Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

May 27, 2008

Tolleson takes Tour title

Samplonius wins women's crown at Tour de Leelanau

PESHAWBESTOWN -- A late sprint, an early break-away.

Taylor Tolleson swept by a pair of Bissell riders at the final hill to win the fourth Priority Health Tour de Leelanau bicycling race on Sunday.

Anne Samplonius broke away from the pack early and rode to a two-minute victory in the women's race.

In his first Tour, Tolleson finished the race in a time of 4:15:09 with Ben Jacques-Maynes and Teddy King on either side. Competing for BMC Racing, Tolleson earned $3,200 for pushing past the Bissell riders on the ascent behind Eagle's Ridge in Peshawbestown.

"I pulled away just at the very end," Tolleson said.

"It's a full-on sprint once you hit the corner," runner-up Jacques-Maynes said. "When you unleash the legs, it's whoever has the most and that's Taylor here."

Samplonius, racing for Cheerwine, broke away 20 kilometers into the race and rode up front the rest of the way to take first in 2:58:05 and earn a $2,000 check.

"For me, (the finish) wasn't very stressful because I was out front by about two minutes," Samplonius said. "I could sit up and relax. I could crawl up that final hill, so it was fun."

Of course, Tolleson didn't have that luxury. But the BMC cyclist said he did enjoy the competition.

"It started out pretty quick and was really fast all day," he said. "It was a real good race, a real positive race. There were a lot of attacking, a lot of tactical stuff going on."

And coming up the last hill, Tolleson had enough of a kick to cross the finish line with a yell and both arms upraised.

"He's known to be a pretty good sprinter," said King, who crossed the line in 4:15:10. "I wouldn't say that it came as a surprise. He's a super-talented cyclist.

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