Tour de Georgia - 2.3
Georgia, USA, April 20-25, 2004
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Stage 2 - April 21: Thomaston - Columbus, 189.9 km
Complete live report
Welcome to day two of the Tour de Georgia.
The race is underway for the 190km stage from Thomaston to Columbus.
Immediately there was an attack from the Navigators team. They are perhaps trying
to get something back from yesterday after their sprinter Kirk O'Bee got caught
behind a crash on the finishing circuit.
This morning on the start line Lance Armstrong received an award from the Cancer
Coalition for his ongoing effort to help cancer patients.
10:48 EDT 28km/161.9km to go
After some early attacks there is now a break of three riders up the road. In
the break are Mark Walters (Navigators) and Scott Zwizanski (Ofoto). They had
30 seconds on the field and were later joined by Jakob Piil (CSC) and William
Frischkorn (Colavita Olive Oil).
The gap to the field is 49 seconds
The gap is now at 1'10" and Health Net have moved to the front getting ready
to keep the race under control for the yellow jersey, Gord Fraser. Colnago/Landbouwkrediet
are on the front with them helping out a little.
Cyclingnews caught up with Gord Fraser this morning before the race. Health
Net are of course looking happy and ready to keep the jersey today.
Jens Voigt is also happy with his third place on GC now and looking forward
to the time trial.
11:05 EDT 40km/149.9km to go
As the race enters Shiloh, Georgia the break of four has two minutes on the
peloton. Health Net is setting steady tempo on the front.
Up front, Frishkorn and Walters are powering the break. It seems that Piil is
really there to mark the break as he is not putting all his effort into it.
Frischkorn is really motivated because it turns out that he is the Colvita GC
man now that Nathan O'Neill is out with an injury. Frischkorn is a good climber,
so if this break stays away, it could have an impact of the overall.
The style of the race is much more Euro this year with the presence of Postal,
CSC and Colnago. Things are steadier and the pace is a little slower early in
The race is approaching the KOM now at Hines Gap. The four in the break now
have 2'30" and will take the KOM points leaving one place left to be fought
out amongst the peloton.
Colnago are still manning the front of the bunch with Health Net setting a steady
11:45 EDT 57km/132.9km to go
The riders have just passed the first KOM at Hines Gap. We'll have results of
the sprint shortly. The next sprint isn't until kilometer 106 at Pine Mountain
followed by a KOM sprint at the 120km mark at FDR State Park.
The KOM was taken by Scott Zwizanski (Ofoto), followed by Walters and Frischkorn.
Piil didn't contest the sprint at all.
Frischkorn is the virtual Maillot Jaune as the break is sitting at 2'20".
Health Net are chasing steadily and adamant on defending their jersey.
11:52 EDT 70km/119.9km to go
The race now heads into Warm Springs. The weather is still fine at about 80
degrees (25 degrees Celsius).
The gap is now at 2'45" so despite Health Net chasing, it is not coming down.
It is still very early on though and plenty of time to bring it back so they
are not panicking at the moment.
The crowds watching the race are big again today. It started in a small town
and just about the whole town came out to watch. Along the side of the road
there are heaps of people sitting in the back of their pick-ups watching the
race go by and the school kids from the local area are just arriving at the
finish line getting ready to get a good look at Lance when the race finishes
in another couple of hours.
We have had a questions about why Cipollini didn't contest the sprint yesterday.
It seems he wasn't caught behind the crash. He just pulled up and decided not
to contest it. We'll get more on that later.
The time gap to the break has increased. It is now 3'05" and the riders are
looking strong as the race winds along the rolling road. The wind is relatively
strong today and so far the riders have had about a 10km/h cross wind.
12:09 EDT 80km/109.9km to go
Riders have been racing now for two hours and have just gone through the feed
zone, which is one likely reason for the break gaining a quick 30" on the field.
Health Net is chasing solo at the moment.
An update on why Cipo didn't contest the sprint yesterday from our reporter
on course, Tim Maloney. The race bible stated there was three finishing circuits,
but if you looked closely there was 3 and 7/8, so almost four finishing circuits.
The Domina train was all set up in the penultimate lap but when Wohlberg attaked
in the last lap he caused an upset in the team lead outs. His attack was looking
so strong that Lance Armstrong and Jens Voigt both went after him. The hard
bricked finishing circuits are also something that Cipo would not really be
An interesting tidbit. Jacky Durand just passed through Durand, GA.
12:22 EDT 88km/101.9km to go
The break now has 2'55" on the field.
Cyclingnews caught up with Johan Bruyneel this morning before the race.
He said their plan for today is similar to yesterday. "Our plan is to stay in
the same position and not lose any time -- get to the time trial in ideal conditions."
He added, "We have three guys that are in good shape and do well -- it's Lance,
Ekimov and George. So the three of them have their options. We don't want to
put everything on Lance because he won't have any freedom, so maybe we can play
with Hincapie and Ekimov. Our main objective is to do well with the team --
we have three leaders, so everyone's job is to protect those leaders."
12:32 EDT 100km/89.9km to go
The gap between the break and the peloton is still at three minutes. Frischkorn
still vurtual tour leader on the road and Health Net are still on the front
of the bunch.
The race is now following tree-lines roads through dense forest so the wind
is not a factor at this point. There is 10km remaining before the next sprint
which will be followed by the second KOM another 15km after that. It is likely
that Health Net will wait until after the KOM to pick up the pace as there is
40km from the KOM to the entrance to the finishing circuits.
More from Johan who commented that this is his first experience [racing] in
the states. "It looks good," he said. A solid organization. And the base is
there to have a great race in the future. It's already the biggest race in America,
and I think there is potential to get it on the top level."
We have been getting a lot of questions about how the postal team is doing.
They are happy to be sitting in at this point in the race. It is early days
with a lot of hard stages remaining, incliding a hilly time trial. You will
see more of them in the following stages.
Remembering also that Lance Armstrong is not really here to win the race. He
is using it as good preparation for the upcoming months. Of course he is still
a favourite, but as Johan stated this morning they also have "Hincapie and Ekimov
to play with."
12:52 EDT 112km/77.9km to go
The riders have gone past the sprint at Pine Mountain and are now heading towards
the KOM. There was no intermediate time bonus at the sprint line today. Time
gap is still at 3 minutes.
Will Frischkorn took the sprint at Pine Mountain. Riders are heading past Callaway
Gardens resort, the oasis for Golf and horticulture, although I imagine the
riders are not stopping to smell the roses.
13:01 EDT 120km/69.9km to go
The break has just gone over the KOM. It looks like Zwizanski (Ofoto) has taken
it in front of Walters and Frischkorn. Piil didn't contest it again.
The gap is 2'40", so it is coming down a bit as Health Net have picked up the
chase a little. They really needed to do that as the longer the break stayed
out there the more dangerous. Piil is very strong and has been working hard
in the break. He has the ability to go solo and take control of the race if
the gap isn't reduced fairly quickly now.
Cyclingnews caught up with Nieko Biskner (Ofoto) this morning, who is wearing
the young riders jersey.
"Having the best young rider jersey is a lot of motivation," he said. "The team
is definitely supporting me on this one. I'd love to be able to take it to the
finish but it's going to be tough (laughs)."
13:13 EDT 130km/59.9km to go
The time gap is coming down as Domina Vacanze have joined in the chase. The
time gap is now 1'50" and falling.
With about 50km remaining it is obvious that Domina are going to take two and
try again. When riders reach the town of Columbus they will enter the finishing
circuit and go through the finish line for three laps to go. Today the finishing
circuit is a very flat L-shaped loop which might be more suited to Cipollini
than yesterdays hilly red brick circuit. The final turn in the ciruit is a 90
degree left hand turn followed by a three block straight to the finish line.
A correction to the second KOM results. It was a close sprint and in fact is
was Walters who took the sprint over Zwizanski.
13:25 EDT 135km/54.9km to go
Frischkorn has flatted his rear wheel and Mavic neutral support is on it immediately.
The crowds are huge at the finish line, all standing around watching the giant
screen at the finish.
13:28 EDT 145km/44.9km to go
Frischkorn back in there again now.
Back in the bunch Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze) is helping Health Net
chase. The gap is 1'55" with about 32km remaining before they hit the finishing
Piil looked to be eyeing off the other three breakaway riders before, perhaps
trying to decide how they are looking and whether he should stay with them or
go solo. Right now they are still riding well together. Frischkorn is looking
Frischkorn must really have good legs today as he chased back on after flatting
up a 1km fairly steep climb and looked to do it with relative ease.
The gap is now at 1'50" and the four leaders are still working well together.
The terrain between now and Columbus is rolling hills all the way in.
The riders in the break are asking for water and the Colavita team car kindly
gave a bottle to Jakob Piil. As the race is approaching the exciting end of
the race, riders will be chatting with their director sportif's to plan what
they are going to do in the next 40km.
The gap is still at 1'50" and holding.
Cipollini has been going back to his team car a lot today talking to his DS.
He has his riders on the front with Health Net and it is very likely he will
be aiming to win this race today.
13:48 EDT 150km/39.9km to go
The gap has suddenly dropped to 1'30" so the chase has picked up as the race
gets closer to Columbus.
And it has dropped even further. It is now only 1'10".
13:53 EDT 153km/36.9km to go
The race is nearing town as the riders get a time gap update from the moto.
They still have 1'10" on the chase group and its all moving very fast now. The
four leaders are working well together but Health Net and Domina are chasing
There are hundreds of people lining the course and more spectators are starting
to move from the Carnivale/expo area to the finish area to watch the finish.
Break still has over a minute with Health Net and Domina chasing.
14:00 EDT 169km/20.9km to go
The race is entering the Columbus city limits right now and a lot of spectators
are lining the road even here. There are a lot of "Go Lance" signs around.
With only 20km remaining the gap has just gone under 1 minute.
The crowd is growing at the finish line as the riders get closer to the circuits.
The gap is still just under a minute.
As we said before the finishing circuit is very different to yesterdays with
the road a lot wider and very flat. It is an L-shaped loop so there are quite
a few right angle turns on the circuit. When they hit the finish line for the
first time, they will get three laps to go which is just over 10km.
14:09 EDT 169km/20.9km to go
The gap is down to 30" now. It looks like this break will be caught within the
next five kilometers before the race hits the finishing circuits.
One thing the rider will have to contend with on the finishing circuits is a
narrowing road as soon as they hit the loop. They are now on Veterans Parkway
which is very wide and open. The finishing ciruits are still pretty wide, but
a lot narrower than the inbound road.
The other thing on the circuits are two sets of railway tracks. One set has
been covered with mats.
14:16 EDT 171km/18.9km to go
The break has been caught.
After a long day out in the wind Mark Walters (Navigators), Scott Zwizanski
(Ofoto), Jakob Piil (CSC) and William Frischkorn (Colavita Olive Oil) have been
caught and the race is not far from entering the finishing circuits.
The race has just hit the finishing circuits. They have a long straight and
lots of sharp turns, when they turn the final corner after three laps they have
350 meters to the finish.
The bunch is all together. Health Net are still on the front trying to control
the race. Colnago are also up there for Yuri Metlushenko.
Domina, Health Net and Navigators trains are fighting it out at the front. Health
Net are confident now that they can go head to head with the big Euro teams
and so far so good.
It looks like its going to be a sprinters game. No counter attacks so far, the
pace is too fast. Domina have three guys on the front at this point.
14:27 EDT 179km/10.9km to go
They are just rounding the last corner before the finish line and will get the
call for three laps to go.
Domina's train was so fast that they had a few guys off the front but it is
all back together again now.
14:34 EDT 183.1km/6.8km to go
Two laps to go now and it is all still together. Health Net are on the front
although they have lost one of their guys, Jason McCartney. He looks to have
Health Net have been on the front all day so it will be interesting if they
still have that upper end for the last lap.
The average speed inside these finishing circuits is 53km/h, so it's very fast
and not much chance for a late break away. The sprinters teams don't want to
let that happen today.
Coming into the last lap Kirk Albers (Jelly Belly) was on the front.
It also looks like Saeco are up there helping Domina in the sprint.
14:41 EDT 188.9/1km to go
A big fight between Health Net and Domina on the front.
Both teams have their trains going and its motoring. Its a wide open sprint
and very exciting. Cipo is right up there.
Its Cipollini, Dominguez, Fraser.
Cipo has a great lead out around the final corner, he was sitting in third place.
He jumped with 200m to go to take the win.
The crowd was huge on the finish line and loud. Everyone got to see the 'Lion
King' strut his stuff.
Cyclingnews correspondent, Tim Maloney, caught up with 'Super Mario' immediately
after the finish. He was delighted with the stage win.
"It's a lot of satisfaction to win here. My teammates were really pumped for
The director of Domina also commented, "Now you know we didn't come here for
Thanks for tuning in to the live coverage of Day Two. Full results and report
the commentary team
1 Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze)
2 Ivan Dominguez (Colavita Olive Oil)
3 Gord Fraser (Health Net)