Tour of Georgia Team Reports Stage 2
Health Net/Maxxis, and
Nevada Team and Rider comments and photos.
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."
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
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.
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!
"Without a doubt, that was the hardest time trial course I've ever seen," said
Kodakgallery.com/Sierra 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
Kodakgallery.com/Sierra 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
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
Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Operations Manager Kurt
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.