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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