COLUMBIA - In a frantic sprint to the finish line in downtown Columbia, Luciano Pagliarini of Brazil won stage 4 of the Tour of Missouri in five hours, seven minutes, and 52 seconds.
Second place went to Andrew Pinfold of Canada, with Ivan Dominguez of Cuba taking third. The stage win came 25 days after the birth of Pagliarini’s daughter. The two events have made this a very happy time for Pagliarini.
“(My family) give me energy and power,” Pagliarini said, a Brazilian flag draped over his shoulders after the race. “I know that I can win so many races like this one. I am so happy. This was a good moment, not just for my season, but for my life.”
Pagliarini rides for the Saunier-Duval Prodir team, one of two UCI ProTour teams in the race. The other is Discovery Channel, the team of the overall leader after stage 4, George Hincapie.
Stage 4 was the tour’s longest stage at 133 miles from Lebanon to Columbia. “It was a long day,” Hincapie said. About two hours into the race, 10 riders broke away from the group, called the peloton. The breakaway cyclists built up a five-minute lead, but after passing through Jefferson City the main group of riders began to catch up. Toyota-United riders Chris Baldwin and Ivan Dominguez led the charge as the peloton whittled the breakaway riders’ lead down to just under a minute. Pagliarini and his teammates also helped lead the peloton’s charge.
A few miles outside of Columbia, two of the breakaway riders, Darren Lill and Jeff Louder, sprinted off by themselves into the lead. The rest of the breakaway riders were soon overtaken by the peloton. Louder, who had a daughter of his own two weeks ago, and Lill, who won the most aggressive rider jersey, held off the charging peloton for a few miles before yielding to the pack at the Highway 63 overpass. Louder patted Lill on the back as their breakaway bid failed and they were overtaken.
Now only a few miles from the finish, the riders turned north on Rock Quarry Road in one big pack. Missouri native Dan Huff and his Team Slipstream teammates moved into the lead, which drew cheers from the thousands watching the race on a big screen at the finish line. However, Huff and his teammates fell back near the end of Rock Quarry Road. Discovery Channel’s Yaroslav Popovych took a short-lived lead with a charge up the hill where Rock Quarry Road intersects with Stadium Boulevard.
Several riders made runs at the lead as the riders raced down College Avenue. It was there that Pagliarini saw his chance and rode into the lead through a narrow opening.
“I was not in good position,” he said. “...I see a little room and I go there. It was very lucky for me.” Pagliarini, who resides in Italy, said he arrived in Missouri the day before the first stage. The seven-hour time difference from Italy was a problem for him. By Stage 4 on Friday, he said “I am like American time.”
After the race, Columbia mayor Darwin Hindman discussed the success of the race, saying it was the “greatest race in the state of Missouri.”
“It’s been wonderful for Columbia,” Hindman said. “Everybody I’ve talked to is talking about how much fun this is, and we’d like to have it come back to Columbia.”
The Tour of Missouri continues tomorrow with Stage 5 beginning in Jefferson City. The race concludes Sunday in St. Louis.