Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  
Tour of Georgia Home
Live coverage
Competitive Cyclist
Chain Reaction
Full Speed Ahead
Look Cycle

Tour of Georgia - 2.3

Georgia, USA, April 22-27, 2003

Main Page    Live report     Photography     Results    Next stage

Prologue - April 22: Savannah, 4.2km

O'Neill makes history at inaugural Tour de Georgia prologue

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Augusta, Georgia

Photo: © Jonathan Devich
Click for larger image

Even if the Tour De Georgia never happens again, Aussie Nathan O'Neill earned a place in cycling's record books by capturing the first-ever stage of the brand new UCI 2.3 stage race that circumnavigates the Peachtree state. "It dawned on me that I made history today," O'Neill explained to Cyclingnews after a long post-stage transfer from Savannah to Augusta. "No matter what happens, I'll always have that," exclaimed the delighted 29 year old Aussie from Team Saturn.

Already dominant on the US racing scene this season, Saturn continued its strong team performances by placing six riders in the top 15 today. "Our plan was to go hard but don't crash today," explained O'Neill. "We sent the better guys early to avoid any wind that might come up or weather that might change." O'Neill's teammate Chris Horner was off seventh and rode to an early fast time of 5'02" that held until O'Neill exploded from the start house and powered to the only sub-five minute time of the day: 4'58.02" at a blistering average speed of 50.7km/hr. 7-Up's Kiwi sprinter Greg Henderson had a great ride to get close to Saturn's dynamic duo for third, as did his teammate John Lieswyn who rode to an excellent fourth place but no one could touch O'Neill today.

Photo: © Jonathan Devich
Click for larger image

Last but not least in today's Tour De Georgia prologue was Prime Alliance's Jonathan Vaughters. After a fast start, Vaughters crashed on the second turn of the course and lost almost a minute. "I went down but I'm OK," a disappointed Vaughters told Cyclingnews after the prologue. Vaughters teammate Danny Pate had a solid ride for eighth, 10 seconds behind O'Neill, while mountain biker and USPS guest rider Roland Green was the top Postal Service rider today. The Canadian almost missed his start time and was fined 30 Swiss francs for an "irregular" start. Green was just in front of an in-form Henk Vogels (Navigators) who will be a danger man until the mountains on Saturday. Two-time USPRO champ Fred Rodriguez (Vini Caldirola), newly arrived from Amstel Gold was 28th today, 16 seconds back, but the American is determined to make an impact at the Georgia tour. Massimiliano Mori (Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave') had a solid ride to finish 34th at 18 seconds, while Rabobank leader Marten Den Bakker was 79th and lost 27 seconds on leader O'Neill.

Warp speed
Photo: © Jonathan Devich
Click for larger image

Wednesday's Stage 1 is a 223km journey that rolls from Augusta, the home town of soul singer James Brown to Macon, the birthplace of proto rocker Little Richard and R&B great Otis Redding. On the road to Macon, there are three intermediate sprints with time bonuses of three, two and one seconds. "We'll be watching (Greg) Henderson tomorrow", said O'Neill of his strong Saturn squad; the 7-Up rider from New Zealand is just four seconds behind the Aussie on GC.

Once in Macon, Stage 1 concludes with tricky finishing circuits that climb steep Coleman Hill three times before the finish with time bonuses of ten, six and four seconds. "Our plan is to defend, defend and defend," said Tour De Georgia leader O'Neill of Saturn's strategy. "We've got a lot of cards to play and a lot of guys close to the lead."

With the weather forecast as warm and sunny with temperatures in the 70s and a strong side wind all day, Saturn will be looking to ride hard tempo and keep things under control and keep making history in the inaugural Tour de Georgia.

The largest stage race in the U.S. is underway

By Navigators Team Information

A year's worth of anticipation came to fruition today as the inaugural Dodge Tour de Georgia kicked off in Savannah with a 2.6-mile twisting, turning downtown prologue course. With all of the domestic U.S. professional squads and five European teams taking the start, the largest stage race in the U.S. got underway.

Right from the start good times were being posted as Michael Barry (US Postal Service) was the first rider off and posted a 5:11, which proved to be one of the better times on the day. It seemed that a lot of the early starters were poised to post strong rides as the top podium positions were set within the first 38 of the 140 starters. Saturn's on-form Nathan O'Neill had the only time that fell below 5-minutes, with a 4:58.

Navigators' Chris Wherry was on the podium in the early going with a 5:12, but several others eventually eclipsed his time, including teammates Chris Baldwin and Henk Vogels, both of whom posted 5:08. At the end of the first day, it was O'Neill followed by Chris Horner (Saturn) and Greg Henderson (7Up), with a surprise, but well-deserved result.

The first real test of this tour will be tomorrow's 136-mile (220Km) stage from Augusta to Macon.

O'Neill and Horner take top two spots at Tour of Georgia

By Giana Roberge

Held on the narrow, technical and bumpy streets of the city, the 2.6-mile Dodge Tour of Georgia prologue course saw fast times and gave a good indication of who are the riders to watch in the next six days. Hot off their back-to-back wins of Solano, Redlands, and Sea Otter the Saturn Team again topped the podium and rounded out the top ten with four of their seven riders. 7-UP also had a strong showing with Greg Henderson claiming third, and John Liewsyn in fourth.

Despite 16 corners and bumpy pavement, the fastest times for the prologue were set early in the race, with O'Neill the only rider to break the five-minute mark with a 4:58:22. Horner was only four seconds off the mark with a 5:02:55, however, the Saturn Team had to wait over two hours for the remainder of the field before they could celebrate. Just a snick behind Horner was 7-UP's Greg Henderson who had an excellent ride even with a slow leak in his rear tire. Liewsyn finished in fourth with a 5:04:80 and Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) rounded out the top five with a time of 5:06:75.

Tomorrow's stage of 136 miles should be interesting with only seconds separating the top contenders. Beginning at 10 a.m. in Augusta, the race features three opening laps of 3.3 miles, 120 miles of open road between Augusta, and three laps of a 1.8-mile finishing circuit. With 10, six and four-second time bonuses for the top three, O'Neill leads the overall by eight seconds over Horner, with Henderson at 10 seconds and a potential threat on stage one, which has two mid-race time-bonus sprints. Saturn will have their hands full defending O'Neill's Yellow Leader's Jersey, however, with a tough climb on the finishing circuit (ridden three times) in Macon, those sprint bonuses might not be a factor.


Images by Jonathan Devich/thefastrack.com

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com

  • Nervous but confident, Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) knows he can stand the test of time; the Colorado rider was U23 World Champ in 2001
  • Runner-up in today's Tour de Georgia prologue Chris Horner blasts out of the start house aboard his Team Saturn Le Mond.
  • USPS rider (and Cyclingnews columnist) Floyd Landis told us that he is feeling better and is now 100% recovered from his broken hip.


1 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Saturn Cycling Team                      4.58
2 Chris Horner (USA) Saturn Cycling Team                        0.04
3 Gregory Henderson (NZl) 7UP / Maxxis
4 John Lieswyn (USA) 7UP / Maxxis                               0.06
5 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Saturn Cycling Team                       0.08
6 Phil Zajicek (USA) Saturn Cycling Team                        0.10
7 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Navigators Cycling Team
8 Danny Pate (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
9 Roland Green (Can) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
10 Henk Vogels (Aus) Navigators Cycling Team
11 David Zabriskie (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor     0.11
12 Scott Guyton (NZl) Flanders-IteamNova.com
13 Aaron Olsen (USA) Schroeder Iron                             0.12
14 Mark McCormack (USA) Saturn Cycling Team
15 Tom Danielson (USA) Saturn Cycling Team
16 Jeff Louder (USA) Navigators Cycling Team                    0.13
17 Vassili Davidenko (Rus) Navigators Cycling Team
18 Michael Barry (Can) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
19 David Clinger (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
20 Chris Wherry (USA) Navigators Cycling Team                   0.14
21 Matt Decanio (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
22 Jacob Erker (Can) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team                0.15
23 David O'Loughlin (Irl) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
24 Michael Jones (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
25 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Navigators Cycling Team                  0.16
26 Brent Dawson (Aus) Jelly Belly
27 Tim Larkin (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
28 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
29 Jason Mccartney (USA) 7UP / Maxxis                           0.17
30 Douglas Ziewacz (USA) 7UP / Maxxis
31 Andy Bajadali (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports                    0.18
32 Chann McRae (USA) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team
33 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
34 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé
35 Kevin Monahan (USA) 7UP / Maxxis                             0.19
36 Alex Candelario (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team            0.20
37 Steve Larsen (USA) Webcor
38 Jamie Drew (Aus) Flanders-IteamNova.com
39 Jason Bausch (USA) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team
40 Brice Jones (USA) 7UP / Maxxis
41 Tim Johnson (USA) Saturn Cycling Team
42 Saul Raisin (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
43 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Cycling Team                   0.21
44 Chris Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly
45 Erik Saunders (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
46 John Peters (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
47 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                              0.22
48 Mariano Friedick (USA) Jelly Belly
49 Miguel Angel Meza Flores (Mex) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team
50 Roman Peter (Swi) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
51 Adam Livingston (USA) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team            0.23
52 Pete Knudsen (USA) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team
53 Mark Fitzgerald (USA) Jelly Belly
54 Damon Kluck (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
55 Jonathan Sundt (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team
56 Alan Iacuone (Aus) Flanders-IteamNova.com
57 Antonio Cruz (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
58 Oleg Grishkine (Rus) Navigators Cycling Team
59 Adham Sbeih (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
60 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
61 Benjamin Brooks (Aus) Jelly Belly                            0.24
62 David Wenger (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
63 Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank
64 Scottie Weiss (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
65 Svein Tuft (Can) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
66 Conor Hurley (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
67 Karl Bordine (USA) Colavita Bolla                            0.25
68 Chad Hartley (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team
69 Troy White (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
70 Uros Murn (Slo) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé                       0.26
71 Christopher Pic (USA) 7UP / Maxxis
72 James Mattis (USA) Webcor Cycling Team
73 Robbie Ventura (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor
74 Dane Jankowiak (USA) Schroeder Iron Cycling Team
75 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank                                0.27
76 Derek Wilkerson (USA) Jelly Belly
77 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
78 Charles Dionne (Can) Saturn Cycling Team
79 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank
80 Oscar Pineda (Gua) 7UP / Maxxis
81 Jake Rosenbarger (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team            0.28
82 David McKenzie (Aus) Flanders-IteamNova.com
83 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita Bolla
84 Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita Bolla
85 Niko Biskner (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar                    0.29
86 Antonio Rizzi (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé
87 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Rabobank
88 Patrick Heaney (USA) Webcor
89 Jesse Lawler (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team
90 Jeff Angermann (USA) Webcor
91 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
92 Kirk Albers (USA) Jelly Belly
93 Stirling Magnell (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
94 Remmert Wielinga (Ned) Rabobank                              0.30
95 Massimo Amichetti (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé
96 Jonathan Hamblen (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
97 Russell Hambey (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
98 Brian Forbes (USA) Jelly Belly
99 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank                             0.31
100 Matt Dubberley (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
101 Jos Pronk (Ned) Dutch National Team
102 Benjamin Sharp (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team             0.32
103 Sebastian Alexandre (USA) Colavita Bolla
104 Todd Littlehales (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar
105 Jürgen Landrie (Bel) Flanders-IteamNova.com
106 Marco Gilli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
107 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
108 Addy Engels (Ned) Rabobank
109 Michael H. Luther (USA) Colavita Bolla                      0.33
110 Jacob Fetty (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team
111 Jonathon Page (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team
112 Trent Wilson (Aus) Flanders-IteamNova.com
113 David Wyandt (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                      0.34
114 Moreno Di Biase (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé
115 Matteo Cappe' (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé                  0.35
116 Farnoud Van Groen (Ned) Dutch National Team
117 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Dutch National Team
118 Dominique Perras (Can) Flanders-IteamNova.com
119 Dion Murk (Ned) Dutch National Team
120 Nathan Russell (Aus) Colavita-Bolla                         0.36
121 David De La Fuente (Spa) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
122 Jeff Hopkins (Aus) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team
123 Vincent Van Rijn (Ned) Van Hemert Groep                     0.37
124 Kenny Labbe (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor        0.38
125 Ted Huang (USA) Webcor Cycling Team
126 Dirk Peetoom (Ned) Dutch National Team
127 Wesley Seigler (USA) West Virginia Cycling Team             0.39
128 Jon Erdelyi (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports                     0.40
129 Shawn Willard (USA) Colavita Bolla
130 Wouters Mol (Ned) Dutch National Team                       0.41
131 Lionel Syne (Bel) Webcor Cycling Team                       0.42
132 Dario Falquier (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                    0.44
133 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Dutch National Team
134 Kurt Garin (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team                 0.47
135 Greg Wolf (USA) Colavita Bolla
136 Andrew Deters (USA) Jittery Joe's Cycling Team              0.49
137 Markus Wimmer (Aut) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé                  0.51
138 Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval   0.52
139 Chris Baumann (USA) Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar                  0.53
140 Jonathan Vaughters (USA) Prime Alliance Cycling Team        1.09


1 Saturn                                                       15.06
2 7 Up Maxxis                                                   0.15
3 Navigators                                                    0.21
4 US Postal Service                                             0.22
5 Prime Alliance                                                0.25
6 Schroeder Iron                                                0.33
7 OFOTO Lombardi Sports                                         0.37
8 Flanders Iteamnova                                            0.42
9 Jelly Belly Carlsbad Clothing                                 0.47
10 West Virginia Pro Cycling                                    0.51
11 Sierra Nevada Clif Bar                                       0.54
12 Vini Caldiroal Sidermec                                      1.00
13 Rabobank                                                     1.01
14 Formaggi Pinzolo
15 Webcor                                                       1.03
16 Jittery Joe's Coffee                                         1.04
17 Colavita Bolla                                               1.09
18 Dutch National                                               1.29