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Tour de Georgia - 2.HC

USA, April 18-23, 2006

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Stage 2 - April 19: Fayetteville, GA - Rome, GA, 186.9km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins

Complete live report

Today the Tour de Georgia field tackles a relatively-flat stage with rolling hills (See stage map & profile), but the entry into the city of Rome could cause a split in the field, with three circuits involving a climb up the short but steep Clock Tower Hill.

Last year, Andrea Tafi put in a brave solo attack in his final US race, but was caught entering the circuits by a fast charging peloton, led by the entire Discovery Channel team, with Lance Armstrong in tow.

When in Rome ... LA takes a sprint in '04
Photo ©: Bob Badalucco

In fact, Armstrong was the surprise winner of the stage into Rome in the 2004 edition (stage 3), something he described as a "almost a freak experience" (not winning a race, but beating the sprinters at their own game).

Tafi was swallowed by the Discovery train, and in turn, the paler-shade-of-blue-train - Gerolsteiner - set up their sprinter, Peter Wrolich, who stole the show and took the win.

The finish is likely to be a bunch kick of 'sprinters-who-can-climb', or an opportunist rider with the explosive power to tackle the climb may be able to hold off what will be a hard-charging bunch, assuming the somewhat-inevitable breakaway group is caught.

Make sure you follow all the action, live on Cyclingnews, from 13:30 local time (EDT), 10:30 PDT (USA West) 19:30 CEST (Europe), 03:30 AEST (Australia East).

In yesterday's stage we experienced unexpected demand, so we apologise for any delays you experienced, but for the remaining stages, the servers are scaled up and ready to rumble.

13:22 EDT   
Welcome back to Cyclingnews’ Live Coverage of the Tour de Georgia. Stage 2 starts in the Fayetteville, Georgia and travels northwest to the town of Rome through Peachtree City and Rockmart. Known as a sprinters stage, the course travels along flat and undulating terrain for 173km before hitting the famous Clocktower Hill for the first time. The three finishing circuits that follow are particularly difficult, taking in the steep Clocktower Hill each lap. Riders who have raced Tour de Georgia before know the circuit well as it is identical to the previous two year. Positioning is vital for the finish and a large gear for the downhill sprint can also come in handy as Armstrong noted in 2005.

Yesterday we saw Danish rider Lars Michaelsen (CSC) take the sprint on yet another tricky finishing circuit. He now wears the yellow leader’s jersey and leads by four seconds over Freddy Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto). Michaelsen was excited about his win stating that "It's very rewarding to get confirmation you are still able to compete with the young guys. I used to be a good sprinter in my young days, and every once in a while I pull one out of my hat."

Rodriguez suffered some bad luck in the final stages of yesterday’s race with two wheel changes but still managed to get back up there to take second place. Freddy has won before in Rome, taking the bunch sprint in stage 3 of the 2003 event. He’ll be trying to repeat that performance today and perhaps take the jersey from Michaelsen.

At the start line, with five minutes to the start, things didn’t look so good weatherwise. A few drops of rain are starting to fall and its been hailing in Rome at the finish line. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been relayed in weather reports. The riders don’t seem too worried about it but they’re definitely starting with their rain jackets handy.

13:33 EDT   
The race is now underway. We don't have any neutral laps today. Instead we simply head straight out on the road to Rome. One of many! Drops of raing were just starting to fall as they head towards a thunderstorm. Lets just hope its over by the time the race reaches the finish.

13:35 EDT   
Already riders are having nature breaks at the back of the peloton. That was bad planning. The bunch cruises along at 32km/h (20m/h) to let the guys do their thing.

13:37 EDT   
Yesterday it was the legendary James Brown that turned up to welcome the riders to Georgia. Today it’s Lance Armstrong. However he is keeping a low profile so far. With the crowds so far seeming a little thinner than they have in the past, most likely due to the Lance’s retirement, it could be a good thing that he has turned up today to lend support to the race that he helped put on the map.

13:43 EDT   
Cyclingnews reporter Kirsten Robbins caught up with Lance at the start line who says he's here in support of the Discovery Team. He was also at the Tour of California and there's a chance that he will go with them to the Giro this year as well.

13:45 EDT    9.6km/177.3km to go
The weather is clearing a little now and it looks like it will be dry. At least for the first hour or so of racing. Coming up in about 14km is the first Maxxis sprint of the day in Peachtree City. The sprint carries points as well as time bonus seconds.

13:49 EDT   
The race is taking a right turn onto Peachtree Parkway. The terrain is rolling and the road is pretty wide open. We are going past lots of gated communities. You may remember from last year that this is quite a strange town in that most of the inhabitants use golf carts to get around. Special paths have been built for these things to get around. It is quite a strange sight.

13:51 EDT    14.2km/172.7km to go
As we turn right onto Robinson Rd, we go past Braelinn Elementary School. The kids are out watching the race go by and there's golf carts everywhere. The peloton is still just cruising along just under 20m/h. Its pretty flat, slightly rolling with good smooth roads.

13:58 EDT   
We also caught up with Tom Danielson before the start who is very happy that Lance is here. "He is here mentoring the team," explained Danielson. "He'll be staying through Brasstown Bald and will be supporting the team tactically." Much the same as he did last year with Danielson, however this year from the car.

13:59 EDT   
Alejandro Acton (Targetraining) has attacked. He has 25 seconds on the field. Acton was very active in yesterdays stage too, so for Targetraining's first year here, they are certainly giving it a good go.

14:01 EDT   
5km to the sprint now and Acton has increased his lead to 50 seconds.

14:03 EDT    21.9km/165km to go
We are now in more of a wooded area. Its a little hillier and we are going downhill past a lake after which is starts going up a little again. Acton has 3km to reach the sprint and he has increased his lead to 1'25".

14:04 EDT   
Its beautiful here. Quite a few lakes line the road. Viktor Rapinski (Colavita) has attacked the field and is trying to bridge to Acton. He has 15 seconds on the peloton.

14:07 EDT    24km/162.9km to go
Rapinski is now back in the field. The sprint is in front of another elementary school. All the kids are out the front with their flags. Screaming at the top of their lungs. Acton is reaching the sprint now. He looks nice and steady.

14:08 EDT   
Danielson was off the back at the team car before. It looked like he had a problem with his radio. He's back in the field now.

14:10 EDT    25km/161.9km to go
Its very windy through here now and it looks like Acton's time gap is dropping. Back in the bunch Freddy won the bunch sprint. He gets a 2 second time bonus for that bringing him that little bit closer to Michaelsen in the overall.

14:13 EDT   
Mark Zalewski caught up with race leader Lars Michaelsen before the start. He said that his team won't be defending the jersey today. "The only way I will keep the jersey is if I win the stage again today," he said. "We will go for the stage win and see how it goes."

14:17 EDT   
Acton's gap is increasing. The latest time check was 1'40". He'll be hoping for a few riders to bridge to him pretty soon if he's to stay out there.

14:21 EDT   
Acton is in the drops working hard. He looks nice and relaxed and his gap is increasing. No reaction from the field. They're not chasing at all and are spread across the road. We are in the city of Tyrone, which is where the organisers of this race are based.

14:23 EDT    35km/151.9km to go
A few Phonak riders are on the front just cruising along and chatting. We talked to Floyd Landis this morning. He said he's just going to look after himself today, but the team will also try and help Robbie Hunter win the stage. He wasn't worried about racing in the bad weather at all and said he was feeling pretty good overall.

14:27 EDT   
We also talked to Hunter who said he just wasn't in the right position for yesterday's sprint. He was ahead of the crash but he got cut off by Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) and couldn't get out. He's going to give it another shot as this is the last chance he can go for a stage win. After the time trial tomorrow the effort will be all for Floyd.

14:33 EDT    40km/146.9km to go
Acton now has 5'30" on the field. The race just crossed interstate 85 on a small road. Its flat here and its a little more open than before. The sun seems to be trying to shine right now but its still overcast.

14:34 EDT    42km/144.9km to go
The riders will tackle what is listed as a difficult railroad crossing up ahead. Last year a freight train actually had to stop to let the race go past. In the field CSC has a couple of riders on the field but they're not chasing. The gap is now up over seven minutes with the field cruising at 25m/h.

14:35 EDT   
And here is that freight train again. Stopped the let the race go past. Shame they couldn't do that at Paris Roubaix last week. It would have prevented a few upsets.

14:44 EDT   
A couple of CSC guys are up at the front of the peloton, but not really doing much. Targetraining pretty much have the whole team up there manning the front and protecting the lead of Acton. They just went up a small hill but it is flat again now. It will be undulating like this all day. Last year it was Andrea Tafi who was agressive from the start. He was determined to get a stage win but was caught in the finishing circuits after a long day away.

14:45 EDT   
One of yesterday's breakaway riders, Aaron Olson also attacked last year in chase of Tafi and was solo for a long effort.

14:47 EDT   
One reader, Tim Smith just wrote in to tell us to watch out. He's been tracking the weather on the radar and storms are coming our way. If its the hail storms they experienced in Rome earlier it won't be very pleasant, but thats bike racing.

14:54 EDT    54km/132.9km to go
Acton has now ridden over 50km now and is still building his lead. We think the gap is ten minutes. The officials have a slight problem now in that the relay plane that relays the radio signals for race radio is grounded because of the weather. They are using small handheld radio's but with the gap at ten minutes its quite a distance between the break and the field making it more difficult to give regular time gaps.

14:56 EDT   
Acton is on a small two lane road and its pretty flat around here. He looks like he's in a nice comfortable rhythm. He'll start hitting a few small climbs soon.

15:03 EDT   
Another reader has written in to say that we have some road works up ahead which might make things interested. They are repaving Hwy 166 in the area that the race passes through. Just another obstacle.

15:11 EDT   
Whilst Acton is pedaling away up there I'll go back to a few rider comments from before the stage. We caught up with Freddy Rodriguez who said that his team is not interested in going in any breakaways today but will save everything for the finish to help him win the sprint. He said it will be hard for them to do a full team leadout because of the tricky nature of the finishing circuits but he's confident that his team can do a better leadout than any other team out there and he's confident that he will be able to take the win today. He has won in Rome before, back in 2003 and if he repeats today its very likely he'll take the leaders jersey from Michaelsen.

15:13 EDT   
We talked to his teammate Henk Vogels before yesterday's stage. He is happy to be back here as he had some success here a few years ago. He said he's tired because he's done all of the early season classics this year.

15:18 EDT    69km/117.9km to go
We are almost 70km into the race and about to enter Carroll County. Its starting to sprinkle and Acton's gap is falling slightly. It is 9'30" and we can actually see a bit of lightning in the distance.

15:23 EDT   
There has been a crash in the bunch. A few riders down but we can't see who it is at this point but it was just a few riders getting tangled up. The race organisers are more worried about the hail and the lightning.

15:24 EDT   
Its starting to fall a little heavier now. Its looks serious enough that officials are looking for places where they can shelter the riders if it gets really bad. Its very rare that a race will be stopped due to weather but if the lightening is close it becomes dangerous.

15:25 EDT   
The lightning is becoming more frequent as we travel further north.

15:29 EDT   
The good news is that the area around Rome is clearing up so the finishing circuits will be a little safer when they finally get there. Reports are of penny size hail pieces falling up ahead. Lucky helmets are compulsary.

15:35 EDT    75km/111.9km to go
As for the current breakaway rider, Alejandro Acton is an Argentine national and a former Argentina Olympic team member. Last year was quite successful for him. He won the sprint jersey at the Green Mountain Stage race and stage 3 which was the criterium. At 33 years of age he has quite a bit of racing experience under his belt.

15:36 EDT   
He is traveling at about 42km/h (26m/h) right now as he nears the feed zone. Its pretty flat along here but its absolutely pelting down. I guess his afternoon tea will get a bit soggy.

15:37 EDT   
The sky is getting even darker now so the worst is yet to come weatherwise.

15:39 EDT   
But actually despite that, the rain has just stopped for Acton and is getting lighter for the guys back in the bunch. Maybe they'll be lucky and get through this safely.

15:45 EDT   
Acton's gap fell to below nine minutes but its up again to 9'10". It's raining again now. On and off. Our reporter Kirsten Robbins is near the finish and she says it looks nice and dry.

15:52 EDT    88km/98.9km to go
Another rider we talked to this morning was Nathan O'Neill (Health Net). He has a pretty succesful start to the season winning the Commonwealth Games time trial in Melbourne last month. He's happy to be here and the start today is actually only about an hour from where he lives. He says he's going to try and go for the overall here. Being a bit of a time trial specialist, he'll be going for a win there tomorrow. He held his own on the climbs in the Tour of California earlier this year. He says the climbs here are a little different. "A little more treacherous," but he'll be giving it a go.

15:54 EDT    91km/95.9km to go
And the rain is not letting up out there. It's quite hard at the moment. Acton's lead is 10'10" now as he nears the half way mark in the race.

15:56 EDT   
As you can see from his results, Acton's main strength is in the sprint, so this long breakaway is probably not what he expected for today. He would be quite upset that nobody went with him in the attack. It would be a lot more pleasant to have someone to ride with in this weather.

16:02 EDT    95km/91.9km to go
Looking for a stage win if this race comes down to a bunch sprint today will be the Toyota United team. They suffered a little bad luck when Ivan Dominguez crashed on the second last corner yesterday. We caught up with Dominguez and the other team sprinter JJ Haedo before the start today. Dominguez explained that he rolled his tubular on the corner. He was sweeping for Haedo and he took the corner wide but rolled his tyre bring himself down along with Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca from Prodir Saunier Duval.

He added that he would be working for Haedo again today, unless Haedo wasn't feeling good and then they'd swap roles.

16:05 EDT   
Haedo said he heard the crash but was lucky to be in front of it. On the last corner Robbie Hunter attacked and got a gap so Haedo tried to bridge and then had nothing for the sprint.

Haedo also explained that he won the second Maxxis sprint on the road yesterday but that he wasn't going for the sprint jersey. He was actually thinking that he might win the stage yesterday and wanted to grab the time bonus seconds to ensure he took the yellow jersey. He's looking to win today's stage with Ivan helping him. He knows that positioning is very important and they'll both have to stay up there in the top ten in the last lap. He said he feels good and he thinks he can win.

16:06 EDT    100km/86.9km to go
Its still raining out there but again its starting to lighten off a bit. Acton holds his gap steady for now. He's about six kilometers ahead of the field.

16:17 EDT   
The gap is still 10'30" and Acton has really been out there a long time now. The bunch seems to be just content to take it easy today and wait for the finish. Tomorrow is the time trial which will be a pretty big day for the GC riders and stage 5 and 6 are mountain days which will be tough days.

16:24 EDT   
In the bunch Lotto and Quick.Step have riders on the front but they're still just chatting and cruising, content to let this go for a while longer.

16:27 EDT    108km/78.9km to go
The clouds are lifting now and it looks like things will be clear from here on in. The gap is holding and Acton has just under 80km to ride. Quite a long time trial.

16:32 EDT   
For those of you out there wanting to know who Targetraining is exactly. The team is new for this year and is run by Tom Schuler and Team Sports who used to run the Saturn team. As the name would suggest the team is sponsored by a coaching company probably most famous for one of the coaches Rick Crawford who has coached many a great cyclist in the Durango area, including Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer and Chris wherry.

16:34 EDT    115km/71.9km to go
Todays stage is actually running quite a bit behind schedule. The average speed for the peloton is only 22m/h (35km/h). The gap is 9'55" and no chase to be seen yet.

16:39 EDT   
Wow, a bit of action. A group of six riders have attacked and have a small gap on the field. The peloton has reacted though and the riders have been caught. Its just Acton out there solo with a gap of 10'20".

16:43 EDT   
The boys from Jittery Joe's Zero Gravity have hit the front of the peloton now and have starting setting tempo.

16:45 EDT   
The rest of the Targetraining guys are still sitting up near the front keeping an eye on things. This is a big day for them to get their name out there amongst the big teams. Even if this does get caught as it is very likely to do with Euro teams very skilled at bringing these breaks back just in time, its still a great day for the team.

16:47 EDT    123km/63.9km to go
In 15km Acton will come across the second Maxxis sprint line of the day giving himself another few points and a few time bonus seconds. The road is a little rough right now, but it has been nice and smooth all day.

16:50 EDT   
Things are picking up in the bunch now. It's even strung out for the first time today.

17:00 EDT    132km/54.9km to go
Acton is a chance of taking the sprint jersey at the end of today depending on what happens on the finish line. But that would be a nice reward for spending all day out there. Right now he's about 6km from the sprint and the field is about five kilometers behind him. Behind Davitamon Lotto have put some riders on the front and the speed is picking up. They are going 28m/h (45km/h) now so poor old Acton's gap will start to fall pretty soon. It's still pretty flat out here.

17:02 EDT   
Phonak has also put a few riders up there to help being this back for Hunter. They've got 50km to bring back 10 minutes.

17:08 EDT   
The sprint line is in the town of Rockmart, home of the Silver Comet Trail built on the old train line. The trail is named after the shiny silver train that used to carry passengers from New York to Birmingham from 1947 until 1969.

17:10 EDT    140km/46.9km to go
Acton has gone through the sprint line giving him 18 points. The bunch is now coming to the sprint farily soon. The gap is down to 9'15" now and Davitamon and Lotto are still on the front of the bunch setting a steady tempo.

17:12 EDT   
The weather is overcast with clear skies up ahead. The roads are dry on this four lane road. Right now there is one Davitamon Lotto rider on the front followed by five Phonak riders. We are in Rockmart for the sprint now. We can see a Dairy Queen and some people sitting outside a Dollarmart.

17:14 EDT    142km/44.9km to go
The bunch has turned onto Elm street. Its a two lane road and they will go over a railroad crossing before opening up to another four lane road. We can see a few cycling fans here at the 200m sign to the sprint. The field is moving now and we have some riders contesting this sprint.

17:15 EDT   
Four riders are contesting it and it looks like a Toyota United rider took the sprint points and 2secs time bonus. At the sprint line the time gap is 9'15" to Acton.

17:17 EDT   
It was actually Lars Michaelsen who took second place. That is a bit of an attempt to keep the jersey after today's stage. He'll be going for the stage win and every second counts.

17:19 EDT   
Michaelsen's teammate Brian Vandborg took third place in the sprint to prevent anybody else from getting them.

17:20 EDT   
Right now Acton and Michaelsen are on equal sprint points so it will come down to the finish as to who takes home the Maxxis sprint jersey.

17:25 EDT   
One rider we should talk about is the best young rider from yesterday, Peter Mazur (Prodir-Saunier Duval). We actually caught up with him before yesterday's stage and he mentioned that he was going to try to go for the young riders jersey. Mazur is Canadian Polish and grew up racing in Canada. A few years ago he left to go and race in Poland and has been living there. He is back here in North America and excited to be riding here again. His speciality is the time trial and he mentioned that might even try to get a top ten overall in tomorrow's stage. Interestingly enough, his father has been known to do a bit of coaching and he did coach Michael Barry at one time and a host of other Canadian riders.

17:26 EDT    148km/38.9km to go
Health Net is up near the front now too. With less than 20km to the finishing circuits, it looks like this last part of the race is going to be fast after a long slow lead up.

17:27 EDT   
The gap has fallen to 7'35" now with Phonak, Davitamon Lotto and Health Net all represented at the front of the chasing bunch.

17:30 EDT   
Now the gap is really falling. 6'08 now. Acton will just be listening to the gap fall as he would very much have expected to happen, but its still not a nice feeling.

17:32 EDT    152km/34.9km to go
He has about 15km until they hit the town of Rome and less than 10km later the circuits start.

17:33 EDT   
The circuits are 4.1km long and the riders will enter the circuits, go over the Clocktower hill once and when reaching the finish line for the first time they'll see three laps to go.

17:36 EDT    156km/30.9km to go
There's a few bumps in the road here and the Davitamon Lotto riders are out of the saddle as they go over one of the rises. The road is long and straight and they can even see the action around the solo rider way up in the distance. The gap is just under six minutes.

17:39 EDT   
Last year Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) won this stage in a bunch sprint from Manuel Quinziato (Prodir) and Lance Armstrong (Discovery). Lance commented after the stage that it came in very handy to have a 54 chain ring for the downhill finish. He didn't have that the year before when he actually won the stage but it does come in handy.

17:39 EDT   
The gap is down to 4'20" now and falling...

17:41 EDT   
The trickiest part of the finishing circuits though is the steep climb up Clocktower hill each lap. It reaches 19% in gradient at one point and is fairly narrow so positioning on the climb is very vital. When you reach the top for the last time its very fast to the finish.

17:43 EDT   
After last years stage Robbie Hunter told of where he went wrong. "On the last climb I was right in front, and there were two guys who sat up -- and it's such a small straight climb that you can lose like fifteen positions," explained the South African sprinter. "It was pretty fast and position is everything. But the problem is I don't think everyone in the group has got the legs to give it gas off after 200km, so you get guys sitting up and just getting in the way on a circuit like this."

17:44 EDT    161km/25.9km to go
The gap is just over three minutes and dropping rapidly now. In a few kilometers Acton will enter the town of Rome and head for the finishing circuits.

17:46 EDT    163km/23.9km to go
We are still on this really really long straight road. Its rolling terrain. Up and down, up and down which is really taking a lot out of Acton. The latest time gap is 2'30". The bunch has 25km to the finish now.

17:48 EDT   
It is a very cool finishing circuit. After winning last year, Wrolich said "You can compare [the course] to all the hills in the Netherlands. A lap like that is real racing, it was something for the crowd....They can see the race for a half an hour....And that should also be the way it is Europe... I liked it."

17:50 EDT    165km/21.9km to go
Acton has 2'20" which is a 1 mile gap to the bunch as they hit the city limits of Rome, Georgia.

17:52 EDT    167km/19.9km to go
TIAA CREF and Phonak have riders on the front now. Acton can see 20km to go now. We have a nice descent down into town now.

17:53 EDT    168km/18.9km to go
1'45" is the gap. The field now sees 20km to go.

17:55 EDT   
Jason McCartney just got a service at the back of the bunch. We are at 5km to the KOM now which is on top of Clocktower hill the first time they hit it. Acton looks back over his shoulder. He is still giving it everything. He has 1'15".

17:57 EDT   
We have a twisty descent now as we come more into the downtown area.

17:57 EDT   
Acton is still out there, but only has 5 seconds now. What a day for him!

17:59 EDT   
He attacked only 15km into this stage and has been out there all alone. His race now is to the top of the KOM. If he makes it he will take the KOM jersey into stage 3. Actually it was 50 seconds before, now its 42.

18:00 EDT   
Now its down to five seconds! Can he make it to the top of the hill? No he can't. He has just been caught.

18:02 EDT   
The bunch is all together. A Health Net rider has countered. It is Kirk O'Bee. He got over the KOM first followed by a Colavita rider, another Targetraining guy and then the rest of the field. They are coming down the downhill towards the finish line.

18:03 EDT    174km/12.9km to go
The small group of three with Kirk O'Bee just got caught as they went through the finish line as they head out for the first of three laps.

18:04 EDT   
Phonak had their riders on the front as they came through the finish line. They are going to try to keep this under control for Hunter and make sure he doesn't get stuck behind riders this year.

18:06 EDT   
McCartney has actually only just made it back into the peloton after his mechanical. They are heading towards Clocktower Hill for the second time.

18:08 EDT   
They're on the climb now making the lefthand turn. Four Phonak riders are setting pace. Its single file. A Quick.Step rider is also up there and Michaelsen has just made his way into fourth place as they come through the finish line with two laps to go.

18:09 EDT    182km/4.9km to go
A few riders are getting spat out the back of the field. Its fast now. Only 8km to go. They're going 51km and hour. They take a right hand turn. Acton has just come through the finish line. After he was caught he was dropped and will just cruise into the finish.

18:10 EDT   
Heading the hill for the third time now. When they descend to the finish they'll see 1 lap to go.

18:11 EDT   
They are on the Clocktower Hill now nearly reaching the top. It's still all together with Phonak setting the pace. Hunter is in good position.

18:12 EDT    186km/0.9km to go
Matty Rice has attacked and has a 100m gap. He is coming down onto the finishing straight. The field is completely strung out. He is seeing 1 lap to go now.

18:13 EDT   
Quick.Step, Navigators, Health Net all have a rider up there helping to chase. He has five seconds on the field. Toyota United moves to the front to chase this down. He has 75m now.

18:14 EDT   
The gap is down to 20m and he is caught by Toyota United and they stay on the front to set the pace for Haedo. Its strung out as they head to the Clocktower Hill for the last time.

18:15 EDT   
They are turning onto the street off the climb now. Discovery has three riders on the front now heading up the hill. Positioning is everything now. Its so fast to the finish from the top here.

18:16 EDT   
They're on the climb now. They're flying. The first riders are reaching the top. They start the descent. 1km to go!

18:17 EDT   
They have reached the final turn. A Discovery rider is off the front. He has a huge gap. It is Popovych and he's going to get this! Followed by Toyota and Gord Fraser.

18:18 EDT   
Popovych takes the win! Looks like it was Haedo who took second place followed by Fraser. Stand by for the official results.

18:19 EDT   
It was Haedo in second. The Discovery guys had it figured though, getting that gap coming off the hill.

18:24 EDT   
It actually looks like they've given third to Freddy Rodriguez.
Thanks for tuning in to stage three. We'll be back tomorrow for the Time Trial which will be the first big decider for the overall classification.


1 Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)
2 Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota United)
3 Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto)                              


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