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Zabriskie takes overall lead in Tour of Missouri bike race

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Look for David Zabriskie in the yellow jersey at the Tour of Missouri on Saturday. The cyclist from Utah won the individual time trial on Friday, catapulting him 56 places into 1st.

The specialists have controlled the 2009 Tour of Missouri bike race so far.

First it was the sprint specialists — Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, and Juan Jose Haedo — who won the races and controlled the overall lead.

On Friday's Stage 5, it was individual time trial specialist Zabriskie made his mark by finishing the 19-mile course in Sedalia 30 seconds faster than his nearest rival, and taking over the lead of the Tour by 30 seconds. He's quoted at the Garmin-Slipstream website:

“A lot of it is just being aero and trying to feel the speed — on the way out it was not too difficult so that when it does get hard you have a reserve. I only looked at the first three and last three kilometers, those were the only ones that had turns and were really technical.”

Protect

Now it's up to Zabriskie and the Garmin-Slipstream pro cycling team to protect the yellow jersey and survive the two final stages of exhausting rolling hills that this Tour is known for.

It might be possible, as the peloton hasn't split apart in the first four road stages. Zabriskie says his team is strong enough to fight off any attacks. VeloNews reports that Zabriskie will miss teammate and defending champion Christrian Vande Velde, who dropped out after breaking his hand in a crash the first day.

“It’s sad that he did break his hand because he would have been a very valuable asset to have in the next few days.”


56th place

Zabriskie started the day as one of the 77 cyclists within 26 second of overall leader Haedo, a member of the Saxo Bank team.

Saxo Bank's Gustav Larsson sits in 2nd place, 30 seconds behind. Third place is held by Tom Zirbel of Bissell, 44 seconds behind Zabriskie.

History

It's probably not so much of a surprise that Zabriskie won Friday's time trial. He's been the national pro cycling time trial champion since 2006.

Earlier in his career, in 2005, he became only the third American to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey (Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong were the first two) when he won the Tour's opening individual time trial. He lost it when he crashed near the finish of the team time trial and his CSC teammates didn't wait for him.

He's the only American to win stage in all three Grand Tours.

Zabriskie started a bicycle advocacy group — Yield to Life. As it says on the website:

“Yield to Life … is devoted to creating a safer environment for cyclists and, by so doing, encouraging more people to ride for their own health, the good of the environment and the well being of society.”

You can join at the website.

Garmin

This was a great day for US-based Garmin Slipstream. In addition to Zabriskie's win, team member Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, BC, won Stage 12 at the Vuelta a Espana. It was the second consectuive victory for Garmin, whose Tyler Farrar won Stage 11.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2009/09/11/zabriskie-takes-overall-lead-in-tour-of-missouri-bike-race/

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