STAB alum Frischkorn strong in Tour de France
It may not be the Tour de Lance anymore, but Americans still have a reason to pay attention to this year's Tour de France. After the first three stages of cycling's premiere event, St. Anne's Belfield alum William Frischkorn is in third place, only a minute and 42 seconds off the leader's pace headed into tomorrow's racing.
Entering today's stage from Saint-Malo to Nantes, Frischkorn was 122nd out of a field of 178 cyclists. But this morning the 27-year-old quickly muscled toward the front of the pack, and at the end of the 208km stretch, he was a split-second away from besting France's Samuel Dumoulin for the fastest time of the day, and had jumped 119 spots in the overall standings. Now, the 1999 STAB grad is the top American in the field and trails only France's Romain Feillu, and Italy's Paolo Longo Borghini in his quest for le maillot jaune.
Of today's near-capture of a stage win, Frischkorn said in the post-race press conference, "I felt pretty darn good. I'm ecstatic to have done this. It's weird to feel a little bit disappointed right now, actually."
According to Bob Troy, Frischkorn's academic advisor and physics teacher while at St. Anne's, this day has been long in the making. "He was never one to boast," says Troy, "but he always had that quiet confidence about him, and he always said he wanted to ride at the highest level."
However, Frischkorn's cycling prowess was only part of what impressed Troy about his student. "At that point, he was racing 12 months a year, he'd be gone for days, even a week at a time," says Troy. "And yet, he would always come back, was on top of his work, contributed to the class, and graduated with high honors. He was the model college prep student."
Frischkorn, who is the son of PBS gardening host Rebecca, will try to maintain his high position tomorrow when he gets back on the bike in Cholet, near the Atlantic coast, for a 29km time trial– the first of this year's Tour– and then it's 232km to Chateauroux on Thursday. Live coverage of tomorrow's stage can be seen on Versus (DirecTV channel 603, Dish Network channel 131) beginning at 7:30am and then on tape delay replay throughout the afternoon starting at 2:30pm and ending at 7pm.
–photo by Frank Steele