Viatcheslav Bobrik knows what's about to happen. But there's not much he can do but keep pedalling in the Tour de Trump bicycle race and hope for the best.
Bobrik, a Soviet amateur riding in his first major race, finished 39th in a large pack of riders Monday - 5 minutes and 1 second behind stage six winner Pascal Poisson of France - and maintained his 2:43 overall race lead over Raul Alcala of Mexico.Poisson surged three times in the final five miles before outsprinting amateur Paul McCormack of Ireland en route to his victory in the 125-mile Charlottesville-to-Winchester Road Race.
Bobrik, meanwhile, is riding in the first major race of his career and is expected to lose his advantage in the next few days when the pros begin to ride aggressively.
"I'm not particularly nervous," said the 19-year-old Bobrik, who took the race lead last Saturday after winning the Fredericksburg-to-Richmond Road Race. "But you always have to be aware of what's going on around you. I believe an attack is eminent."
Poisson, 31, a veteran Tour de France competitor and a teammate of reigning Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, negotiated the hilly country road course in 5 hours, 25 minutes, 29 seconds.
McCormack finished second in the road race in the same time. Todd Gogulski of Sante Fe, N.M., who rode much of the final 50 miles as a co-leader, was third, 17 seconds behind the winner.
"The team knows as well as you know that Greg is not in top shape," Poisson said. "But a rider like LeMond needs strong riders around him, and we want to show him we are in top shape."
LeMond of Wayzata, Minn., rebounded from his disastrous race Sunday, when he lost 26 minutes. He finished 107th in the lead trailing pack, also 5:01 behind the winner.
But LeMond, who was penalized another minute for not signing in with officials for the start of the stage, is now 115th out of 122 riders, 30:49 behind the leader.
Poisson, who as long ago as 1984 won a stage of the Tour de France, has been riding in the famed race for nearly 10 years.
Canadian Steve Bauer, who also finished in the main trailing pack, remained third overall, 2:59 behind Bobrik. The remaining 10 top places in the overall standings also stayed the same.
None of the top three stage finishers entered the race as challengers to the race leader. Poisson was the highest in the standings, and his victory moved him from 43rd to 33rd position, 7:59 behind Bobrik.
Defending race champion Dag Otto Lauritzen of Norway, recovering from a broken hand, is 46th overall, 13:19 behind.
With McCormack and Gogulski, Poisson broke away from the main field 73 miles into the race. The field, which had ridden intact for the first 60 miles into Shenandoah National Park, was content to let the threesome ride alone.
Through much of the remaining miles of rolling countryside roads, the trio rode together, exchanging turns in the lead to reduce wind resistence. The leaders built their cushion to as much as 10:05 before the large trailing group began to chase.
The 11-day, 1,107-mile event continues Tuesday with the 141.7-mile Winchester to Harrisburg Road Race. The Tour de Trump concludes May 13 in Boston.