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Anderson beats pileup, rest of Stage 5 field TOUR DU PONT


HAGERSTOWN -- Motorola rider Phil Anderson leaned into the last turn at about 40 mph. His goggles were dusty, his legs pounding, his long blond pigtail trailing behind him.

The finish was in sight, just up the next hill and if he could shake Davis Phinney, he knew he could catch Chevrolet/LA Sheriff's rider Steve Hegg, who was just ahead.

It was then he heard the noise and looked back. There on the hot asphalt were Phinney and his bike, and there, too, was the rest of the field, scrambling to avoid crashing into him.

Now Anderson had only one rider to beat. Moments later, Hegg was behind him and he threw his arms in the air in exaltation as he crossed the finish line in Stage 5 of the Tour Du Pont.

"It was just a matter of circumstances for me," said Anderson, the only Australian in the race. "My team had gotten me out in front and I was not involved in the crash."

Anderson won the 133-mile road race in by a bike length over Spago rider Scott McKlinley in 5 hours, 52 minutes, 30 seconds. Hegg was third.

Anderson won for several reasons. One was a two-way radio device used only by his team and the U.S. Amateur team here. The in-race conversation enabled team manager Jim Ochowicz to determine that Anderson was his strongest rider coming into the city.

"When I decided Phil was our guy, I told the rest of the team to work for him," said Ochowicz. "The only way Phil could win was with teamwork."

The other reason was Phinney's misfortune.

"Davis tried to follow me through the corner, and I guess it was too fast," said Anderson. "It's easier if you're first, because you can see what's happening. Davis had his tire on the outside of my rear wheel. I don't know exactly what happened, but the curb could have come up too fast, there could have been a bump on the road, a bit of oil, a puff of dirt. The road is built for cars, not for bikes traveling 40 miles an hour."

Phinney, cut and scratched all along his right side, later said he had simply entered the turn too fast and lost control.

Coors Light rider David Mann held onto the overall leader's yellow jersey for the fourth day, but said he will probably lose the lead today.

Stage 6, which was to start at 7:45 this morning, begins in Sharpsburg and heads for South Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, before finishing 151 miles later in Massanutten Resort.

"I'll be surprised if I'm sitting here [today]," he said. "I'm not a climber, and we're heading into the mountains. I have felt better each day, but it is going to be very difficult for me. If somehow I manage to hold on, a second day of that or Wintergreen [Mountain] will be the end of me Thursday."

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