June 25, 2008 (Carlisle, PA) – The Canadian all-rounder Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) jumped ahead of a late-race, 18-rider breakaway to triumph in Stage 2 of the American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania presented by Highmark Healthy High 5. LaCombe took his first tour victory ahead of the South African speedster Christoff Van Heerden (Konica Minolta) and America’s own Ryan Baumann (Sakonnet Technology).
“It is so nice to race here, the roads have been beautiful and the stages are great,” said an elated Lacombe during the podium presentation held at the finish line in Carlisle. “It is just such a great opportunity for us to be here racing, and we expect to do well in the end of the week.”
The American Eagle Outfitters yellow jersey leader from Belgium, Steven Van Vooren (Johan Brunyeel Cycling Academy), joined the breakaway late in the game to continue his slender lead ahead of LaCombe and Van Heerden going into tomorrow’s lengthy stage 3 road race.
“I didn’t anticipate getting results here, but I knew I was capable of doing good things in the opening time trial,” said the overall race leader Van Vooren who has maintained a three-second lead during the first three stages. “It was a question of doing well in the prologue, and that was really the start of my ambition.
The top-notch international field set off from Downingtown this morning, which was presented by Independence Blue Cross, and finished 144 kilometers later on the streets of Carlisle, presented by Pitt Ohio Express.
The stage took riders through Lancaster County’s picturesque Amish country where the undulating terrain provided a warm-up for the event’s intermediate sprint and climbing competitions.
Stage winner Lacombe accumulated enough points in intermediate sprint competitions held in Ephrata and Hershey, combined with the extra points offered on the finish line in Carlisle, to take the lead in the Best Sprinter competition.
Australia’s Daniel Furmston (Praties Cycling Team) kicked off the start of the VisitPA.com Best Climber competition winning the stage’s only ascent over Spring Hill 74 kilometers (43 miles) into the race.
“I was really keen on getting this jersey today, especially to represent our sponsors,” said Furmston who hopes to be able to defend the red and white jersey as the peloton begins its journey through the Allegheny Mountains.
Stage 3 will start at Highmark’s headquarters in Camp Hill at 10 a.m. and travel 168 kilometers (104 miles) to Bedford on the longest day of the Tour. Predicted hot and muggy weather plus two major climbs at Tuscarora Summit 66 miles into the race and Sideling Hill at 82 miles will provide the first big challenges of the Tour, although the 20 mile downhill run-in to Bedford is expected to at least partially prevent the pure climbers from stealing the show.
B>1. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) 3:26:11
2. Christoff Van Heerden (Konica Minolta)
3. Ryan Baumann (Sakonnet Technology)
4. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast)
5. Shawn Rosenthal (ZTeaM)
14. Joel Dion-Poitras (Team RACE Pro)
25. Mark Pozniak (Team RACE Pro) 3:27:17
27. Keir Plaice (Team RACE Pro)
38. Mark Batty (Team RACE Pro) 3:29:06
75. Andrew Hunt (Team RACE Pro) 3:29:32
83. Adam Thuss (Team RACE Pro)
GC after Stage 2
1. Steven Van Vooren (Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy) 4:34:09
2. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) 0:03
3 .Christoff Van Heerden (Konica Minolta) 0:04