Tour de Georgia - 2.HC
USA, April 18-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 3 - April 20: Chickamauga, GA - Chattanooga, TN, 39.9km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
and Kirsten Robbins
Complete live report
Welcome to Stage 3. The all important
time trial and the one the big GC hitters have been looking forward to. Things
are under way now and so far its a nice day. Again we have weather predictions
that thunderstorms may be on the way which could affect the later riders.
The course starts in Chikamuaga and
climbs over Lookout Mountain before crossing the state line into Chattanooga,
So far Pieter Mertens (Davitamon Lotto)
has clocked the fastest time at the intermediate check point. His time was 26'18".
The course starts out pretty rolling and then kicks up pretty significantly
about 15km into the race. It flattens out along the top of the hilly area and
then the descent into Chattanooga is quite technical to finish.
We caught up with a few riders before
the start. Notably Jason McCartney with Discovery to see what their plan is
going to be for today. The Discovery team feels that Yaroslav Popovych who currently
wears the leaders jersey, has a good chance of keeping it. Popovych won a big
time trial recently in Europe and they think that he can win today and keep
the jersey. They also have a few cards to play when it comes to Brasstown Bald
so it will be interesting to see what happens today.
Christophe Rinero (Prodir) has just
crossed the intermediate time check in 26'54".
So far the top ten in the General
Classification is as follows:
1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 0.04
3 Juan José Haedo
(Arg) Toyota-United Pro 0.07
4 Caleb Manion (Aus) Jelly Belly 0.12
5 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 0.14
6 Karl Menzies (Aus) Health Net p/b
7 Cesar Augusto Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 0.17
8 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) KodakGallery.Com-Sierra Nevada
9 Floyd Landis
(USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Phonak Hearing Systems
11 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel
These guys will be off
last. You'll see that a few of the main GC contenders are in that group. Floyd
Landis, who is probably the race favourite for the tour will go off ninth from
the end. David Zabriskie sits in 19th overall right now and he is also one to
watch today as he told Cyclingnews on day one that he would win the time trial
and keep the jersey.
We have a new best time at the midway
split. Viktor Rapinski (Colavita Sutter Homes) just posted a 26'06"78.
The first few riders have finished
the race. The fastest time so far is Pieter Mertens (Davitamon-Lotto) with a
time of 59'35.26.
At the intermediate split Heath Blackgrove
posted a new fastest time of 25'58".
Our reporter Mark Zalewski is in the
Targetraining car following Anthony Colby. He is currently on the climb and
can see his minute man up ahead. The climb is pretty consistent with a few steep
kicks. Colby is out of the saddle right now.
Jakob Piil (CSC) has just posted a
The fourth fastest time at this point
is Christophe Rinero (Prodir). He posted a time of 1 hour 0'54.21
Colby is on the second climb. On the first climb he caught his minute man and
he looks pretty good. His midway split was 26'02" which is right up there. The
second climb is fairly gradual and lasts for about 5km before he starts the
Viktor Rapinksi has posted a new best
time of 59'14". He's obviously feeling pretty good here this week.
Colby has just crested the climb and
come around the corner for the descent. It's a pretty amazing sight. You turn
the corner and its just a guard rail and a few rocks between you and a thousand
foot drop off. The descent and twisty and tricky. Being a good technical descender
could win you the race today.
We have a new best time at the finish
from Heath Blackgrove. He posted a 59'07" which gives him seven seconds on Rapinski.
José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak)
just posted a 24'27" at the intermediate split surpassing a previously best
time set by Remmert Wielinga (Quick.Step) of 25'15".
Anthony Colby is almost finished his
ride. Mark Zalewski reports that the descent twists and turns all the way. Colby
took the descent quite nicely. Stay tuned for his time. The Targetraining team
are really have a good race so far.
Our reporter Kirsten Robbins also
caught up with time trial specialist Nathan O'Neill this morning before the
start. He said that he actually practised this time trial at race pace a couple
of weeks ago and he likes it. He said its a perfect course for him and if everything
goes well he thinks he can win it.
We do have a lot of confident guys
here for this time trial today so we'll see which one of them can put their
money where their mouth is. Tom Danielson told us yesterday that he doesn't
think he can win the time trial but that he has been working on it and thinks
he has improved dramatically. Last year he finished a minute behind Floyd Landis
and had to make up his time on Brasstown Bald. Lets see what he does today.
Black at the start Floyd has started
Jason McCartney (Discovery) has just
posted a time of 24'53 at the midway time split, with Justin England (Toyota
United) posting a 25'06" moving into second and third at the midway point.
We have two new best times and a new
fastest split. Inigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (CSC) has set the fastest time so
far with a 58'16.25 followed by Todd Herriott (Colavita) in 59'06.02.
Nathan O'Neill has posted a 24'14" at the midway mark
Phil Zajicek (Navigators) and Craig
Lewis (TIAA CREF) have both posted excellent finish times of 59'16" putting
them right up there so far.
We have a really fast new time of
55'37.14 set by José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak)! Out on the course
Floyd Landis has set the fastest split time so far of 24'01"
Jeff Louder also posted a great time
to finish in 58'04", putting him in second place so far.
Danny Pate (TIAA CREF) has finished
in a time of 58'15"
Justin England (Toyota-United Pro)
just posted a 57'00" and Jason McCartney a 55'52.23 which moved him into second
And another new best time. This time
it is Nathan O'Neill with a 55'09.49!
Dave Zabriskie (CSC) has just finished
the time trial in the new fastest time of 54'38".
Our reporter Kirsten Robbins was in
the CSC car following Zabriskie. She said he looked very smooth all the way
and taking a lot of risks on the decent. After he caught his minute man Chris
Baldwin, they played cat and mouse for a little while but eventually Zabriskie
broke that and powered away. Baldwin is also a very good time trial rider with
multiple National Time Trial titles under his belt.
Danielson just came in with a faster
time that Zabriskie. He said he'd improved his time trialling but that is amazing.
His time is 54'18.24.
Landis is coming in right now. He's
got it. The fastest time so far. 54'14.49.
Popovych is still out on the course
remember. He's already made up two minutes and caught the guy in front of him.
He's on a flat section right now and looking very smooth.
Popovych just passed another rider
on the course. He's flying and could well do what Discovery said he could do
before the start and win this time trial.
Also still to come in is Cesar Grejales
(Navigators) who did so well a few years ago on Brasstown Bald. This is his
stomping ground and he'll be aiming to do well again in the days to come.
Popovych is flying down a small descent
right now. He's entering the main descent now. He's flying along at 45m/h. He's
also taking some risks. Pedalling fast and really hugging the inside line of
the turns taking the fastest line possible.
It straightens out a little bit here
before it gets to the more technical part further down. He has 10km to go.
Popovych is just about to catch yet
another rider out on the course. Its JJ Haedo. At the finish Brian Vandborg
(CSC) has just finished in 56'13.13 which puts him in tenth place so far.
Popovych is off the mountain and on
to the city streets. The weather has held out. Its getting darker in Chattanooga
but the rain is yet to come.
Popovych is moving around a bit in
his seat trying to find that extra power. He has just seen 5km to go. At the
finish line suspense is in the air.
Caleb Manion (Jelly Belly) has just
finished and Popovych is under 3km to go now. He is coming to the riverfront
section now and making a hard left turn. He has a little bit of a rise to negotiate.
He has his head down and he's on the rivet.
Popovych has just hit 54'14" but he's
still out on course so Floyd is the winner of the time trial for the second
year running. He's about to see the 1km. He is 55 seconds down at the 1km mark.
Popovych is at 500m to go and outside
McCartney's time. He finished with a time of 56'07.33 which puts him in 7th
place in the time trial.
Floyd Landis (Phonak) is the time
trial winner and will wear the leaders jersey going into stage 4.
Tomorrow is Dalton to Dahlonega. You might remember the day from last year when
riders has to race in that torrential rain. This year the course is slightly
different. They only go over Wolfpen Gap once but a few new climbs have been
included and its going to be a tough one.
1 Floyd Landis (Phonak) 54'14.49
2 Tom Danielson (Discovery) 54'18.24
3 Dave Zabriskie (CSC) in 54'38.40
4 Nathan O'Neill (Health Net) in 55'09.49
5 José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) in 55'37.14
6 Jason McCartney (Discovery) in 55'52.23
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery) in 56'07.33
8 Marco Pinotti (Prodir) in 56'10"
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