Sunday, September 16, 2007

England is Lanterne Rouge

Justin England, that is. The handsome 29-year-old rider on the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team has retained the spot in which he started the Tour of Missouri and outlasted 16 riders who failed to finish the Tour. The Asheville, NC resident finishes the 2007 Tour of Missouri in the Lanterne Rouge position. His nearest neighbor in the General Classification was Brian Dziewa of Jelly Belly, 44 seconds ahead.

According to Toyota-United Communications Director Sean Weide:

"Justin relished his role as Lanterne Rouge, particular for the Stage 3 time trial. He clowned for the crowd, mugged for the camera and enjoyed all the attention that goes with being the first guy down the start ramp."

"I will also put in that he worked his tail off on the final stage. I was looking at photographs from the final two laps of the circuit (final 20 miles) and he's on the front leading the chase of a breakaway - with several Saunier-Duval and Symmetrics and Health Net racers lined up behind him. With only four riders left in the race, Justin had to do some of the work to ensure a sprint finish. In fact, after the break was caught, he dropped back and found teammates Chris Wherry, Heath Blackgrove and Ivan Dominguez and towed them halfway up the field where Blackgrove took over to get them up to the front with one kilometer to go."

"England said, "I sat up at the finish, just to make sure today. I was glad that the team could get stage wins to bookend the race. Ending up in the Lanterne Rouge was just a bonus.""

It's great to see a rider who clearly enjoys his job! Bravo, Justin, well done! Enjoy your off season!

Photos courtesy of Kathleen Poulos.

Update: Some more great photos of Justin and further accolades at spare cycles! He's got lots of fans out there!

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This comment has been removed by the author.
Yeah, Justin was my favorite rider to shoot at the ToM:

spare cycles: Favorite ToM rider: Justin England

well earned last-place
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