Stage five of the 2008 Tour de Nez, a 45-mile up and down affair in and around the Village at Northstar resort, gave onlookers one last chance to see the main protagonists of the stage race fight it out on the tough technical course. The 1.75-mile loop took riders over stretches of the cobblestones that run through the village, lending an old-school feel to the race.

By Briggs Heaney

2008 Tour de Nez, stage 5: Roman Kilun (HealthNet) sprints home for the win
2008 Tour de Nez, stage 5: Roman Kilun (HealthNet) sprints home for the win

Photo: Action Images

Stage five of the 2008 Tour de Nez, a 45-mile up and down affair in and around the Village at Northstar resort, gave onlookers one last chance to see the main protagonists of the stage race fight it out on the tough technical course. The 1.75-mile loop took riders over stretches of the cobblestones that run through the village, lending an old-school feel to the race.

As usual, the action came fast and furious, as the overall race leader Andy Bajadali of the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team, held a tenuous four second lead over BMC’s Scott Nydam, five seconds on Symmetric’s Eric Wohlberg and a further 18 seconds on Bissell’s Burke Swindlehurst. All signs pointed to a showdown among the leading trio, but as happens so often in cycling, a different scenario played out.

The strongest team in the race, Bissell, initiated the action right away as Graham Howard, the brother of stage one winner Steven, went clear early with four others, including SRAM’s Ben Raby, Zteam’s Paul Mach, stage three winner Roman Kilun and Vitamin Cottage’s Jonathan Baker, second in stage three behind Kilun.

With only eight laps remaining, Bissell ratcheted up the pace, as Aaron Olson went off in search of the breakaway, and behind them, Garmin-Chipotle’s Steven Cozza, Team 5 Star Waste Vegetable Oil’s Karl Bordine and Bissell’s Tom Zirbel worked hard to bridge to the leading group of five.

Two laps later, the breakaway was nine strong, with Zirbel and Howard pinning it at the front. Bajadali’s Kelly Benefit Strategies squad suffered a bit of bad luck, as Bajadali explained. “The race was really tight, and we needed all our guys to battle Bissell. They brought a full GC team, so we had out work cut out for us. Candelario flatted and really had to dig to get back. By the time he reconnected, he was really tired. Dan Bowman too was really fatigued, so I got isolated and was unable to match Bissell’s power.”

As the race went inside the final five laps, both Howard and Zirbel put in huge pulls at the front, increasing the gap to Bajadali and the chasing field. Olson took over with three to go, and dragged the remaining four riders the rest of the way home. In what seemed like an impossibility, the
affable 30 year old from Bend, Oregon was able to create enough of a time gap to take the overall title for the 2008 Tour de Nez.

Olson was obviously happy with the result, and described it as his biggest win to date. “I was able to win because of my teammates. They sacrificed themselves for my benefit. Graham Howard probably could have won today, but he sacrificed himself so that I could try for the overall. I’ve been feeling my form coming along over the last few weeks, and I was able to go with some of the better climbers, so I knew I had a good chance today for the overall win. For me, winning the overall is pretty special, especially considering the guys I beat this week.”

In the battle for the stage win, it was all Health Net’s Roman Kilun, as the Oakland, California native took his second stage win ahead of SRAM’s Ben Raby and Baker (Vitamin Cottage) This time, Kilun won on a hilly, tough course, showing his versatility as a rider.

“It’s been a really great week. When you’re relaxed and having fun, I think it makes it easier.
With this race, it feels like family with Tim Helion and his crew. I come here every year, and it just seems to get better and better.”

In the final jersey competitions, Kelly Benefit’s Dan Bowman wrapped up the climber’s purple jersey, while team Rubicon-Orbea’s Carson Miller netted the best U-23 white jersey. For the green sprinter’s title, it was Roman Kilun, riding his two big wins in the five-stage race. Olson meanwhile can bask in
the glow of victory, as he scored the red overall winner’s jersey, which matches his red Bissell kit perfectly.

Photo Gallery

Results

Men’s Final FC:

1. Aaron Olson, BIS in 07:04:42
2. Andrew Bajadali, KEL in 07:04:55
3. Scott Nydam, BMC in 07:04:59
4. Eric Wohlberg, SYM in 07:05:01
5. Burke Swindlehurst, BIS in 07:05:13
6. Matthew Cooke, HEA in 07:05:24
7. Bradley White, SUC in 07:05:41
8. Paul Mach, ZTE in 07:06:41
9. Corey Collier, HEA in 07:06:54
10. Steven Cozza, SLI in 07:07:34
11. Andy Jacques-maynes, CAL in 07:08:46
12. Jonathan Baker, VIT in 07:11:51
13. Justin England, TOY in 07:13:50
14. James Mattis, CAL in 07:14:16
15. Roman Kilun, HEA in 07:17:02
16. Ricardo Escuela, SUC in 07:17:15
17. Carson Miller, ROR in 07:19:12
18. Roman Van Uden, ROR in 07:19:20
19. Tom Zirbel, BIS in
20. Daniel Bowman, KEL in 07:20:35
21. Jackson Stewart, BMC in 07:22:40
22. Adam Livingston, 5SW in 07:23:36
23. John Hunt, CAL in 07:26:48
24. Ian Holt, US in 07:27:38
25. Ben Raby, SRM in 07:28:36
26. Karl Bordine, TEA in 07:28:38
27. Adam Switters, ROC in 07:29:00
28. Dirk Friel, VIT in 07:29:42
29. Ben Bradshaw, KAH in 07:30:00
30. Nathaniel Deibler, 5SW in 07:30:42
31. Christian Kearney, ZTE in 07:30:52
32. Andres Gil, PAC in 07:30:56
33. Eddy Kwon, MOB in 07:34:02
34. Graham Howard, BIS in 07:34:18
35. Devon Vigus, CAL in 07:35:55
36. James Gunn-wilkinson, 5SW in 07:36:54
37. Matthew Seagrave, KAH in 07:38:07
38. Omer Kem, BIS in 07:38:19
39. Justin Kerr, LIQ in 07:42:42
40. Andy Bestwick, ALL in 07:44:11
41. Chris Swan, ZTE in 07:44:25
42. Ian Mckissick, BMC in 07:45:11
43. Joshua Bartlett, ROR in 07:46:26
44. Joseph Pinkerton, VIT in 07:50:38
45. Chris Winn, RMC in 07:52:02
46. Kris Koke, LIQ in 07:55:41
47. Tim Srenaski, TOK in 08:03:05
48. Dylan Clark, BPG in 08:03:11
49. Chuck Coyle, SUC in 08:07:33