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April 26, 2008

Siutsou, High Road shine on TdG's highest road

Siutsou Conquers Brasstown Bald - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Kanstantsin Siutsou burned the field today at Brasstown Bald, outfoxing Team Slipstream and Astana, whose team leaders marked each other and let Siutsou escape at 500 meters.

Team High Road takes its 2nd stage win, and now holds two leader's jersey, with Siutsou in the yellow and Greg Henderson the leading sprinter.

This is the sort of stage that Jason McCartney always seems to dominate, and Iowa's greatest climber didn't disappoint. McCartney powered the day's longest break, and won himself the Tour de Georgia's overall King of the Mountains jersey for his trouble, while breakmate Neil Shirley of Jittery Joe's took the day's Most Aggressive Rider award.

Team Slipstream's Trent Lowe rode a tactically smart race -- until that final 500 meters. Astana's activity in the breaks effectively isolated Lowe at the bottom of the climb, but the young Aussie didn't panic. Instead (shades of Floyd Landis 2006) he marked the man he thought was the biggest threat to his leader's jersey, daring Leipheimer to break him and holding his wheel to the summit, where Lowe finally dropped Leipheimer in the final 150 meters. In retrospect, I'm sure he wishes he had marked Siutsou.

Woe to Astana -- their ride looked pitch perfect. They put riders in all the good breaks, and had Leipheimer well placed with Rubiera, Horner, and Colom at the bottom of the day's last climb, but Leipheimer couldn't deliver. The miss leaves Astana without a stage win or a day in an individual leader's jersey, but puts them in the lead in the team competition.

Slipstream can take some consolation from the young rider's jersey, firmly in Lowe's grasp, and sprinter Tyler Farrar, 8 points back of Henderson in the sprint jersey competition.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 26, 2008 in Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 25, 2008

Write your own caption

Write your own caption
Write your own caption,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Couldn't resist this shot: Not only does Dave Zabriskie have the facial hair of a silent film villain, but also the expression.

What's the caption to go with this frame?

Posted by Frank Steele on April 25, 2008 in Dave Zabriskie | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Team Slipstream takes Georgia TTT


Slipstreaming
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Team Slipstream took off fairly early today, edging CSC's leading lap times as they rode. They were amazingly smooth and disciplined, quietly storming around the course.

When Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner's Astana squad took the course, they quickly outpaced Slipstream's time on Laps 1 and 2 of the Road Atlanta race course, and it looked like we might have a new best time of the day, but a slow third lap left Astana 3 seconds short of the Argyle Army.

Last to leave the start house was George Hincapie and race leader Greg Henderson's Team High Road. Again, their early laps set the standard, but they faded late, charging to the line 5.2 seconds slower than Team Slipstream. High Road's Greg Henderson holds the lead by virtue of a few bonus seconds earned on the road, but Slipstream's got a strong quartet sitting at 15 seconds -- Tom Danielson, Trent Lowe, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie.

CSC was 4th on the day at 12.72 seconds, Toyota-United 5th at 23.43. One team that has to be disappointed is Rock Racing, 10th at 52.35. If one of Rock's riders is going to contend, they'll have to climb over a lot of bodies to get there.

More, and many more photos, tonight.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 24, 2008 in Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2008

Featured weblog: Podium In Sight

Lyne Lamoureux is probably a familiar name to folks who follow cycling on the web. She frequently wrote articles for ThePaceline.com, and has gotten bylines on RoadBikeReview.com, VeloNews, and The Daily Peloton. I've rubbed shoulders with her in the post-race mosh pit set up for race photographers, and she's got a healthy collection of racing photo galleries.

Henk VogelsThis season, Lyne has launched a new weblog, podium in sight, where she provides interviews, race analysis, and photography, but with an NRC/US calendar focus.

In the last week, she's had race coverage and some great photographs from the downhill practice sessions at Sea Otter, analysis of the overall and the 2 stages so far at the Tour de Georgia, and an interview with Toyota-United's Henk Vogels (at right), one of the pro peloton's most experienced and well-traveled riders, on the Art of the Sprint.

Definitely a site to bookmark; RSS/Atom feed available.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 23, 2008 in Links, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2008

Dominguez draws first blood in Georgia

Ivan Dominguez - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Toyota-United's Ivan Dominguez took a smart victory in the first stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia Monday.

While Rock Racing (with Freddie Rodriguez), High Road (with Greg Henderson), and Gerolsteiner (with Robert Förster) jockeyed for position at the front of the field, Dominguez found a good wheel, and just flat outsprinted the field.

Jelly Belly's Nicholas Sanderson was 2nd and Förster 3rd, with essentially all riders finishing in the same time.

Stage 1 Top 10:
1) Ivan Dominguez (Cuba), Toyota-United, 2:30:18
2) Nicholas Sanderson (Australia), Jelly Belly, same time, U25
3) Robert Förster (Germany), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
4) Richard England (Australia), Bissell Pro Cycling, s.t.
5) Sergey Kudentsov (Russia), Marco Polo, s.t.
6) Danilo Wyss (Switzerland), BMC, s.t., U25
7) Bradley Mcgee (Australia), CSC, s.t.
8) Greg Henderson (New Zealand), Team High Road, s.t.
9) Aaron Kemps (Australia), Astana, s.t.
10) Karl Menzies (Australia), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.
U25 - qualifies for young rider leader's jersey.

Looks more like the Tour Down Under standings, with 5 Aussies in the top 10 and Greg Henderson from New Zealand. The best placed US rider was BMC's Taylor Tolleson, 13th, with Chris Horner 18th. It appears neither Freddie Rodriguez nor JJ Haedo were their team's featured sprinters today: Sevilla in 14th was the best placed Rock Racing rider (Rodriguez in 54th), and McGee led CSC in 7th with Haedo back in 75th.

For more details, check out my Tour de Georgia weblog.

Also:

VeloNews | Complete Results

spare cycles | Dominguez takes Stage 1 | photo gallery

VeloNews | Dominguez bike details

Dominguez rides a Fuji TT frame in road stages, which is heavier but stiffer and more aero than their road frame, mated to a road fork.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 21, 2008 in Bradley McGee, Fred Rodriguez, Top Stories, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Following the 2008 Tour de Georgia from your desktop

Juan José Haedo @ 2006 TdG

Haedo's a favorite on Monday
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

I'll update this TdGblog.com post as the TdG progresses, and I find new sources.

The primary online resource I'll be tracking is the Tour de Georgia Live Tracker, created by Adobe, which looks like it will incorporate the VeloNews live text feed, and adds a chat room feature beyond its basic leader, breakaway and course-tracking.

Some video is likely to be available on the Live Tracker, and US viewers can also watch the race live on WCSN.com.

It's still worth checking in at the VeloNews live ticker, as they're likely to splice in photos from the course as things develop. CyclingNews should also have their Live Ticker running.

I'll be posting commentary as stages develop on Twitter, at twitter.com/TdFblog/. Ken Conley will also be Twittering and photographing from the course.

I'll be aggregating anything I find interesting at my Tour de Georgia weblog. If you're photographing the race and using Flickr, please tag your photos “tourdegeorgia” (and please e-mail me or post a comment if you're posting race coverage or photos elsewhere). I expect Medalist Sports will also be posting pics to its “tourtracker” Flickr account once things get underway.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 21, 2008 in Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Tour de Georgia rosters released

Tour de Georgia | Team Rosters 2008 (pdf file)

Rosters for next week's Tour de Georgia are up. Defending champion Janez Brajkovic won't defend his title, while Santiago Botero, Tyler Hamilton, and Oscar Sevilla, held out of the Tour of California, are all listed starters.

US fans of the TdF will also have a chance to see Leon Van Bon race in the States. Van Bon won Stage 6 back in 2000, and will lead the “GE Marco Polo Presented by Trek” team, China's first pro team, which also features former Discovery rider Fuyu Li and two other Chinese racers, and one from Malaysia.

For more detail, check out my rundown at TdGblog.com, or the official startlist (a PDF).

Posted by Frank Steele on April 17, 2008 in Janez Brajkovic, Santiago Botero, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Boonen: 'next big target is the green jersey'

VeloNews | Boonen to focus on green jersey defense

Tommeke Boonen says he's focused on the first week of this year's Tour, which will be key to defending his victory in the Tour's green jersey competition. “If I can collect enough points then there will be a good chance,” Boonen told VeloNews.

Boonen, who Sunday won a 2nd Paris-Roubaix, hopes to build to a third peak later in the season, for the world championships at Varese in Italy this fall.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New website urges Armstrong investigation

investigatelance.org | INVESTIGATE LANCE ARMSTRONG FOR DOPING AND LYING UNDER OATH IN THE SCA PROMOTIONS TRIAL.

Presented with minimal comment -- Byron at Bike Hugger forwarded a new site called investigatelance.org, that urges Congress to open an investigation into whether 7-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong lied under oath at the SCA Promotions lawsuit (some background from Outside Online here).

Who's behind the website? I can't tell -- it's been registered through an outfit that anonymizes domain registrations -- but it's interesting the site went live just a week after the Trek/LeMond split and references the SCA Promotions suit, where Greg and Kathy LeMond both testified (as did Betsy Andreu) against Armstrong, who won the suit, and received the $2.5 million bonus at issue.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Doping, Lance Armstrong, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pre-previewing the 2008 Tour de Georgia

The countdown continues to the 2008 edition of the Tour de Georgia. It's great to see the race surviving, even if it has slipped to the 2nd-biggest US stage race, behind the Tour of California.

Cañada, Brajkovic, Vande VeldeThis year's edition adds a few interesting twists. First, the race starts all the way down on Tybee Island, near Savannah, taking the riders farther below the gnat line than ever before.

Second, there's no individual time trial, as it's been dropped in favor of a team time trial to be run as Stage 4 on Thursday on the fairly hilly road course at Braselton's Road Atlanta. It's a TTT, but no funny bikes are allowed, apparently to keep costs and complications down for teams traveling from Europe.

Two stages essentially repeat from last year: Stage 6 starts in Blairsville and runs up Brasstown Bald, which has become the craggy face of the race, and Stage 7 is again a circuit race beginning and ending at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. I drove through downtown on Sunday, and there are still signs of the tornado that hit the area around the park on March 14th during the SEC basketball tournament.

For your race planning, Medalist Sports has provided a Tour de Georgia Google Maps file that details KoM lines, bonus sprints and starts and finishes.

Juan José HaedoIf you're in the Southeast, it's a fabulous show, well worth the drive. If somehow you can't make it, SportSouth will provide 30-minute daily race updates at 10:30 p.m. most nights (kicked back as late as 1 a.m. on Friday night/Saturday morning).

As for riders, there are no official start lists yet, but Team CSC has posted their TdG roster, including Jason McCartney, Bobby Julich, Iñigo Cuesta, Bradley McGee, and Juan José Haedo (at left).

Haedo has been the most successful sprinter in the TdG's history, and McCartney has absolutely torn up the hilly bits of two previous TdGs.

Cycling Startlists has defending champ Janez Brajkovic and José Luis Rubiera riding for Astana, with others coming from their full 2008 roster.

Slipstream/Chipotle will probably bring last year's race runner-up Christian Vande Velde, and 7 of Blake Caldwell, Tom Danielson (who himself was a close 2nd to Floyd Landis here in 2006), Timmy Duggan, Lucas Euser, Tyler Farrar, Trent Lowe, Danny Pate, and David Zabriskie.

Full startlists should be up in the next day or two.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Janez Brajkovic, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rock to roll, Saunier to rest during '08 TdG

VeloNews | Saunier Duval won't be in Georgia, Rock will

Hamilton comes forwardWith the race only 5 days away, there's a last-minute switcheroo atop the 2008 Tour de Georgia start list. Saunier Duval-Prodir, which has participated in most (all?) of the Tours de Georgia, has backed out, citing injuries and a need to rest up before the Giro in May.

Rock Racing, which was suing to get into the race, now finds a spot open. Whether they'll bring the theatrics, as they did in California, remains to be seen. It seems likely they'll bring Redlands winner Santiago Botero, multiple Tour de Georgia stage winner Freddie Rodriguez, and Tyler Hamilton, who raced here last year for Tinkoff as the wheels began to come off his season.

There could be more intrigue to come, as Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla, and Botero were prevented from starting the Tour of California.

This post is cross-posted from my Tour de Georgia weblog, but not all TdG posts will be. If you want to follow that race, you should follow that weblog as well.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Rock to race Tour de Georgia

Rock Racing | Rock Racing Will Rock the 2008 Tour de Georgia

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Santiago Botero, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0)