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Tour of California - 2.1

USA, February 19-26, 2006

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Stage 3 - February 22: San José Time Trial, 27.4km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski

Complete live report

10:38 PST   
Welcome back to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the Tour of California. After a gruelling day in the hills yesterday which saw a group of only 22 guys make it to the finish line in the front group, today is another stage that will have a big effect on the overall standings of this race. Yesterday Georgie Hincapie took out the 22 man sprint and earned a ten second time bonus which moved him into the lead in front of former leader Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Bobby Julich (CSC), who sit in second and third respectively. The top ten at this point are:
1 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 7.20.28
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.04
3 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 0.09
4 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.10
5 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.13
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.16
7 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 0.19
8 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.21
9 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC
10 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel 0.22

All of the top 22 riders have a chance to move into the leaders jersey today, but anyone after that would have to make up over three minutes and as we say in Australia, they've got buckleys (No chance). They'll be using today as a rest day so that they'll be fresh to help their GC guys in the upcoming stages. Of course there will be those out there who might want to go for a stage win today so there will be others to watch out for.

10:41 PST   
Some of you might want to note that we have changed the URL of our live coverage so if you're looking for the live coverage on a WAP enabled handset (Blackberry etc), the URL is live.cyclingnews.com/wap.

10:58 PST   
The time trial is set over 27.4km of undulating roads on the outskirts of San Jose through the Chesbro and Calero Reservoirs. Starting on Bailey Avenue it heads out to Celebro Resevoir and turns left onto McKean Rd. When it reaches Chesbro Resevoir it turns left onto Oak Glen Avenue and onto Willow Springs Rd before another left onto the flatter road of Hale Ave/Santa Theresa Blvd. towards the finish. At this point there is not much wind to speak of but that could change as the day goes on. Its another sunny day and temperatures are expected to be in the high 60's.

11:02 PST   
The start list for today goes is reverse order of CG so won't be seeing the GC guys hit it out until the very end. The first rider off the blocks is Domingo Gonzalez (KB Home Mexican National Team), followed by Gustavo Artacho (Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home Wines) a minute later.

11:11 PST   
We caught up with Johan Bruyneel this morning who says this is a good course for George. "Of course its a good course for other riders too," he said. "George is just going to go full gas and see what he can do. We rode the course yesterday and again this morning so he knows it well."
He added, "Whoever takes the jersey today will hold it for the rest of the week."

So definitely an important stage today!

11:16 PST   
Five riders abandoned the race yesterday. One was Ivan Dominguez (Toyota United Pro) due to a crash last week and four riders from the Mexican National Team.

11:18 PST   
As well as the leaders jersey, George also holds the sprint jersey after yesterdays stage. Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile) held onto the mountain jersey and best young rider is Thomas Peterson (TIAA CREF).

11:25 PST   
We have 24 riders on the course right now. If they travel at about 40km/h, we'll see the first rider arriving in about 15 minutes.

11:29 PST   
The first rider reached the midway split point in 16'45". We're not sure exactly how many km into the course this is but we'll keep his time split as a marker for riders to come.

11:30 PST   
One rider who did not start today is Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Prodir Saunier Duval).

11:32 PST   
We're not sure why the Mexican National Team are pulling out. The pace has been pretty fast with this big international field, so this is likely to be one reason. It could be too early in the season, as it is for some riders.

11:35 PST   
We also heard from CSC Team Director Scott Sunderland who commented on some of yesterdays tactics. "If Leipheimer and Landis had waited for Zabriskie," he said, "they might have made it to the finish line alone," pointing out that if Zabriskie had been in the lead group CSC would have had no motivation to chase the leaders. Sunderland also told Cyclingnews he was pleased to see Zabriskie able to stay so close to a climber like Leipheimer.

Sunderland is optimistic about the team's chances in today's time-trial. "We've got about as big a chance as anyone at this moment," Sunderland said. "Dave can do a solid time trial. He's really motivated."

11:39 PST   
Gord Fraser is on the road now. Here is one rider who is a little disappointed with his tour so far. We caught up with him before the TT. "I've been pretty unlucky," he said. " I punctured on the final circuits on stage one and yesterday my chain was dropping on the climbs. I really wore myself out chasing yesterday," he added, "today will be a recovery ride." He also added the he thinks the points jersey is out of reach for him now, so he'll be concentrating on stage wins from here on in.

11:40 PST   
The riders are off at 1 minute intervals until the last nine riders who will have two minute gas between them.

11:43 PST   
The first rider has now finished with a time of 39'33.60. This was Domingo Gonzalez (KB Home Mexican National Team)

11:46 PST   
Lots of spectators gather around both the start and the finish areas today. Its a good day to check out the cool time trial equipment that the teams are using. There are also a lot of people out along the course. A few good viewing points are:
-IBM Silicon Valley Labs, 555 Bailey Avenue
-Bailey Hill (west of IBM)
-Bailey Avenue at McKean Road
-Cinnabar Hills Golf Course (hill south of Cinnabar Hills Golf Course)
-Uvas Road at Oakglen Avenue
-Oakglen Avenue at Willow Springs Road
-Top of Willow Springs Hill
-Willow Springs Road at Hale Avenue
-Santa Teresa Boulevard at Bailey Avenue
-Santa Teresa Boulevard at Bayliss Drive (just south on the small hill)
-Finish Line: Bernal Rd between Chantilley Lane and Avenida Espana

11:47 PST   
Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) just posted a 39'00"

11:49 PST   
Jens Voigt (CSC) is on course. He is ten minutes down after yesterday so he'll be taking it fairly easy today.

12:02 PST   
Somebody asked about team tactics and whether all members of the team would be going hard today. Certainly those team members in the top 20 with any chance of being up there on CG, will be going hard. For example Danielson will also being going as hard he can, even though his teammate is in the leaders jersey. Its good for teams to have a few members of the team high on CG so that they have options in the days to come. Other team memebers however will be taking it a little easier. That is they'll ride just fast enough to make sure they make the time cut. Its usually 10% of the fastest riders time.

12:03 PST   
There is a new best time. Lars Bak posted a 38.00 flat.

12:06 PST   
We have just found out that the time cut today is actually 15%. That means that riders have to make sure that they come in with a time that is no more than 15% more than the winners time. This rule is in place so that riders don't take too much advantage of the rest day and just roll along.

12:12 PST   
Michael Friedman (TIAA CREF) now sits in second place behind Lars Bak. He posted a time of 38'14". The TIAA CREF team are doing extremely well here. They hold the young riders jersey as well.

12:14 PST   
World TT champion Mick Rogers (T-Mobile) has just finished with a time of 38'16" which puts him in third place. Young Michael Friedman is ahead of him.

12:16 PST   
Freddy Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto) just finished with a time of 38'41".

12:22 PST   
The fastest average speed so far is 43km/h.

12:31 PST   
We just spoke with Aaron Olsen (Saunier Duval-Prodir). He has just finished his ride and tells us about the course.
"There are a few tough hills on the way out. You know, not hard hills, but hard for a time trial. I just tried to keep my cadence up so that I wasn't loading up my legs too much. The final 15km section was mostly flat but there was a headwind which made it pretty hard."

12:31 PST   
Jens Voigt has moved into second place so far with a time of 38'04.78.

12:35 PST   
Stuart O'Grady (CSC) has set a new best time of 37'45.20....no hang on. His time has been taken over already by his teammate Fabian Cancellara. Cancellara posted a 37'01.19.

12:41 PST   
Cancellara is no stranger to time trials. He is two time Jr. World TT champion (1998-99) and he won the Prologue in the Tour de France a couple of years ago.

12:44 PST   
Nathan O'Neill is about to start now. He is seven time Australian National Time Trial Champion and will be giving it everything today. He had a great ride yesterday and was able to get over the hills and finish with the lead group yesterday. He now sits in 18th place, five seconds down on Hincapie.

12:45 PST   
So its time for the big guns. Anyone from here on in is still up there with a chance on GC.

12:48 PST   
Our reporter, Mark Zalewski will be in the team car with CSC Director Scott Sunderland today following Bobby Julich.

12:49 PST   
The UCI judges have held back Gilberto Simoni due to his bike being too light. They are still weighing it.

12:49 PST   
They held him back a minute and let Jason McCartney start in front of him and now they're starting him. That means that he loses over a minute.

12:54 PST   
Vladmir Gusev (Discovery) has posted a time of 37'01.75 moving into second place.

12:54 PST   
Tom Danielson has had the same problem with his bike being too light but he has managed to get a new bike to the line in time for his start and won't lose any time.

12:56 PST   
Hunter has moved into third place right now.

12:56 PST   
Chris Horner is just about to start.

12:57 PST   
Danielson is now up on the start podium. Ready to start. He actually has Johan Bruyneel driving behind him today.

13:00 PST   
Cadel is on the start line now. He is currently in 6th place, 16 seconds down on Hincapie.

13:00 PST   
The weight for these time trial bikes is 6.8kg. Anything under that is not allowed.

13:02 PST   
Zabriskie is on the road now too. He will be one to watch of course.

13:03 PST   
A correction on what I said earlier about Nathan O'Neill. I was looking at yesterdays stage results instead of the GC results. O'Neill is actually 25 seconds down on GC after yesterday.

13:09 PST   
Bobby Julich has just started. He is currently 9" down on Hincapie and 5" down on Leipheimer.

Our reporter is following Julich. He says the course immediately goes uphill. It gets steep enough that he has to get out of the saddle. He did pre-ride the course so he knows it well.

13:10 PST   
Viatcheslav Ekimov has just finished his ride with a time of 37'45.03. This puts him in 4th place behind Robert Hunter.

13:17 PST   
A very fast time by Hayden Roulston (Health Net/Maxxis). He has great form right now. He posted a time of 37'06.66 and moved into third place.

13:19 PST   
I was going to post mid way splits for you along the way, but there is no official point of the road where splits are being taken, so we'll have to wait for the finish.

13:27 PST   
New fastest time by Nathan O'Neill (Health Net/Maxxis). His time is 36'55.74.

13:30 PST   
Julich is looking good out on the road, he has just turned onto Hale which is the flat straight section all the way to the finish. There is one small hill along the way but there's also a headwind. Sunderland is expecting Julich to post about a minute faster than Cancellara.
Bjarne Riis was saying earlier that Cancellara was descending very quickly. He said he descended faster than he has seen anyone else go on a TT bike. Thats impressive.

13:31 PST   
Julich has taken the radio out of his ear so Sunderland has to yell out the window. This is frustrating Sunderland. He know the splits from Fabian and Bobby is doing better.

13:32 PST   
Simoni has finished. Remember that he missed his start so lost about a minute. He posted a 41'25.28.

13:32 PST   
Scott predicts that this long flat section into the headwind can be where Bobby can win the race.

13:33 PST   
Christian Vandevelde (CSC) has finished in a time of 37'42.01.

13:33 PST   
Horner has 1km to go.

13:34 PST   
Chris Horner finished with a time of 38'06.43.

13:36 PST   
Danielson is finishing now. He did a 37'41.10.

13:39 PST   
A new best time for Zabriskie - 36'24.53.

13:40 PST   
Landis has set a new best time! 35'58.91

13:41 PST   
Julich is cresting the final hill with just 1km to go.

13:42 PST   
400m to go for Julich.

13:42 PST   
Julich's time is 36'33.89. Floyd still holds the lead.

13:43 PST   
Only two riders left now. Leipheimer and Hincapie.

13:44 PST   
Leipheimer is at 1km to go. Floyd needs a time six seconds faster than him.

13:45 PST   
Leipheimer posts 37'14.97. Landis is ahead of him on CG.
1km to go for Hincapie

13:48 PST   
George finished with a fourth place time.

13:51 PST   
This moved Floyd into the leaders jersey and from what everybody says, its going to be hard for anybody to get it back after this.

13:54 PST   
So another day of racing and the jersey has changed hands yet again. Thanks for tuning in. Full results will be posted shortly and we'll be back for tomorrows 210km stage from Monterey to San Luis Obispo.

Unofficial brief results

1 Floyd Landis (Phonak)                           35'58.91
2 David Zabriskie (CSC)                           36'24.53
3 Bobby Julich (CSC)                              36'33.89
4 George Hincapie (Discovery)                     36'53.05
5 Nathan O'Neill (Health Net/Maxxis               36'55'74
6 Fabian Cancellara (CSC)                         37'01.19
7 Vladmir Gusev (Discovery)                       37'01.75
8 Hayden Roulston (Health Net/Maxxis)             37.06.66
9 Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner                   37'14.97
10 Robert Hunter (Phonak)                         37'27.21
11 Tom Danielson (Discovery)                      37'41.10
12 Christian Vandevelde (CSC)                     37'42.01
13 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery)                 37'45.03
14 Stuart O'Grady (CSC)                           37'45.20
15 Lars Bak (CSC)                                 38'00.27
16 Jens Voigt (CSC)                               38.04.78
17 Michael Friedman (TIAA CREF)                   38'14.93
18 Mick Rogers (T-Mobile)                         38'16"

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