Category: Tour de Georgia 2007

April 22, 2007

Tour de Georgia Stage 7 finale: Haedo wins won for CSC

photo by blacknell

In a sight familiar to US Tour watchers, JJ Haedo took the sprint just ahead of Fast Freddie, exactly revenge for yesterday's near-win. Second place overall and a stage win will probably make CSC happier, or perhaps they are still warm and fuzzy from O'Grady's Paris-Roubaix win. Regardless, they probably don't want to keep playing second-fiddle to the Discovery train when it comes to Tours.

There was much celebration in the Discovery camp that managed to walk away with Best Overall/Young Rider, Best Team, and two stage wins. Janez Brajkovic dumped champagne on a podium girl, Hincapie and Leipheimer dumped champagne on Brajkovic, but Frank Steele was surely hiding his camera from the bubbly carnage.

Jittery Joe's can also celebrate as Cesar Grajales took Most Aggressive rider on the day.

April 21, 2007

Tour de Georgia Stage 6: Fast Freddie

Fast Freddie took the win today and put Predictor-Lotto on the board. The sprinters finally got their chance in the Tour de Georgia after earlier chances were spoiled by long breakaways and last-minute flyers. Toyota-United and CSC controlled the peloton today as Discovery Channel was able to sit back and watch as the two other teams setup their sprinters. Health Net tried to throw some riders off the front in the final miles -- even Toyota-United's Ivan Stevic tried to get in on the second attempt -- but it all came down to a field sprint. CSC has to be unhappy going into the final day of the TdG as they're still with no stage wins as Freddie outhrew JJ Haedo for the win. George Hincapie was a surprising third and David Millar a surprising fourth, Ivan Dominguez took fifth, which makes me question all of Ivan Stevic's last-minute attacks.

The most ambitious break on the day was a 22-man break that included Tom Danielson, Dave Zabriskie, and Nathan O'Neill, but it didn't last very long. Instead, a smaller break with Maarten Wynants (Quick Step), Olivier Kaisen (Predictor-Lotto), and Glen Alan Chadwick (Navigators) stayed away until the final lap in Stone Mountain Park.

Unlucky TdG rider: Chris Baldwin

Chris BaldwinCaught this in the cyclingnews live coverage:

We also spoke to Chris Baldwin of the Toyota United team before the race. Baldwin spent much of yesterday in the break. Baldwin said he bonked hard because he hadn't eaten enough during the stage. "I ate so much last night but I still feel bad." The bad luck didn't end there for Baldwin; he also lost a necklace during the race which carried his wedding ring.

I don't know how that ranks with crashing out of first place for the USPRO TT championship, but that's a pretty bad race day.

Update: VeloNews has more

April 20, 2007

Brasstown Bald photos

Tom Danielson on Brasstown Bald, by Eric Reagan

The bloggers are starting to checkin with their photosets so it's time to start gathering the links. Eric Reagan (of cyclingshots) has one of the best shots I've seen on the day -- Tom Danielson climbing Brasstown Bald and what looks like Levi in his shadow.

Missingsaddle has a set from the climb

Cyclingnews contributor Sadlebred has a nice gallery of tired riders finishing, including Levi's finishing salute.

James of Bicycle Design has a great set of photos from 150m to the finish

George Hincapie by jctdesign Tom Danielson by jctdesign Tyler Hamilton by jctdesign

Frank Steele has promised photos as well, as soon as his Internet connection permits.

Tour de Georgia Stage 5: Brasstown Bald

Levi Leipheimer by James/jctdesign
Levi Leipheimer 150m from the finish by jctdesign
It's the mountaintop finish that Tour-of-Californians dream of, with a result fitting for the Tour of California as Levi Leipheimer took the stage win with a solo attack up Brasstown Bald. With his TdG and ToC performances, Leipheimer's season is starting out much like Floyd Landis' infamous 2006 season, except the Stage 3 29-minute gap will keep Leipheimer from donning the TdG overall jersey. For all intents and purposes, though, the ITT and Brasstown Bald wins clearly anoint Leipheimer as the strongest rider. Leipheimer's teammate Brajkovic gets the official honor after sticking to Christian Vandevelde's wheel the whole way up, while Tom Danielson, another TdG hopeful, took second on the day to complete the dominance for Discovery Channel.

The US continental teams sent their best riders on a breakaway to get some coverage and hopefully get on the board. Danny Pate (Slipstream), Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United), Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net), Ben Day (Navigators Insurance), Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home), Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance), and Alexandre Moos (BMC) were all present. CSC also managed to sneak in Michael Blaudzun. Their break managed to make it over the penultimate climb in the lead but the peloton was highly interested in bringing it back for Brasstown Bald.

Moos was the first rider from the break to reach the slopes and his attack sent many of the breakaway riders back into the peloton. From the peloton, Danielson, Leipheimer, and Simoni were the first to launch a move. Much like his move on Sierra Road in the ToC, Leipheimer was able to quickly bridged up through the remnants of the early break. Danielson and Simoni were left behind as Leipheimer soloed his way up most of the climb.

In the race for the overall lead, Vandevelde and Brajkovic stayed glued to one another. Brajkovic just had to stay on Vandevelde's wheel to stay in the lead and keep the day all-Discovery.

April 19, 2007

Tour de Georgia Stage 4: Discovery doubles up: Leipheimer win, Brajkovic into the lead

Levi Leipheimer, TdG stage 4, Photo by whileseated
photo by whileseated
Leipheimer continues to show his early-season TT form with a dominating 41-second win over David Zabriskie. Brajkovic was able to leap into the overall lead by easily besting Canada's TT. Today's results show what might have been: with Leipheimer, Zabriskie, O'Neill, and Danielson in the top four, they could have been the ones fighting for the overall win. But either storyline is good for Discovery that is now starting to dominate this TdG. Discovery and CSC split most of the glory in the ToC, but we're still waiting to see some sparks from CSC in the TdG. Christian Vandevelde is sitting in second overall, so it now looks up to him or JJ Haedo to start putting CSC on the board.

April 18, 2007

Tour de Georgia Stage 3: Discovery takes the stage with Meersman, sets up Brajkovic for the overall

Stage 3 was a new route for the Tour de Georgia and no one probably predicted it to be as decisive as it became. Gianni Meersman of Discovery took the victory and David Canada of Saunier Duval took the overall from a breakaway that finished with a 29:07 gap on the peloton. This may be a double victory for Discovery as ultralight Janez Brajkovic is in good position to take the overall lead. This probably erases his teammate Tom Danielson's hopes of victory, but a team is a team. Christian Vandevelde of CSC was in the break and has a good shot at taking the overall in the TT.

The breakaway was well-composed to stay away. With riders from Discovery, Quick Step, CSC, Health Net, Slipstream, BMC, and Navigators represented, there weren't enough interested teams in the pack to chase. Tinkoff had the strategic responsibility to protect their overall lead, but were underpowered with only 6 riders. That left Toyota United, Jittery Joes, Predictor/Lotto, and Priority Health to do the work, but as the lead passed 20 minutes the peloton no longer seemd to be interested in chasing.

With the race in their favor, the breakaway had plenty of time to attack itself and sort out the final victor. Quick Step and Saunier Duval each had two riders and decided to send a rider up the road (Seeldrayers and Bertogliati). Seeldrayers and Bertogliati were able to stay ahead for 10km before it was brought back in with about 3km to go. Jeff Louder of Health Net launched an almost immediate counterattack and built up a lead of over ten seconds before he was reeled in. Christian Vandevelde of CSC attempted an attack just outside of 1km to go but he was reeled in even quicker.

Louder launched another attack in the final kilometer. Gianni Meersman of Discovery chased it down and outkicked everyone to take the finish.

A lot of teams will probably be fuming that they let the race slip away so early, while teams like Discovery, Saunier Duval, and CSC will have to figure out how to win the overall without their race favorites.

April 17, 2007

Tour de Georgia Stage 2

Getty Photos/Doug PensingerToyota-United and CSC have two of the best sprinters at the TdG -- Ivan Dominguez and JJ Haedo -- but both decided to mix things up by sending a rider off the front with a couple kms to go. Dave Zabriskie went first by attacking on the climb but got reeled in. Ivan Stevic of Toyota United then took his chances and held off the pack for the victory -- no need for the Cuban Missile today. JJ Haedo took the sprint for second.

April 16, 2007

Tour de Georgia is afoot, Tinkoff takes their first US win

Daniele Contrini of Tinkoff took today's stage win from a breakaway that went with 95 km to go and bridged up to Navigator's Rapinkski. Contrini jumped from the break and held the lead for the win despite a chase from the sprint teams that swallowed up his fellow breakaway riders.

The Adobe Tour Tracker is back (a popular item from the Tour of California) and available from the Tour de Georgia Web site.

Also back: George Hincapie with his wrist still on the mend and Tyler Hamilton with his reputation still on the mend.

March 14, 2007

The Tour de Georgia is on

Tour de GeorgiaI can at long last create my 'Tour de Georgia 2007' category: VeloNews is reporting that the race will move forward as planned. Instead of a single marque sponsor, it appears that a "coalition of committed sponsors" chipped in to keep the race rolling in full for another year.

If they can secure one more year then I can finally book my tickets to go see the event :)

Update: according to cyclingnews, there are twelve host community sponsors with the Georgia Department of Economic Development getting the title role. I guess this makes the TdG the GDEcDTdG.