BMC’s Jeff Louder is no stranger to breakaways, in fact he is an artist at the art of getting into a long move. Twice – so far – at the Amgen Tour of California, the 31-year old American has been in two long breaks for an estimated 178 kilometers, in the wind showing off his team colors. Louder was voted the overall Most Aggressive Rider at the 2008 Tour of Missouri for his style of racing.
The best chances at a result, unless riding for a GC spot or a sprint finish is the breakaway.
“You can follow all day and still get fortieth place or get dropped and at least if you’re in the front people come and talk to you and the point of a bike team is to get recognition and be exposed and there’s more that one way to do that at a bike race. I think that being in a breakaway is a great way to get publicity and it raises the odds for a good result. A lot of the best results I’ve ever had have come from putting myself out there and taking risks. Nothing ventured and nothing gained.”
Finding the right move is a combination of luck and risk.
“I think some of it is luck and I think that some of it is just not being afraid of putting yourself out there, Also, some of it is that I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve almost always had this role well not always but it’s a role that I like, something that I enjoy. If you enjoy something, you get better at it. I’ve always enjoyed going into move, it’s kind of my education was in Belgium were basically it’s the breakaway that wins the race everytime, you know in amateur races and kermesses and stuff like that. I learned from an early age, in the early stage of my development I dealt a lot with figuring out to get into moves. In a big race, a hard race like this, a lot of it is luck because we’re all trying. Everybody wants to be in the move. “
On stage 3, Louder was caught by the chasing peloton with only three kilometers to go after being out in the wind for almost 150 kilometers.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s the job and you have to try and if it doesn’t work, you’ve got more days left. Really, it’s just the goal of the team, of the entire team, is to do your best and just do what we can. I put it all out there and came up short, so what can I say.”
For Louder, the wet roads increased his chances of staying away.
“You just never know, people make mistakes and I had hoped the peloton would mis-time their effort. Slick course, call dots and things like that, it’s almost easier for a couple of riders to negotiate that, a big peloton., one of the advantages that they had is that they had each other and I had only three other guys for the whole day, a little bit undergunned.”
On stage 5, the longest stage of the race, Louder did it again. And again, he was caught by the charging field.
“I had some good luck about getting into the break today, but after the long break from two days ago, I struggled out there.”
And again, the break was caught by the chasing peloton dirven by the sprinters’ team.
“It just shook out that I was the guy in the break today and that is very important since we really want to show our colours at the front of the races and proudly represent BMC,” Louder explained. “I am just sorry that once I was caught again by the pack, that I wasn’t able to contribute more to the positioning of our protected riders since it got very fast very quickly near the end of the stage.”
Look for BMC’s Jeff Louder to try and get in the move again, to risk it all.