PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : TdeG St.3 – Floyd Rocks Tennessee

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Race News
TdeG St.3 – Floyd Rocks Tennessee
The first crucial day of racing at the 2006 Ford Tour De Georgia finished in Tennesse – 40 km of pure time trialling hell for any and all. Floyd Landis repeated his 2005 win, but one particular name that should haunt his sleep was hot on his heels…

– Reported by Chris Gutowsky of VйloSport Vacations

Crossing a state line turned out to be perfectly legal as well as a good thing for the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia. Today’s time trial stage route took the riders one-by-one from Chickamauga, in northern Georgia, across to Chattanooga, Tennessee, a first for the 4-year event. The end result of the hilly stage was as familiar as the countryside was new though, with last year’s mid-race TT winner Floyd Landis (Phonak) again taking the stage and the overall lead. And the similarities continue from there, as Discovery’s defending champion Tom Danielson finished four seconds behind on the day, leaving him just that many seconds in arrears with the two mountain stages coming up next.

Behind Landis and Danielson, was another familiar and expected face: David Zabriskie, who didn’t quite pull off the stage winning ride, but still sits high on GC in third. The best domestic American was, as expected, the still raging Nathan O’Neill (HealthNet) – O’Neill pulled off an eyebrow raising performance as he finished the day in 4th and sits likewise in 4th Overall – a huge result for the HealthNet squad and a hopeful omen for the weekend for the top domestic rider.

The party was on for those at the riverside finish line in Chattanooga, with the day’s Festival at the Finish including three live bands and Live Healthy Georgia Expo. But it was no party for those racing from Chickamauga, as the route to and across the state line was rolling to the extreme, including an 800-foot vertical ascension to the Lookout Mountain ridge above the finish (1100 feet of total elevation gain for the 40k TT). Even stage winner Landis felt he was overgeared for some of the 13-15 percent pitches; on the downhill side, riders were clocked at 60 mph or more as they rocketed off the ridge and onto the flat run in to the finish line.

Though the winner’s average speed was less than 26 mph, this was in no way due to lack of encouragement. On the main parts of the climbs each steep pitch had clusters of fans and bikes, many having climbed the route themselves that morning. Going past several small towns like Rock City, the locals and school children were out in full force for the bike racing spectacle. The noise and excitement contrasted completely with the calm of the isolated sections before the rapid descent back into civilization. Hovering thunderheads created a bit of tension, especially for the riders and motor marshals, but the real rain held off until an hour or so after the final finisher rolled up Riverside Parkway into downtown Chattanooga.

In addition to the the expected shake-up in the GC, the only other change came in the GE Best Young Rider classification. Discovery’s Janez Brajkovic took a fine eighth place on the stage, boosting himself to ninth on the overall and to the top of the best young rider list by 1: 23 on Peter Mazur/Prodir-Saunier Duval. The United Community Bank KOM competition will see its first serious action tomorrow, as the first of four categorized climbs comes at just the 23 mile mark; the first to the top not only takes the points and at least a temporary lead in the KOM overall, but a $1500 special prime to boot.

Stage 3 Results
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 54.14
2 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.04
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.24
4 Nathan O’Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis 0.55
5 Josй Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.22
6 Jason McCartney (USA) Discovery Channel 1.38
7 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Toyota-United Pro 1.41
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel 1.52
9 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 1.53
10 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Prodir-Saunier Duval 1.56

General Classification After Three Stages
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 10.27.45
2 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.04
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.24
4 Nathan O’Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis 0.55
5 Josй Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.22
6 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 1.37
7 Jason McCartney (USA) Discovery Channel 1.38
8 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Toyota-United Pro 1.41
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel 1.52
10 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Prodir-Saunier Duval 1.56
11 Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC 1.58
12 Robert Hunter (RSA) Phonak Hearing Systems 2.03
13 Justin England (USA) Toyota-United Pro 2.46
14 Peter Mazur (Pol) Prodir-Saunier Duval 3.15
15 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel 3.17
16 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Discovery Channel 3.30
17 Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance 3.38
18 Jeffry Louder (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 3.50
19 Cesar Augusto Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 3.57
20 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic

Today’s race report provided by Chris Gutowsky of VйloSport Vacations. Check ‘em out for some great ideas for your next cycling trip. For more information, contact VйloSport Vacations at P.O. Box 1235, Bloomington, IN 47402, 800-988-9833,


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