Tour de Georgia - 2.1
USA, April 19-24, 2005
Results & report
Stage 4 - April 22: Dalton to Dahlonega, 214.7km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
and Eddie Monnier
Complete live report
Welcome to our slightly delayed (due
to technical problems) coverage of the fourth stage of the Dodge Tour de Georgia.
Today's stage is the longest of the tour, measuring 214 km/134 miles, and takes
us from Dalton to Dahlonega. En route, there are five king of the mountain climbs
to tackle: Cat. 2 Fort Mt (km 38), Cat. 3 Woody Gap (km 136.8), Cat. 2 Neel's
Gap (km 166), Cat. 2 Wolfpen Gap (km 177) and Woody Gap again at km 192. There
are also two intermediate sprints at km 23 and km 62.
a tough stage, and race leader Floyd Landis and his Phonak team will have their
work cut out to defend his jersey, especially after losing teammate Jose Enrique
Gutierrez to knee/tendon problems overnight.
10:34 EDT 16km/198.7km to go
Today's stage started
in cool, overcast conditions, but unlike yesterday, no rain...yet. The forecast
is for "intermediate thunderstorms", so that should make things fun later on.
The first sprint at Chatsworth (km 22) carries a $1500 bonus for the first rider
across the line. At the moment, the Health Net team is leading the peloton at
a steady 40 km/h pace. It's fairly flat as we wind through the outskirts of
10:39 EDT 18km/196.7km to go
We've had a fairly
steady start to the day, Health Net have been leading the way through the twisty,
windy roads out of Dalton. We are now taking a right turn into a wide open road
with only 4 km to go before the first sprint of the day. The first sprint also
holds a $1500 cash bonus.
A big Happy birthday to Robbie Hunter,
the winner of stage one. The stage win being a nice early birthday present for
10:41 EDT 21km/193.7km to go
One kilomter to
the sprint. No attacks or movement from the bunch, Health Net leading the way.
A fairly straight forward sprint, slightly downhill. After the sprint the road
continues to go downhill.
The speed is picking up now leading
into the sprint.
10:46 EDT 22km/192.7km to go
The sprint is in
the town of Chatsworth. About eight or nine riders are contesting the sprint.
The birthday boy is up there!....... but its Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita) taking
Taking second in the sprint was Greg
Henderson (Health Net), followed by Robbie Hunter.
The counter attacks
are coming now. First one is Dominique Perras (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada).
He has opened up quite a gap very quickly.
The road is starting to go up now
for the first climb of the day. Its a tough one up Fort Mountain, climbing 876m
(2875ft) in 11km (7miles). Its a category two climb and could definitely split
things up if attacked.
If the pace is hard up this climb,
dropped riders will be in danger of not making the time cut at the end of the
day as at the top of the climb, we still have a long way to go.
Perras has been reeled in and Jose
Rubiera (Discovery) is off the front now as they head up the climb.
Rubiera is joined by Marco Pinotti
(Saunier Duval) and Andy Schleck (CSC). Matthias Russ (Gerolsteiner) is trying
to bridge the gap.
The break is now four and they have
20 seconds on the field. The climb has been steep and windy and is coming up
to a slightly flatter section.
Rubiera is pushing the pace of this
break, obviously the big plan from Discovery to make Phonak work hard today.
The gap is now 35 seconds.
11:12 EDT 35km/179.7km to go
Rubiera still forcing
the pace on the front of the break of four, who have 30 seconds now. Health
Net have been on the front of the bunch and now Jason McCartney, the winner
of the stage last year, has attacked the bunch in chase of the leaders.
The gap from the leading four to McCartney
is 22 seconds, with the bunch another eight seconds back. The climb is a tough
one at the top as it is more rolling hills, up and down until the top. Three
kilometers until the summit now, which holds another $1500 bonus for the first
across the line.
11:19 EDT 28km/186.7km to go
The have reached
the King of the Mountain sprint now and Rubiera took the sprint. McCartney has
been reabsorbed by the bunch and another riders has gone off the front in pursuit
of the leaders. It is Elia Aggiano (LPR) and he is chasing down the descent.
The break has increased in number
as they descend Fort Mountain. Aggiano made it up to the break and Sven Krauss
(Gerolsteiner) has also joined the leaders. The descent is windy,lots of turns.
They are traveling down the hill at 42 miles/hour. They gap is still 35 seconds.
The climb really split up the peloton.
It is now in three main groups chasing the break which is now six riders.
There are also riders dropped off
the back altogether who will have to try and get together and form a group.
Riding alone to the finish from here will make it almost impossible to make
the time cut off.
Phonak have moved to the front of the front chase
group now and have four guys setting pace.
11:37 EDT 54km/160.7km to go
The gap is now over
11:41 EDT 54km/160.7km to go
The rain has started!.....along
with some thunder and lightening.
The break now has 1'15" on the field
and they are approaching the second Maxxis sprint of the day which is in the
town of Alijay.
Three km to go till the sprint. The
rain seems to have stopped at the sprint line and the road is dry. THe sprint
is a windy sprint. There is a dip down at the one kilomter work followed by
a sweeping right. At 500m to go it dipped down into town. It doesn't look like
it has rained here at all. With 200m to go there is a hard turn, then a round
about and then a 150m to the line. Its pretty crazy. Probably a good thing that
there is a breakaway group.
Just to recap, the six riders in the
break are Rubiera (Discovery), Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval), Andy Schleck (CSC),
Matthias Russ (Gerolsteiner), Elia Aggiano (LPR) and Marco Pinotti (LPR).
11:59 EDT 67km/147.7km to go
The sprint was taken
by Krauss, followed by Schleck and Pinotti and the break is passing through
the feed zone. The gap seems to be coming down a little now and sits at 1'05".
This is the first feed zone of this long stage.
A few riders have abandoned the race
after getting dropped on the climb. They are Ivan Dominguez, Rafael Casero Moreno
(Saunier Duval), Evan Elken (Jittery Joe's), and John Murphy of the US National
Pinotti has been dropped from the
break and is sitting up to wait for the field. Phonak still setting the pace
on the front of the field.
Following the feed zone, the time
gap from the peloton to the break has shot up to two minutes. The guys in the
break seem to be working well together now as we gradually climb now until we
hit the next KOM sprint which is at Woody Gap. The race goes up Woody Gap twice
in this race. The first time at 136km and then it does a loop, taking in Neel's
Gap and Wolfpen Gap before hitting Woody Gap again at the 192km mark.
The top ten is General Classification
after yesterdays time trial are:
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.19
3 Christopher Baldwin
(USA) Navigators Insurance 0.22
4 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 0.28
5 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Navigators Insurance 0.43
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA)
7 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 1.00
Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel 1.21
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel
10 Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC 1.47
We hear that a couple of TIAA Cref
riders pulled out of the race in the feed zone. It was certainly a tough start
to the day.
There is still some intermittent rain
and the clouds still loom overhead.
12:19 EDT 80km/134.7km to go
This is the part
of the course where its gradually uphill. There is not categorized climbs here
but its just up and down (mostly up!) and it hurts. The break are still working
well together. At this point they are climbing at about 15miles/h, and picking
up to 20m/h as the road flattens out a little. Their lead has increased to 2'50".
The team cars of the riders in the
break are moving up every now and again to talk to their riders. Discovery has
been up there to have a chat with Rubiera adn now the Gerolsteiner car is moving
The rain is really coming down now
and doesn't look like its going to let up. According to a few readers writing
in, the weather report is not in the riders favour. It's going to be one of
12:28 EDT 88km/126.7km to go
The break still
working together quite well as they tackle this steady rolling climbs. The gap
stands at 2'50".
The rain is really strong now and
the lightning is getting worse. The caravan have been instructed to turn their
headlights on. The gap is now at 2'30" and the break is now on a little descent.
The Tyler Hamilton fans are out on
the sign of the road. The riders have just gone past a sign that says "Free
Excuse the delay. Things have gone
from bad to worse out on the course. The rain is really bad now and riders can
hardly see in front of them. All media cars and unneccesary cars have been sent
up the road out of the way.
There is more lightening now and the
wind is really blowing and there is even hail coming down now.
13:08 EDT 112km/102.7km to go
Seventy miles into
the race now and the break is still away and have a gap of 1'35". Back in the
peloton Phonak are still setting a steady pace and there looks to be about 60
riders left in this main group.
It won't be long now before the race
reaches Woody Gap for the first time. Today though, it won't be the climb that
is the worry so much, but the descent which has some nasty turns and will be
dangerous in the rain.
The storm has lowered the weather
dramatically. The hail is getting bigger!
13:21 EDT 120km/94.7km to go
The gap is now 1'30"
and Phonak are on the front as they race approach Woody Gap. They haven't started
climbing yet, but it will start very soon.
Back in the peloton Lance Armstrong
has gone back to his team car twice in the last five minutes. He's most likely
making sure he has enough food for the climb.
According to weather reports, it will
rain hard for another ten minutes or so and then hopefully calm down a little.
Who believes those things?? But hopefully they are correct this time.
Only a few weeks ago there was snow
on Wolfpen Gap. At least we don't have that today, but hail is not much better
I would say!
It is very unlikely for a bike race
to be called off, even in this bad weather.
13:29 EDT 125km/89.7km to go
Rubiera has just
attacked at the beginning of Woody Gap and has gapped the other riders in the
Rubiera, Schleck and Rich are the
leaders now and are pulling away from the rest of the riders in the break. Aggiano
has been dropped and falling back quickly.
The rain has now stopped but its still
dark overhead and the roads are still wet and will be treacherous on the descent.
Rubiera is really pushing the pace
When they get to the top of this climb
they have a long, windy, steep descent and then immediately start climbing Neel's
Gap. This is really going to hurt the legs, especially because its cold and
their legs are going to get all stiff going doing the descent.
The main GC riders are all still in
the bunch. Floyd looks comfortable (as much as he can be in this weather) and
is being well looked after by his team.
Rubiera still leads the front group
of three riders and they have a lead of about 1'40" to the peloton. They are
climbing Woody Gap and there are still some really good crowds on the Mountain,
despite the weather.
13:46 EDT 136km/78.7km to go
The leaders are
going over Woody Gap now and putting on their jackets for the descent. They
will have to be cautious here as the roads are still wet. Their lead still stands
at around 1'40".
In ten kilomters they'll reach the
bottom of the descent before going over some rolling climbs and hitting Neel's
One reader just wrote in to ask if
Floyd is a good climber. We have all seen how he helped Lance in the mountains
at last years Tour de France. Now that he is a leader of the team and getting
looked after by his teammates, who knows what he can do. He certainly showed
yesterday that he has great form.
The KOM sprint wasn't contested but
Rubiera took the points, crossing the line first. The three leaders are working
well together on the decent. When they reach the bottom in a few moments they
will meet up with the second feed zone of the day.
You might notice that I just made
a correction to the names of the three riders in the break. It is Rubiera (Discovery),
Andy Schleck (CSC), Sven Krauss(Gerolsteiner). Elia Aggiano (LPR) is still in
the middle and Rich has been caught by the peloton.
Phonak are still setting the pace
at the front. They are just setting a nice even tempo. Rubiera is doing a great
job out there for Discovery.
Its still cool and overcast but the
rain has stopped. There is some light rain in Dahlonega at the finish, but things
are looking up. If the riders can get warm now it will be a bonus. It is definitely
warmer at the bottom of the hill but of course they they have to climb up again.
The break now has 2'50" to the peloton
as they head towards Neel's Gap.
We heard that Tim Johnson (Jittery
Joe's) was the first rider in the peloton to reach the KOM. He then proceeded
to attack down the hill but was reeled back in by the steady pace setting of
the Phonak team.
The gap is increasing. It is now Rubiera
is leading all the way. The others are letting him do all the work. They are
nearing the top of Neel's Gap now.
According to one reader the around
Dahlonega is sometimes referred to as Georgia's "tornado alley." After the caravan
descends off Woody Gap the second time and turns south toward Dahlonega, it
will pass through some areas which look as if they have been haphazardly cleared
of trees... not by the hand of man, but by Mother Nature herself.
14:22 EDT 161km/53.7km to go
The leaders are
4km from the top of Neel's Gap right now and the gap has come down slightly.
It is now 2'55 and Rubiera is still being forced to do all the work. He is out
of the saddle pounding away. There is not really a crowd on this climb, they
will all still be gathered on Woody Gap, when we reach there the next time.
We can see the organisers of the Tour
of California out on the course, as well as some representatives from the California
Police. They'd be checking out how things run here and how the cops do their
job keeping the roads safe.
Here we go! We have a break out of
the peloton. Jason McCartney (Discovery) attacked taking Michael Blaudzin (CSC),
Saul Raisin (Credit Agricole) with him. Two riders, Christian Vande Velde (CSC)
and Jose Azvedo (Discovery) have brided up to them and the group of five have
a 200m gap on the bunch at this point.
14:30 EDT 165km/49.7km to go
The leaders are
1km to go from the top of the climb, Rubiera still on the front. The chasing
five are 2'23" behind with the peloton just 10" behind.
Phonak don't have anyone in that break,
they'll be using their men to set the chase pace.
200m from the KOM. It's Rubiera in
front followed by Krauss and Schleck. It is colder at the top. The riders will
put their jackets on again to keep warm on the descent. But after this short
descent they have to climb immediately up Wolfpen Gap.
14:34 EDT 165.8km/48.9km to go
Just over the
top now. The sprint wasn't contested. Schleck and Krauss are letting Rubiera
take the points, which is simply etiquette because he is doing all the work
out there. He is currently the leader on the road. The virtual yellow jersey.
I better make a correction on the
town I talked about before. It was Elijay, not Alijay that the riders went through.
A lot of readers not happy with my spello! Sorry
The gap is coming down slightly as
we near the business end of the race. Just under two minutes at this point.
14:49 EDT 176km/38.7km to go
Rubiera has attacked
again and is heading to the KOM alone. He is only 500m to the top now. This
is the highest point of the race now at 994m (3260ft).
Behind, Schleck and Krauss are together
and behind them there is also the chase group that broke away before. Levi Leipheimer
has also attacked out of the field in an attempt to bridge. This is a vital
time of the race, as when they hit the top, there is only one more climb to
go before the big descent into Dahlonega.
Some unfortunate news for Mark Walters
(Navigators). He crashed on the Woody Gap descent and has been taken to hospital.
We spoke to Leipheimer before the
race who had no idea of what was in store for him today, not having seen the
course. He said he put a 25 cog on just to make sure he was covered on the climbs.
With the gap slowly falling, we can
expect counter attacks from Discovery who have been able to sit on back in the
chasing groups as Rubiera has been doing such a good job of keeping his small
group of three away.
Andy Schleck has just been dropped.
Its Rubiera alone and then Krauss alone.
14:59 EDT 180km/34.7km to go
At the bottom of
the descent is a narrow bridge.
15:08 EDT 183km/31.7km to go
Rubiera still leads
but his gap is dropping. Behind him is Krauss and Schleck is being caught by
the chase group. In the chase group is Jason McCartney (Discovery), as well
as Michael Blaudzin (CSC), Saul Raisin (Credit Agricole) with him. Two riders,
Christian Vande Velde (CSC) and Jose Azvedo (Discovery). Leipheimer is also
in the middle of things. The peloton, still led by Floyd's boys with one climb
The last climb of the day up Woody
Gap is not as long as the first time they climbed it, because we are already
pretty high but it will be a vital time in the race as its all downhill from
the top. Whoever has the lead going over the top has a huge advantage.
15:19 EDT 194km/20.7km to go
Its getting exciting
now. Rubiera still leads with Krauss. There is a group of 23 riders at 50 seconds
including all the GC riders. Lance is there, Julich, Floyd.
Floyd is alone in the group with no
teammates. Lance has Danielson, Azvedo and McCartney. Julich has Schleck up
the road and Zabriskie.
Only a couple of kilomters to the
top of the last climb, Woody Gap and its all down hill. Discovery are going
to be attacking up here to make Floyd do some work, as he has no teammates to
do it for him anymore. They have been working hard for him all day.
Discovery has certainly taken the
race into their hands, being aggressive and using their strong climbing team
to try to take control back from Phonak.
15:25 EDT 196km/18.7km to go
Krauss was attacking
Rubiera on the KOM, but on the descent the leading pair were caught and its
a group of 26 riders heading for the finish.
Less than 20 kilomters to go and its
all downhill except for a short rise into Dahlonega.
The finish comes into town up a steep
hill topping out at the 1km to mark before making a turn dropping around town
and then a kind of an uphill finish. Dahlonega is a quaint little country town
with a town square in the middle.
When they finish the descente, they
have some small rolling hills coming into town. The crowds are huge again. From
the 2km to go mark all the way to the finish, people are lining the roads. Last
year of course, McCartney came in solo to take the win and it was Italian Salvatore
Commesso (Saeco-Saunier Duval) who took the bunch sprint from Charles Dionne.
Last year the leading group coming into town was about ten riders larger than
15:37 EDT 214km/4km to go
Ten kilometers to go
now and Lars Bak (CSC) has attacked out of the group and has a small gap.
Bak has been reeled in and its all
together again with all the major hitters in the group. Under five km to go
15:40 EDT 212.7km/2km to go
The yellow jersey
has lost contact with the group. Attacks are coming left right and center. Pinotti
Two chasers at the 1km mark, Ekimov,
Brian Vandborg (CSC).
Going through the town square now,
less than a km to go.
Vandborg is in the lead now as they
come down the finish straight. It looks like he's going to hold it. Ekimov just
Vandborg takes the win, followed by
Pinotti comes in a few meters back
to take third place and McCartney not far behind him.
Following McCartney is the bunch.
Floyd did actually get back onto the
bunch and finished well. He will keep the leaders jersey going into the penultimate
Unofficially, Lance came in 7th today.
Brief preliminary results
1 Brian Vandborg (Den) CSC
2 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery
3 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval
4 Jason McCartney (USA) Discovery
5 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC
6 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Team LPR
7 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery
8 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak
9 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Team LPR
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