Tour de Georgia - 2.HC
USA, April 18-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 6 - April 23: Cumming, GA - Alpharetta, GA , 190.2km
Complete live report
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski,
Kirsten Robbins and James Huang
Welcome to the final stage of the
2006 Ford Tour de Georgia. After a spectacular battle up Brasstown Bald yesterday
the GC riders can take it a little easier today. Basically the Phonak team just
has to keep race leader Floyd Landis safe and the rest can be left up to other
teams who are going for a stage win.
The stage is a good one for
Freddie Rodriguez, who’ll be aiming to take another stage win and secure his
sprint jersey. Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) is his closest rival for
the jersey and he proved he can win these fast finishes with his stage win on
day two. We’ll have to see if his amazing performance on the mountain yesterday
has taken the kick out of his legs.
Freddie had the opportunity
to look after himself in the mountains. He said after yesterday’s stage, "I
am pretty crafty when I am trying to climb up these mountains. I finished as
best as I could, knowing that these guys were going to completely demolish me
up it. So I conserved energy and switched back and forth up the climb as best
as I could to save my legs for tomorrow."
The stage starts in the
town of Cumming. It’s another long stage. 190km in length, with the last 36km
taking place on the 6km finishing circuit. It’s the third time the race has
finished in Alpharetta, so returning riders will know the circuit well. We’ll
also see how defending champion Gord Fraser is feeling at the end today.
Another rider who will be trying to take out this stage is Juan Jose Haedo from
Toyota United. After his two impressive stage wins in the Tour of California
earlier this year, he was confident that he could take a stage here and this
is his last chance.
At the start line the National Anthem
is playing and we are about to start. We have a 3km neutral before the actual
start in the town of Cumming.
You'll be pleased to know that its
sunny today. The temperature is going to be in the 80's and no sign of rain.
The riders will be happy with that.
The Davitamon Lotto is being
called up to change the rear wheel of Preben Van Hecke.
We'll be 'cumming' back to Cumming
after 126 kilometers of racing before heading south to the finish in Alpharetta.
That was a little joke from our reporter Mark Zalewski. Yes, he's the corny
We have reached the official race
start. I think you'll find today will be a very aggressive race.
Speaking of which, we have our first attack of the day. Five riders have a gap
with three others chasing.
The road is quite winding as we head
out of town here. Now its one rider in the lead with a group of six chasing.
There's a lot of trees around here and the winding roads help breaks get out
Wesley Hartman (Targetraining) is
the rider off the front. He has 100m from the chasing group of five riders who
are just off the front of the field. We are approaching a main intersection
and the road opens up and flattens out a little bit.
We talked to
Jonathan Vaughters (TIAA CREF) before the start of the stage and he said his
team would definitely be aggressive today. "I told the guys it was their last
chance. There won't be any chances to attack tomorrow."
12:43 EDT 6km/184.2km to go
Wesley Hartman has
a gap of 150m with a bit of a headwind. I don't think he'll last long out there
Hartman has been caught by the field.
That headwind is a bit tough alone. But we have a counter attack. It's been
Vaughters said he's happy with the
way the team has raced this week. "We fried the team a little yesterday putting
so much energy into trying to keep the mountains jersey, but we didn't get it.
At least they know how to race to win. We'll get a win one day soon."
Another attack now out of the field.
Six riders have a gap. The speed has been very fast so far in this race. Three
riders have joined the leading six now with a few others trying to bridge. The
gap is eight seconds.
Landis has found himself in this break
by the looks of it. I'm sure thats not his plan but these things happen when
you're following wheels.
12:50 EDT 11km/179.2km to go
The group of nine
is 200m in front of the field 6.8 miles into the race.
We are getting a closer look now and
we can't see FLoyd in this break.
A Prodir rider has bridged to the
break, making it ten riders. It's rolling terrain here. The road is nice and
wide. The gap is ten seconds with another rider trying to bridge to the break
We talked to Floyd before the race
this morning. He's really happy with the race. He know's he has won the overall
and he said his team is just going to set pace again today. They're not too
concerned with breakaways and they're happy to let breaks go if they are not
a danger to the overall of course.
The break has been caught now and
its all back together.
Even thought Tom Danielson is only four seconds
behind Floyd in the overall standings and time bonuses could theoretically win
him the stage, its not the done thing to try and go for those to take the overall
on the last stage. The race for GC is over.
Even if Danielson tried
to go for time bonuses its unlikely that he would succeed. He's not known for
We have another attack. Five riders
have a gap and the field is all strung out with others trying to bridge.
Its all been caught again now and the peloton is all back together. Another
counter is going now with a small group trying to form off the front. We'll
see counter after counter now until something finally sticks.
13:00 EDT 19km/171.2km to go
Nine riders have
an advantage on the field. Officials have just announced that the sprint line
in Cummings has a $2500 prime on offer donated by the Cummings Forsyth Chamber
The group off the front is now 16 riders. They have
a 200m gap.
Landis and Danielson are both in this
group. Ten seconds is the gap.
The gap is out to one minute now.
In the break are Caleb Manion and
Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly), Peter Mazur (Prodir), Mike Sayers, Doug Ollerenshaw
and Jeff Louder (Health Net), Phil Zajicek (Navigators), Sean Sullivan (Toyota
United), Frank Pipp (Targetraining), Allan Johansen (CSC), Danny Pate, Craig
Lewis and Will Frischkorn (TIAA CREF), Scott Swizanski (Kodak Sierra Nevada),
and Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step).
Peter Hatton (Jittery Joe's) is chasing
13:16 EDT 29km/161.2km to go
Hatton is giving
up his chase as the race reaches Dawsonville, the town this race started at
two years ago.
13:22 EDT 34km/156.2km to go
We're on the road
to Ellijay which was one of the sprint towns a couple of days ago. The gap is
going up. It sits at 3'45".
Four minutes is the gap now. The highest
guy on GC in the break is Caleb Manion and he's 9'08" down so this is the perfect
break for Phonak to let go. You can see that TIAA CREF has three guys in the
break so their plan to be aggressive is being carried out. They don't really
have a any sprinters so a breakaway is the only way to go for them. Vaughters
gave away that we'd probably see some action from Danny Pate today.
The road surface is brand new out
here so its a nice smooth road for the break. Back in the field Phonak mans
the front for the third day in a row. Floyd has been really happy with the team
this week. They've done an amazing job.
At the start line today, our reporter
Kirsten Armstrong had a word with Floyd's wife Amber. She flew in today from
their home in Spain. She said she's been following the race online and when
she saw Floyd in the jersey she wanted to get over here to see him ride across
the line today in yellow. She added that she's not really a big cycling fan
but she's definitely a big Floyd fan. They'll go home to celebrate the win by
spending time with their baby and dog.
13:37 EDT 41km/149.2km to go
Not all the riders
in the break are working. Out of TIAA CREF team Craig Lewis and Will Frischkorn
are doing the work and Pate is saving his legs a bit. Vaughters tells us that
they're going to stay fairly quiet until the climb and try to push the pace
Tosatto isn't working much up there at the moment.
We are coming up to a rise and the
roads are opening up a little but here. 4'50" is the new gap. We have a Health
Net rider on the front at the moment. They also have three riders in the break
so will be trying to save one of them.
13:41 EDT 45km/145.2km to go
Going down that
hill now, 45km into the race. Five minutes is the new gap. The climb will be
starting in about eight kilometers.
Kirsten Robbins talked to Freddy Rodriguez
before the stage. He seems really relaxed. He said he's definitely going to
go for sprint points today and the stage win. He says its a good course for
him even with the new category three climb in the middle. The team will be riding
hard to keep the sprint jersey.
One of their key riders, Henk Vogels
pulled out yesterday. He has to start the Giro d'Italia pretty soon and didn't
want to fry himself yesterday, so thats a loss to Freddy as Henk is the perfect
lead out man. He says he does still have Nick Gates though so he'll be fine.
The riders in the break have started
the climb now. Its nice and gradual here. Quite winding with lots of trees lining
the road. It dips a little bit here before going up again.
They are going past a private lake
now as they start going back up. TIAA CREF is on the front setting the pace.
The gap is 5'20".
13:52 EDT 51km/139.2km to go
It looks like about
an 8% grade. Some of the guys are out of the saddle in the break. The road keeps
curving around. Still about 7km to climb.
The climb kicks up a bit here but
only for a bit. The gap has fallen a little on this climb so far. It's 5 minutes
The middle part of the climb up Burnt
Mountain has a little bit of a flat section before going up again.
14:01 EDT 54km/136.2km to go
We have an attack
off the front of the break! We're about half way up the climb. Another three
riders have attacked the break so we have four together. One of them is Zajicek.
Manion is also up there with Tosatto and Frischkorn. They have ten seconds on
the rest of the break.
They are pulling away and have 50
seconds now. Zajicek is getting dropped from the four riders. Back in the break
Danny Pate is falling off the back. He's getting a service from Mavic. He has
We are approaching 1km to the KOM
now. Danny Pate is back in the break. We have just seen that the CREF guy up
the front is Craig Lewis, not Will Frischkorn. The gap to the rest of the break
is 40" and the rest of the field are 4'00". Allan Johansen (CSC) is also in
the front group making it five riders.
We are cresting the KOM. The Quick
Step rider Leonardo Scarselli (not his teammate Matteo who we though was in
the break before), went over the top first, followed by Johansen, Manion and
Jeff Louder has a flat in the break
and is getting a wheel change.
The gap from the leaders to the field
has gone up again to 5'20" as they are descending now.
The leaders only have 100m to the
rest of the break now. The rest of them have made back the time on the descent.
Lots of undulating road now for the next 60km or so. We'll see if the break
gets some organisation going again when it all comes back together.
The break is all back together now
as they come off the descent. Now to find some rhythm in the group again.
6'20" is the new gap. They're just
rolling along now over these rollers. They're not really organised yet. Sullivan
is off the back looking for his team car.
They are on a bit of a descent now.
Back in the field Phonak sets a nice even pace. There's a three mile gap between
the break and the field.
Back to Fast Freddie and his plan
today, we talked to the man who he's going to look to for a leadout today, Nick
Gates. Nick says he's really enjoyed his race here but that yesterday was really
tough. He made it to the last climb with the front group but he didn't eat enough
and was bonking on the way up. He added that with 1.5km to go a teammate passed
him and in that last 1.5km he lost over seven minutes to him, thats how much
he was suffering up there.
14:35 EDT 77km/113.2km to go
The gap is back
down to 6'00". In the break Leonardo Scarselli wants Mavic to change his wheel
because he has a climbing cluster on there.
There was a downed tree
on the road up ahead but reports are that it has been cleared out of the way
Caleb Manion seems to be doing a lot
of the work in the break today. He initiated the break and is really driving
it up there.
Leonardo Scarselli is back in the group after his wheel
change. The breakaway is 5km to the feed zone now. The gap has fallen to 5'20".
14:43 EDT 84km/106.2km to go
A bit of a correction.
Doug Ollerenshaw is not in the break. It's Tim Johnson. Health Net's three riders
up there are Johnson, Sayers and Louder.
With his bike brand as one of the
sponsors of this race Greg Lemond has been here all year. Mark Zalewski had
a bit of a word with him this morning. He says its great that Floyd has had
such a great early season. He's hoping that he'll get a chance to rest a bit
and come back strong for the Tour de France. "He's a great rider, I really like
him," said Lemond.
We have an attack out of the break.
Five riders have gone off the front. CREF initiated it. Three other riders have
fallen off the back of the rest of the break.
The five riders have a 20m gap with
two other riders bridging up but it looks like its going to get caught again.
Yes its been caught now but they are not going to settle down. They want to
keep attacking each other.
Nic Ingels (Davitamon Lotto) has abandoned
the race so thats one less leadout man for Freddie.
In the break
Sullivan is adjusting his rear brakes. He's now asking for the Mavic car.
Sullivan has a word to out reporter
Mark Zalewski whilst the Mavic guys fix his brakes. He says he's not doing any
work in the break because the team wants a bunch sprint for JJ Haedo.
15:01 EDT 94km/96.2km to go
Sean Sullivan's wheel
was just coated his wheel. He had a flat earlier and got a wheel change. His
tyre must have exploded which sprayed glue all over the rear of his bike, hence
the need for him to get his brake cleaned up/fixed.
The latest time
gap is 5'15" to the field.
15:06 EDT 98km/92.2km to go
nice again in the break and most of the riders are rolling through and taking
their turn. Almost 100km in to the race.
The sun is peaking in and
out between the clouds. Sullivan said it is pretty hard out there because its
We are starting a little rise which
takes us up to the Forsyth County line. That will make it about 15km to the
sprint line, so we'll start to see a bit of aggression there with $2500 up for
Most of the guys in the peloton are
taking a nature break now.
The gap had come down to 4'50" prior
to that. Our reporter Kirsten Robbins is riding in the Phonak car today and
chatting with DS René Savary. He says they're happy with the break and will
just try to keep it under five minutes. After such a hard day yesterday today's
stage is a little more light hearted and they're just going to enjoy the day.
If it comes together at the end Robbie Hunter and Aurélien Clerc might give
it a go for a stage win. Savary says it might be a little reward for them after
having worked so hard this week.
Clerc caused them a few laughs earlier
in this stage. He came back to get bottles just before the climb, but he didn't
have time to hand out all the bottles to his teammates before the climb started.
A few extra kilos makes it a little harder on a climb so he struggled getting
back on for a while there.
Savary says its good to be in the
race to check out the talent here. He says what some of the riders here don't
know is that if they want contracts in Europe its good for them to talk to the
DS's of the team. He says its a lot more simple than it seems sometimes.
15:31 EDT 112km/78.2km to go
So far we've done
112km with an average speed of 46km/h which is pretty fast.
gap went up to over five minutes when the guys in the peloton took a nature
break but its back down again to 4'20". Only 10km to the sprint in the town
of Cummings. Apparently this is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation,
however they just lost one of their residents, a local porn star who was topless
in the movie Road Trip. You'll be pleased to know she is not topless on the
course today, although I'm sure many of the guys here wish she was.
15:33 EDT 118km/72.2km to go
The gap is coming
down steadily now. Its about 4'10" now.
Under 5km to the sprint now. The gap
3'35" now and falling. Davitamon Lotto
is on the front of the peloton bringing this back. They may be even trying to
bring it back in time for the sprint, but that'd be pushing it.
15:42 EDT 125km/65.2km to go
The guys in the
break are picking up the pace now. Craig Lewis has been dropped from the break.
Health Net lead.
At 1km to the sprint we have an attack.
Its the Prodir rider Mazur. He took the sprint points and the $2500. He still
has a hundred meters on the rest of the break but he looks like he's slowing
down. Sayers took second and Reistad third. The Mavic car is going past Lewis
now. He looks like he's hurting.
We have two distinct groups in the
break now. A group of seven off the front which a slight gap.
Lewis almost caught back onto the
caravan but he got lost ground again on a small descent.
In that group of seven up front is
Sayers and Louder (Health Net), Leonardo Scarselli (Quick Step), Sullivan (Toyota
United), Manion (Jelly Belly), Pate (TIAA CREF), and Mazur (Prodir). Johansen
is chasing to get up there.
The first group has 30 seconds to
the rest of the break.
15:55 EDT 133km/57.2km to go
We are still going
through rolling hills now. Big wide road and lots of big big houses as we get
closer to Alpharetta.
When we get to the finishing circuits there
is a Maxxis sprint when they go through the finish line the very first time.
Frank Pipp (Targetraining) is on the
front of the second group right now leading the chase. Reistad rolled through
very quickly. He didn't really do a turn as he has Manion up the road. We are
on Hwy 9. The Atlanta Hwy, so nice wide roads. Its really quite beautiful through
here too. Lots of big trees line the road.
Actually the Maxxis sprint line is
before they enter the circuits, just as they enter the town of Alpharetta.
The gap is 3'30" from the leaders to the field. Lewis has been absorbed by the
16:04 EDT 138km/52.2km to go
We hit the town
of Alpharetta at the 150km mark which is only 12km from now. It's then only
4 kilometers until the circuits start. We will have 6 laps of the 6km loop,
so a total of 36km all together.
At the finish line a big crowd gathers
in anticipation. It's a great way to finish a race as the crowd gets to see
the race go by so many times.
The gap is still about 37 seconds
between the two breakaway groups. Only 2'55" to the field now.
16:14 EDT 146km/44.2km to go
In the front group
Johansen the Health Net riders are trying to get Scarselli to do some work.
The second group has now caught the front group again so we are back up to a
group of 14 riders with 2'20" to the peloton.
The team cars are allowed to feed
their riders one more time and then they will get pulled from the gap as we're
getting close to the circuits. The field is seeing 5km to the Maxxis sprint.
16:18 EDT 145km/45.2km to go
Pate has attacked
the break. Johansen is following and the pair have a gap. Sullivan, Mazur too
but its coming back together. Swizanski is off the back of the rest of the group.
We are 1km to the sprint.
The gap to the field is just under 2 minutes
with Davitamon chasing steadily.
Sullivan is moving to the front
leading the group. Swizanski is still fighting to try and get back on.
The break is at the sprint. Louder,
Johansen and Pate are sprinting and attacking. Reistad is up there with them.
Sullivan has attacked. It's all across
the road. We are on a wide open road. He has been covered and countered. A group
of five is off the front. Reistad has popped off the back of the break.
Sullivan is falling off the back now
after his attack was countered. We have a group of 4 off the front.
The break is all back together now
except for Zwizanski. They are hitting the start of the circuit right now.
We have another attack. Its Pate and
Johansen. They have a gap of 200m.
They have 15 seconds on the group
now and they're powering away. Its actually Frischkorn, not Pate from TIAA CREF.
The field is on to the circuit. Frischkorn
and Johansen have at least 20 seconds now. The rest of the break seem to be
sitting up. They can see the field on the other side of the course. The gap
to the field from the two leaders is still 2'32".
The rest of the break are definitely
sitting up. Its just Frischkorn and Johansen now. The gap has fallen to 1'10"
from the rest of the break.
Its actually Frischkorn and Louder
up the road. Johansen's attack got covered. So he is back with the rest of the
break who are sitting up.
Toyota and Davitamon Lotto are the
teams setting the pace back in the field.
16:33 EDT 160km/30.2km to go
They've gone through
the finish line now and they see five laps to go.
Davitamon Lotto and Toyota United
are still leading the chase. The rest of the break has been caught now.
The field can see the two breakaway
guys on the opposite side of the course. They have 2'15" now.
16:39 EDT 164km/26.2km to go
Frischkorn and Louder
are doing about 30 seconds turns each. They look good. They are pedalling hard
down a small descent. The loop is up and down a divided highway with a bit of
a loop at one end. There is a little uphill at the hotdog end and then a bigger
hill after the turn. The finishing straight is also slightly uphill for the
1km. Probably about a 4% grade.
They're losing a bit of time gradually.
Its 2'05" now. Frischkorm gets out of the saddle now to stretch his legs. Louder
looks very strong.
16:41 EDT 165km/25.2km to go
1'50" is the new
gap. They'll be lucky if they pull this off. They'll probably get caught with
about 2 laps to go.
16:42 EDT 166km/24.2km to go
They leaders cross
the finish line and see 4 laps to go. The crowd is pretty big and very loud!
1'40" is the gap now. Frischkorn is
leading down around the loop. They can see the field again now. On the front
of the field are two Toyota guys followed by two Davitamon Lotto guys. A few
riders have fallen off the back of the field. It looks like they are the guys
from the break.
It looks like Frischkorn is taking longer pulls now.
They are both down in the drops getting
as much power as they can. They are going up the little rise again. Louder is
back on the front. Frischkorn gets out of the saddle behind him.
Going downhill again now. We're coming
up to 20km to go. Frischkorn leads again. His Dad is actually driving one of
the moto's here this week.
It's still Toyota on the front. Landis
has a flat and is getting a wheel change!
The Phonak team has dropped back to
drag him back up to the field. He actually got a wheel change from a teammate.
The whole team is back there to get him.
The gap is 1'20" as we go under the
1km to go banner. When we go through the finish line we'll see three laps to
Landis is back in the field. The gap went up a bit. It looks
like the field slowed down a bit to make sure Landis got back on.
Quick Step now have riders on the
front to help in the chase. The gap is down to 1'15".
CSC has a wheel change. Its Kaspar
One of the Phonak riders has been dropped.
Its probably the guy that gave Landis his wheel. This time when the leaders
came out of the loop they did not see the peloton on the other side of the road.
They had already gone by this time as the gap is coming down. It's now at one
16:54 EDT 176km/14.2km to go
55 seconds now as
they hit the top of that small rise and head to the 180 turn.
It's Toyota on the front of the bunch
with Quick Step just behind. The main field is now at the U-Turn. The gap is
16:57 EDT 177km/13.2km to go
40 seconds now.
They'll see two laps to go when they go through the finish line this time. They're
approaching the 1km to go banner now.
Matty Rice (Jelly Belly) is
getting a wheel change from Mavic.
Its looks like Zwizanski is back with
the broom wagon. A tough day for him today.
16:58 EDT 178km/12.2km to go
They break is approaching
the finish line for two laps to go.
Down to 30 seconds now. The second
turn right after the finish line is quite narrow, but the field is going so
fast that its all single file through there.
Tyler Wren (Colavita
Sutter Homes) has a flat now.
20 seconds now. Quick Step is driving
the pace now in the bunch. It has been announced that Frischkorn will get "most
aggressive rider" today.
Four Quick Step guys are pushing the
pace. Louder and Frischkorn are not giving up but unfortunately for them the
peloton has them in sight.
It's 15 seconds. They are sitting
up now. They know there's no hope. They're looking back. They're caught. They
just shook hands.
We have a counter attack from the
field! It looks like Prodir.
Frischkorn tried to jump on the wheel.
It looks like Mazur from Prodir. He's been in the break all day too!
They have a gap. Another rider has
bridged up. They have five seconds on the field.
They have seven seconds. Its Marco
Pinotti, Danny Pate. Pate has attacked. He's alone.
17:08 EDT 185km/5.2km to go
The peloton has swallowed
him up though. Its single file. The speed on this finishing circuit is 53km/h.
They have passed the finishing line for 1km to go!
It's totally strung out. All together.
They have slowed down a little and
there has been an attack. It's CSC.
It's Zabriskie. He's flying and he's
got about three seconds. He's really pushing hard in full on time trial position.
17:11 EDT 187km/3.2km to go
They are catching
him now though. Its all together again. Navigators is on the front.
They are trying to get organised.
A Kodak rider attacks but they are not going to let him go. The Discovery team
is moving up. It was Ben Jaques-Maynes who attacked but was caught. Health Net
is up front now.
17:12 EDT 188.2km/2km to go
1km to go!
They are under the Maxxis 1km banner.
Discovery has 4 guys on the front. Ekimov is pulling off the front. They're
flying. The next rider comes through but Health Net is moving up. 200m to go
JJ Haedo tries to come round and he has it!
It looks like Gord Fraser took second
and Freddy third. Landis finished safely in the bunch to take the tour.
JJ gets his stage in front of last
years stage winner Fraser and the winner of the sprint jersey Fast Freddie.
Thanks for tuning in for an exciting
week of racing. Check back soon for the full results and report.
Apparently there was a photo finish
for third place and it was Auerlien Clerc who took third
1 Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota United)
2 Gord Fraser (Health Net)
3 Aurelien Clerc (Phonak)
1 Floyd Landis (Phonak)
2 Tom Danielson (Discovery)
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery)
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