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Tour de Georgia - Stage 7 Rider Comments & Photos
By Staff
Date: 4/24/2007
Tour de Georgia - Stage 7 Rider Comments & Photos

Tour de Georgia - Stage 7 Rider Comments & Photos
Comments from the combatants of the 2007 - 5th Tour de Georgia and photo gallery.

Janez in final Best Young rider Jersey. Photo C. Ben Ross

Janez Brajkovich (Slovenia), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
On his Discovery Channel team helping him retain the AT&T Leader’s Jersey…
“Yesterday and today they did an amazing job protecting me. Yesterday for the first hour and half there were so many attacks and when I saw them sacrificing themselves for me it was an amazing thing.”

On getting a flat tire on one of the circuits in Atlanta today…
“Immediately Brian (Vandborg) gave me his rear wheel… within seconds the whole team was at the back of the peloton waiting for me. It wasn’t a problem… we were in the front of the group in a matter of a few minutes. To have the guys like George (Hincapie), Tom (Danielson) and Levi (Leipheimer) helping me, a young guy, it’s an amazing feeling.”

On winning the 2007 Tour de Georgia…
“(This is the) the biggest win of my career so far. I wasn’t even planning to be here, so it’s really an amazing victory. To win this race by myself would be impossible, but with the team we had here, they were just amazing and they did a lot of work the past few days.”

On his future…
“It’s going to be a long way to win a race like a Grand Tour, but I have to be optimistic. I know it’s not gonna be possible in the next two, three, four or even five years…”

Fastest legs and Sprint King of 2007 Georgia tour. Photo C. Ben Ross

Juan Jose “JJ” Haedo (Argentina), Team CSC
On the final circuit of Stage Seven in downtown Atlanta…
“(With) two km (kilometers) to go, there was a crash… I almost crashed… the last 700m a train with the Tinkoff guys came up and I moved behind them. (It was an) uphill sprint and headwind, so you have to wait as long as you can ‘til the end. I think I wait long enough and then I touch a little with Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United), so I lost speed with like 100m to go, but I was still able to pass Freddie (Rodriguez) with 50m to go.”

Final celebration for KOM winner Ryder Hesjedal after stage 7. Photo C. Ben Ross

Ryder Hesjedal (Canada), Health Net presented by Maxxis
On winning the United Community Bank King of the Mountain jersey…
“I’m really happy to be wearing this jersey after a hard race like this. That was pretty much all I could do to be happy with the race after having no G.C. hopes.”
Ben Ross photo: Ryder finishes Stage 5 taking the King of the Mountain's jersey lead.

Christian finishes stage 5 on Brass Town Bald summit with G.C. rival Janez glued to his wheel. Photo C. Ben Ross

Christian VandeVelde (USA), Team CSC
On the his team’s effort at the 2007 Tour de Georgia…

“We came in to this race with J.J. (Haedo) and myself and Dave (Zabriskie) for the overall (win). I was fortunate to get in the break (on Stage 3) at the last minute and given a great opportunity to take advantage of the situation and play my biggest card I ever had for the race… and get on the podium. The team supported me 100%... but it was like we were playing bridesmaids a little bit too many times. And it was getting to be frustrating, but we’re lucky to have such a stud in J.J. to pull through today.”

On racing in Atlanta…
“It’s cool to come back here. The crowds were great… I think circuit races are great. The course has been great, the crowds have been great… even in the middle of the week people taking off work, people flying down here to Georgia. It’s fun for us to be able to showcase our skills, being a climber or a time trialist, whereas most races in the U.S. are criteriums or sprint-oriented races.”

Cesar Grajales after stage 5 finish on Brass Town Bald. Photo C. Ben Ross

Cesar Grajales (COL), Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team
On racing with a separated right shoulder and fractured wrist…

“Two weeks ago I wasn’t going to do it (race the Tour de Georgia). Today the race was pretty hard for me especially because I couldn’t get any feeds… the feed zone you have to grab the bars on the right side.”

Tyler Hamilton (USA), Tinkoff Credit Systems
On racing here in Georgia …

“Last time I raced here was Tour DuPont (1996)… (The) fans have been fantastic. Great race… can’t wait to come back. “

Fast Freddy Rodriguez, most stage wins in the Tour de Georgia. Photo C. Ben Ross

Stage 6 Comments:
Fred Rodriguez (USA), Predictor-Lotto

Regarding the final lap in Stone Mountain Park and his sprint victory…
“After being able to see the circuit with one lap to go, I saw that it was actually pretty difficult with steep little hills …When we came into the last ‘k’, we followed the attack at the 1K sign… and it was just enough of an effort to put the other guys on edge. At that point it was 1K to go. I was basically looking for the right wheel.”
“I saw 200m to go and I went and I just wound up the speed. And I had really good legs and I was able to hold off Haedo (of CSC) by a wheel.”

About being the professional with the most stage wins at the Tour de Georgia…
“Every year I’ve come here I’ve won stages and done really well. About a month ago, I had bronchitis and the flu and I’ve been fighting to get myself in form for those races. I finally find my form here (in Georgia). I love racing at home. Coming back after racing in Europe, I bring my family here. We’re actually spending two weeks here in Georgia after the race.”

Regarding his specialty as a sprinter…
“Sprinting – it’s kinda one of those things that you either have or you don’t. Sometimes you’re suffering and you can still pull it off. I like winning and I enjoy going for it. As long as I’m having fun and I have goals to achieve, that’s what keeps me going.”

Floyd Landis 2006 Tour de Georgia winner. Photo C. Ben Ross

Floyd Landis (USA), winner of the 2006 Tour de Georgia.
Landis was a spectator at this year’s Tour de Georgia.

On being a spectator at the top of Brasstown Bald Mountain Friday for Stage Five…
“I was glad I was there. It was a beautiful day and it was a good race. The climb is always exciting. I was impressed by Levi (Leipheimer, stage winner). I wouldn’t have missed it.”

Regarding his future plans related to an appeal for a positive drug test from the 2006 Tour de France…
“I don’t have a whole lot of plans really. I don’t know how long this case is going to take. There’s going to be a hearing in May…I hope to race my bicycle again. I ride enough now to maintain enough fitness to be back in shape in a couple of months.”

“I’m completely focused on making this case a turning point. I don’t wish this process on anyone. If we can prevent this from happening to anyone else, then I think something plausible can come out of it.”
“All I know is what I do and what I didn’t do and I think what we’re trying to do is educate people on how the system works and how the athlete couldn’t possibly defend himself."

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