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Photo ©: Bettini

Tour de Georgia - 2.3

Georgia, USA, April 20-25, 2004

Main Page    Results    Next Stage

Stage 1 - April 20: Macon - Macon, 132.2 km

2003 results     Stage Map  

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney

Complete live report

12:20 EDT   
Welcome to the live coverage of Tour de Georgia, also known as “Georgia’s race to defeat cancer”. The weather in Georgia is HOT, “damn hot” as Robin Williams would say in Good Morning Vietnam. The heat wave has hit the peach state. The riders will have to drink a lot of fluids today to keep hydrated and the heat will also have a big impact on the race.

The crowd is huge in Macon waiting for the two big guys - Mario Cipollini and Lance Armstrong - to rock up to the start line. Today is a stage Cipollini would be aiming to win. It is relatively flat with nearly four finishing circuits of 3.4 km, however a lot of people are unsure how this race will pan out. The finishing circuit has a long uphill bricked rise within it, so it will be hard for Domine Vacanze to keep it together, but if they do, the finishing straight is wide open and slightly downhill. Cipo is very motivated, so with his lead out man Giovanni Lombardi by his side, he will be hard to beat.

Cyclingnews caught up with last year’s winner Chris Horner (Webcor) this morning. He is coming straight from Sea Otter at which he was victorious yet again. At the moment Horner is considered almost unbeatable on the domestic scene and he is ready to pick up any victory he can, as he said “you never know how long your winning form is going to last.” He is looking a little nervous at the start, but he is ready to go. “I’ve trained really hard for this and I feel like I can hang with the best guys,” he told our reporter Tim Maloney.

12:41 EDT   
And the race is underway. The peloton rolled out of Macon and across the river.
The first attack of the day has come from Colavita Olive Oil. They didn't waste any time. The peloton responded immediately.

12:58 EDT    15km/117km to go
Horner attacked and was in a small break away that got 23 seconds. That has been reeled in and there is now a two man break up the road.

13:00 EDT   
It is 80 degrees (25 degrees Celsius) out on the course and some riders will be suffering from this, especially if they are coming from Europe or the Northern states.

13:09 EDT    24km/108km to go
Tim Larkin (Ofoto) and Marc Hagenlocher (Webcor) have a two minute gap on the field at the moment and are looking strong.

13:21 EDT    30km/102km to go
The pair have increased their lead to 3'18". The peloton look to be unconcerned at this point. There is only one sprint today. It is the Maxxis sprint for points and time bonus at Milledgeville at 57km, so they still have time to bring this back.

13:36 EDT   
Cyclingnews.com correspondent Mark Zalewski caught up with Jonathan Vaughter, director of Team TIAA Cref this morning who is excited about the opportunity for his young team.
"This is going to be a learning experience -- a survival experience," he said. Obviously our goal is the best young rider jersey. We have eight out of the eighteen under 23 in the race (and the youngest of even those) so we have a good shot at that one! The biggest thing is just to learn and get as many to the finish line as possible. We have a team of eight and if we make it to the finish line with four of those guys, I'll be happy. "

As for his race plan for the guys today. "Today I really kept it pretty loose. I didn't say 'You HAVE to be in the first breakaway.' I want them to ride in the field and conserve as much energy as possible. They have a long week ahead of them. Just to get a feel for the peloton today."

13:40 EDT   
Zalewski also caught up with Ed Beamon, DS of Navigators. They are happy to be back in the states after their European campaign. He is optimistic about their chances in the warm Georgian sun after having raced in the cold, windy and nasty spring races across the pond.

13:58 EDT    57km/75km to go
The break has now stretched out to over seven minutes, but CSC has moved to the front. The leaders have just gone through the town of Milledgville which has a huge crowd to watch the mid race sprint.

Tim Larkin won the sprint over Hagenlocher, gaining the time bonus which now makes him the virtual yellow jersey on the road.

13:59 EDT   
Meanwhile, back in the field Tyler Wren (Colavita Olive Oil) attacked and was chased down by Webcor and CSC on the way into Milledgeville for the sprint. Gord Fraser (Health Net/Maxxis) won the bunch sprint and picked up the one second time bonus for third place. The break now has over eight minutes lead on the field.

14:11 EDT    70km/62km to go
It seems that the pace in the peloton has picked up a bit with a couple of teams joining CSC at the front. The gap is now at seven minutes.

14:18 EDT   
In the peloton we have 15 teams of eight riders. Four Div I teams, three Div II teams, seven Div III teams and the US National team, which is made up of riders from TIAA Cref. The teams are:
Landbouwkrediet – Colnago (Belgium)
Saeco-Saunier Duval (Italy/Spain)
Team CSC (Denmark)
U.S. Postal Service presented by Berry Floor (USA)
Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli (Italy)
Domina Vacanze (Italy)
Navigators Insurance (USA)
Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wines (USA)
Health Net presented by Maxxis (USA)
Jelly Belly/Aramark (USA)
Jittery Joe’s Coffee (USA)
Ofoto/Lombardi Sports (USA)
Sierra Nevada Cycling (USA)
Webcor Builders (USA)
USA Cycling U23 Team (USA)

14:21 EDT    75km/57km to go
The gap is coming down now as the train of Domina Vacanze is on the front with aim of getting 'the Lion King' to the finish for the win. Right now the gap is just under six minutes and falling.

14:30 EDT   
The race is entering Kaddock, Georgia. CSC and USPS are sitting in behind the Domina Vacanze train. The pace is not flat out but they are setting a solid tempo as the time gap to Larkin and Hagenlocher gradually drops.
Alessio Galletti and Sergio Marinangeli seem to be doing a lot of the work for Domina at this point.

14:40 EDT    88km/44km to go
Domina are still setting temp at the front and the gap to the lead pair is now only 3'05". So the gap is dropping steadily.

14:44 EDT   
Tim Maloney just spoke with Navigators DS, Ed Beamon to find out his thoughts on how Kirk O'Bee will be feeling for this sprint. O'Bee has been in great form recently in Europe, having placed third to Hondo and Zabel in the Rund um Koln (GP de Cologne) recently.

14:46 EDT   
Beamon sayd O'Bee is feeling good, but all Cipollini really needs is two guys in the finishing laps to get him in position.

The other potential situation is a late breakaway. Opportunistic riders such as Ludovic Capelle (Landbrouwkredit/Colnago) will be looking for the last minute break to get a lead on the peloton coming into the three finishing circuits.

14:54 EDT    97km/35km to go
The gap has dropped to 2'10" as the peloton passes Deer Ridge in rural Georgia on their way back to Macon. Larkin and Hagenlocher are still looking good but they have a little bit too much strength behind with Colnago/Landbrouwkredit joining in the chase.

15:04 EDT    100km/32km to go
The peloton is just passing the 100 km mark with Domina and Colnago/Landbrouwkredit still on the front. The Colnago team could either be trying to set up for Capelle to make a counter attack when/if the lead pair get caught or they also have the option of setting up the sprint for Yuri Metlushenko. He won five races last year and he also won the Italian season opener, GP Costa Etruschi, earlier this year.

15:07 EDT    110km/22km to go
Health Net have also joined in the chase now, so Larkin and Hagenlocher who have been out there all day, don't have much chance. The gap is now only 30" and falling. Pretty soon they will be caught and the counters will begin.

15:17 EDT    115km/17km to go
As the peloton heads towards Macon, the breakaway pair of Larkin and Hagenlocher have just been caught. The race is about 5km away from hitting the finishing circuits and at this point no counter attacks have been made.

15:20 EDT   
The bunch has slowed a little and appear to be sitting up looking at each other. There are a couple of rollers coming up, so there is bound to be a few attacks before long.

15:27 EDT    120km/12km to go
The peloton have just crossed the Carl Vincon Memorial bridge and are about one kilometer from the finishing circuits. The bunch is still together and the team are getting ready to protect their sprinters on the circuits. Navigators have hit the front and are gearing up to lead out O'Bee.

15:32 EDT    123km/9km to go
Our reporter Mark Zalewski is on the finish line surrounded by a plethora of Bobby Julich supporters. It is very loud.
Trent Klasna has just attacked and has a 30 meter gap. Domina are chasing hard. Lance Armstrong is sitting in about 8th position in the peloton with three finishing circuits to go.

15:36 EDT    124km/8km to go
Klasna has been caught and there has been a counter from the Russian rider Mikhail Timochine (Colnago).

15:38 EDT    1266km/6km to go
Timochine was caught and as the peloton heads under the start finish banner with two laps to go the bunch is all together.
Another attack has just gone from Jakob Piil (CSC).

15:40 EDT    128km/4km to go
Piil didn't really go anywhere, but now Tim Johnson has attacked on the uphill cobbled section and has an 8 sec gap.

15:43 EDT    129km/3km to go
Johnson caught, Russel Hamby (Sierra Nevada ) also attacked, but has also been caught. Health Net is on the front driving with a lap to go. Domina are also moving up to get ready for the finish.

15:45 EDT    130km/2km to go
Health Net and Domina are up there. Cipollini was in fourth position with a lap to go.

15:46 EDT   
Eric Wohlberg has attacked in the last lap and has a gap.

15:50 EDT    132km/0km to go
The race is finishing, Gord Fraser (Health Net) has taken out the first stage followed by Ivan Dominguez (Colavita Olive Oil).

Mail the commentary team    

Brief Results

1 Gord Fraser (Health Net)          
2 Ivan Dominguez (Colavita)
3 Jens Voigt (CSC)

Maxxis mid race sprint results

1 Tim Larkin (Ofoto) 3 sec
2 Marc Hagenlocher (Webcor) 2 sec
3 Gord Fraser (Health Net) 1 sec