Yesterday after winning Stage 4 and moving into the second spot in GC, just 1 second behind Christoff Van Heerden (Konica Minolta), David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) clearly stated that the race was following the team’s plan perfectly and that the squad would go for the yellow jersey in Saturday’s 83-mile (46km) stage ending in 3 finishing circuits in Pittsburgh.
With 1.5 miles (2.5 km) to go, the French Canadian duo of Veilleux and Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) along with teammate Jacob Keough jumped from the main pack as it was chasing the breakway and powered to the finish line with Lacombe sitting up and letting Veilleux cross the finish line first.
Finishing third was the remaining rider from the original breakaway caught in the final circuits, Phil Gaimon (Fiordifrutta), crossing the line 6 seconds later with the main pack.
“To win a sprint, it’s typically much too far to attack but we really surprised the riders in the peloton. We therefore managed to get a small gap and Jacob did a sprint before letting us pass in front. Keven and I rode together to the finish line.” said Veilleux about jumping so early from the field.
Veilleux takes over the general classification with one stage to go, Van Heerden drops down to the second spot, 5 seconds back and Stefano Barberi (ZTeam) is in third a further 6 seconds behind. Veilleux also took over the Sprint jersey.
In the early part of the stage, American Chance Noble (Cal Giant) went on solo break that gained nearly two minutes on the field. He did managed to scoop up the last intermediate sprint point at mile 37 before being caught.
About mid-way through the race, Dylan Newell (Praties), Belgian Steven Van Vooren (Johan Brunyeel Cycling Academy) and South African Travis Allen (Konica Minolta) escaped from the field and was soon joined by three more Americans Sheldon Deeny (Sakonnet Technology), Caleb Fairly (VMG) and Gaimon.
The break stayed away from the field and was caught in the final lap of the 3-mile circuit in Pittsburgh. Australian Newell was awarded the Most Aggressive jersey.
One more stage remains to try and wrestle the jersey away from the strong KBS team. The final stage, stage 6, is a classic criterium in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh where the riders will race 33 laps on a four-corner 1.5-mile course.
“The goal here is to win the race and we are in a very good position to realize it. We put everything in place day after day to find ourselves where we are today and that puts us in good position. We never had any problems from the start and until now, we are satisfied from what we’ve done. However, this is still one stage, we still haven’t won the race.” said Lacombe who feels ready for the last stage.
However, not everything went perfectly in the first edition of the Tour of PA – as described on PodiumCafe, there were some issues with riders being lost, “who came through my volunteer location at 3:41 PM, roughly 25 minutes after the broom wagon and the opening of the roads… and roughly 20 minutes after we and the police were told, ‘that’s it, we’re the last car.’ And 5 minutes after another car again told us, ‘we’re the last.’ ” (Read more about the problems).