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Tour de Georgia - 2.HC

USA, April 21-27, 2008

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Stage 2 - April 22: Statesboro - Augusta, 116.9mi/188.1km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Laura Weislo with reporting from Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins.

13:54 EDT    Join us at 11:00 EDT for the second stage of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. The riders hit a few little hills along the 116.9 mile route as they head from Statesboro up to the golf capital, Augusta. They'll get two intermediate sprints and the first KOM of the race before reaching the end. With a sizable hill before the finish, it's possible that overnight leader Ivan Dominguez will give up his orange jersey unless he takes out some bonus seconds in the mid-race sprints. He'll have to battle points leader Nic Sanderson for those bonuses, as well as fast man Greg Henderson (High Road).

10:47 EDT    Good morning and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. It's another beautiful morning in the Peach State - more sunny skies greeted the riders in Statesboro, and the temperature is a comfortable 69 degrees F/21 C. Toyota United's Ivan Dominguez is in the leader's yellow jersey this morning. The Cuban took the win in the somewhat chaotic bunch sprint in Savannah - the kind of finish he's well suited for. Today's finish in Augusta might give him a bit of a problem as it has a categorized climb on the finishing circuit.

10:56 EDT    Jelly Belly's Nic Sanderson is in the blue sprint leader's jersey, while Scott Nydam is back in the position of Most Aggressive rider which he's familiar with from Tour of California. His special jersey is orange. Sanderson is also leading the best young rider competition, but second placed Tyler Farrar (Slipstream) will be sporting the green oak leaf jersey in his place. The riders have one mountain prime today on the first trip up the category four hill on the finishing circuit in Augusta. The winner of that sprint will get the peach jersey.

10:59 EDT    The riders will begin their neutral roll out in a few minutes. They'll do 3.6 miles through Statesboro before heading up to Augusta. The start town this morning is the home of Emma Kelly, the lounge singer immortalized in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. She was dubbed 'the lady of 6,000 songs' by Johnny Mercer, who estimated that this was the number of songs Kelly knew by heart. She passed away in 2001, and is buried in the Eastside Cemetery, not far from the start.

11:05 EDT    The riders roll through the streets of Statesboro at a nice leisurely pace. Dominguez is looking good in that yellow jersey. Unfortunately, before they've gotten very far, the race is called to a halt. There is a camper on the course that can't fit under the banners so they cannot drive it off the road.

11:06 EDT    It's the Gerolsteiner team bus, so the race organization can't get too upset. The riders and support cars are managing to squeeze past the bus, so we'll get rolling again here shortly.

11:09 EDT    During these first few stages, we won't see much out of the GC favorites. Levi Leipheimer (Astana), High Road's Thomas Lovkvist, Bobby Julich (CSC) and Slipstream's Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde will be sitting in and waiting for the stage four team time trial and the stage six finish atop Brasstown Bald to shine. Today and tomorrow will likely be the domain of the sprinters. Gerolsteiner's chances might be a bit better today with the climb just under three miles from the finish line. They've got some strong competition from the domestic teams here. We saw Dominguez and Sanderson yesterday, but there are plenty more sprinters who have been honing their speed in recent weeks. Emile Abraham (Team Type 1) just came back from Trinidad. He told Kirsten Robbins that he's been selected by his country for the Olympics on the track, and has been racing on the track so his sprint is really strong.

11:12 EDT    We can't discount Rock Racing's Fred Rodriguez in the sprints, or High Road's Greg Henderson, who took bonuses yesterday. Hendy and Tyler Farrar will be fighting it out in the two intermediate sprints today to see if they can get the jersey off Ivan Dominguez. Sanderson, Foerster and Dominguez' team-mate Ivan Stevic are also in shouting distance of the overall lead with the 16 seconds on the course today. Of course, the entirety of the peloton is ten seconds back, so that opens up things to other sprinters like BMC's Danilo Wyss, or GE Marco Polo Trek's Russian rocket Serguei Koudentsov.

11:16 EDT    We have the race start now, and David Zabriskie (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30) takes an immediate flyer.

11:18 EDT    That was just a bit of fun for Dave Z, and he came back to the peloton quickly. But now Jackson Stewart (BMC) hits out for real.

11:20 EDT    Stewart is caught, and Aaron Tuckerman (Jelly Belly) and Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) quickly counter. Some aggressive racing today!

11:21 EDT    Toyota United's director Scott Moninger said his team will work for the jersey today and try to keep Ivan in the jersey, but they don't want to blow the team up just to keep it. He's happy because he was able to move up to first car from their second to last spot.

11:25 EDT    The Toyota United team is under a little bit of pressure to defend today - not just for the sponsors, but by the race organization. Last year Tinkoff had the yellow jersey but didn't want to defend and that breakaway went out to 29 minutes on stage three. There was a similar situation in the Tour of Missouri, when Dominguez had the jersey and a break took 14 minutes. The race organizers don't want that to happen again, so they'll be trying to encourage the teams to keep the race in check.

11:28 EDT    7.2mi/109.7mi to go None of the breaks are getting anywhere right now - the guys up front were caught. There is a bit of interest in keeping things together for the first sprint at mile 28.6.

11:32 EDT    9mi/107.9mi to go A mile ago, Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe's) put in a good attack, and built up 45 seconds now. The field is just beginning to respond to this and bring that gap back down.

11:37 EDT    11mi/105.9mi to go Just as with yesterday's stage, the riders have a few railroad crossings to deal with today. The crossings out in the countryside can sometimes be quite poorly maintained and rough as they are for freight trains. Willo is coming back, his gap now is just ten seconds, but Fuyu Li (GE Trek - Marco Polo) is trying to bridge across, but the field is just behind.

11:38 EDT    12mi/104.9mi to go That didn't take too long - the peloton has brought the two men back and now we've got yet another counter attack. They're going 32mph now - it's a quick pace this morning!

11:40 EDT    There's a group trying to get clear now, but the speed is so high it's a struggle to get any daylight between themselves and the peloton.

11:42 EDT    14mi/102.9mi to go Kirsten Robbins spoke with our yellow jersey Dominguez this morning. He doesn't want the team on the front working all day, because that will kill them for the climbing later in the race. They're looking to get in a break - and will be covering the moves so they can take pressure off the chasing. He wants another stage win - he's confident he can get over the climb for the sprint. It's not a very big climb - less than 100m long and barely a blip on the radar for riders of this level.

11:45 EDT    The Jittery Joe's coffee roaster came out with a special Tour de Georgia blend - this might be what's got the peloton rolling along so quickly. There is attack after attack flying off the front, but nothing is getting away. The pace is high and the terrain is flat so there's nothing to slow them down yet.

11:46 EDT    The team on the ground and up in the 'Hindenberg IV' appreciate the Jittery Joe's gift of a nice can of the blend, but if only they'd included a portable brewing device of some sort...

11:50 EDT    Kirsten Robbins also spoke with Bissell director Glenn Mitchell this morning. The team was happy they had Richard England in fourth on stage one, but they were hoping for a ride like Jelly Belly got with Nic Sanderson. They were a bit jealous of the podium spot, and were hoping to get that for themselves. They have no illusions of racing for the GC. They want to make the race, be active and get publicity. Yesterday they had Garrett Peltonen in the break, but they want more.

11:55 EDT    20mi/96.9mi to go The pace is extremely fast today - upwards of 30mph. Oscar Gatto (Gerolsteiner) tried to get away a couple miles ago, but had no luck. The attacks are still going, but the pace is just too much for anything to go clear. They've got more than eight miles to the first sprint, and it is unlikely any break will be given room until we've past that point.

11:57 EDT    21mi/95.9mi to go Toyota United's Ivan Stevic was in yesterday's breakaway, which was a little surprising considering he's a sprinter who took a stage win last year. The reason is, he's been battling an injury all winter and is not as fit as he was last year. He had a mal-adjusted pelvis and has had a lot of physiotherapy. He could only do about five hours a week earlier this spring - first it was his knee, then his hip. But he's come a long way, but knows he's just here to get in the early breaks and make the guys laugh. He's not expecting any results like he had last year with the stage win.

11:58 EDT    22mi/94.9mi to go Greg Henderson (Team High Road) took a flyer and got a little bit of a gap - just about ten seconds. We're deep in the heart of the southern countryside now, and he passes by a house sporting a big rebel flag. Yeeeee-haw!

12:00 EDT    23mi/93.9mi to go Hendy is back in the field, but is sitting at the front trying to get something going. They're passing through a forest now and the only thing watching them go by are the trees.

12:03 EDT    After a pancake flat start to the stage, we're starting to see a little bit of elevation change now. The riders hit a fast little descent, and now have a miniscule rise ahead. As the terrain begins to undulate, we might see some attacks go clear. The race is 5km from the first sprint of the day, so we expect aggression.

12:07 EDT    24.5mi/92.4mi to go Correction - five miles to the sprint, not kilometers. The metric system is only getting occasional use here in the USA! The pace has dropped considerably in the peloton and it looks like they've decided to wait for the sprint to use their energy.

12:10 EDT    26mi/90.9mi to go The riders took a group nature break, but when they resumed riding, Loh Sea Keong (GE Trek - Marco Polo) immediately attacked. They're five km from the sprint now, so they'll be entering the town of Millen momentarily.

12:11 EDT    The Malaysian rider is quite strong, and has built up 25 seconds fairly quickly. This is the first time the Marco Polo team has raced in the USA, so they'll be keen to get some face time for their race sponsor GE.

Current race situation

  • Loh Sea Keong (GE Trek - Marco Polo)
  • Peloton at 0.25

12:13 EDT    27mi/89.9mi to go Loh Sea Keong now has 30 seconds and growing as he heads into Millen. He's got some railroad tracks to deal with, then a couple quick turns before the sprint line at mile 28.6.

12:14 EDT    One kilometer to go to the sprint, and it looks like the GE-Trek Marco Polo rider will get the three second bonus on the line in Millen.

12:17 EDT    The peloton has other plans, however, and just at the line, the Malaysian rider is caught!

12:19 EDT    29mi/87.9mi to go

Results of the first sprint:
1 Tyler Farrar (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30)
2 Nicholas Sanderson (Jelly Belly)
3 Loh Sea Keong (GE Trek - Marco Polo)

It was close for Loh, but he needed the line to be 25 meters sooner.

12:21 EDT    That sprint moves Farrar up to the same time as Sanderson, tied two seconds behind Dominguez on the overall classification on the road. Farrar took the yellow jersey at the Tour of California on time bonuses, but on the first day he wore it in the race, he fell ill with the germ that had been sweeping through the peloton and had to abandon the race. He'll want to try to make up for that here in Georgia.

12:21 EDT    Yesterday Farrar had his team doing a perfect lead-out train only to flat with 2km to go, so we'll hope his luck improves today.

12:23 EDT    33mi/83.9mi to go After a brief respite following the sprint, the riders have gone back to their attacking ways. Team Type 1 and the BMC teams are back at it.

12:27 EDT    Team Type 1 picked up its team leader for Tour de Georgia, Moises Aldape, after the Mexican took third in the Vuelta Chihuahua. He's quite a talent, and was right there alongside (remember this name?) one Francisco Mancebo. They've also got our diarist Glen Chadwick, who is recovering from a nasty virus that had him in the hospital last month.

12:31 EDT    37mi/79.9mi to go Correction - that was Moises' older brother Antonio who was the one alongside Mancebo... but anyhow, with that mention Moises attacks along with Tim Johnson and the pair get about 50m.

12:35 EDT    38mi/78.9mi to go Rhys Pollack (GE-Trek Marco Polo) is chasing back on after a flat... the pair up front Aldape and Johnson have been caught and the counterattacks are flying. Chris Jones (Team Type 1) has a flat now...

12:36 EDT    Now we've got another move going off the front - looks like six riders with Rory Sutherland (Health Net), a High Road, Toyota, Astana and Marco Polo - but they just can't get any daylight. One of the riders quickly counters - it's still very aggressive here!

12:37 EDT    The riders who were in that little move are still driving the pace, but the peloton is right on them. Slipstream has a rider here, and Toyota has attacked!

12:38 EDT    40mi/76.9mi to go That's Justin England (Toyota - United), who has attacked a few miles before the feed zone. He's gaining ground.

12:41 EDT    This is a nice move on the part of Justin England, who is helping his team by letting them take a back seat in controlling the race. Justin England is from Boulder, Colorado, but makes his home in North Carolina - just two states up from Georgia, so he's familiar with the climate and terrain here. However, flat ground isn't his best kind of terrain - he's more of a climber.

12:45 EDT    43mi/73.9mi to go England drapes his arms over the tops of the bars in an aero tuck, his time-trialing is working, and he's built up a minute on the field, which is only interested in the approaching feed zone.

12:48 EDT    Haedo is up front pushing on while the peloton has a snack. Levi Leipheimer is chillin' - he's in that unusual US champions kit. England also gets his feed back up the road, and quickly pulls all the good bits out, swaps his bottles and then plows on ahead. The peloton isn't chasing, but he'll be praying for someone to come across. 75 miles alone probably isn't what he had on his training plan for today.

12:50 EDT    Oh dear - the feed zone is usually pretty dangerous and today is no exception - an Astana rider and a Team Type 1 rider have hit the deck. The neutral support is right there to help out. We saw this happen a lot at last year's Tour de France as well.

12:50 EDT    The TT1 rider is back and chasing through the caravan, while the peloton has a nature break - so it's no hurry.

12:52 EDT    The crash victims are Michael Schär (Astana) and Christopher Jones (Team Type 1). Bad luck for Jones who flatted earlier. The nature break has allowed England to pull his lead out over two minutes now!

12:58 EDT    48mi/68.9mi to go The next intermediate sprint is at mile 57.1 - the peloton seems content to let Justin England sit out front, as he's now at 2'55 on the field. We've heard that Michael Schär (Astana) has abandoned the race. Apparently the crash was pretty bad for the Swiss rider, who flipped up in the air and landed hard on his shoulder. The crew wishes him speedy healing and hopes he gets some good pain killers quickly.

13:00 EDT    We've got readers from Argentina tuning in to follow JJ Haedo's race, and wondering where he was in the sprint yesterday... the roads in Savannah were quite bumpy, and Haedo is recovering from a broken bone in his wrist. He still has the hand taped up, so he didn't want to chance it in the somewhat dodgy sprint. Perhaps we'll see him shake out those legs today in Augusta!

13:04 EDT    We've got some riders trying to bridge across to England - he'll be happy to hear that! Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly) takes off and Rhys Pollock (GE Trek - Marco Polo) gets on his wheel. They've only got 100m on the field, while England is four minutes up the road.

13:08 EDT    The peloton is looking fairly relaxed. Dominguez is at the back chatting with Hilton Clarke. We've heard that the Cuban is going to be a father soon. We hope he passes on the fast twitch to his new young one.

13:10 EDT    Good news! Michael Schär (Astana) has not actually abandoned the race. He's now riding alongside Leipheimer, so he wasn't too hurt in that spectacular crash. The medics taped up his shoulder - that's hard core!

13:13 EDT    53mi/63.9mi to go Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis) and Leon Van Bon (GE Trek - Marco Polo) briefly tried to go across, but the peloton wasn't letting any more guys go up the road and they were caught. Astana has now taken control of the pace making - perhaps as a favor for the organizers? Or simply to make sure Levi Leipheimer will be in a position to battle for his second stage race of the year.

Current race situation

  • Justin England (Toyota - United)
  • Rhys Pollock (GE Trek - Marco Polo) and Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly) at 3.15
  • Peloton at 4.00

13:15 EDT    The gap for England is still four minutes, while the chasing duo are making up a little ground, but still less than a minute in front of the field. Tyler Hamilton is having a chat with his former team-mate Jose Luis Rubiera. It's probably been a little while since these two have seen each other.

13:19 EDT    56.5mi/60.4mi to go The road is beginning to undulate a bit more where England is riding, and he is able to get out of the saddle to power up a tiny little rise. On flat roads like this, hammering in the saddle gets a little monotonous and it's sometimes refreshing to have to climb a little and use new muscles. England is now 1km to the sprint line.

13:21 EDT    England seems to be in a good mood up front, he has a little laugh, pretending to sprint for the line in Sardis. He gets the three seconds and probably some cash as well for his efforts. About two or three fans cheer him on - cycling isn't huge in Burke County, Georgia it seems.

13:25 EDT    58mi/58.9mi to go The gap is growing to the field, but our two chasers are making progress now. They crossed the sprint line two minutes behind England.

Results of Intermediate sprint #2:
1 Justin England (Toyota - United)
2 Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly)
3 Rhys Pollock (GE Trek - Marco Polo)

13:26 EDT    Justin England has now reached the halfway point, and is settling in for the long haul, probably hoping the two behind reach him soon so he can have a break. The two behind are working smoothly together, the tall figure of Mead looming over the Australian Pollock.

13:30 EDT    59mi/57.9mi to go We've got a correction on England - he's from Raleigh but moved to Boulder. Occasionally England will head back to North Carolina for the holidays and join the local group ride where he usually rips the legs off the locals quite mercilessly. But he's really a nice guy - he's just that strong. He graduated from East Carolina University - go Pirates!

13:32 EDT    61mi/55.9mi to go England has been joined by the Mead and Pollack and are still seven minutes ahead of the field! Astana and High Road are patrolling the front behind, so it doesn't look like it will be another 29 minute break like last year. But who knows?

Current race situation

  • Justin England (Toyota - United), Rhys Pollock (GE Trek - Marco Polo) and Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly)
  • Peloton at 7.05

13:37 EDT    Now is the time when we try to shake ourselves out of the sleepy feeling that comes in the warm afternoon sun when the breakaway has seven minutes... so to stay awake we play dumb games like "Guess the catch". Will our break get caught? If so, with how many miles to go? Email your guesses to commentator@cyclingnews.com. We might have to crack open the can of Jittery Joes and start munching on the dry beans to stay awake...

13:40 EDT    Just as we started the contest, the Astana team has began to pick up the pace back in the field. The gap dropped from 7'10 to 6'45 between time checks. That team certainly doesn't want what happened last year to happen again. The Discovery Channel came to put Levi in the jersey, but instead the break with Brajkovic got 29 minutes. Fortunately, the team still won the overall race but they won't want to take that chance again. Plus, they didn't make this break so they have no reason not to chase.

13:43 EDT    We got an e-mail from former Colavita racer Todd Herriott, a three-time Tour de Georgia vet. "I'm sitting in my office at Herriott Sports Performance in Seattle where the temp MIGHT be 40 and it's about to start raining again, watching the live coverage and SEMI-wishing I was racing in Georgia. "Congrats to Ivan, a former team-mate of mine at Colavita. ( Bummer no Colavita in this edition) I have one of his Tour de Georgia sprinters jerseys hanging in the facility from back when he finished 2nd to Lance, I believe on today's stage in 04?" Herriott wants to give a shout out for Mike Sayers and is guessing that Sutherland will get the stage and Farrar the jersey today. He continued somewhat ominously "Those finishing circuits [in Augusta] haunt me to this day."

13:48 EDT    The gap has stabilized at 6'50 now, and back in the field Matt Wilson (Team Type 1) has a mechanical and has to chase back to the field. The big topic of conversation right now are some dark looking clouds looming on the horizon. The weather forecast didn't say anything about showers, but there are some thunderstorms building next door in South Carolina that might sweep down into Augusta this afternoon.

13:51 EDT    The skies above the Astana-led peloton are mostly cloudy with just patches of blue sky poking through. They're passing through quite a rural area with not much except trees and, well, trees to look at. The road is straight as an arrow without much to break up the view at all.

13:54 EDT    We've got quite a few guesses for a catch just before the only KOM of the day at mile 109, and one at exactly 9.725 miles to go - how's that for specificity? The gap is falling a tad to 6'40 now, but the three men up front are working smoothly together.

13:58 EDT    So not only is England up here to give the team of overall leader Dominguez a break from setting pace, Mead's Jelly Belly team is happy to have him in the move. They've got Nic Sanderson in the points jersey, and he is now tied at second overall with Slipstream's Farrar, two seconds back. Slipstream is on the front of the peloton chasing now, so are clearly gunning to get the yellow jersey, but had they put someone in the break they wouldn't be obligated to work. However, they probably fancy Farrar's chances of getting the sprint over the break actually staying clear.

14:05 EDT    74mi/42.9mi to go The break still has 6'40, cruising along. Rhys Pollock is up here, he's a former BMX and MTB rider from Sydney, Australia. He's here with the GE Marco Polo Trek team.

14:06 EDT    Astana has been joined now by Gerolsteiner and High Road, and the pace has clearly picked up in the chase - the peloton is lined out on this long, lonely highway. They're really in the middle of nowhere - there isn't even a house in sight here.

14:08 EDT    77mi/39.9mi to go Rock Racing is now sending a team to the front to help chase, and the gap has fallen to 5'55. They clearly want to keep Botero, Sevilla and Hamilton in contention for the overall win, and get Fred Rod up there for the sprint.

14:13 EDT    We've got a few shout-outs to give. Our race driver Chris Gutowsky is doing a great job of steering us into all the action. Also happy birthday to Jim O'Brien, who is the mechanic for the Bissell team here at TdG. Jim has a shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina that has some great old bikes hanging in it - Axel Merckx's old bike from when he was a junior, Hincapie's old bike, and some other great stuff. Jim's been a mechanic for teams for two decades and has a lot of great stories to tell. The team is throwing him a birthday bash at the hotel tonight.

14:15 EDT    Lasse Bøchman (Team CSC) is back at to the team car getting some attention. He then heads back up through the caravan, passing the Mavic neutral support and easily regaining contact with the bunch.

14:18 EDT    This road really is as long as it is flat. It goes on into the horizon with a solid wall of trees on either side. They'll take this road all the way into Richmond County, the home of Augusta. Interestingly, yesterday's finish town and today's finish town both used to be state capitals. The last host town of the 2008 TdG is the current capital, Atlanta.

14:21 EDT    81mi/35.9mi to go The gap is starting to fall a bit more rapidly now - just 4'30 thanks to the efforts of Gerolsteiner. The three up front are out of the saddle powering up a small rise and are still looking pretty good. But they've got three ProTour teams setting pace behind. So far CSC has taken a back seat in the chase.

14:22 EDT    With Haedo still sporting a bandage on his wounded wrist, they must not care too much about the stage victory. Their best chance at a win will be in the team time trial, where Bobby Julich and former team pursuit Olympic gold medalist Brad McGee can strut their stuff.

14:27 EDT    83mi/33.9mi to go The gap is really coming down now and the peloton is nearly all single file. It's down to 4'00 as they head into Richmond County. Rock Racing's Mike Creed is pedaling comfortably along. The Canadian champion Cameron Evans (Symmetrics) rolls past with his bright red and white jersey.

14:28 EDT    83.6mi/33.3mi to go The break successfully negotiates the level crossing after the county line, and are now having a snack and a drink - fuelling up for the remaining 33 miles of this stage. Their gap is falling rapidly - now down to 3'35.

14:31 EDT    The breakaway is fighting through a little bit of a headwind here, and it's starting to take its toll - down to 3'25 to the field as they now head over the train tracks without any difficulty. Dominguez is looking relaxed and is surrounded by his team.

14:35 EDT    86mi/30.9mi to go The roads are increasingly undulating now - the pancake flat highway has been left behind for some more rolling roads. They might even have to get out of the saddle on occasion.

14:40 EDT    The average speed today has been just over 25mph, right in the middle of the range of expected speeds. The break is on a nasty little climb now, but don't seem to be having too much trouble. Their holding a 2'50 gap at the moment. In the field, Chris Horner is having a chat with CSC's Jason McCartney. They're all pretty relaxed today: their major work won't come until stage four's team time trial.

14:42 EDT    Kari Menzies (Health Net p/b Maxxis) goes back to his team car for a bottle. Mr. "Ten Menzies" is one of 18 Australians in the race today.

14:45 EDT    90mi/26.9mi to go The three men up front are clearly beginning to struggle a bit. Their gap is falling, now down to 2'25, and Justin England has his mouth open - breathing hard... Mead is stomping on the pedals, pushing a gear that Ullrich might have used while Pollock is spinning along. Behind them, the entire High Road team is at the front working to put Greg Henderson into the jersey.

Current race situation

  • Justin England (Toyota - United), Rhys Pollock (GE Trek - Marco Polo) and Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly)
  • Peloton at 2.25

14:48 EDT    As a sign that the finishing city is approaching, the wall of trees gives way to some housing developments. They're still big lot rural "estates" here, but the presence of some civilization is a welcome sign.

14:53 EDT    94mi/22.9mi to go The life is going out of the breakaway a bit - they're hitting some steep little climbs, steep enough to get into the little ring, and their gap is just 1'45.

14:55 EDT    They're really hurting now, and they've got another little leg breaker to get over before hitting the mostly flat roads that take them into Augusta. The gap is just plummeting now - 1'15. The peloton can see them and High Road is putting on the gas.

14:58 EDT    95mi/21.9mi to go Some might wonder why Chris Horner is wearing bib number 2 and Leipheimer with #3. That's because last year's winner, Janez Brajkovic, did not come to Georgia. He's suffering from some fatigue and was given a rest by his team. Horner, a former winner of the race (he won the first edition in 2003) was given the first number of the team. But he made it clear to Cyclingnews that he is here in the service of Leipheimer.

15:00 EDT    The leaders are still holding their gap to just over a minute, and now they're in a nice suburban neighborhood. It won't be long before the cars are pulled out from the gap.

15:01 EDT    97mi/19.9mi to go The leaders have exactly one minute, and it looks like the peloton is easing up a bit to let them dangle. They don't want to give any other breakaways a chance to establish, so they might just wait to make the catch.

15:03 EDT    They've reached the long open highway that leads into town, and they're now passing some icons of the American lifestyle: fast food restaurants and gas stations.

15:05 EDT    The break can look up ahead and a long, long descent. They're in sight of the peloton, but the bunch as sat up as they approach a turn. Up ahead is a gigantic American flag.

15:06 EDT    Bryce Mead is pedaling squares up front, getting out of the saddle and then sitting down and stretching his legs. Clearly he's not feeling great, and who could blame him. He's been off the front in this break for almost 60 miles.

15:08 EDT    99mi/17.9mi to go The peloton has clearly decided to wait to make the catch. The gap went from 50 seconds back up to a minute. They're back on flat roads and are on a wide open highway. The wind doesn't seem to be much of a factor, but if it is blowing it's in their faces.

15:09 EDT    That easing in the peloton was partially the result of a small crash. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) hit the deck, but he's OK and is back up and riding.

15:10 EDT    The chase has resumed, and the gap has now come back down to 45 seconds. So far, the weather is holding and the sun is peaking through the clouds occasionally. Gerolsteiner is now mixing in with High Road at the front of the chasing peloton.

15:12 EDT    101mi/15.9mi to go The peloton is a wall off in the distance behind the break of three. The High Road and Gerolsteiner teams are single file, but not setting a big pace yet as the rest of the peloton is bunched up.

15:14 EDT    It's just about over for our three brave souls. Just 25 seconds to the peloton. Mead looks back and sees the approaching bunch...

15:15 EDT    Matthew Crane (Health Net p/b Maxxis) has an untimely flat front tire, but gets a quick change and is off and chasing. It's just High Road and GST at the front, but they're passing bottles and not pushing the pace. Even with the limited effort, the gap is down to just 15 seconds.

15:17 EDT    Now Pollock looks back - he sees the peloton is a little further back. Bissell now moves up to the front with Peltonen. Tim Johnson (Health Net) also comes to the front.

15:18 EDT    The domestic teams are moving up because the catch is about to be made, and they'll want to counter-attack so they have a chance at glory. Teams like Type 1 and Bissell who don't have pure sprinters will want to get away.

15:18 EDT    The end.

15:19 EDT    103mi/13.9mi to go The catch has been made, and now High Road ups the pace and gets the bunch out single file. They don't want any more attacks - they want a sprint for Henderson or maybe even Hincapie.

15:21 EDT    104mi/12.9mi to go The catch was made a bit prematurely, and now there's some indecision as to who is going to take control of the race. High Road is joined by Team CSC - each with their own train on either side of the road. Gerolsteiner is still up here as they reach 20km to go.

15:22 EDT    Slipstream takes the momentary lull to move its team to the fore. Lucas Euser takes the front with Dave Zabriskie, easy to spot with the moustache, in third wheel.

15:23 EDT    The nerves are starting to buzz in the pack as they head toward the finishing circuits in Augusta. Toyota United is moving up, and the peloton is a mass of trains fighting for the lead.

15:24 EDT    106mi/10.9mi to go The KOM is also coming up and with two quick turns, Slipstream is able to regain control of the front. They've got four riders, then Astana, then Toyota.

15:25 EDT    106.5mi/10.4mi to go They're in town now, and now are 1km from the finishing circuit with two laps to go. They take a sharp left and some riders are forced to bunny hop the curb on the inside.

15:26 EDT    They're single file now and with ten miles to go, Slipstream is determined to keep control of this race. They pass under the line for two laps to go!

15:26 EDT    Timmy Duggan is on the front, he's got Christian Vande Velde on his wheel. They're putting in an enormous effort to keep this race single file through town.

15:27 EDT    Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly) has suffered from his time off the front and has sat up and gone off the back. Slipstream is rocking the argyle up front, but they're getting a challenge up the hill from the CSC team.

15:28 EDT    They're heading up and over a bridge now and will see the KOM soon. Slipstream and Bissell now are at the front with some Astana jerseys appearing.

15:29 EDT    Dominguez is sitting back in the draft of his team looking quite at ease. Slipstream still has the front with 1km to go to the KOM as they pass the Waffle house.

15:30 EDT    Tyler Farrar won't be sprinting for the KOM, but we might see someone like Danny Pate take the mountain prime. Looks like BMC is now moving up for the sprint.

15:31 EDT    Now Health Net goes for the sprint - and Slipstream loses control.... 200m to go - looks like O'Bee is going to take the KOM.

15:32 EDT    109.5mi/7.4mi to go Sutherland gave him a nice little lead-out, and now they've got a quick descent. Bissell counters the prime with a Rock Racing rider.

15:33 EDT    Oscar Sevilla is the Rock Racing rider, and Ted King (Bissell) - they've got a handful of seconds on the peloton.

15:35 EDT    That was actually Frank Pipp taking the KOM... 1 Frank Pipp (Health Net p/b Maxxis) 2 Edward King (Bissell) 3 Rory Sutherland (Health Net p/b Maxxis)

15:36 EDT    119.1mi/-2.2mi to go Sevilla and King get the bell with one to go and CSC takes the front.

15:37 EDT    This isn't looking good for Sevilla and King. They still have another trip up that hill, but it's not a KOM sprint this lap. They keep looking back and it's not looking good.

15:37 EDT    They get caught and it's High Road who takes up the pace making.

15:38 EDT    Timmy Duggan is paying for that lead-out on the KOM, and is out the back. Dominguez is moving himself up, but Rock, High Road and BMC are moving up. BMC has Wyss, who's quite a good sprinter.

15:39 EDT    Slipstream is moving up now, with Farrar up there next to Fred Rodriguez of Rock Racing.

15:39 EDT    113.9mi/3mi to go Three miles to go and High Road still has the front - Jittery Joe's is also up here.

15:40 EDT    Astana is moving up for the sprint, maybe to keep Leipheimer out of trouble... Rock then takes control up the right hand side while Horner leads the team up the left. An attack!

15:40 EDT    It's Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC) who gets a gap on the hill.

15:41 EDT    He's got about 5 seconds on the hill, but the field is out of the saddle sprinting to get him back.

15:42 EDT    He's not going to last, but the finish is not under the control of any one team right now. CSC, Astana, Rock and Jelly Belly are up at the front and our lone breakaway man is dangling...

15:42 EDT    Slipstream has now come to the fore....

15:43 EDT    115.4mi/1.5mi to go The peloton is a mess - no team has control. They've got a dead straight highway to the finish and one rider gets caught on the wrong side of the median.

15:43 EDT    High Road and Slipstream are fighting for the front. Symmetrics, GST and Rock moving up.

15:44 EDT    116.3mi/0.6mi to go The last turn is done and Gerolsteiner hits the front. 1km to go!

15:44 EDT    GST, Rock - Toyota is up here with Rollin and Dominguez...

15:45 EDT    GST and now Toyota gets the front!

15:45 EDT    And there's a crash!

15:45 EDT    A mess - Health Net rider goes down.

15:46 EDT    CSC takes the front in the sprint...

15:46 EDT    It's Haedo tucked behind his lead-out!

15:46 EDT    And he's back! Haedo gets the win for CSC!!!

15:47 EDT    Three BMC riders were involved in that wreck, but they're OK. Looked like Galvin, Tolleson and Garcia. The whole CSC team gathers around Haedo to celebrate - job well done. That was one chaotic sprint, but the Argentinean got his win.

15:48 EDT    Unofficially, the stage results are:
1 Juan José Haedo (Team CSC)
2 Gregory Henderson (Team High Road)
3 Ivan Dominguez (Toyota - United)

15:50 EDT    We're trying to work out the math here to see if Ivan Dominguez will keep the jersey tonight.

15:51 EDT    By our calculations, Dominguez should get to keep the jersey. Henderson was five seconds back on GC, but only took two more than the Toyota rider in the final sprint bonuses.

15:55 EDT We're not sure where Farrar and Sanderson wound up in the sprint, but they were out of the bonuses - this means Haedo will slot up in there ahead of that pair of young riders thanks to his ten second bonus.

15:57 EDT Thanks for reading Cyclingnews' live coverage of the second stage of the Tour de Georgia. Tomorrow, we have an extra treat to keep you distracted from working all day: live coverage of both La Fleche Wallonne AND the Tour de Georgia. The live coverage can be followed online at http://live.cyclingngews.com for La Fleche Wallonne, and http://live9.cyclingnews.com for the Tour de Georgia. Don't forget about our WAP service- just tack /wap at the end of those URL's to follow from your mobile phone.


1 Juan José Haedo (Team CSC)
2 Gregory Henderson (Team High Road)
3 Ivan Dominguez (Toyota - United)

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