Tour de Georgia - 2.HC
USA, April 18-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 1 - April 18: Augusta, GA - Macon, GA, 207.4km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting by Mark Zalewski
and Kirsten Robbins
Complete live report
Welcome to Cyclingnews' Live Coverage
of the 4th Tour de Georgia. It was expected to be another hot and humid tour
like we saw in the first two years of the race, but it’s actually a bit overcast
on the start line today and a little cooler than expected. There’s also a slight
breeze already. The crowd is starting to build a little. There’s not quite as
many people here as the last few years, probably due to the absence of one Lance
Armstrong. The crowd around the Discovery bus tells the tale. However there
is still a nice crowd to welcome the riders back to Georgia and the appearance
of the only and only James Brown is certainly creating a bit of hype. A lot
of the riders are trying to get their picture taken with him.
stage is the same as stage 1 of the 2005 Tour de Georgia, starting in Augusta
and traveling 207km to the town of Macon. Last year the race started fairly
slowly and young Dan Bowman of Team TIAA-CREF was the sacrificial lamb, going
solo for over 90 miles of racing before finally being caught near the end of
the race for the sprinters teams to take control. In the end it was Robbie Hunter
(Phonak) who took the stage from Ben Brooks who was then riding for Jelly Belly.
Both Hunter and Brooks are back again to see what they can do, however this
year Brooks is riding for Navigators.
The overall 2005 race winner
Tom Danielson (Discovery) is also back on the start line, but as we said before,
without Lance Armstrong to hide behind. It will be quite a different race for
him this year but he will be looking to repeat the victory. Second place in
the overall last year Levi Leipheimer is not back to try for one better, but
third placed Floyd Landis (Phonak) is. He has already showed what he can do
on American soil in February with his Tour of California win and will be the
one to watch again this week.
The neutral start is underway.
The riders will ride 8km neutral before
the actual race gets underway today before they head out of Augusta towards
the town of Harlem. At Harlem, after 35km of racing they will hit the first
of three Maxxis Sprint lines of the day. The sprints will have points for the
sprint jersey as well as time bonus seconds.
The riders have just reached the official
race start. Its pretty flat out here on the main road out of town. The school
kids are out again. A few of them have signs. Its still overcast as they cruise
out of town for the start of a long stage.
We already have a few attacks now.
Guys trying to warm up their legs, but nothing is getting very far just yet.
It would be a very long day out there if you went this early.
There's a bit of a climb heading out
of town now. Its actually TIAA CREF attacking now. Perhaps they're going to
try again like they did last year. I'm sure they'll be hoping to take someone
else with them this time.
The field is responding and it mainly
the Phonak team on the front of the field right now.
We have a couple of riders with a
small gap off the front.
11:58 EDT 8km/199.4km to go
Geert Verheyen (Quick.Step),
Chris Baldwin (Toyota United), Dustin MacBurnie (Targetraining) and Matty Rice
(Jelly Belly) started the ball rolling and a group of 19 riders formed quickly.
They have a ten second gap.
They are coming back now though. This
one is not going to work.
Sergey Lagutin (Navigators) is attacking
He has now been caught as Chris Baldwin
suffers a flat wheel in the bunch.
12:04 EDT 15km/192.4km to go
Ian MacGregor (TIAA
Cref) attacked but was caught straight away. We are 15km into the race.
We have a group of ten riders up the
Led by Tyler Wren (Colavita Olive
Oil - Sutter Homes Wines), the break is growing. Its now up to 14 riders.
The group has 20 seconds on the field.
12:11 EDT 19km/188.4km to go
They are also getting
caught and we'll wait for the counter.
The Phonak team is on the front of
the bunch keeping things under control it seems.
And there it is - a counter. It doesn't
look like its going anywhere though.
We have a group of three away now.
In the group is Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity), Dominique Perras
(Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada) and Austin King (Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity).
They've been caught and Florian Stadler
(Phonak) and Tyler Wren (Colavita Olive Oil - Sutter Homes Wines) have countered.
They have a 50m gap.
But alas, they are getting caught
too. It looks like TIAA CREF and Health Net were onto that one.
Yet another break attempt now. Six
riders have a gap but its only 5km until the first sprint.
12:26 EDT 26km/181.4km to go
Its unlikely a break
will stay out there until after the first sprint as any teams wanting to go
for the sprint jersey or get some early time bonus points will be wanting to
keep it together for that. Another sprint comes after 69km of racing so we could
see something happen before that.
12:42 EDT 35km/172.4km to go
(Targetraining) won the first sprint of the day from Matty Rice (Jelly Belly)
and Allan Johansen (CSC). There was a small break of five riders after that
but its all back together at this point.
12:43 EDT 45km/162.4km to go
Seven riders now
have a small gap on the field but they are quickly getting caught again.
Frank Pipp (Targetraining) is attacking
now. This is the first time in the TOur de Georgia for Targetraining. It should
be interesting to see how they go.
The riders have just slowed down for
a nature break. Good to get this over and done with early whilst the race is
Our reporter Kirsten Robbins caught
up with a few of the riders on the start line today. One of those was Gord Fraser.
Gord won a few stages here two years ago and will be going for a stage win today.
He said "I'm not going for the green jersey here. My main focus is to win the
stage today." He predicts his biggest competition for today's stage will be
Davitamon-Lotto with Freddie Rodriguez, Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota United) and
Robbie Hunter (Phonak).
Last year's winner of this stage,
Robbie Hunter also told us that he wasn't going for the sprinters jersey, in
fact his main goal this week will be to work for Floyd. He added that if he
has good position at the end today he'll go for a stage win, but its not a big
goal of the team.
His teammate Aurelien Clerc echoed this sentiment saying
that the team will not go for stage wins. They're happy for Hunter to go for
a stage win in the first few stages but they're certainly not going to put their
whole team up there for the lead out.
Viktor Rapinksi (Colavita Olive Oil
- Sutter Homes Wines) is up the road alone right now. He has a 20 second lead
on the field.
We talked to Colavita Olive/Sutter
Homes DS Frank McCormack before the start of the race today and they were just
going to see how things went with Rapinksi. He's their best sprinter but he
had a hard time in Tour of California earlier this year and he didn't feel so
good in Redlands, but he seems to look quite good out there now.
13:17 EDT 69km/138.4km to go
Rapinksi has been
caught now. The field is approaching the second sprint of the day. They are
all together sprinting.
13:22 EDT 72km/135.4km to go
JJ Haedo (Toyota
United) won the second sprint of the day, followed by Acton and Francisco Ventoso
(Saunier Duval Prodir).
Another rider we caught up with this
morning is Dave Zabriskie (CSC). He said in the press conference yesterday that
he is in perfect form for this race and he seemed very confident this morning.
He said that he is confident he can win the time trial in two days time and
his race will start from there. He added that the time trial course is good
for him and he's also confident he and his team can hold on to the leaders jersey
from there. He knows that Floyd and Danielson will be a threat on the climbing
days but he thinks he can stay with them on the climbs and keep the jersey.
13:37 EDT 85km/122.4km to go
We did just have
a four rider break including Scott Zwizanski (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada),
Ryan Blickem (Targetraining) and two others. They've been reeled in and another
group has countered. It looks like a Davitamon Lotto rider is up there and another
In the three is Heath Blackgrove (Toyota
united), Ian MacGregor (TIAA CREF) and Wesley Hartman (Targetraining).
Riders are starting to bridge up to
these leaders and there looks to be over 20 riders with a gap on the field now.
13:47 EDT 94km/113.4km to go
The group is up
to 30 riders but the bunch is chasing and the gap is coming down.
Two riders tried to attack off the
front of that group but they were reeled in as the rest of the break got caught
by the peloton.
13:55 EDT 98km/109.4km to go
A new break has
formed now and looks a little more stable than most. The bunch are not chasing
just yet and there is a 30 second gap. In the group is Aaron Olson (Prodir-Saunier
Duval), Danny Pate (TIAA CREF), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity) and
Jackson Stewart (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada).
The gap is growing quickly as Olson
sits on the front and powers the break. They are up to a minute ahead now as
they head towards the feed zone.
We caught up with Olson this morning
who recently broke a finger in the Tour of Flanders. His girlfriend Kim Anderson
broke her collarbone on the same day in the women's version of Flanders. Not
a good day for them. Anyway, Aaron says he's feeling much better. He says he's
happy to be back in the US racing and that he is pretty free to go for things
for himself in this race.
14:02 EDT 105km/102.4km to go
The gap has increased
to 2'20" now. Olson really got this break going and was doing the majority of
the work for quite a while to get things established. Now the other three are
starting to roll through more and its looking pretty even. Just over 100km left
14:09 EDT 208km/-0.6km to go
The gap is over
three minutes now with no reaction from the field. They are content to let this
one go for a while at this point. With 100km to the finish they have time.
Speaking of broken collarbones. One
reader has just written in to say that another rider in the break (excuse the
pun), Neil Shirley, also broke his collarbone six weeks ago in a race in California.
Seems he's recovered well to line up in Georgia.
14:15 EDT 115km/92.4km to go
A correction to
the riders in the break. Its actually Dan Bowman, not his teammate Danny Pate.
Bowman must like this course as he rode solo here for over 150km last year.
At least this time he has some help.
The group of four now have 4'25" on
the bunch and the gap is growing!
Last year Bowman's team director Jonathan
Vaughter's told him to keep the gap under 10 minutes to keep the alarm bells
from ringing in the bunch. Unfortunately for Bowman, Vaughters was right and
when he got out to 13 minutes, the bunch started to chase. It will be interesting
to see what they get out to this time.
The gap is now up to five minutes
as Olson rolls through for another turn on the front. The terrain is consistently
rolling here as they pass field after field. A while back they went through
a town called Culverton which has a sign posted: "Population 37+/-"
14:32 EDT 124km/83.4km to go
The gap is up to
seven minutes now as they near Baldwin County. The sun is starting to come out
and the temperature is rising a little. In 20km the riders will have another
Maxxis Sprint. Its likely this break will still be away by then so that won't
cause much alarm.
14:38 EDT 130km/77.4km to go
9'50" is the gap
now. Getting to that critical point!
14:41 EDT 131km/76.4km to go
Actually the latest
time gap is 11'15" and seems to be growing. All of the riders are doing pretty
even turns out there. They have a slight crosswind and are sticking to the right
side of the road.
The crowds are building up at the
finish which is the same as last year. It's quite a tough finish consisting
of three laps of a 3.4km loop. Within each lap are two climb, the second climb
being the biggest and steepest. After cresting the climb, the road dives back
down before making the turn into the finishing straight with only 300m to go.
One of the climbs is brick making it that little bit harder.
After they go through this next sprint
they have 53km until they hit the finishing circuits.
14:52 EDT 139km/68.4km to go
The gap has fallen
slightly to 10'46" as the riders hit 5km to the sprint. They are going over
a small rise now and are up out of the saddle.
Last year Bowman was caught at about
the 40km to go mark leading to counter attacks. If the sprinters teams get it
right they'll try to reel it in a little later this time to save themselves
from covering counters. There are four of them in the break this time so it
will take a little more effort in the chase which is bound to start soon.
The gap is coming down now steadily,
the latest time gap being 9'08".
15:03 EDT 147km/60.4km to go
took the points at the third Maxxis sprint in the town of Millidgeville. Bowman
was second and Shirley third.
Back in the peloton the Toyota United
Team are setting tempo on the front with a bit of help from Davitamon Lotto.
Toyota has a very quick sprinter with JJ Haedo who rode so well in the Tour
of California winning two stages.
Haedo has also done fairly well at
Georgia, taking a second place to Gord Fraser in Stage 7 in 2004. He'll be aiming
to improve on that and its fairly likely that he can going on his form this
15:16 EDT 155km/52.4km to go
The gap hasn't really
come down all that much since the last check. Its 8'55". Discovery is setting
the pace back in the field now. Its unlikely they are interested in the bunch
sprint, but they would be concerned about Olson. They wouldn't want him to have
too much time at the end of this stage.
The Phonak riders are also up there
with Discovery. The GC teams obviously got sick of waiting for the sprinters
teams to start the chase.
Phonak doesn have one of the best
sprinters and as Hunter said before the stage, he'll go for it if he's there,
but he also said that Phonak wouldn't waste too much energy going for stage
wins as the overall is more important to them.
The gap has fallen to 7'40" now with
Phonak and Discovery setting the pace in the peloton.
Three Disco riders, three Phonak riders
and one Toyota United rider are setting the pace at the front of the peloton.
The gap is coming down but its going to be a tight one this time. The guys in
the break are still rolling through steadily now.
The gap is down to five minutes now
so the chase has definitely picked up with about 40km remaining.
On the finishing circuit, a women's
race has just finished. It was called the Komen Central Georgia Cycle for the
Cure and people could go to the website and sponsor a rider to raise money for
the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Shannon Hutchison (Aaron's Cycling
Team) won the race in a bunch sprint and nearly all the girls raised $200 each
during the race.
4'06" is the gap now. Davitamon Lotto
is also helping in the chase now along with Toyota United, Phonak and Discovery.
15:41 EDT 175km/32.4km to go
3'50" is the new
gap and it is falling fast. Just over 30km remaining in the race.
The pace in the peloton is quite fast
now and its strung out. They are traveling at about 36miles/h which is 58km/h
- very fast.
15:47 EDT 178km/29.4km to go
Only 20km to go
before the field hits the finishing circuits now and that will go pretty quickly
at this speed.
Olson is attacking the break and Neil
Shirley is covering his attack!
Olson is leading now, he has Shirley
on his wheel followed by Stewart and Bowman but they are all together. They
are going over a small climb.
They are out of the saddle. Bowman
looks to be suffering a bit more than the others. Shirley rolls through to do
a turn now. 2'50" is the gap.
Olson rolls through again. He is clearly
the strongest but he can't get away from them.
Olson has attacked the break again
and this time he has a gap. They can't go with him this time. He currently has
2'45" on the field and seven seconds on the rest of the chase. He has just seen
25km to go.
Olson's gap is growing from the break
but not from the field. He now has 20 seconds on the field. Discovery is chasing.
Olson is in time trial mode. He's having a drink now.
The peloton seems to be easing off
a little bit but I'm sure it won't be for long.
15:59 EDT 186km/21.4km to go
Olson only has 1'20"
to the bunch now and 24" to the chasers.
Olson has 20km to go until the finish.
The rest of the break is currently being led by Shirley.
16:00 EDT 188km/19.4km to go
Olson actually has
2'10" to the bunch and 24" to the rest of the break. He's powering out there.
Its going to be close.
Only ten kilometers to the finishing
circuits as the race enters the town of Macon now.
Quick.Step is chasing now. They have
the whole team on the front.
The fans are piling into the finishing
circuit now just in time to see them come into the finishing circuit.
Olson looks good. He's obviously not
having all that much trouble with his wrist. He's out of the saddle, looking
comfortable. He's looking back now trying to get an idea of how he's going.
The gap is falling though. It's 1'32"
to the field now and still 28" to the chasers.
15km to go. It will be tough for him
to hold off this chase. Quick.Step have it strung out.
Now its Discovery back leading the
chase. They now have the whole team on the front and the gap is down to one
Now 55" and falling.
Olson has now reached the circuits
and is on the paved climb. The three other breakaway riders are just about to
16:11 EDT 195km/12.4km to go
All three chasers
have been caught and only 100m remains between Olson and the peloton.
Freddy Rodriguez had a wheel change
but has made it back into the bunch.
Olson has about 50m on the downhill
now. When they hit the finish line for the first time they'll see three laps
Olson still dangles a little bit off
the front. Tough day for those breakaway riders, but thats bike racing.
16:14 EDT 97km/110.4km to go
1km to the finish
line. Its a hard right turn and then a straight and then a hard left turn before
the final 300m to the finishline.
16:15 EDT 98km/109.4km to go
Phonak is on the
front of the bunch as Olson finally gets caught. They go under the finishing
banner and see three laps to go.
It looks like Mike Sayers (Health
Net) on the front now. Davitamon takes over as a team followed by a few Discovery
We have an attack on the hill. Its
a CSC rider.
He's on the brick paved climb out
of the saddle. He has a small gap.
Its Allan Johansen from CSC in the
lead. He has about a 20m gap on the downhill but Discovery is driving the chase.
He goes under the 1km to go banner.
He looks like he's increased his lead. When he hits the finish line he'll see
two laps to go.
16:21 EDT 200km/7.4km to go
He has about five
seconds. He takes a look over his shoulder. Four Health Net riders lead the
chase with two Discovery riders.
He is about to get caught now. He
knows he's caught. Lets wait for the counter.
Health Net on the front followed by
Discovery has about five riders on
the front now. Health Net are moving back up though.
They are back on the brick climb now.
Health Net on the front. A Phonak rider moved up on the climb and leads.
On the descent now. A Discovery rider
has a 10m gap and its really strung out.
A prodir rider attacks on the right
on a small uphill.
A Discovery rider joins him so we
have two riders off the front.
The speed is extremely fast. 41m/h
(66km/h). Health Net is on the front now. The two attackers have been caught.
Discovery and Davitamon Lotto also
have riders up there, but its Health Net who leads.
They are coming down the finishing
straight and they'll see one lap to go.
It looks like Dominique Perras (Kodak)
up there too.
16:27 EDT 203.6km/3.8km to go
Still Health Net.
Sayers doing a lot of work. They hit the paved climb for the last time.
An attack by Quick.Step. He is covered
by a Davitamon Lotto rider. They have 50m on the field on this climb.
They are out of the saddle. They are
being caught and Discovery counters.
He's not getting anywhere though.
Phonak has moved to the front with Discovery. Its all together.
A Phonak rider leads followed by Discovery.
Less than 2km to go. A CSC rider attacks now. He has 20m.
A Discovery rider marks him. He is
caught. Its all together again.
On the descent now coming up to the
1km to go banner.
1km to go. Its all together. Phonak
and Health Net at the front. Saunier Duval takes over.
A Quick.Step rider also up there.
300m to go.
Riders down on the corner.
CSC take the win followed by a Jelly
Belly rider and then Rodriguez.
Ivan Dominguez (Toyota Unite) went
down on the last turn.
It was Lars Michaelsen (CSC) who took
It has been confirmed that Michaelsen
took the win. Rodriguez actually took second place and Caleb Manion came in
Thanks for tuning in to the first
stage of the Tour de Georgia. We'll be back tomorrow for stage 2.
1 Lars Michaelsen (CSC)
2 Freddy Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto)
3 Caleb Manion (Jelly Belly)
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