Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oscar Sevilla Keeps "Rocking"!

Riding with white bandages on his chin and wrists, Sevilla and more than 130 other riders slugged it out against strong crosswinds in rain showers during a race that began in Qinghai Lake and traveled to Bird Island. The 75-mile (120 km) course included one Category 3 climb in the final 10 miles (16 km).

Despite injuries to his left wrist and rib cage – which makes breathing difficult – Sevilla’s legs are good, Rock Racing Team Director Mariano Friedrick said.

“They (his legs) are the ones literally pushing him spiritually,” Friedrick said. “His morale is as high as ever and he is looking forward to the next few days, as he knows he’ll start to feel better physically.”

Sevilla and the Rock Racing team drove the peloton in the closing miles to significantly close the gap on a two-man breakaway that stayed away to the finish. However, the margin between stage winner Kristjan Fajt (Perutnina Ptuj) and Sevilla’s group – which included teammate Tyler Hamilton – was only 14 seconds. Sevilla finished 14th and Hamilton was 15th on the stage.

Fajt’s winning margin and time bonus lifted him into the overall lead while Sevilla slid two spots to fifth overall, 12 seconds back. Hamilton is 13th, 21 seconds behind, and Rock Racing’s Michael Creed is also in the top 25 (25th, at 19 seconds).

Monday’s 95-mile (152 km) Stage 4 goes from Bird Island to Xihaizhen and includes a pair of categorized climbs in the final 20 miles (32 km).

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