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Tour de Georgia 2008 Stage 1 Live Updates

03:05 PM: Tune in Monday for live updates from the 2008 Tour de Georgia 07:30 AM: Good day and welcometo VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the opening stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia., from Tybee Island to Savannah.

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  • 03:05 PM: Tune in Monday

    for live updates from the 2008 Tour de Georgia

  • 07:30 AM: Good day and welcome

    to VeloNews.com’s Live Coverage of the opening stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia., from Tybee Island to Savannah.

    This is a relative short stage, covering just 70.4 miles (113.3km in our usual designation of distance), so we may not see a lot of action until the sprint to the finish today. Indeed, a lot of folks are predicting that the big teams will be riding herd on the peloton throughout the week, expecting the real action to come on Saturday’s stage to the top of Brasstown Bald. We’ll see. Certainly, that may have been the plan last year, but then that one break got away and… well, the rest, as they say, is history.

  • 07:39 AM: Tybee Island?

    For those of us not from Georgia, we aren’t too familiar with Tybee Island and had to look it up when we got word on this year’s route. It’s one of Georgia’s barrier islands, just about 20 miles from Savannah. As you can see from the map, it took a bit of work to extend that ride to more than 70 miles. The island is gorgeous, by the way, with nice beaches and warm temperatures… a nice break for those of us who live high in the wilds of Wyoming and Colorado.

  • 07:45 AM: Race Numbers

    With the absence of last year’s winner, Janez Brajkovic (then of Discovery), there will not be a rider sporting the No. 1 race number this year. Instead, Chris Horner, a member of the Astana team, will be wearing No.2 throughout the race. That doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily be the designated Astana team leader, though. There’s plenty of firepower in that team, with Tour of California winner, Levi Leipheimer, expected to be leading the crew here in Georgia, as well.

  • 07:49 AM: Rock Racing

    Also lined up here in Georgia is the Rock Racing team, owned and operated by one Michael Ball, the owner of Rock & Republic jeans. Yeah, the team was originally not invited, with organizers saying that there was no room for the squad. Ball, as is his habit, responded with a law suit… but the whole issue was settled when Saunier Duval pulled out of the race, saying the whole team was already pretty bruised and battered by the spring campaign. The withdrawal, of course, opened the door for Rock… as did Rock’s decision to join in as a “Founding Sponsor” of the event.

  • 07:57 AM: The first casualty

    High Road’s John Devine did not start, today. Team director Allan Peiper said Devine was sick last week and did not improve by Sunday. Because the team also fielded a squad for Amstel Gold it did not have enough time to replace Devine.

  • 07:58 AM: A mellow start

    The race has officially begun, but there is not much early action, with the peloton taking a couple of “parade laps” around the island.

  • 08:02 AM: We can expect action

    While the peloton is feeling pretty relaxed at the start, there will be some riders setting up for a win in about three hours. As Bissel’s Ben Jaques Maynes observed, “it should be a fun, fast day.” He predicts a sprint to the finish. “I doubt there wil be a break today as the stage is so short and it looks like we have tailwinds.”

  • 08:07 AM: There’s not a lot of action

    to report yet. For a lot of these guys, it seems like a good chance to relax and enjoy moderate temperatures and a nice breeze coming off of the ocean. It seems more like a social event.

    Slipstream’s Tom Danielson told us this morning that he’s happy to be riding here.

    “I’m so phyched to be here, I love this race, I’ve been looking forward to it all week”

  • 08:10 AM: A little dig

    We see a couple of guys off the front… no, wait, make that three. We see a Toyota and BMC rider… we’ll work to ID all three.

  • 08:12 AM: Back in the fold

    Well, the riders who slipped off are back in the fold and now Chris Jones (Team Type 1) is having a dig.

    Race radio reports that the pace is now a steady 26mph, with a slight tailwind to make that easier. The peloton is on a nice big and very wide stretch of road.

  • 08:15 AM: All together again

    The pace is still healthy at around 26 or 27mph.

  • 08:19 AM: Testing the waters

    We’re seeing a lot attacks, but no one is managing to get a gap. There are lots of jumps with over-the-shoulder “let’s get organized lads” looks, though.

  • 08:20 AM: Heading to the first sprint

    but first… a few railroad tracks for good measure.

  • 08:21 AM: Into downtown

    Savannah. It’s just beautiful here, with trees ling the route. This first sprint mark will also serve as the finish later in the race.

  • 08:23 AM: Charge

    and the first sprint of the 2008 Tour de Georgia goes to High Road’s Greg Henderson. Three points and five seconds for that effort. Our next one comes up in 33 miles.

  • 08:25 AM: Another one off the front

    Sven Krauss of Gerolsteiner tries a go, but he’s back. More of the same, for now.

  • 08:27 AM: And another try

    We have eight riders with a little bit of a gap.

  • 08:28 AM: Nuthin’ doin’ fellas

    It looks like that one won’t last either.

  • 08:33 AM: Three riders away

    Trent Wilson, Mike Sayers, Eric Wohlberg

  • 08:35 AM: Another one bites the dust

    We’re one big happy peloton again.

  • 08:39 AM: And it seems like everyone’s settling down

    That series of jumps must’ve tuckered the guys out — we’re on cruise control now.

  • 08:42 AM: We spoke too soon . . .

    . . . a Health Net has a go. Matt Cooke?

  • 08:49 AM: Another move off the front

    We see a nice group off the front, but still no real big gaps.

  • 08:50 AM: Rolling through the feedzone

    there is a group of 12 with about a 20-second lead on the field.

  • 08:52 AM: The gap

    is at about 30 seconds right now. We still need to ID the group.

  • 08:55 AM: All caught

    Again, another foray has been negated. Once through the feedzone, the peloton kicked it up a little and the escapees have been pulled back into the fold.

    It may be that the composition of the group was too dangerous. We saw Danielson, Horner and Julich in there.

  • 08:57 AM: Hamilton

    Our guy Neal Rogers spoke with Tyler Hamilton before the start. He said he saw that VN was calling Sevilla a favorite, but added that Botero proved at Redlands he’s going uphill well. Hamilton said with Freddie Rodriguez the team has a sprint contender and he predicted that Rock would win thursday’s TTT.

  • 09:01 AM: Just past the halfway mark

    and the peloton is slowing a bit.

  • 09:09 AM: We see another dig

    but it’s not getting much traction out there.

    We’re betting on a field sprint today.

  • 09:13 AM: The gap

    The little group off the front includes Health Net’s Frank Pipp, Garrett Peltonen (Bissell), Scott Nydam (BMC), Toyota’s Ivan Stevic, Christian Meier (Symmetrics) and Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly).

    The gap is pretty small, but this is a fiesty little group. We may see something stick.

  • 09:17 AM: They’re still out there

    The domestic teams are nicely represented up there.

  • 09:19 AM: Not much of a chase

    We still don’t have a hard time gap, but the peloton does not seem too interested in putting in a big chase.

  • 09:20 AM: Up front in the field

    It looks like Gerolsteiner is moving to the front. They have Robert Forster for the finish. With about 23 miles to go, the gap is abput 1:00.

  • 09:25 AM: The gap is already shrinking

    the six men in the break are less than a minute up on the field. They are working hard up there, but it looks like the peloton is intent on seeing this stage end up in a field sprint.

  • 09:26 AM: High Road

    moving to the front of the peloton. The gap is just around 50 seconds.

  • 09:29 AM: 20 miles

    We have just passed the 20 miles to go mark and the six escapees are within sight of the peloton. The gap is still around 45 or 50 seconds.

  • 09:32 AM: Extending

    The leaders are now 1:10 ahead of the field. It’s still going to be tough to keep it going, but they are giving it a shot. We have one more sprint coming up… in about two miles.

  • 09:33 AM: Stevic

    Looks like he will be vying for those points. He’s sitting in a good spot.

  • 09:35 AM: The gap is holding

    at 1:10. It may be a sign that the peloton is comfortable with that gap. It makes sense to leave guys out there to keep things calm and the gap is small enough is pull back in a heartbeat.

  • 09:37 AM: Astana and Slipstream

    are up front with Gerolsteiner. The three teams have each decided to put two men on the front and keep the break within reach. CSC not riding front. If Stevic takes the day’s 3rd sprint he will be tied with Henderson and Farrar.

  • 09:40 AM: Charge

    Stevic gets the sprint. The gap is still holding at 1:10, with around 10 miles to go.

  • 09:45 AM: The pace is picking up

    With the finish line coming up, the gap is holding at 1:05. We need to make a correction, by the way. That was a tight race to the line at that last sprint, and it was Meier and not Stivic who took it.

  • 09:46 AM: Thirty seconds

    The gap is down to 30 seconds and the unity of the break is coming to an end.

  • 09:48 AM: With six to go

    the six men in the break have eased up and the gap is less than 30 seconds. The peloton is moving up quickly and we can expect a catch… meanwhile we see three riders trying to get away from the rest of the break.

  • 09:50 AM: The catch is coming up

    It looks like the break is about to be caught. Three riders – Garrett Peltonen, Nydam and Van Ulden – are trying to get away. The others, Stevic and crew, are now caught.

  • 09:52 AM: Caught

    The rest of the break has been swept up.

  • 09:53 AM: Rock

    is moving to the front, hoping to set-up Rodriguez for the win.

  • 09:56 AM: Rock Racing

    We see Michael Creed and Tyler Hamilton up in the front. Rock is massing up there and really working for Rodriguez today.

  • 09:57 AM: Into downtown

    The peloton is heading into town and setting up for the sprint.

  • 09:58 AM: With about 4km to go

    Other teams are setting up for the sprint. Here comes Toyota.

  • 09:59 AM: High Road is really pushing the pace

    With Henderson tucked in nicely, the High Road team is driving at the front. Did Rock start its effort too early? 1.5k to go

  • 09:59 AM: here comes Gerolsteiner

    1km to go

  • 10:00 AM: Charge!

    There are a couple turns near the finish…

  • 10:01 AM: 250 meters to go

    and still anyone’s race…. CHARGE…. Ivan Dominguez! Toyota’s Cuban Missle!

  • 10:03 AM: Toyota United gets the win

    There ya go. It was short, fast and fun.
    1. Ivan Dominguez (Cub), Toyota
    2. Matt Rice (USA), Jelly Belly
    3. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner

    Check back soon for a complete race report, full results and photos from Casey Gibson.