Darren Lill wins first stage and takes overall victory; David Tanner wins third and final stage.
In his first major race since sustaining a serious wrist fracture in December last year Lill soled from the break of 7 to take stage 1 of the Tour de Bisbee.
Team Fly V Australia is racing the Tour de Bisbee to continue honing its stage racing performances ahead of the Amgen Tour of California. Bisbee has the benefits of altitude, is an excellent race and provides a springboard towards the Team’s major season goals.
Team DS for La Vuelta de Bisbee, Henk Vogels said, “Darren had a set back at the start of the year when he badly broke his wrist but in his first real major test he is already showing his class. Bisbee is great preparation for Gila and our major season goal, the Amgen Tour of California. We have had a great start to the year and with such depth within our roster picking the best 8 guys for the Amgen Tour of California will be difficult.”
Lill started the final and decisive stage with a 23 second lead over Roman Kilun (UnitedHealthcare). Lill said, “I have a great team around me and with the lead I have I am heading into tomorrow’s stage upbeat about my chances of holding onto the Yellow Jersey.”
The La Vuelta de Bisbee concluded with the 135km ‘queen’ stage aptly named the Tomb Stage road race that includes climbing both sides of Mule Pass that tops out at 1,800 meters. In a day that team Fly V Australia were focused on supporting and protecting Darren’s overall lead, Tanner played the role of helper and winner with aplomb.
Tanner was joined in the break by teammate Charles Dionne whilst they not only ‘policed’ the riders in the break but also positioned themselves to take out the stage win. Lill was well supported by climbing sensations Phil Zajicek and Jai Crawford who were at the GC leaders side throughout the race.
With ten kilometers to race attacks started coming from the leading group of around 10. By this time the stage at 135 kilometers and with significant climbing began to take it’s toll on the riders. Tanner and Dionne were well positioned for the difficult run into the finish. The culmination of a tough stage was evidenced in the leading groups progress to the finish with the riders in ones and twos and gaps opening.
Tanner won from Michael Mathis (AXA equitable) at 2 seconds with a further 2 seconds back to Fly V Australia teammate Dionne.
Lill said after the stage, “Going into the stage I only really had to watch Kilun (United Health care) and the tour was ours. Having Charles and Tanner in the break took some pressure off, we just ensured that the Peloton remained at around 2 minutes to the break and the race was ours.”
Lill went on to say, “We head straight to the Tour of the Gila from here and I am looking forward to the race very much, not only do we approach Gila with a great Team but our spirits are high after our results here at Bisbee. We also have the added benefits of Lance Armstrong and his team competing which should add to the difficulty and challenge of the race.”
Stage 3 results.
1 TANNER, David AU Fly V Australia 15 0 3h 19′ 59”
2 MATHIS, Michael NY AXA Equitable 10 0 @ 0h 00′ 02”
3 DIONNE, Charles QC Fly V Australia 5 0 @ 0h 00′ 04
Final overall results.
1 LILL, Darren SA Fly V Australia P-1 7h 18′ 34”
2 KILUN, Roman CA UnitedHealthcare P-1 @ 0h 00′ 23”
3 HELMIG, Christian TX Metro VW P-1 @ 0h 01′ 25”