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Tour de Georgia - 2.HC

USA, April 16-22, 2007

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Stage 6 - April 21: Lake Lanier Islands/Hall Co. to Stone Mountain Park , 182.9km

Complete live report

19:53 EDT    Live coverage of Stage 6 of the 2007 Tour de Georgia begins at noon Eastern Standard Time (US) on Saturday. Stay tuned for all the action (and a Griver sighting or two).

11:46 EDT    Welcome to Stage 6 of the 2007 Tour de Georgia. It is sunny at warm at the start in Lake Lanier Island; which is a planned housing community and resort. Riders are milling about the start. We will be rolling out of the community's clubhouse parking lot in about fifteen minutes.

12:00 EDT    We are four minutes from starting. The race will first roll out on a 2.4-mile nuetral section through the Lake Lanier community. The course profile reveals a relativey flat stage after that; there are no significant hills and no KOM's. The first sprint is only 5.8 miles from the start - only three miles from the end of the nuetral zone. Grover is once again mounted at the front of the Cyclingnews car.

12:07 EDT    And we're off. Even though we're in the nuetral zone, the riders are restless knwoing that a aprint is just around the corner.

12:09 EDT    3km/179km to go Our on-the-ground reporter Mark Zalewski chatted with Levi Leipheimer of the Discovery squad briefly before the start, asking if the Californian was aiming for a hatrick of wins (Leiphiemer won the stage four Chickamauga/Walker Co. to Lookout Mountain time trial and the stage up Brasstown Bald on Friday). Leipheimer, sarcastically, said "Nah, I think I'll hold back a little." He seems confident of his form.

12:12 EDT    Eight riders are off the front.

12:13 EDT    The leaders are approaching the sprint.

12:14 EDT    It's not much of a gap - 100 meters. And shouldn't last past the sprint. A Tinkoff rider is leading into the sprint, followed closely by two Health Net riders.

12:16 EDT    The sprint was won by Karl Menzies of Health Net, followed by Elio Aggiano of Tinkoff and Rory Sutherland of Health Net.

12:19 EDT    We also spoke to Chris Baldwin of the Toyota United team before the race. Baldwin spent much of yesterday in the break. Baldwin said he bonked hard because he hadn't eaten enough during the stage. "I ate so much last night but I still feel bad." The bad luck didn't end there for Baldwin; he also lost a necklace during the race which carried his wedding ring.

12:24 EDT    Two riders have ten seconds on the field. Sergey Lagutin of Navigators and David Millar of Saunier Duval.

12:24 EDT    The race leader, Janez Brajkovic, has a flat and is being tended to by support.

12:25 EDT    A number of Brajkovic's teammates have dropped back to bring him back to the field.

12:25 EDT    Tinkoff is at the front of the main group, trying to bring Millar and Lagutin back.

12:27 EDT    A couple of Millar's teammates moved to the front to block a little and help their man escape and the gap has risen to 15 seconds. It's so early in the race for a two-man break to mean anything though. And now the group seems to be slowing a little to not take advantage of the race leader's mechanical problems

12:28 EDT    Traffic is a little dodgy - the race is running a lng a two lane road and even with the police escort forcing traffic to stop, cars and trucks are pulled only halfway off the left-hand lane of traffic.

12:29 EDT    17km/165km to go Brajkovic is back in the group and the pace has picked up again.

12:34 EDT    If you're interseted to learn a little more about our race leader, we interviewed him in 2006. He's done very well in the past, including finishing 11th in the Elite worlds road race championships in Madrid last year, just a couple of months after turning pro. Check out the interview at http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2006//vuelta06/?id=/riders/2006/interviews/brajkovic_vuelta06

12:39 EDT    25km/157km to go The gap has risen to 30 seconds.

12:39 EDT    Sheldon Deeny from the USA Cycling U25 development team has attacked the group in an attempt to bridge up.

12:40 EDT    The Quick Step team is setting pace in the pack.

12:42 EDT    There has been a quick correction to the results from yesterday. Adam Bergman (Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) had been listed as disqualified for holding on to a vehicle during Stage 5. Turns out, he was holding on to the medical vehicle waiting for treatment. His disqualification was overturned this morning.

12:43 EDT    We spoke to Quick Step team manager this morning and he said that even though his team hasn't won a stage, he is happy with how things are going. "We will try to have someone in the break today," he said.

12:48 EDT    31km/151km to go The gap is still at 25 seconds. Slipstream is helping Quick Step with the pacesetting in the peloton. We have entered a different county and the road situation has improved greatly - the roads are completely clear of cars and obstructions.

12:52 EDT    33km/149km to go Millar and Lagutin are cooperating in the break quite well; pressing to build their gap. Lagutin is a former U23 world road champion and the current national champion of Uzbekistan. Millar, of course, has won a Tour de France prologue and the world time trial championship before being suspended for admitting use of EPO.

12:54 EDT    Although the two men in the breal have great pedigrees, it will be tough for such a small break to stay away. It will more likely be a sprint finish, favoring a rider like Ivan Dominguez of Toyota United who said "I hope today is my day" at the start.

13:01 EDT    41km/141km to go Lagutin dropped off the break and left Millar alone. Two riders tried to bridge but the peloton gobbled them back up. Millar is holding at ten seconds.

13:02 EDT    The race just left the town of Auburn, GA.

13:04 EDT    43km/139km to go Millar is caugt.

13:05 EDT    The pace is high; the front of the peloton is strung out in single file, shifting all over the road like a loose firehose.

13:15 EDT    51km/131km to go The pack is still together but the pace has not backed off. We were traveling at 28mph up the last climb (the terrain is rolling at this stage of the race). Ideally, a break of non-GC threat riders would form so the pack can relax through the middle of the race but for some reason, there are too many teams putting too much speed at the front for anyone to shake loose.

13:15 EDT    And now 3 riders have a 100-meters off the front with a group of about 20 riders fifteen seconds behind.

13:16 EDT    We will have some rider names for you as soon as we see who is up there.

13:19 EDT    There are 22 riders in the break. They have a 30-second advantage over the main field.

13:25 EDT    Tom Danielson (Discovery), Chad Beyer (US National team), Martin Pedersen (CSC), Elio Aggiano (Tinkoff), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Scott Zwizanski (Priority Health), Christopher Baldwin (Toyota United), Jacob Rosenbarger (BMC), Peter Hatton (Colavita), Michael Blaudzun (CSC), Nathan O'neill (Health Net), Guido Trentin (Sanier Duval), Nick Gates (Predictor Lotto), Ivan Stevic (Toyota United), Adam Bergman (Colavita), Christophe Rinero (Sanier Duval), David Zabriskie (CSC), Lucas Euser (Slipstream), Christophe Brandt (Predictor Lotto), Glen Alan Chadwick (Navigators), Benjamin Brooks (Navigators), Hubert Schwab (Quick Step)

13:25 EDT    60km/122km to go And now that I got carpal-tunnel syndrome typing them all in, they are caught. The peloton is all together once again.

13:29 EDT    A group of 9 riders has 100-meters on the group.

13:34 EDT    68km/114km to go And it's all back together agian. It's possible that teams with sprinters are more intersted in the intermediate sprint coming up in 30-kilomters than letting a break develop.

13:35 EDT    A new break of about fifteen riders is 100-meters up the road.

13:39 EDT    This break has about twenty seconds on the field and contains riders from 11 teams including George Hincapie, Ben Jaques-Maynes, Ivan Stevic, Glenn Chadwick among others.

13:42 EDT    Karl Menzies (Health Net), Mauro Facci (Wuick Step), Guido Trentin (Sanier Duval) and Rory Sutherland (Health Net) are in the break as well.

13:43 EDT    74km/108km to go The break has 25 seconds over the peloton as they enter the first feed zone.

13:46 EDT    The breal was actually caught in the feed zone but two riders slipped off the front to establish their own break; Olivier Kaisen (Predictor-Lotto) and Maarten Wynants (Quick Step)

13:49 EDT    The two leaders have 30 seconds on the field. Glenn Chadwick (Health Net) is attempting to bridge).

13:50 EDT    82km/100km to go We love race fans - at the 81-kilometer mark, a fan held a sign asking "Where's Grover?" Well, Grover was right there waving back at you.

13:51 EDT    We would love to see more Grover signs. Or just yell if you see him.

13:51 EDT    The pack essentially sat up through the feed zone and the leader's gap has grown quickly; at 2:20 now.

14:00 EDT    86km/96km to go In the main peloton, Ivan Domingiez is taking a fresh bike for some reason while the break works well together and have built a greater than 3 minute lead.

14:02 EDT    Correction to the gap - it is actually at six minutes as the Navigators team manager Ed Beamon screams ahead of the main pack to catch up with his rider in the break (Glenn Chadwick).

14:03 EDT    The race official is saying that the peloton have finished lunch and "folded up the napkins" and they are picking up their pace again.

14:05 EDT    The leaders are 5-kilometers from the second intermidiate sprint line and 6:05 ahead of the main group. Toyota United is setting the pace on the front of the peloton. The race is currently running on a nice, wide three-lane road.

14:09 EDT    The leaders are at 1-kilometer to the sprint. Riders from CSC are taking turns with the Toyota United riders setting pace in the main pack.

14:10 EDT    Brajkovic is sitting comfortably in the group, protected by teammates.

14:12 EDT    Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) took the sprint ahead of Chadwick (Navigators) and Kaisen (Predictor-Lotto) but only Wynants and Chadwick contested for it.

14:13 EDT    95km/87km to go The split back to the main group is still 6:05.

14:14 EDT    The field is 1-kilometer from the sprint but all the possible points were taken by the break so they will hold a steady pace and manage the gap.

14:23 EDT    The pacesetting at the front of the main group is having an impact on the break; the gap is down to 4:50.

14:36 EDT    We just received an email from Gavin Hayes, the sales manager of the Sports Garage bike shop in Boulder, Colorado asking about Scott Nydam of the BMC team. "3 short years ago he was racing for our club team as a Cat 4... He since has dedicated his life to succeeding. Now look at him - 6th overall GC and the nicest guy you will ever meet!" We caught team manager Gavin Chilcott in the team car - "Scott is riding well. The siituation in the race right now is that Scott is surrounded by teammates and in a spot in the pack where all the GC leaders are. His health is good, his morale is good and the conditions are good."

14:40 EDT    110km/72km to go The three leaders have rebuilt their gap to six minutes. Toyota United and CSC continute to set pace in the main field.

14:49 EDT    122km/60km to go We just talked to Vasily Davidenko - the assitant director for the Navigators cycling team. He says Chadwick (who is in the break) has really good form right now so he has a green light to be as aggressive as he wants to be. The team also has Ben Brooks tucked into the field if the race comes down to a field sprint. With all his guys feeling well, Davidenko feels confident that Navigators will make an impact in today's stage.

14:52 EDT    Since fans of cycling are likely to also be participants of the sport, it's no surprise that people reading have had close contact with some of the riders in the Tour de Georgia. David from Puerto Rico writes "12 years ago I rode the Panamerican cycling games in Venezuela with GC second place Christian Vandevelde. I remember he won gold medal in individual persuit and we did the road race too. Woe, he is a pro now. I am very pround of him."

14:56 EDT    127km/55km to go The gap is 4:55.

14:58 EDT    The three riders in the break are riding strong, still working together. Each rider is in the drops. Their jerseys are zipped as they concentrate on the work at hand. They are still in a section of rolling countryside and averaging 26mph (42kmph).

15:01 EDT    130km/52km to go The gap is now down to 4:10. The leaders are about to enter a covered bridge as the cross into Rockdale county.

15:02 EDT    The gap is coming down. Now at 4 minutes.

15:06 EDT    The peloton have taken another ten seconds out of the lead. With about 50-kilomters remaining in the race, it will be a tall order for a three-man break to stay away. And at the current pace, we should see a finsh at about 4:20pm Eastern Standard Time (US).

15:09 EDT    135km/47km to go The gap is now down to 3:30.

15:12 EDT    CSC and Toyota United are still working the front of the pelotn and have taken yet more time out of the lead (gap at 3:05 now). Discovery Channel riders are next in line with Brajkovic safely protected.

15:15 EDT    The gap is under three minutes now and still melting. It seems that CSC and Toyota United want a sprint showdown on the finishing circuit at Stone Mountain. And Discovery is being smart to protect their leader and work to preserve his 12-second advanatge in GC over Christian Vandevelde.

15:17 EDT    142km/40km to go Gap at 2:50. I would imagine that the field does not want to catch this break too early - and give other teams a chance to try to get another break established.

15:19 EDT    The race enters the finishing circuit at Stone Mountain in about 20 kilometers. It may be that CSC and Toyota United wants to nuetralize the race going into the final circuit.

15:21 EDT    The gap is down to 2:35.

15:22 EDT    Interestingly, there have been no riders dropped out of the peloton today. Although the pace has been high several times during the early going, the current pace is not strong enough to put anyone left in the race after five stages in difficulty.

15:23 EDT    146km/36km to go The race has moved onto a 2-kilometer stretch of highway. People have stopped their cars on an overpass to watch the race go by.

15:24 EDT    Gap at 2:20.

15:31 EDT    150km/32km to go The gap is down to 2:10 and seems to be holding at the moment. Grover likes he Quick Step rider out of the break (Maarten Wynants) for today's stage win because they are blue like him - he picked Brajkovic (also in blue) to do well in Stage 3 and now he's the race leader so this may be an omen. "Go blue" - Grover.

15:38 EDT    156.4km/25.6km to go Gap is now down to 1:55.

15:43 EDT    158.4km/23.6km to go The race enters the finishing circuit in just under two kilometers. The circuit is 13-kilometers in all but we enter the circuit ten kilometers before we pass throgh the start/finish line to go out for the final, complete lapo. The gap is 1:30 as the leaders enter the Stone Mountain community. At the turn off, there was a small crowd of fans.

15:46 EDT    The terrain is still very up-and-down; with about 50-meter difference between the downs and the ups. There is a ninety-degree turn with 250-meters to the finish line. It will be a sketchy run-in to the sprint, with sprint teams trying to get their guy into the corner in position for the final sprint and opportunists looking to slingshot through the turn to try and surprise the field.

15:47 EDT    The field just entered the Stone Mountain community 1:15 behind the leaders.

15:47 EDT    Toyota United and CSC are still setting pace in the peloton.

15:50 EDT    CSC is working to probably bring JJ Haedo within striking distance of the team's first stage win in the 2007 Tour de Georgia. Toyota United have two weapons for the spring; Ivan Dominguez and Ivan Stevic. If they won today, it would be Toyota United's second stage win of the Tour (Stevic won stage 2).

15:51 EDT    The gap is closing in one one minute so the three team cars that were following the leaders are being shifted back to the main caravan. The leaders will still have a Mavic Nuetral support moto and car to support them.

15:53 EDT    168km/14km to go The leaders have 3-kilomters to the start/finish line. They then go out for the final circuit. The gap is 55 seconds.

15:53 EDT    The field is down to 50-seconds. Another cruel catch seems to be in order.

15:54 EDT    Of the three leaders, Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) seems to have the freshest legs - he often rides out of the saddle and takes the front on many of the small rises in the road.

15:55 EDT    But he isn't fresh enough - even though the terrain prevents the peloton from seeing the field, they are only 35 secodns behind now.

15:56 EDT    The hard, 90-degree turn we wrote about is actually 550-meters away from the finish lines o it may not be as sketchy as we first thought.

15:56 EDT    The gap is under 30 seconds.

15:57 EDT    172km/10km to go The field has entered the final lap.

15:58 EDT    25-seconds now.

16:00 EDT    The gap is holding at 25 seconds. Is the peloton playing with the breakaway? Punishing them by giving them a glimmer of hope? Or do they have just enough juice to hold out since they are still working together.

16:00 EDT    All the vehicles (except officias and nuetral support) are off the racecourse now, leaving the roads all to the riders.

16:01 EDT    At the finish, there is a solid and enthusiastic crowd listening to the manic PA announcer tell them the gap is down to 20 seconds.

16:02 EDT    20 seconds still.

16:03 EDT    The leaders are in sight of the field and the peloton is single file trying to bring them back. Wynants is going for it though - not giving up. he has attacked the break.

16:03 EDT    Wynants has 20 meters on his breakmates.

16:04 EDT    Besides Wynants, the break has been caught. He is clinging to his 5-second gap.

16:04 EDT    Grouppo Compacto. Groupo Compacto.

16:05 EDT    The field has absorbed Wynants and CSC and Toyota United are still in the driver's seat, keeping the pace high to discourage a counter attack.

16:06 EDT    CSC is staying on the front.

16:06 EDT    A Discovery rider is in the mix as well.

16:06 EDT    A Health Net rider, Ryder Hesjedal we think, is ten meters off the front.

16:06 EDT    Maybe Karl Menzies - we're trying to confirm.

16:07 EDT    The rider was actually Doug Ollerenshaw and he has been caught.

16:08 EDT    Toyota United and CSC are still all over the front.

16:09 EDT    179km/3km to go The peloton is still all together.

16:10 EDT    The front of the peloton is flicking back and forth across the road. Riders from Health Net, CSC, Toyota United are holding ground at the front.

16:10 EDT    Another Health Net rider is trying to escape - Jeff Louder this time. He has a ten meter gap.

16:11 EDT    Stevic comes around him and the two are away together with less than two-kilometers to go.

16:11 EDT    But they are absorbed. Two Discovery riders lead the peloton now.

16:11 EDT    180.5km/1.5km to go Another attack; by Quick Step this time. Wow. What a battle.

16:12 EDT    The leaders are at 500-meters. Health Net leads out.

16:12 EDT    It's a full-on field sprint.

16:12 EDT    Freddy Rodriguez wins it.

16:13 EDT    Where was he hiding? What power at the finish. Rodriguez took it with a bike throw right up the middle of the road with Haedo right there.

16:15 EDT    Unnoficially, the top three is Freddy Rodriguez (Predictor Lotto), JJ Haedo (CSC) and George Hincapie (Discovery).

16:19 EDT    Thanks again for follwing Stage 6 of the 2007 Tour de Georgia on www.cyclingnews.com. We will bring you complete live coverage of the final stage from downtown Atlanta, GA starting Sunday at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time (US). Check back on Cyclingnews for a complete race report, results and photos.

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