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Tour of Georgia Team Reports Stage 2
By Staff
Date: 4/21/2006
Tour of Georgia Team Reports Stage 2

Tour of Georgia Team Reports Stage 2
Team CSC, Toyota/United Pro, Health Net/Maxxis, and Nevada Team and Rider comments and photos.

The 24.8-mile stage from Chickamauga, Ga. to Chattanooga, Tenn. shaped up into a battle of the top Americans, the favorites in the race. Floyd Landis of Phonak, the winner of the 2005 Tour de Georgia time trial, took the stage, followed four seconds later by Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson, the 2005 Tour de Georgia winner. Zabriskie finished 20 seconds slower than Landis.

Team CSC director Tristan Hoffman rode in the team car directly behind Zabriskie, and says Zabriskie looked strong the whole way. "There was no evident mistakes," he said. "Dave gave everything."

Both Danielson and Landis started the course after Zabriskie, who set the fastest time when he crossed the finish line. But Hoffman says they wouldn't have been able to benefit from the later starts because the race didn't provide regular time splits that they could use to pace themselves.

The biggest culprit in Zabriskie's slower time was Lookout Mountain, a hill that sits on the Georgia-Tennessee border. Unlike traditionally flat time trial courses, Stage Three featured a steep climb up Lookout Mountain, and a twisting and technical descent into the finish. "Dave thought he lost it on the climb," Hoffman said. "The stage favored someone who can climb. The other two, when you look in the past, they always climb a little bit better than Dave."

Friday's 181.9-mile Stage Four features more climbing, with two category 2 climbs between Dalton and Dahlonega. Some of the climbs, including Wolfpen Gap, are so steep that Team CSC will put larger chain rings on its bikes to manage the grades.

CSC's Brian Vandborg won a nearly identical stage in 2005's Tour de Georgia and with an eleventh place finish in today's time trial, will be itching to prove himself. Hoffman says that Zabriskie should be able to defend his spot on the podium, but notes that Zabriskie is surrounded in the rankings by a strong Discovery Channel team. "They'll try to blow up the race tomorrow," he said.


Ford Tour de Georgia - Stage 3 (UCI 2.HC): Setting the G.C. Table
Today's 39.9-Km. Individual Time Trial, stage-3, of the Ford Tour De Georgia became the first real test for the riders hoping to figure in the overall standings of this weeklong event. Called undulating, difficult, or  challenging, depending on which part of the world you hail from, the end of the day saw the results board start to take shape.

The course featured an elevation gain of about 1100-feet with three distinct uphill and downhill sections. Several of the pitches were steep, requiring a lot of out-of-the saddle efforts by the riders, in between the fast sections of rolling terrain. Straddling the Georgia and Tennessee border, Lookout Mountain Park was the biggest challenge faced by the riders and large crowds were on hand to cheer their favorites as they struggled over the top.

At the end of the day, most of the top positions were taken by specialists, as well as the strong contenders for the overall G.C. Navigators' Valeriy Kobzarenko held the 2nd fastest time of the day, mid-race, but was surpassed as the final finishers posted their times. Navigators' G.C. hopes Phil Zajicek and Cesar Grajales had solid rides, but unfortunately for Grajales, a dropped chain on a steep pitch cost him valuable seconds.

Phonak's Floyd Landis repeated his victory from last year's time trial, but the big winners on the day were the Discovery Channel riders with three in the top-seven. The podium was a postcard picture for American race fans as all three places went to US riders, on Pro Tour teams.

The race now heads back into the tough hills of northern Georgia for the next two days, and this is where the climbers will do their best to shake up the standings. Although large gaps of time now separate many of the top
contenders, the hills promise to replace seconds, with minutes, for many.

Nathan O’Neill of the Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis knew the course for the stage 3 individual time trial of the Ford Tour de Georgia suited his immense TT skills. And living not too far away in neighboring Georgia gave him the opportunity to pre-ride the course several times.

The seven-time and current Australian national time trial champion also knew the undulating and technical 24.8-mile course would be the first stage to re-shape the general classification standings to look something like how the race might end. He put his skills to good work, placing 4th in today’s time trial with a time of 55:09, to move from 26th to 4th overall.
“All in all it wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t a great day,” O’Neill said. “I am a bit disappointed to not have finished on the podium. I didn’t feel great on the bike. I couldn’t find my rhythm. This was a hard course to do that on. I felt like I was fighting the course the whole time.”

The challenging route from Chickamauga, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee featured a steep climb over Lookout Mountain and a harrowing descent toward the finish, flattening out inside of 10 Km from the line.
Stage winner Floyd Landis (Phonak) blew through the course to a time of 54:14, beating greatly improved time trialist Tom Danielson (Discovery) by just four seconds. Another time trial specialist, David Zabriskie (CSC), finished third at 54:38.

While Friday’s stage 4 is a long and notoriously difficult climbing stage featuring four categorized climbs, O’Neill expects stage 5, which ends atop the infamous hors categorie Brasstown Bald, to be where any final reshuffling of the top of the GC occurs.

With Landis in the lead, “Phonak will probably ride tempo and control things,” O’Neill said. “We shouldn’t have too much responsibility. The team just needs to keep me in good position, and if a split occurs, be ready to chase if necessary. But it should be the top three battling it out, and I’ll have a box seat. Maybe I can capitalize on those three beating each other up,” he added.


Toyota/United Pro
Chris Baldwin 7th in Time Trial
Day Three Race Results For The Ford Tour of de Georgia

Locked and loaded at the starting ramp, the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team exploded from the starting line in Chickamauga, GA., to the sound of celebratory musket and cannon fire. U.S. National Time Trial Champion Chris Baldwin, a rocket on the starting ramp, went against the clock for the stars and stripes, ending the 24.8 mile individual Time Trial in a cool 55:55:29, placing him in 7th place for the day – one minute and 41 seconds behind top finisher Floyd Landis (Phonak), who won Stage 3 in 54:14:49.

Chris Baldwin photo c. Toyota/United Pro

Baldwin, a time trial specialist, claims this was one of the hardest time trials he’s faced to date.
“It was the hardest time trial I’ve ever done in my life,” said Baldwin. “There was no rhythm to it. It kept you on your toes the whole time. I was a little disappointed with my speed after the descent -- I thought I’d make up some time after that, but overall it was a really good ride.”

Team Director Harm Jansen was pleased as well. “Baldwin did a phenomenal time trial. He caught several riders and had a neck and neck race with Zabriskie [CSC] toward the end. He held his own against some of the best time trialists in the world to pull off a great ride.”

Justin England photo c. Toyota/United Pro

Teammate Justin England also had a great day capturing a 13th place finish in 57:00:47, while New Zealander Heath Blackgrove ended the day at 59:07:00. Under the encouragement of the fans, rider Juan Jose “J.J.” Haedo - who suffered an early mechanical - rounded the corner for the tough climb up Nick A Jack Rd. amid cheers from the crowd.

 Toyota-United squad will head to Dalton, GA., for tomorrow’s race, a 118.9 mile ride ending in Dahlonega, GA.
Tomorrow‘s race is critical for the team.
“It was challenging course today, the perfect course for the Ford Tour de Georgia to find the best riders in the race,” said Team Director Frankie Andreu. “Tomorrow is going to be a survival day, the real race begins for the GC (General Classification). It’s critical for the riders to race well. England and Baldwin are in good positions. I’m sure the attacks are going to start from the very beginning of the race, but we plan to have a man in all the breaks.”

Toyota-United Team fans and cycling enthusiasts are invited to stop by the team bus at the start and finish lines daily for team gear, memberships, special meet and greet sessions and autograph signings. Catch the team if you can! Nevada
"Without a doubt, that was the hardest time trial course I've ever seen," said Nevada Racing Manager Jonas Carney, echoing a common sentiment at the Ford Tour de Georgia.

Indeed, the 25-mile course from Chickamauga, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee included steep climbs approaching Lookout Mountain and a sweeping descent that flattened out only during the short run-in to the finish on Chattanooga's Riverside Drive. Nevada's Ben Jacques-Maynes was the team's best finisher, and his time of 59'11" was good for 36th place, 4'57" behind stage winner and new overall leader Floyd Landis.
"I didn't feel that bad, but I didn't have that extra grunt that I needed," he said afterwards.

Continuing his strong Tour de Georgia, Jesse Anthony was the team's next-fastest on the day, riding a 1.00'06" that was good for 51st on the stage.

Just moments before his teammate Jackson Stewart became the first rider to start the time trial, Anthony, 20, was awarded the GE Best Young Rider jersey due to a recalculation of yesterday's stage results.

"Based on what were the official results at first, Jesse had lost one second to [Phonak's Florian] Stalder at the finish, but then they revised the results and erased a lot of the small time gaps. So that put Jesse back on the same time, but with better average placings over the first two stages," explained Nevada Operations Manager Kurt Stockton.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Anthony handled himself with poise, and even blew a few kisses to the crowd.
Tomorrow's 119-mile stage from Dalton to Dahlonega will be the first of two mountain stages and includes four categorized climbs.

Related Articles
Tour of Georgia - History 2003 to 2005
2006 Tour of Georgia Stage 3 ITT - Report & Results
Ford Tour de Georgia 2006-Ride Along with Chris Baldwin

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