November 28, 2009
Congratulations to new mom Liz Kreutz
Meanwhile, early copies of her latest book project, Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal, are shipping, a little in advance of next week's official release date. The book pairs Lance Armstrong diary entries with a healthy and delicious serving of Kreutz's photos of Armstrong's comeback.
At right, Liz at the finish of the 2006 Tour de Georgia, champagne-testing the Canon 1D. The photographers' pen is probably the second-favorite target for race winners, after the podium girls, and I think Liz bore the brunt of the Discovery Channel's team classification win (Floyd Landis took the overall, and Discovery pretty much everything else).
April 26, 2008
Siutsou, High Road shine on TdG's highest road
|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.
April 24, 2008
Team Slipstream takes Georgia TTT
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.
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.
This 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.
April 21, 2008
Dominguez draws first blood in Georgia
|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.
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.
Following the 2008 Tour de Georgia from your desktopthis 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.
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
April 17, 2008
Tour de Georgia rosters released
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.
April 16, 2008
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.
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.
If 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.
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.
Rock to roll, Saunier to rest during '08 TdG
With 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.
November 20, 2007
Hi, all -- just a test post, as it appears TypePad may have eaten my front page. I hope to post a look forward to the 2008 season shortly, and there's reason to have hope for the future of the Tour de Georgia, as the organizers have made changes to get the state tourism machine more involved, and there's a press conference announcing the 2008 venues on December 5.
May 10, 2007
Montreal-to-Boston stage race cancelled for 2007
A planned stage race from Montreal, Quebec, to Boston, Massachusetts by way of Vermont and New Hampshire will have to wait at least another year.
Boston mayor Tom Menino announced the change in plans Wednesday, but said he's working to support the Montreal-Boston Tour in 2008. Organizers targeted early August for the race.
This year's Tour of Utah was cancelled, and the Tour of Georgia had funding problems, even as the Tour of California drew large crowds.
A fourth US tour, the Tour of Missouri, looks to be on track for September 11-16.
April 20, 2007
Leipheimer takes Georgia TT; Brajkovic takes race lead
Brajkovic's time was enough to put him in the race leader's jersey in advance of today's climb up Brasstown Bald, but just 12 seconds ahead of Christian Vande Velde of CSC.
I've posted 96 pictures from the stage, including shots of Brajkovic, Dave Zabriskie (and at left), David Millar, Tyler Hamilton, and others.
Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 18, 2007
Runaway choo-choo: Tour de Georgia turned upside-down
Discovery Channel, Quick Step, Saunier Duval, and Health Net all put two riders in a 13-rider break that formed about 30 kilometers in. The Tinkoff Credit Systems team, behind race leader Daniele Contrini, was short-handed (because of injuries and the Euro schedule, they brought only 6 riders, and Tyler Hamilton is apparently focused on individual results), and none of the teams with riders in the break would cooperate to chase.
As a result, as the break worked through four categorized climbs, the gap went out and out, to 17 minutes, then 21 minutes, about 23 minutes as the break finished the course, and ultimately 29:07 when the peloton arrived.
In the break, Saunier Duval's Rubens Bertogliati and Quick Step's Kevin Seeldraeyers were the first to make a move, on the day's last climb. They were quickly reabsorbed, and Health Net's Jeff Louder, CSC's Christian Vandevelde, and Louder again went for victory as 8 survivors streaked through the streets of Chattanooga.
In the end, it was Meersman who carried the day, ahead of David Cañada and Janez Brajkovic. Cañada is the immediate beneficiary of the daylong break, taking the leader's jersey, 3 seconds up on 5 riders: teammate Bertogliati, Vandevelde, Brajkovic, Louder, and Seeldraeyers. BMC's Scott Nydam sits another 20 seconds back, with every other rider at least 2 minutes back, and ex-race leader Contrini sitting 14th, 27:47 back.
A lot of big names sit even farther back: Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Gilberto Simoni, David Millar, Dave Zabriskie, and Tyler Hamilton among them.
I'm following the race in more detail over at my Tour de Georgia weblog, and have posted a photoset from Tuesday's stage between Thomaston and Rome to Flickr. I'll probably do quick stage wrap-ups here through Sunday's finale in Atlanta.
April 16, 2007
Tour de Georgia kicks off
My hometown tour, the Tour de Georgia, gets underway today in Peachtree City, just south of Atlanta.
I'll be on the road chasing the race at least 2-3 days this year, and uploading as much to Flickr as I can. Most of my coverage of the race will be over at my site targeted to the Tour de Georgia, predictably enough called TdGblog.com.
I'm really happy we're seeing a 5th edition of the Tour de Georgia, but I'm obviously concerned about the race's future, between the uncertain sponsorship, the emergence of the Tour of California, and the continuing association by the public of bike racing with doping (rightly or wrongly). Once the pedals turn, all that's forgotten, though.
If you're in Georgia, or near Georgia, come and see it: this is a great race. There's a tremendous variety of terrain, from the open rolling countryside around Macon to corkscrewing little roads through the piney woods in the Appalachian foothills. This year, the downtown Atlanta circuit on Sunday means you can watch the race and socialize in Centennial Olympic Park or any of myriad bars and cafes. And the race has drawn some awesome performances: Jason McCartney's epic win in Dahlonega in 2004, the Landis/Danielson showdown on Brasstown Bald last year, and triggered the emergence of Juan José Haedo, who's starting to mix it up with the ProTour's best. You'll never have a better chance to get up close and personal with the riders.
Here's my stage/race preview.
March 31, 2007
Tour de Georgia future on line as state senate axes funding
The Tour de Georgia's future may be in doubt, as the Georgia state senate removed $1 million in supplemental funding from the midyear budget bill on Wednesday.
The House version of the bill included the funding, along with a number of other programs sponsors of the senate bill are calling “pork.”
Chris Aronhalt of Medalist Sports promised that this year's race will run as scheduled, with every vendor being paid.
Whether it returns for a sixth time in 2008 is another question. "It's almost needed for this event to continue," he said of the one-time appropriation from the state. If the $1 million is not approved, he said, it would be "one heck of a serious challenge for Medalist to overcome."
The state is already the largest sponsor of the race, through its Department of Economic Development, which is contributing $400,000 to promote tourism.
I'll be following further developments on this story at my Tour de Georgia weblog.
March 16, 2007
Y'all come - 2007 Tour de Georgia gets green light
This year's edition of the Tour de Georgia is a definite go, after organizers canvassed existing sponsors, teams, and some additional Georgia businesses to make up for the lack of a true title sponsor.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the race still faces a shortfall of around $200,000, and that organizers continue to seek “additional opportunities for fundraising.”
Among the new sponsors: Garmin, vacuum maker Bissell, and Maxxis Tires, which has previously sponsored the race's sprint lines and co-sponsored the HealthNet team.
February 27, 2007
Tour de Georgia still seeking title sponsor; may have to scale back
So with a very successful Tour of California complete, the next big weeklong tour in the US is April's Tour of Georgia. Or it probably is; Tour organizers still haven't found a replacement for title sponsor Ford.
The local business paper has a story about the hunt for a new title sponsor, and the $800,000 one would bring, linked over at TdGblog, my Tour de Georgia weblog. In short, if they can't find a sponsor by March 2nd, organizers may have to scale back the race.
To keep up with developments with the Tour de Georgia, subscribe to TdGblog's feed.
November 21, 2006
Tour de Georgia '07 cities named
I've got a rundown over at the Tour de Georgia blog of the host cities for 2007.
In a nutshell: The race leaves Augusta, starting instead in the hometown of organizers Medalist Sports, Atlanta suburb Peachtree City. The time trial up Lookout Mountain returns, but finishes on the slopes, instead of in Chattanooga. Brasstown Bald still finishes Stage 5, and organizers recall the early-'90s First Union Grand Prix with an Atlanta circuit stage starting and finishing at Centennial Olympic Park.
November 17, 2006
Haedo joins CSC
Bjarne Riis announced the signing of Argentina's Juan José Haedo, who had won stages in America's biggest races while racing for Toyota-United.
Haedo joins CSC, giving them the finishing kick they seemingly have lacked the last few seasons.
"I'm the first ever Argentinean rider to be given a chance at this level and the fact that Team CSC has chosen me gives me a tremendous confidence boost," added Haedo.
Haedo took 2 wins at the 2006 Tour of California, and the final stage of the 2006 Tour of Georgia.
August 21, 2006
Tour de Georgia seeking 2007 title sponsor
My local stage race, the Tour de Georgia, lost its title sponsor when the local Ford dealers' advertising cooperative backed out. They're pounding the pavement now, looking for a replacement.
Expected dates for the 2007 edition are April 17-22. In 2006, Discovery Channel, CSC, Phonak, QuickStep, Davitamon-Lotto, and Prodir-Saunier Duval (in Europe, vice versa) all fielded squads, with 2006 Tour de France stage winners Floyd Landis, Matteo Tosatto, and Yaroslav Popovych all in the field.
June 09, 2006
Friday afternoon fun: Race2Replace webisodes
Discovery Channel Team Webisodes (Click “Race to Replace,” then “Webisodes”)
I realized last night that the webisodes available on the Race2Replace website are one or two full episodes ahead of those posted on the iTunes Music Store. That means that if you're subscribed to the iTMS podcast feed, you're currently 2 very interesting webisodes behind.
The first, “Johan the Great,” is a profile of Discovery's DS, Johan Bruyneel. The 2nd, “The Showdown at Brasstown,” provides some more fodder for the debate about the Danielson/Floyd Landis showdown on Brasstown Bald.
In it, Bruyneel repeatedly reins in Tom Danielson, pinning him to Landis's wheel like a misbehaving pup. He tries to get Danielson to feign weakness, then makes him save it all for a last-k attack, which, of course, didn't crack Landis.
The production quality on these is terrific, and they provide some fairly intimate background on the riders. Hincapie's wife and rehab featured prominently in a recent episode, while McCartney's desperate need for a bathroom during Stage 2 of the TdG features in the latest. One interesting exclusion is any discussion of the cause of Hincapie's crash at Paris-Roubaix; if this was your first exposure to it, you might think he just flopped off his bike on the slippery cobbles.
May 31, 2006
Time waits for no mag -- I pick VeloNews TdG contest winners
I couldn't wait any longer -- the VeloNews Tour de Georgia photo contest pictures have been posted for about 3 weeks, with no winner announced, and a new weekly gallery has been posted, so I went ahead and picked TdG gallery winners over at my Tour de Georgia weblog.
April 24, 2006
Landis takes 2006 Tour de Georgia; Haedo gets his stage win
Juan José Haedo, the Toyota-United sprinter who had made two podiums without a win, edged double defending TdG Stage 6 winner Gord Fraser and Phonak's Aurelien Clerc for the stage win.
Discovery Channel dominated the race, taking the team classification, the king of the mountains (Jason McCartney), the best young rider (Janez Brajkovic), a yellow jersey (Yaroslav Popovych), two stage wins (Popovych in Rome, Danielson on Brasstown Bald), and the 2nd and 3rd rung of the podium.
But the day belonged to Floyd Landis, who dug deep to hang with Danielson and Popovych on Brasstown Bald, protecting his 4-second race lead. He also survived a minor scare on Sunday, when he flatted late during the finishing circuits in Alpharetta, but was able to rejoin the field quickly.
An early 15-man breakaway was slowly reeled in, a few riders at a time, until only HealthNet-Maxxis' Jeff Louder and TIAA-CREF's Will Frischkorn stood between the sprinters and a podium, and Haedo's Toyota-United team and Fast Freddie Rodriguez' Davitamon-Lotto squad did the lion's share of the chasing.
I've posted a Flickr photoset of Stage 6.
More at my Tour de Georgia weblog.
April 23, 2006
Danielson takes Brasstown Bald, but Landis holds race lead
But that's just what Landis did on the biggest climb in the Tour de Georgia, the 3 mile+ ascent of Brasstown Bald. Discovery's Danielson and Yaroslav Popovych took turns attacking Landis, who marked Danielson and eventually let Popo go. Discovery, realizing that Popovych wasn't going to get enough time to take the race lead, eventually let Danielson attack Popovych to try to finish Landis directly. Landis wasn't cracking.
Landis has got to top the short list of American Tour de France contenders, as he looks likely to add the 2006 Tour de Georgia title to the Tour of California and Paris-Nice titles he's already won this season.
Check out my Stage 5 Flickr photoset.
April 20, 2006
Popovych steals Stage 2 at Tour de Georgia
In the field sprint behind Popovych, Juan José Haedo of Toyota-United outkicked Freddie Rodriguez of Davitamon-Lotto. Rodriguez took 2nd on Tuesday, and now has only one more shot, in Sunday's finale, to take a stage win, his stated goal for this year's Tour de Georgia.
Targetraining is a new Continental team, and the sponsors got their money's worth on Wednesday, as Argentina's Alejandro Acton led the stage by more than 10 minutes at one point, and rode solo for nearly 100 miles. Acton was finally swept up just shy of the day's only King of the Mountains “climb,”the first ascent of Clocktower Hill. For his trouble, he'll wear the “most aggressive rider” jerseythrough tomorrow's TT and Friday's first mountain stage. Kirk O'Bee of HealthNet-Maxxis took the prime to be the first person in this year's King of the Mountains jersey.
Rodriguez took the sprint jersey, and sits 2nd, just behind Popovych, in the overall. The sprinters are likely to fall away tomorrow, as the riders face a long and hilly individual time trial from Chickamauga, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Lance Armstrong was reportedly in attendance, riding in the Discovery Channel team car. He took a sprint finish here in 2004.
Crossposted from TdGblog.com, where I'll be blogging live from the TT course on Thursday.
How I spent my WednesdayFlickr.com | Tour de Georgia 2006 Stage 2
My father and I spent the day chasing the racing, and caught up with the peloton 3 (almost 4) times. We missed the race finish, but caught Popovych at the bottom of the Rome finishing straight, and made our way up to the finish line to see the race interviews and presentations.
Alejandro Acton deservedly took the “most aggressive rider” jersey, and came right by us, when I got this shot. Look how totally wiped he was after that breakaway; he put everything into his nearly 100-mile escape effort.
April 17, 2006
VeloNews offers TdG preview
Neal Rogers offers a preview of this week's race, but predicting (hoping for?) the possibility of an all-US podium featuring defending champion Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, Phonak's Landis, and CSC's David Zabriskie.
Danielson is coming off a new record time in the climb of (the other) Lookout Mountain in Colorado, while Landis has already won the inaugural Tour of California and Paris-Nice this season. Danielson has an eye on next month's Giro d'Italia, while Landis has scrapped the Giro in favor of Tour de France preparation.
Rogers also mentions that organizers are planning to recognize Dalton native Saul Raisin during the ride; Stage 4 starts in his hometown on Friday.
Other TdG previews:
March 22, 2006
Quick Step, Davitamon-Lotto to line up at Tour de Georgia
Look for 6 ProTour teams in this year's Tour de Georgia, running April 18 - April 23 in my backyard.
Team CSC, Discovery Channel, Phonak, and Prodir-Saunier Duval, returning from last year, are joined by Davitamon-Lotto, who will probably bring Chris Horner and Fast Freddy Rodriguez, and Quick Step-Innergetic could bring “American” Guido Trenti; we'll see about Bettini, Boonen, and Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato. Defending champ Tom Danielson of Discovery and Floyd Landis of Phonak are early commitments.
Medalist Sports expects Yaroslav Popovych, Trent Lowe (now with Discovery after winning best young rider at last year's race), and Viatcheslav Ekimov to also appear for Discovery Channel. Full rosters are still a couple of weeks away.
Two Pro Continental teams return: HealthNet-Maxxis and Navigators, and 7 UCI Continental teams fill out the field: Colavita-Sutter Home, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, Targetraining, Team TIAA-CREF, and Toyota-United.
March 08, 2006
Tour de Georgia routes finalized
The Tour de Georgia is just over a month away, and rather than suffering from the addition of the Tour of California to the US racing schedule, my local chance to see the Euro-pros looks to be getting along great.
The Macon Telegraph reports Stage 1 is a near-clone of last year's opener from Augusta to Macon, and that Stage 1 will be accompanied by 2 criteriums (sorry, Latin teachers) in downtown Macon (such as it is).
Also, Discovery Channel has announced that not only will its team be there, with defending TdG champion Tom Danielson, but that they're helping sponsor the race, the first time they have. They'll be spotlighting a presentation called “The Race to Replace,” looking at how the team is trying to fill the void left by Lance Armstrong's retirement.
The Telegraph story says CSC and Phonak will definitely join Discovery on the start line, then lists individual riders they hope to sign, including Liberty Seguros' Alexandre Vinokourov and Quick Step's Tom Boonen.
On to a little wild-eyed speculation:
There is even a chance that Lance Armstrong, who retired after winning his seventh Tour de France last summer, may ride in the event. Chris Aronhalt, spokesman for Tour organizer Medalist Sports, said the Tour's ties to the Georgia Cancer Coalition may lure Armstrong back to the bike.
Here are PDFs with the route for each stage:
Stage 1 - Augusta to Macon
Stage 2 - Fayetteville to Rome
Stage 3 - Chickamauga to Chattanooga, TN
Stage 4 - Dalton to Dahlonega
Stage 5 - Blairsville to Brasstown Bald
Stage 6 - Cumming to Alpharetta
This is a great chance to get up close and personal with many of the world's best riders. Y'all come!
Here are my photo galleries from last year:
November 30, 2005
Tour de Georgia '06 will visit Tennessee, gain ProTour pointsTour de Georgia 2006
Running April 18-23, the TdG sticks with what's worked in the first 3 editions of the race, with an overall finish back in Alpharetta, a crowd-pleasing Brasstown Bald stage finish, and an ITT, but adds a few new cities, as well, as Cumming, in Forsyth County, gets a stage start, and Chattanooga, Tennessee serves as the finish line for the ITT.
The race has been promoted by the UCI to the only 2.HC rating in North America, which should help attract ProTour-level European squads. Last year featured riders from Discovery Channel, Team CSC, Phonak, Gerolsteiner, and Saunier Duval-Prodir alongside leading U.S. teams.
Remaining to be seen will be whether Georgia crowds will turn out without the primary draw of the race's last two editions, Lance Armstrong. One hedge against that is the race's integration of city festivals in Dahlonega (“Bear on the Square”: link 2, link 3) and Forsyth County (“Taste of Forsyth” : mmm, tastes like chicken).
April 26, 2005
Lance Armstrong's last US racing miles
Velogal has a Stage 6 gallery up, that includes some touching pictures of Andrea Tafi taking a final bow while accepting the overall most aggressive rider jersey, in recognition of long breaks he animated during Stage 2 and Stage 6.
And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a photo gallery of Stage 6.
April 23, 2005
Other Stage 5 blog reports
Judging by the picture HE took, Josh Hallett was about 200 meters down the road from me (although I think I would remember if I had seen the guy in the background without a shirt -- brrrrrr!). There are more shots at Josh's photostream on Flickr.
Dave Aiello was at the top, and got a great picture of Tom Danielson, Lance Armstrong, and Stage 5 most aggressive rider Christian Vande Velde at the post-race press conference (at right). He's got a running photo gallery covering the whole Tour, which you can also hit by clicking through the pic.
Not technically a blog, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a good photo gallery for the stage, including this cool fisheye shot of Danielson and the crowd near the summit, and they sell reprints of anything on the site.
Tour de Georgia Stage 5: Gainesville to Brasstown Bald
Today is the key stage of the 2005 Tour de Georgia. The GC leaders are all bunched within 2 minutes of Floyd Landis, and CSC has David Zabriskie and Bobby Julich looming within 30 seconds of the race lead.
Only 90 riders are left in the race, as 13 riders, including Jonathan Sundt and Ben Brooks, finished outside the time limit, and 14 others, including Discovery's Michael Barry, Ivan Dominguez, and Stage 1 flyer Dan Bowman, dropped out. Two Colavita riders, Mark McCormack and Juan José Haedo (who won a sprint on Friday's stage) were disqualified for unspecified reasons (anybody hear anything? Update: As you might guess, they were DQ'ed for drafting).
Weather is much cooler today than earlier this week, with temperatures this morning in the mid-50s and winds coming out of the west to northwest. The high is expected to be only about 60. Local weatherman says there's a wind advisory, with gusts of up to 25-30 mph expected.
The stage today just gets harder and harder, starting in poultry capital Gainesville, rolling through the only sprint line of the day, and then starting to climb. There are 4 categorized climbs on the day, spaced fairly evenly about 17 miles/28 kilometers apart.
The 3rd-Category climb to Dicks Creek Gap is a long, gradual climb, with some short descents worked in, and a feed zone just before the final climb of perhaps 800 vertical feet.
The 2nd-Category climb to Unicoi Gap is both taller and steeper, gaining almost 1000 vertical feet ahead of a long descent of almost 1500 vertical feet.
Next is 1st-Category Hogpen Gap, where riders will climb almost 2000 feet to 3518 feet above sea level. A very steep descent down the backside puts the riders at the base of the climb to Georgia's highest point, the Hors Categorie Brasstown Bald.
Brasstown Bald stands almost 4800 feet above sea level, and riders will suffer through about 2800 feet of that over just 7.5 miles.
Last year's winner, Cesar Grajales, now with Navigators, lives in Athens, about 75 miles away, and had a suspiciously low finish on yesterday's stage. He may have been resting up to try a big move today.
Jason McCartney and José Luis Rubiera showed yesterday, but Discovery Channel's other strong climbers, Tom Danielson and Jose Azevedo, stayed with Lance Armstrong in the chasing group all day. With Danielson, Ekimov, Armstrong, and Azevedo all within 2 minutes of Landis, who was isolated for the late stages of yesterday's stage, look for Discovery's strategy to be some tag-team breakaways.
CSC has three men in the top 10: Zabriskie just 19 seconds behind Landis, Julich at 28 seconds, and Stage 4 winner Brian Vandborg at 1:39.
Also highly placed is Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer, sitting 50 seconds back.
April 22, 2005
Vandborg takes TdG stage 4
Coming into Dahlonega, there was a short steep climb up to the 1 kilometer to ride mark.
Marco Pinotti attacked, and Viatcheslav Ekimov followed, shadowed by CSC's Brian Vandborg and Jason McCartney, all of whom got a small gap on the field.
Vandborg led Ekimov across the finish line, with Pinotti back a bit, then McCartney, then the chasers' group of 20-22.
Rubiera takes over the King of the Mountains jersey.
Landis was in that group, and should lose time only to the top 4 riders of the day.
That means tomorrow will be THE crucial day for this tour. Organizers actually made the toughest stage of the TdG even tougher this year, with four King of the Mountains lines and a shorter route between the last three, so they come one after another.
I think it's pretty notable that neither Jose Azevedo nor Tom Danielson were unholstered today; look for them to factor heavily in the Disco strategy tomorrow.
Preliminary stage Top 10:
1) Brian Vandborg, CSC
2) Viatchdslav Ekimov, Discovery
3) Marco Pinotti, Saunier Duval/Prodir
4) Jason McCartney, Discovery Channel
5) Bobby Julich, CSC
6) Mauro Santambrogio, Team LPR
7) Lance Armstrong, Discovery
8) Floyd Landis, Phonak
9) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner
10) Daniele Contrini, Team LPR
Overall after Stage 4:
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak
2) David Zabriskie, CSC, at :19
3) Bobby Julich, CSC, at :28
4) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :50
5) Tom Danielson, Discovery, at 1:00
6) Viatcheslav Ekimov, Discovery, at 1:13
7) Brian Vandborg, CSC, at 1:39
8) Lance Armstrong, Discovery, at 1:42
9) Jose Azevedo, Discovery, at 1:53
10) Danny Pate, Jelly Belly-Pool Gel, at 2:12
TdG Stage 4 in progress
Riders are contending not only with each other, but with thunderstorms and hail, as a cold front rolls through North Georgia, cooling the course, and possibly whipping up some wind. Dave at Operation Gadget has an enterprising on-scene weather roundup from Woody Gap.
Discovery put José-Luis Rubiera in an early break, and he's been pulling a group of initially 6, now down to 3, riders, at the head of the field. With the group's gap, Rubiera is the yellow jersey on the course -- he leads Floyd Landis on the road by more than Landis leads him in the overall classification. Of course, there's a lot of racing left today.
On Wolfpen Gap, Discovery's Jason McCartney broke from the pack, accompanied by Michael Blaudzin of CSC and Dalton's own Saul Raisin of Credit Agricole, and was joined by Jose
Azevedo (Discovery) and Christian Vande Velde (CSC). Up front, Rubiera managed to ride CSC's Andy Schleck and Gerolsteiner's Sven Krauss off his wheel, and is riding alone.
Rubiera and Krauss are just 50 seconds up on a very healthy chase group of 23, featuring Landis, Leipheimer, Julich, and Armstrong, among others. Landis is the only Phonak in the group, while Armstrong has Danielson, Azevedo, and Jason McCartney. Dave Zabriskie of CSC is alongside Julich, while Andy Schleck is in no man's land between the chasers and the leaders.
Rubiera, Krauss and Schleck are caught on the descent from Woody Gap, the last categorized climb of the day. Rubiera is likely to score the King of the Mountains jersey for his efforts today.
Overnight, Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez abandoned the race with knee problems; today is not a day you would want to start with bad knees, with 19,000 vertical feet. The loss leaves Phonak with 6 riders in the race, defending Landis in the yellow jersey.
Mark Walters of Navigators crashed on the first descent of Woody Gap and left the course in an ambulance.
Tour de Georgia Stage 4: Dalton to Dahlonega
Today's stage is a near-repeat of last year's Stage 5, rolling from the carpet capital of the world to a Georgia gold-rush town set in the Appalachian foothills.
Last year, Jason McCartney, then riding for Health Net, put 53 seconds into the field on a stage with 19,000 feet of climbing and 5 King of the Mountains lines. VeloNews later named his stage the 2004 Ride of the Year, and it helped catapult McCartney onto Team Discovery Channel this year.
It's not a mountaintop finish, so the field will have 14 miles to regroup after the last climb of Woody Gap (the peloton climbs it twice today) near Suches.
The big question: Is Discovery riding for defending Tour de Georgia champion Lance Armstrong, who lost 1:46 to leader Floyd Landis yesterday, or do they try to break Tom Danielson, placed 42 seconds ahead of Armstrong, and get him some attention as the future of American cycling?
Also look for CSC and Phonak to fight it out, with CSC looking to place Bobby Julich and Dave Zabriskie, and Phonak trying to defend Floyd Landis' race lead. Meanwhile Levi Leipheimer sits 50 seconds back, about midway between Landis and Armstrong.
April 21, 2005
Armstrong gets underway
One of the motorcycle cameramen told us Armstrong wasn't really pushing the pace, but I don't see why Landis, Julich or the other strong guys in front of Armstrong would have taken a lot more risks than Lance.
Flickr photo set of today's ITTphoto set, where you can view pictures of today's stage individually, or as a slideshow.
I still may post a couple of the other shots individually.
Posted by Frank Steele on April 21, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Photo galleries, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Landis smacks the competition at Tour de Georgia time trial
Phonak's Floyd Landis "ran like he stole something" at today's Rome time trial.
Landis came in at 39:58 on a wet 18.6-mile course.
Lance Armstrong, who won this stage last year in 39:51, came in 9th on the day, at 41:44, trailing two of his own teammates, Tom Danielson, 7th at 40:58, and Viatcheslav Ekimov, at 41:19.
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, 39:58
2) Dave Zabriskie, CSC, 40:17
3) Chris Baldwin, Navigators, 40:20
4) Bobby Julich, CSC, 40:26
5) Nathan O'Neill, Navigators, 40:41
6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, 40:48
7) Tom Danielson, Discovery, 40:58
8) Viatcheslav Ekimov, Discovery, 41:19
9) Lance Armstrong, Discovery, 41:44
10) Brian Vanborg, CSC, 41:45
The heat is on if Armstrong is to repeat as the overall winner. He's brought a very good climbing team, so he's not out of contention.
Pictures to come.
Tour de Georgia Stage 3: the ITT
Today's shortish (18-mile) time trial with a short steep climb up Rome's Mount Alto should provide an early-season fitness check for Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis, and Levi Leipheimer -- the American Tour de France hopefuls.
Last year, Armstrong took the race lead during the time trial, as he finished up a morning-afternoon double victory, taking the morning road race and the afternoon time trial.
I'll be leaving for the race within the next hour, and should be posting from Rome this afternoon. I'm going to meet Operation Gadget's Dave Aiello, who is blogging from the race. Also blogging from the TdG is Velogal, who also has a smugmug gallery posted.
ThePaceline.com has members-only (free registration) diary updates from Tom Danielson (7th yesterday) and Michael Barry, who is sporting Hincapie shades, and a notebook by Dan Osipow, who notes Discovery Channel's start times for today.
April 20, 2005
Gerolsteiner's Wrolich takes TdG stage 2; Armstrong plays sprinter
Just as he did last year, Lance Armstrong figured in the finish in downtown Rome today.
Last year, Armstrong won in a bike toss, coming off the wheel of Ivan Dominguez.
This year, Gerolsteiner's Peter Wrolich took the sprint, with Saunier Duval's Manuel Quinziato 2nd, and Armstrong 3rd.
Team Discovery Channel powered through downtown Rome on the finishing circuits, closing down Saunier Duval-Prodir's Andrea Tafi, who was caught with about 5 miles/8 kilometers to ride. Tafi will take the early King of the Mountains lead for his trouble.
Preliminary top 10:
1) Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner)
2) Manuel Quinziato (Saunier Duval Prodir)
3) Lance Armstrong (Discovery)
4) Ivan Fanelli (LPR)
5) Bobby Julich (CSC)
6) Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner)
7) Tom Danielson (Discovery)
8) David Canada (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
9) Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita)
10) Tim Larkin (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada)
Wrolich takes the overall lead, so will start tomorrow's TT last. Health Net's Greg Henderson leads the sprint classification.
Tour de Georgia Stage 2: Tafi in the lead
Andrea Tafi, of Saunier Duval-Prodir, is nearing retirement. The 38-year-old was expected to exit the pro peloton after Paris-Roubaix, but here he is, two weeks later, riding around Georgia.
In Tafi's career he has won, to re-use a joke, everything but Italian Idol, including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Italian national championship, two stages at the old Tour of the Americas, although never a stage win in a Grand Tour. He's started 6 Tours de France.
I'm going to pull for him because a) he's one of very few guys left in the peloton older than I am, and b) he shares a birthday, May 7, with my son.
It's going to be close for Tafi this afternoon -- the lead is about 4.5 minutes with 40 km to ride. The rule of thumb seems to be that a motivated peloton can put 1 minute per 10 kms into just about anybody, so Tafi is riding right on that ragged line.
April 19, 2005
Robbie Hunter takes Tour de Georgia stage 1
Phonak kicks off their Tour de Georgia with a win, as South Africa's Robbie Hunter wins a sprint finish in downtown Macon.
Dan Bowman of the TIAA-CREF team spent most of the day on a suicide break, while the peloton was cruising at tourist speeds.
Unofficial top 5:
1) Robbie Hunter (Phonak)
2) Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly)
3) Michele Maccanti (LPR)
4) Daniele Napolitano (LPR)
5) Greg Henderson (Health Net)
Tour de Georgia underway
Stage 1, Augusta to Macon, is on the road.
The only live coverage I see anywhere on the web is here at VeloNews.
Post in the comments if you find others.
Update: Bruce from AMD Pro Cycling's website suggested the Tour's own live updates page, which combines CyclingNews.com commentary and a peloton tracker from iTrak. As eye candy, the tracker rocks, but I'm not totally sold on the implementation just yet.
April 18, 2005
Open thread: Armstrong press conference
Of course, until 2:30 this afternoon, there's no reason to think their speculation is any better than yours, so use the comments link to go on the record with what you think Armstrong will announce.
Chris Horner will miss Tour de Georgia, Giro d'Italia
Saunier Duval-Prodir's Chris Horner, who won the 2003 Tour de Georgia and finished 3rd last year, will miss the 2005 edition of the race.
Horner fractured his left hip at Tirreno-Adriatico in early March, and had initially been told it would heal in time for this week's TdG. A follow-up visit suggested the risk was greater than initially thought, and Horner has been “confined to his couch.” He's expected to also miss the Giro d'Italia, and thinks he's missed his chance at the squad's Tour de France team.
“The Tour team is more or less picked out, but I'm planning on returning for [the USPRO championships in] Philadelphia and the Tour de Suisse. If I have a great Tour de Suisse, I could still make the Tour team.”
Horner said missing this year's Tour de Georgia is especially painful:
“This is going to be the showcase of the top Americans,” Horner said. “I'm sorry to miss it, but there's nothing I can do about it.”
Here's the CyclingNews final roster of Saunier Duval riders for the Tour de Georgia:
Juan Jose Cobo
Here's the preliminary roster listed at the Tour de Georgia site -- I'm pretty sure they'll have 8 riders, not 7:
Juan Jose Cobo
April 16, 2005
OLN will carry Armstrong press conference live
Outdoor Life Network will be carrying live coverage of Lance Armstrong's press conference on Monday. They expect it will immediately follow their coverage of the Boston Marathon.
The local fishwrap quotes Phil "the man himself" Liggett on the press conference:
"Knowing Lance, I think [the news conference] will be very brief, 10 or 15 minutes," Liggett said. "Like everyone else, I'm thinking he's saying, 'At the end of the tour and the end season' [he will retire].
"I have no inkling at all. I think he's had a change of attitude. The sport is very hard. He said it himself since he turned pro in '92 that the pressures are different now."
The article also notes, erroneously I think, that Armstrong is under contract through the Tour. I believe his contract runs through 2006, but requires him to race the Tour in either 2005 or 2006.
Samuel Abt weighs in with a few quotes from people around the pro peloton, including Paul Sherwen, Bjarne Riis, Lars Michaelson, Rolf Sorensen, and George Hincapie.
"If I were to guess, he'll say he's running for governor of Texas."
I suppose Texas has had worse governors.
Update: I switched the link to the International Herald-Tribune version of the story, because, a) it has more sources, b) I don't think IHT expires its links, and c) it doesn't suggest the press conference is in Macon.
Tyler Hamilton to ride Tour de Georgia?
Looks like, even with no racing, Monday's going to be a big day for US cycling. Lance Armstrong will announce, well, something, in Augusta, at the pre-event press conference for the Tour de Georgia. Speculation is that he'll announce that 2005 will be his last shot at the Tour de France, with 2006 focused on the US calendar.
Now cyclingnews.com reports that the US Anti-Doping Agency is very likely to counter with a little announcement of their own: The long-awaited results of Tyler Hamilton's appeal of his suspension for blood doping.
Hamilton presented his case in the week of February 27th, and reportedly attacked the credibility of the homologous blood doping procedure, which was first used in cycling during the 2004 season.
Does the long delay mean the tribunal was swayed by Hamilton's case? The cyclingnews.com story quotes an unnamed but "prominent US rider" that Hamilton is expected to "get off" and to take the start at the Tour de Georgia on Tuesday.
Even if the USADA clears Hamilton, the UCI might take separate action, appealing the USADA action to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
April 13, 2005
Team CSC roster for Tour de Georgia
Christian Vande Velde
CSC won the Team award at last year's Tour de Georgia, while CSC's Jens Voigt took 2nd overall.
Reason number 537 the Tour de Georgia is so awesome: Above, the Team CSC squad standing around before Stage 7, while 150 people cluster around Lance Armstrong's motorhome about 75 feet to the left.
Discovery Georgia squad announced
With all the injuries and illness on the Discovery Channel squad, it's been a little up in the air who would be in Augusta for the start of the Tour de Georgia. Dan Osipow lists the likelys in his latest column:
Lance Armstrong (2004 TdG overall champ)
Jason McCartney (2004 TdG King of the Mountains)
This is a team that can climb with anybody. We'll see in a couple of months, but this looks like the core of the 2005 Discovery Tour squad, as well.
Missing will be George Hincapie, who lives just a bit up the road from Augusta in Greenville, S.C.