all trying to gain back valuable time while negotiating some very technical turns before racing for Bedford’s finish line.
Stetina was awarded the Most Aggressive jersey and also took over the lead of the King of the Mountain classification. His teammate Peter Salon still leads the U21 classification.
Of note, the Fiordifrutta team ride Cannondale bikes, and those are made right in Bedford.
Stage 4, or the Queen stage is a 60-mile (96 km) trek from Bedford to Latrobe that will push the riders to their limits with two major climbs and wild descents. The first climb sends the field up and over the Allegheny Mountains by way of the Bald Knob Summit, a 5.5-mile grunt with grades nearing 15 percent. After a quick rolling descent, the course turns uphill again, this time taking on the Laurel Hill Summit, a 2-mile climb with 15-percent grades.
David Veilleux interview by Amy Smolens on CanadianCyclist.com
Full Results on TourOfPA.com