Tour de Georgia - 2.HC
USA, April 16-22, 2007
Results & report
Stage 5 - April 20: Dalton to Brasstown Bald/Towns Co. , 172.1km
Complete live report
By Sue George with Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins
Hello and welcome to our continuing
daily live coverage of the Tour de Georgia. Today we bring you Stage 5, starting
in Dalton and finishing at Brasstown Bald. Live coverage will start at 11:00
AM US EDT.
Going into today's stage, Janez Brajkovic
(Discovery Channel) is our leader. He has a 12 second advantage over Christian
Vandevelde (Team CSC).
Today racers will start with a 1.5
mile neutral lap before heading out of Dalton and officially starting the race.
The racers have rolled off and started
the neutral section. Crowds are less than previous years. That seems to be the
trend in general this year.
Saul Raisin has joined the pack for
the neutral section. He's full decked out in his Crédit Agricole team gear.
Today's weather is sunny. It's about
60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C), and it'll probably get up to 70 (21) as the afternoon
heats up. It'll be cooler atop Brasstown Bald, in the mountains, but no where
near as cold as two years ago, when it was snowing up top.
11:13 EDT 1km/171.1km to go
We have started.
Right from the 0 km mark, we've had many attacks. We're on a winding, hilly
11:15 EDT 6.4km/165.7km to go
It's all single
file now. One rider has rolled off the front, but it's a very small gap. Racing
is aggressive right now as riders are trying to get away.
We have an update on Jason McCartney
(Team Discovery). He was hospitalized earlier this week after complaining of
severe headaches and barely being able to get out of bed. He was diagnosed with
viral meningitis. He's been in the hospital all week, but may get out as soon
as tomorrow. His family is with him - they'd come to watch him at this race
since he's done so well here the past two years.
Today, we'll have two KOMs, one at
Fort Mountain (km 38.3/ mile 23.8) and one at Wolfpen Gap (km 146.1 / mile 90.8).
The race ends with the famous climb up Brasstown Bald. That climb will likely
decide the GC.
There are also two sprints today.
One is at Chatsworth (km 22.8 / mile 14.1) and one at Ellijay (km 60.6 / mile
37.7). The winner of the first KOM and the first sprint will take home a bonus
Quick-Step and Slipstreem are setting pace followed by Discovery
and CSC. They are all together.
11:27 EDT 15.9km/156.2km to go
speed so far is 30.9 mph or 49.7 kph. Lotto was at the front driving the peloton.
But CSC and Quick Step come around and take back over.
11:29 EDT 17.8km/154.3km to go
under the 5km to go until the first sprint. There riders just got off the front,
but were quickly caught. No one seems to be able to get away in the early kilometers.
The pack will probalby not give up another 29 minutes like it did on Wednesday's
11:33 EDT 17.5km/154.6km to go
is setting the pace leading up to the sprint. Now CSC takes back over. The pack
is still all together.
Fifteen riders have gotten off the
front. Five are trying to bridge.
David Mccann (Colavita/Sutter Home)
contested for the first KOM Henk Vogels (Toyota-United). Top three were 1. David
Mccann (Colavita/Sutter Home), 2.
Henk Vogels (Toyota-United), 3.Glen
Alan Chadwick (Navigators Insurance).
Now we've started our first
KOM climb. It's a long and steady one and is coming early in the race.
11:39 EDT 25km/147.1km to go
Hubert Schwab (Quick
Step) and Elio Aggiano (Tinkoff Credit Systems) attack, but Aggiano is slowing.
Now it's just Schwab.
Schwab's gap is up to 100m.
The racing is aggressive from the gun today because if any teams who weren't
represented in the 13 man break Wednesday seriously want a shot at the GC, they'll
have to break away early to start making up the 29 minutes.
Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Team Slipstream),
Timothy Duggan (Team Slipstream), Brian Vandborg (Discovery Channel), Michael
Blaudzun (Team CSC), Hubert Schwab (Quick Step), and Phil Zajicek (Navigators
Insurance) were off the front briefly, but they were caught.
Saunier Duval chased that last group
back. Now Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance) is off solo, but the field is
11:47 EDT 28.9km/143.2km to go
A Quick Step rider
has joined Zajicek. 4 others are chasing.
Our lead group has 15 seconds.
Saunier Duval - Prodir chased them
down and the pack is all together again. CSC is back at the front.
11:52 EDT 31km/141.1km to go
We're about halfway
up the climb. Navigators and Colavita/Sutter are also setting the pace. Nine
riders have 100 m off the front while some riders are struggling at the back
to keep pace.
11:57 EDT 31.2km/140.9km to go
It's all back
We've entered the national forest. This KOM is part
of about an 8 mile (12.8 km) climb. It's not too steep, but it's very steady.
11:58 EDT 32.9km/139.2km to go
(Colavita/Sutter Home), Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Thomas Danielson (Discovery
Channel), Christopher Baldwin (Toyota-United), Cesar Augusto Grajales (Jittery
Joe's), Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC), Alexandre Moos (BMC), Ben Day (Navigators
Insurance), Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval - Prodir), and Danny Pate (Team Slipstream)
are in a group with a 10 second lead.
Simoni and Danielson are leading.
Less than 5km to the KOM.
Simoni may be trying for something
today. He's honing form for the Giro, and will want to test himself on the climbs.
The gap is 20 seconds. The road is kicking up a bit.
The field is really chasing hard.
Five riders are trying to bridge: Andrea Tonti (Quick Step), Levi Leipheimer
(Discovery Channel), David Zabriskie (Team CSC), Nathan O'neill (Health Net),
and Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance)
We actually have 11 off the
front, not 10. We don't know the other rider yet.
Two more riders
are trying to bridge.
12:03 EDT 36.2km/135.9km to go
(BMC) are the two also trying to bridge. Rory Sutherland (Health Net).
Toyota and Health Net are at the front of the break, driving the lead which
has 30 seconds. The climb is flattening out again.
It seems as if Lotto and Tinkoff have
missed the break. The group off the front has some strong riders - this could
stick if they continue to work together after the KOM.
12:10 EDT 38.3km/133.8km to go
KOM results: 1.
Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance), 2. Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home),
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), 4. Ben Day (Navigators Insurance) and Alexandre
Gap was 1:05 over the top.
Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Ben Day
(Navigators Insurance), Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home), and Phil Zajicek
(Navigators Insurance) have broken away from the rest of the pack.
They have 0:35 on the rest of the leaders and 1:35 on the pack. We're descending
a 6-8% grade, similar roads to what we just climbed going up to the KOM.
12:17 EDT 45.5km/126.6km to go
The KOM claimed
some victims. We lost about 36 riders off the back.
Our lead group
of four has 2 minutes on another group of four which includes: Michael Blaudzun
(Team CSC), Alexandre Moos (BMC), Danny Pate (Team Slipstream), and Christopher
We have less than 20 seconds between the
first two groups of four. Then 2 minutes between the lead group of four and
12:19 EDT 49km/123.1km to go
The two groups of
four have joined together off the front to form an eight-man lead group. We're
still on another downhill. Chris Baldwin is at the front of the break.
John Devine (USA National Development
Team) was trying to bridge, and he got as much as a minute, but now he's sitting
up and waiting to get caught.
12:28 EDT 70.8km/101.3km to go
The gap between
our eight leaders and the main pack is 5:10. In between, we have remnants of
the original 18 man break, which should be about 10 riders, at 3:21 and there
is also one lone rider in no man's land between the remnants and the peloton.
Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski talked
to Tom Danielson this morning about Discovery's team strategy. He said they
will be working for the overall, which they are defending today, but there is
a chance that Danielson could go for the stage win. Discovery implied it would
try to keep the race together until the end, and then it would be a question
of who's the fastest man to the top for the stage win.
rider George Hincapie said this year would be a little different -- less difficult
-- than previous years because his team would have fewer guys to mark.
Danielson alluded to us that Discovery might try a little different strategy
near the end today, but he wouldn't tell us what it might be.
12:36 EDT 62.4km/109.7km to go
The leaders are
entering, Elijay, site of the next sprint in a few kilometers. They are trading
pulls and working together evenly.
We're going back to check on the
peloton. Our solo rider Devine is about to be caught by the field.
Results of the second sprint are:
1 Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), 2 Ben Day (Navigators Insurance), 3 Danny Pate
The gap between the eight leaders and the pack
is 5:30. Everyone else in between has been caught by the pack.
So far, the racers are going at a
pace consistent with what organizers predicted.
Before the start
this morning, Matt Goss (CSC), told Mark Zalewski that he, too, thought the
pack would stay together most of the day going into the final Brasstown Bald
climb. CSC will be working for their leader Christian Vande Velde, who trails
first place rider Janez Brajkovic (Discovery) by only 12 seconds.
If the pack stays nearly together
or the leaders do not get too large of a break going into the final climb, we
will again see two key races today. One race will be for the stage win, to be
taken by the first man to top Brasstown. The other will be for the GC overall,
between Vande Velde and Brajkovic.
However, Brajkovic has proven
himself a strong climber, so he might the two races might be one and the same.
Last year, Brajkovic finished only 23 seconds back in 5th place, behind Discovery
teammate Tom Danielson on the stage.
The gap is holding fairly steady now.
It's at 5:35.
Trent Wilson is taking a pull on the front of the main
peloton for Jittery Joes. The Joes men and Saunier Duval Prodier, both teams
without riders in the break, are clearly working together to chase today.
Jittery Joes have changed out their team kit for today. They're in a predominantly
Michael from Florida wrote in to point
out that Christian Vande Velde (Team CSC) is also on the start list for Amstel
Gold this weekend and asked if we knew if he had any plans to drop out of the
Tour of Georgia and fly to the Netherlands at the last minute. Good question!
But it sure does seem unlikely that he'd abandon a potential podium here in
To clarify something we wrote earlier
today...Saul Raisin joined the peloton only for the neutral section of today's
stage near the start. He is not racing, but he does live nearby - Dalton, the
start for today, is his hometown.
13:07 EDT 77.2km/94.9km to go
The gap has dropped
slightly. We're at 5:00 as we travel down Big Creek Road.
are getting lots of small climbs, and they're often out of saddle working pretty
Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net) is leading.
Between now and the second KOM at
Wolfpen Gap, which is another 45 miles (72.4 km) away, racers will face a series
of steady rolling hills. Except for one descent after the KOM, they'll generally
be gaining elevation today until the finish. Brasstown Bald is Georgia's highest
point, at about 4750 feet (1447 meters). Now they are still under 2000 feet
(609.6 meters) elevation.
13:26 EDT 88.5km/83.6km to go
The gap is now
at 5:10, so it's still holding pretty steady.
Navigators is the only
team with two riders: Ben Day (Navigators Insurance) and Phil Zajicek (Navigators
Insurance), the latter of whom is recognized as a solid climber.
A large portion of today's route passes
through the Chattahoochee National Forest, reportedly home to some good mountain
biking. Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net) used to ride for Discovery and Phonak, but
before he was a road pro, he was an accomplished mountain bike racer. The Canadian
won the US NORBA National Series in 2003. In 2002, he stood atop the World Cup
podium at Les Gets.
Niels from Denmark and Connie have
written us to say that according to the Team CSC website, Christian Vandevelde
is not slated to race Amstel Gold Sunday. Instead, the CSC roster is Lars Bak,
Alexandr Kolbnev, Andy Schleck, Nicki
Sorensen, Volodymir Gustov, Karsten
Kroon, Frank Schleck, and Jens Voight. So we should get to follow him the next
two days on his quest for the leader's jersey here in Georgia.
We've just passed an Italian restaurant
that has pulled out all the stops for the race. They set up shop by the road
and lots of fans are here cheering riders on. We don't know if they're only
cheering on Italian riders or giving shout outs for all the racers. We'd like
to think they're cheering for our mascot Grover as we pass.
13:43 EDT 103.6km/68.5km to go
The gap between
our front eight and the peloton is 5:15.
We're making a right turn
onto Dial Road from Newport Road. For those of you thinking in miles, we have
about 42.5 miles to go.
Brasstown Bald is the final climb
to end our stage today. Bruce Hildenbrand wrote in from Temecula, where he is
doing the 24 Hours of Temecula MTB race this weekend, to let us know some stats
on Brasstown Bald.
It climbs 1650 feet (502 meters) in 3 miles (4.8
The steepest section is about 200 meters long, with a grade
of 24%, just before the 2km to go mark.
The last kilometer, normally
closed to traffic, has a 400 meter section with a 20% grade which eases (slightly!)
to 15 to 17% for the finish.
13:53 EDT 109.5km/62.6km to go
The gap to our
eight leaders is holding steady at 5:10.
We reported earlier that
a few dozen riders had dropped off on the first KOM climb, but as far as we
know, those riders were able to rejoin with the main peloton, which is all together
again excepting our eight-man break.
For those of you just joining us,
our 8-man group includes: Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Ben Day (Navigators Insurance),
Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home), Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance), Michael
Blaudzun (Team CSC), Alexandre Moos (BMC), Danny Pate (Team Slipstream), and
Christopher Baldwin (Toyota-United).
14:00 EDT 111km/61.1km to go
We've droppped back
to check out our peloton. Saunier Duval - Prodir is leading the chase with three
riders and Jittery Joes is helping them out with another five riders. Both teams
have no representation in the break and will want to reel in the break to preserve
their chances of doing well for the stage.
Team CSC is next up with
five riders, although they don't appear to be working much, but they have a
member, Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC), in the break.
The pack is single-file
and moving fast at an impressive 23 mph (37 kph) on an uphill on Morgantown
Highway. In the last 5 to 10 km, the gap has dropped to 4:55.
14:08 EDT 115.9km/56.2km to go
The gap is still
dropping. It's at 4:40.
For those of you asking about Grover, rumor
has it our photographers got a photo of him and the crew today, so look for
that later on Cyclingnews. You also might see him on TV, too. Being the celebrity
that he is, the TV cameras were swarming him before the start of today's stage.
14:15 EDT 123.9km/48.2km to go
The gap is 4:30.
Saunier Duval Prodir and Jittery Joes continue to lead the peloton. Jittery
Joes, who is sporting a new mostly white team kit today, did a similar uniform
change mid-race last year, too - maybe so we'll talk about here!
The break is still rotating smoothly and evenly.
During the last
few kilometers, we've been passing lots of farms with horses. Sometimes, the
horses run along with us as we pass.
Soon to make left onto Wolf
Pen Gap road, and then the racers are in for some more climbing.
14:20 EDT 127km/45.1km to go
The gap is at 4:20
now, and the racers are climbing up an unrated, but still noteworthy climb.
There's still some more climbing and descending to go, but the next and final
KOM for today is at Wolfpen Gap at mile 90.8 (km 146.1).
14:27 EDT 130.8km/41.3km to go
The gap is at
The sun's gone behind the clouds now, so it's a little overcast.
Temperature are in the high 60's (near 19 degrees C).
years, racers have put on a 25 or 26 toothed cog as their low gear in the rear.
We expect they'll use similar gears again this year.
Ben Day (Navigators
Insurance) is on the front of the break now.
We're close to starting the beginning
of the KOM climb. It's been rolling uphill and downhill, now it's kind of flat.
We're in more open terrain, but we've experienced a mix of tree cover and open
terrain thus far today.
Danny Pate (Team Slipstream) is leading the
We talked to a few team directors.
Toyota United's Harm Jansen said he was not surprised to see Chris Baldwin up
here. Apparently, all but two of the team's riders were ordered to go with any
Meanwhile, Ed Beamon is happy to see his two Navigators'
racers up here, but doesn't think the break will survive.
14:40 EDT 140km/32.1km to go
We're still on the
flats and rollers leading up to the KOM climb. On the small climbs in the past
few kilometers, CSC and Navigators have been pulling the break.
see the 5 km to go to the KOM soon. The gap is down to 3:40.
see 5km to go to KOM soon.
14:42 EDT 141.1km/31km to go
We get 5 km to go
to the KOM. The gap is at 3:30. Healthnet, Navigators, and BMC are at the front
of the break. They're trading short pulls and just starting to climb. These
early slopes are not very steep and are conducive to a rotating paceline like
We're definitely on the climb now.
One of the two Navigator's riders is doing most of the work right now. All the
riders are climbing seated.
14:47 EDT 146.1km/26km to go
1 km to the KOM.
Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Alexandre Moos (BMC) are suffering
at the back of the break.
Ben Day (Navigators Insurance), Phil Zajicek
(Navigators Insurance), and Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC) are at the front.
14:51 EDT 147km/25.1km to go
25 km to go.
They're over the top. KOM results are 1. Ryder Hesjedal
(Health Net), 2. Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC), 3. Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance),
4. Alexandre Moos (BMC), 5. Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home).
14:57 EDT 152.1km/20km to go
The leaders are
seeing 20 km to go. The gap is down to 3:10, and they are on a gradual downhill
They'll keep going down and then pick up more speed on the
Gainsville Highway. It's a sweeping, wide downhill.
This is the final
major downhill before Brasstown. There's about 10 km to go before the Brasstown
We're passing over the Nottely River.
15:00 EDT 156.1km/16km to go
Navigators and CSC
appear to be still driving the break. The riders are standing up and working
their way to the top of a small rise.
The gap is continuing to drop. It's
at 2:50 now. The mountains are looming bigger in the distance.
group of riders is off the back of the peloton now. They lost contact on the
last KOM and are at 6:30 back from the leaders. The riders are Emile Abraham
(Priority Health), Garrett Peltonen (Priority Health), Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United),
Henk Vogels (Toyota-United), Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe's), Brian Dziewa (USA
National Development Team), and Eric Riggs (USA National Development Team).
15:04 EDT 157km/15.1km to go
riders are on the front, really driving the break now. But the chase is on behind
them. The gap is down to 2:30.
Some of the police cars in the middle
are getting pulled out from between the leaders and the pack. That's not a good
sign for the leaders.
The break is working evenly, in a paceline.
Roads starting to kick up. Navigators is driving again trying to make it last
as long as possible. CSC is under no obligation to chase with a rider up here.
If Discovery wants to get another stage win, they'll have to bring them back.
The field is riding at 27 mph (43.5 kph).
Alexandre Moos (BMC) is attacking.
Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC) is following. Then Danny Pate (Team Slipstream)
and Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net).
Christopher Baldwin (Toyota-United)
is in difficulty.
Moos is attacking and on his own.
He has a 10 m gap.
15:09 EDT 162.1km/10km to go
Moos has a 50m gap.
Baldwin (Toyota-United) and both Navigators riders have dropped off the back.
Moos is solo, on a bit of downhill.
He's driving it in the drops. He's got 100m.
Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Anthony
Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home), Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC), and Danny Pate (Team
Slipstream) are together behind Alexandre Moos (BMC).
Moos has 8 seconds over his four chasers.
Moos has 50 meters. They almost caught
him and then he started to stretch it out again. Now he's almost at 100m.
15:18 EDT 164km/8.1km to go
There are a lot of
cars along the road here. That means there'll be a lot of spectators higher
up since they don't let the cars drive up the mountain.
Moos is still
in the lead. He's got 75 m. He's using all the road and is out of the saddle
whenever it pitches up.
15:19 EDT 167.1km/5km to go
The four chasers
Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home), Michael Blaudzun
(Team CSC), and Danny Pate (Team Slipstream) are still together.
They're getting 5km to go.
Moos is on the final Brasstown Bald
climb. He passes under a "welcome to Brasstown Bald Mountain" sign.
Baldwin and one of the Navigators
riders from the original break are getting reeled in by the peloton. The peloton
is at 2:10.
We're starting to see more people
up here now, but nearly as many as last year or when Lance was racing. This
stage used to be on a Saturday, when fewer spectators would have had work obligations.
15:23 EDT 168.1km/4km to go
Danny Pate (Team
Slipstream) is falling off the pace of the chasers now. So we're down to three
Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval - Prodir),
Thomas Danielson (Discovery Channel), and Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
have broken away from the peloton. The climbers have made their move.
It's a 1:35 gap to the peloton. Moos
is still away. He's looking a little tired but still climbing pretty well.
Leipheimer is attacking. He's getting away from Simoni and looking really good.
15:28 EDT 169.1km/3km to go
Leipheimer is catching
and passing Pate.
Alexandre Moos (BMC) is leading, but
Leipheimer is catching the chasers Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home) and
Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC).
Leipheimer has caught Moos and assumed
Colby tried to hang on when Leipheimer
went by but he couldn't do it.
Moos is really suffering as Leipheimer
15:34 EDT 170.1km/2km to go
Vandevelde is leading
Brajkovic, but he's on his wheel. Vandevelde looks pretty comfortable. They're
about to catch Pate.
Leipheimer is flying up the mountain.
He looks so comfortable right now in the lead. He's got a high cadence.
Pate has caught on to Vandevelde and Brajkovic and hanging with them.
Vandevelde puts in a dig, but Brajkovic
shadows him. Pate loses contact with them.
15:36 EDT 171.1km/1km to go
Moos, Colby, and
Hesjedal are behind Levi, who's getting 1 km to go.
Leipheimer is inside one kilometer.
Vandevelde and Brajkovic are still together, fighting their battle for the GC.
Going into today, they were separated by 12 seconds.
Leipheimer is still strong. He's out
of the saddle on the steep section. A man is running alongside him waving a
Leipheimer gets 500m to go. It's getting
really steep now, and he's working hard, riding solo.
Vandevelde and Brajkovic get 1km to
250 m for Leipheimer. Vandevelde keeps
trying to drop Brajkovic, but he's not going anywhere.
Vandevelde and Brajkovic have caught
Leipheimer is at 50m.
Leipheimer wins the stage! Vandevelde
is putting in a last ditch effort, but he's still got his shadow.
Vandevelde and Brajkovic are side
by side now on a steep section.
Danielson takes second. Colby get
There'll be no change in GC. Vandevelde
finished with Brajkovic.
The peloton exploded on the climb
and everyone is finishing as best they can.
Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
has made it two stage wins in a row, after he also won yesterday's time trial.
His team also retains its overall lead with Janez Brajkovic keeping his leader's
jersey ahead of Christian Vandevelde (Team CSC).
That wraps up our live coverage for
today. We'll get you full results as soon as possible on our site www.cyclingnews.com,
so stay tuned.
Thanks for joining us today! Stage 6 starts tomorrow
(Saturday) at noon US EST and runs 182.9km from Lake Lanier Islands to Stone
We hope you'll enjoy the race with us again tomorrow.
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