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2005 Tour de Georgia Route Unveiled
 
By Staff
Date: 2/3/2005
2005 Tour de Georgia Route Unveiled
 

From the imposing bluffs overlooking the mighty Savannah River to high atop the majestic Brasstown Bald to the rolling hills of Georgia's historic townships, the stage has been officially set for North America's premier professional cycling event and rolling festival of community activities. At a press conference held today in downtown Atlanta, officials for the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia unveiled the Tour's official race route and 10 host cities.

Accompanied by representatives from the Tour's title sponsor, Dodge, and race benefactor, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, executive director of the Dodge Tour de Georgia Stan Holm said, "Our host cities and the race route we have chosen ensure that the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia will once more stand as the ultimate test of endurance and might on U.S. soil. The race will pit 120 riders from 15 national and international teams against both each other and the Tour's dramatic, often unforgiving landscape."


CSC was one of the international teams at Tour de Georgia last year. Photo by Marianne Werz O'Brien.

The European-styled stage race featuring the top professional cyclists in the world officially gets underway Tuesday, April 19 in the Garden City of the South and home of The Masters, Augusta, Georgia, and finishes five days and 650 miles later on Sunday, April 24 in Alpharetta. The 2005 edition of the Dodge Tour de Georgia will include an Individual Time Trial, 10 fast sprint lines, 10 grueling King of the Mountain (KOM) climbing competitions in the grand North Georgia Mountains and one mountain top finish.

"The Dodge Tour de Georgia is a one-of-a-kind rolling festival as well as a world class racing event, and the Tour will feature a multitude of activities for spectators in wonderful communities that exude genuine Americana, the enterprising spirit of the New South and Georgia's world famous hospitality," noted Holm. "We expect our most spectacular week of racing and activities. The Tour, now in its third year, has been immediately embraced around the world as a welcomed springtime tradition by riders and spectators alike."

Regarding the 10 communities chosen, including two cities new to the Tour, Holm noted, "It's exciting that in only two years we have such keen interest from cities across Georgia and the Southeast in hosting our event! The Tour's participants and all of the spectators will no doubt have a good time from start to finish."

Fifteen international teams, each composed of eight riders, will be invited to compete in the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia. The 2004 edition attracted the top echelon of professional cyclists, including world champions like Italian Mario Cipollini, Olympic medalists such as American Bobby Julich and six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who put a decisive claim on the 2004 winner's jersey by edging out CSC's Jens Voigt of Germany and American Chris Horner of Webcor by just over a minute.


2004 Stage 6 winner Cesar Grajales.  Photo by Celia Cole/www.sportsshooter.com/celiacole

The 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia begins on Tuesday, April 19, with all of its pageantry in historic downtown Augusta, along the banks of the Savannah River.

Stage One will challenge The Masters of cycling as they traverse 120 miles across Middle Georgia to its finishing circuit in the Song and Soul of the South, Macon. It will be an ideal day for the sprinters to make a lasting first impression as they race to the city that musical legends Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers, James Brown and Little Richard have all called home. Macon has hosted stages in both 2003 and 2004, while Augusta was a host city in 2003.

Stage Two will test the sprinters once again, as the race continues along its clockwise course in charming Fayetteville, one of the two new host cities. Turning northwest for a 120-mile battle, riders will sample a challenging mix of Georgia's diverse terrain along the way to the finish line in Rome, nestled on a peninsula between the Etowah, Oostanaula, and Coosa rivers.

Stage Three, on Thurs. April 21 in Rome, brings with it a difficult 18-mile Individual Time Trial from this "City on Seven Hills."

The first of two mountain stages, Stage Four, begins in Dalton, among the lush green Appalachian Mountains, where riders will begin a steady climb up toward the ominous North Georgia Mountains lurking in the east. Dalton has hosted a stage start since the tour's inception in 2003. Before finishing 130 miles later in the gold rush mountain village of Dahlonega, the riders will have crossed five mountain passes, including the famed Three Gaps.


Lance Armstrong competed last year.
Photo by Celia Cole/www.sportsshooter.com/celiacole

Stage Five, on Saturday, April 23, 2005, will once again present one of the greatest days in North American stage racing when the Tour charges from the shores of Lake Lanier and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Gainesville and heads north, deeper into the mountains to its finish high atop Brasstown Bald (Towns Co.). Voted the best day of racing in 2004 by VeloNews Magazine, this 115-mile stage will separate the pack after a grueling day in the saddle and four mountain passes including the fabled Unicoi Gap and the legendary Hogpen Gap, where the winds howl and the asphalt melts.

After careening down Hogpen Gap at speeds in excess of 65 miles an hour, teams will work hard to deliver their best climber to the base of Brasstown Bald Mountain. While considered a short climb of only 3.5 miles, intense pitch changes of up to 21 percent and wicked switchbacks ensure a maximum effort and an exhilarating finish atop Georgia's highest peak.

After 530 miles of racing, the sixth and final stage begins along the northeast border of Georgia in idyllic Blairsville, a town of 700 and the other new addition to the Tour. Blairsville will serve as the northeast turning point, and from there, the route heads south into Metro Atlanta for a tough finishing circuit finale in Alpharetta after which a new race champion will don the Dodge Tour de Georgia winner's jersey.

"The 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia will present a demanding race, pushing the riders to their limits, at a time when cycling as a spectator sport is at an all time high," said Gerard Bisceglia, USA Cycling's chief executive officer. "Professional cycling combines the thrill and drama of speed events like auto racing, the self-sacrifice and teamwork of major league sports and the severe risks associated with extreme sports. Spectators are attracted to all of this, the ensuing rivalries between teams and disciplines, the climbs, and the harrowing descents where riders push the edge of the envelope. The race is certainly the catalyst for promoting big-time cycling and stage racing in the United States."

Holm continued, "In 2004, the Tour attracted nearly 750,000 spectators from 38 states and dozens of countries, having an economic impact approaching $70 million on the state. We anticipate those numbers to be higher in 2005 because of increased interest in professional cycling, and the word continues to spread. Fans know the festival-like atmosphere along the route simply has to be experienced firsthand."

The official 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia route map can be found at www.dodgetourdegeorgia.com. Additional route and elevation maps will be added to the award-winning website as details are announced. Information on Discover Adventures, the race's official touring company, and accommodations through local convention and visitor bureaus will be added to the website to assist spectators in their plans to follow the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia.


Super Mario was a big hit last year... Photo by Celia Cole/www.sportsshooter.com/celiacole

About Dodge Tour de Georgia--The Dodge Tour de Georgia is America's premier, professional cycling event and a rolling festival of community activities. The 2005 world-class event is scheduled for April 19-24. In 2004, nearly 750,000 spectators watched along the roadways as 15 international teams competed across 653 miles of the state of Georgia, having an estimated economic impact of $35-70 million. Won by the U.S. Postal Service's Lance Armstrong, the 2004 race featured world-class cyclists and Tour de France veterans such as American Bobby Julich (a 2004 Olympic Games medalist), Italian Mario Cipollini and German Jens Voigt. The Tour is sanctioned by the UCI (2.1 America Tour-Continental Calendar), the international governing body of cycling, and USA Cycling (2.1) as a premier event for elite athletes around the world. The Tour's official beneficiary is the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC), and the race proactively promotes a healthy lifestyle at its Healthy Georgia Expo. The Dodge Tour de Georgia, which started in 2003, is owned and operated by the Georgia Partnership for Economic Development. For more information, visit www.dodgetourdegeorgia.com.

Georgia Cancer Coalition--The Georgia Cancer Coalition leads Georgia's comprehensive cancer initiative, uniting people and organizations to work together to save lives and reduce suffering from cancer. As a public-private partnership, the Coalition works to strengthen existing cancer related programs and create new initiatives that accelerate cancer prevention, early detection, and research and treatment to make the highest level of care accessible to all Georgians. The Georgia Cancer Coalition provides guidance and assistance for using Georgia's resources in the fight to reverse the cancer mortality and incidence rates. The Coalition is the first of its kind in the nation and is fast becoming a national model. Mobilizing Georgia. Immobilizing Cancer.


TIAA Cref's Kevin Bouchard-Hall on Brasstown Bald in 2004. Photo by Marianne Werz O'Brien.

Route Summary

Approximately 650 miles will be covered in six days of racing, including one Individual Time Trial.

Stage 1: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - Augusta to Macon, a 136 mile/217.6 km stage race
Augusta: Second time hosting the Tour; was a start venue in 2003.
Macon: Third straight year as a host city and home to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Stage Note: A relatively flat stage, look for one of the world's top sprinters to be a favorite.

Stage 2: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - Fayetteville to Rome, a 129 mile/206.4 km stage race Fayetteville: 2005 marks its first Tour visit, hosting a start.
Rome: Two-time finish host city, 2003 and 2004.
Stage Note: The sprint line in Rockmart highlights The Silver Comet cycling trail.

Stage 3: Thursday, April 21, 2005 -Rome, a 18 mile/28.8 km Individual Time Trial
Rome: Hosts the ITT for the second year in a row.
Stage Note: The hilly course features the steep Mt. Alto, and it will be a major factor in deciding the race. Armstrong set an unbeatable pace in 2004.

Stage 4: Friday, April 22, 2005 - Dalton to Dahlonega, a 134 mile/214.4km stage race
Dalton: For its third consecutive year, Dalton marks the beginning of the mountains.
Dahlonega: The gold rush town again hosts the finish for the first of two critical mountain stages.
Stage Note: With five KOMs, a breakaway is possible. Jason McCartney's stage win in 2004 was named the VeloNews "Ride of the Year".

Stage 5: Saturday, April 23, 2005 - Gainesville to Brasstown Bald Mountain (Towns Co.), a 114 mile/182.4 stage race with a mountaintop finish
Gainesville: This gateway to the mountains city returns in 2005 as a start venue.
Brasstown Bald Mountain (Towns Co.): Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia and the only "Hors Categorie" (above category) climb of the race.
Stage Note: This year's stage will be even more difficult, with four KOMs, the last three of which come one after another.

Stage 6: Sunday, April 24, 2005 - Blairsville to Alpharetta, a 115 mile/184 km stage/finishing circuit race
Blairsville: The smallest host city on the 2005 route; Blairsville is new to the tour this year.
Alpharetta: Highlighted by four laps around a 4.1-mile finishing circuit, 75,000 fans attended the overall race finish in Alpharetta in 2004.
Stage Note: The battle for the MAXXIS Sprint jersey usually explodes on the final stage!

2005 Race Route Fact Sheet

  • This year there will be six stages, including an individual time trial and will cover approximately 650 miles/1040 kilometers of Georgia's diverse landscape.

  • Start cities include Augusta, Fayetteville, Rome, Dalton, Gainesville and Blairsville. Finish cities include Macon, Rome, Dahlonega, Brasstown Bald Mountain (Towns Co.) and Alpharetta.

  • 15 teams of 8 riders each and representing more than 20 countries will compete for a $100,000 prize purse. These professional teams are registered with the Union Cycliste International (UCI) and/or USA Cycling.

  • 50,000 feet/15,240 meters of climbing, approximately, throughout the week

  • 10 King of the Mountains (KOM) competitions

  • 10 Sprint Lines

  • Four Jersey Competitions:
    Dodge Overall Leader
    GE Best Young Rider
    Georgia Power King of the Mountains
    MAXXIS Sprint Leader

  • More than 4,000 volunteers will support the event

Additional stage information will be available, including maps, online at www.dodgetourdegeorgia.org.


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