The Tour de Moore is one of the few road races that are a part of the Southeast calendar. With a history going back to 1976, this road race has attracted the Southeast’s most talented riders. Adam Myerson writes on his site that Paul Curley, the 1984 Tour de Moore winner, “taught him how to race bikes like other people played chess; shrewd, calculating, cutthroat.” The roll call of past champions at the Tour de Moore include Matt Eaton, winner of the 1993 Milk Race in England; Jim Copeland and Kent Bostick. This past Saturday a new champion of Tour de Moore was added to the honor roll – Boyd Johnson of Team Globalbike.
Eighty-eight riders were lined up to contest 102 rolling miles in Southern Pines, North Carolina. The course was lollipoped shaped – the riders went out along the slightly meandering Lakebay Road then the pro 1/ 2 field did eight loops around Lake Surf and then returned to town. With the rolling terrain it was expected that the winner would come from a break away.
The action heated up in the men’s field with an attack by Johnson during the penultimate lap on what was considered the steepest hill of the loop. The Globalbike rider was brought back but it was a warning to the rest of the bunch.
“I told my guys I was feeling good,” said Johnson.
On the last lap around the lake, Johnson tried his luck again, but he was chased down by the ever vigilant peloton. It was looking like the winner was going to come from the field sprint.
In the run up to the finish Johnson was being shepherded around the peloton by his teammate Thad Dulin. Dulin had recently won the Rock Hill criterium in an impressive solo move, so he obviously had the strength and power to keep Johnson out of the wind.
With one kilometer to the finish the hulking frame of Globalbike rider Simon Bennett went to the front of the peloton. This former competitive swimmer from Australia was struggling through the race with leg cramps, but in those closing meters he charged hard to insure the lead out would be successful. All the while Johnson could be heard yelling at his teammates – encouraging them on. Bennett’s effort put the entire group on the ropes.
Lurking in the lead out was Mountain Khakis rider Pat Raines. In those final meters Raines took over with such a hard effort that he tore away from the peloton, with Johnson tucked into his slipstream.
With 200 meters to the line Johnson launched and passed Raines. The momentum from Raines effort gave Johnson a gap of at least six lengths between him and the rest of the field.
“This was one of the best organized races I’ve ever been to,” said the victorious Johnson. “To get this many racers to compete in a 102 mile race is great.”
One lure for the pro 1/ 2 field might have been the fact that they were racing for free, but with also a $4,000 purse and another $900 in primes!
Next year the promoters are promising to tie the Tour de Moore in with the town’s annual festival and create a bigger and better race.
Co-promoter Todd Stout was pleased with the day’s outcome, “We had a picture perfect day for the race and five former winners on the line. Kent Bostick, Scottie Weiss,Chris Harkey, Paul Ward and Parker McConville. The Pro-Am was free to everyone and no former winner will ever pay to race. It came to a field sprint and Boyd Johnson took it out. Hats off to him, he joined a prestigious list of winners.”
Full race results here.