09:55 AM: Stage 5 of the 2008 Tour de Georgia
Race starts at 10:00 a.m. ET
10:16 AM: Today’s stage
Stage 5 is the longest stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia. It will include three major climbs: Burnt Mountain, Woody Gap and Crown Mountain. The 133.4-mile route starts in Suwanee and passes through 10 counties before finishing in Dahlonega.
10:16 AM: We’re off
Rolling out. The end of today’s stage is tricky, with 5 turns in the last 2k, plus a little kicker hill
10:17 AM: We are at 4.3k
and two riders are off with a 20-second gap.
10:18 AM: The two
Leon Van Bon of Marco Polo and Teddy King of Bissell have about 30 seconds now.
10:28 AM: Mile 8
the two are caught and now we have five others off.
We see Rhys Pollock, Mike Creed, Carl Menzies, Ben Jaqques-Maynes and a Gerolsteiner rider.
10:29 AM: Passing a big pre-school
Lots of folks out; the gap is holding at 20 seconds
10:31 AM: The pack
… is maybe a bit beaten down after yesterday’s hard stage. On the first couple stages, the pack wouldn’t let anybody get a gap early in the stage. Today, these guys rolled of without too much resistance.
10:36 AM: The break
the Gerolsteiner rider is Sven Krauss.
The others are:
Rhys Pollock of GE Trek Marco Polo
Mike Creed of Rock Racing
Carl Menzies of Health Net- Maxxis
and Ben Jaques-Maynes of Bissell
10:38 AM: Mile 12
The five got caught and now we have another three off, including Jelly Belly’s Jeremy Powers and Bissell’s Tom Zirbel
10:42 AM: A conversation with Vande Velde
We talked to Slipstream-Chipotle’s Christian Vande Velde this morning, and he predicted this cold be the hardest stage of the race so far.
There are some tired legs after the TTT (not to mention four days of racing), and this puppy has got some length and some hills, and what could be a very fast finish.
While many racers and observers have focused on tomorrow’s Bald Mountain climb, today could shake up the GC standings if someone, or some team, has something up their sleeve.
10:43 AM: The three
Powers and Zirbel are still off. The third ride is Andrey Mizurov of Astana.
10:50 AM: Mile 17
Our three just came through the first sprint – Powers got it, followed by Zirbel then Mizurov.
The three have about 30 seconds over two chasers, then another 35 seconds ahead of the pack.
The chasers are: Toyota-United’s Dominique Rollin and Symmetrics’ Andrew Pinfold.
10:51 AM: Rollin and Pinfold
have been absorbed by the pack. The three in the breakaway look to have about 20 or 30 seconds over the field, now
10:53 AM: Our KOM
This could be the last day for Frank Pipp to hold the KOM jersey that he took thanks to a sharp sprint up a relatively modest climb on stage 2 … there are some more substantial climbs today.
Pipp got a rear flat just before the intermediate sprint, but got a quick wheel change and rejoined without too much trouble.
10:55 AM: Stage 4
Stage 4 has some history, although the route has changed a bit over the years.
In 2004 Jason McCartney, then with Health Net, won in a dramatic solo breakaway.
10:57 AM: “Flat out!”
The pace is high. We just heard Karl Menzies over the Health Net-Maxxis radio: “It’s flat out up here.”
The gap holding at 15 seconds.
11:01 AM: More on stage 4
In 2006, Freddy Rodriguez showed he’s a sprinter who can get over the hills with the leaders when he won stage 4.
11:04 AM: The gap
Is holding at 20 seconds. High Road and Slipstream are at the front, trying to bring it back.
11:04 AM: Caught
They’ve reeled ’em in.
We are at mile 25 and the pack is all together, for now. The field strung out along green, rolling hills.
11:08 AM: Ancient history
Way back in 2005, CSC’s Brian Vandborg won stage 4, while Floyd Landis used the stage to solidify his overall lead over Discovery’s Lance Armstrong.
11:10 AM: Clarification
We should clarify that McCartney’s 2004 win was actually the 5th stage, but it was the route the corresponds to today’s, finishing in Dahlonega.
11:11 AM: Still fast
If they keep this up there are going to be some tired legs going over the final climb.
Rollin punctured and Henk Vogels dropped back to bring him through the caravan. Looks like Toyota wants to either put Rollin in a move or keep him fresh for the finish.
11:12 AM: Randall
Symmetrics’ Andrew Randall is going clear
11:13 AM: 50k
We are past 50k on a big downhill.
High Road’s Robert Forster is getting a front wheel change.
11:17 AM: Health Net car collision
the Health Net car collided with BMC and is dead on the side of the road, with its air bags deployed. No one hurt, but Health Net is without support, at least temporarily
11:17 AM: Randall caught
And a Marco Polo rider is taking a flyer.
11:19 AM: A long uphill drag
the field is all the way across the road.
We are at mile 33.
Nice day – 75 degrees, nice roads. A great day to be riding.
Still about 20 miles to the first climb, the cat. 3 Burnt Mountain climb.
11:20 AM: The Marco Polo rider
Was caught quickly.
11:26 AM: four off
This one has got a chance:
Tim Johnson of Health Net,
Teddy King of Bissell,
Cam Evans of Symmetrics and
Valery Kobzrenko of Team Type 1
11:27 AM: 40 seconds
They’ve already got a decent gap, the field just took an open feed.
11:29 AM: The gap
Is close to 1:20.
The Health Net car is back on the road, by the way.
VeloNews’ Neal Rogers was in the car when the collision occurred, but he insists it was not his fault. He jumped in the Bissell team car and is back in the caravan.
11:34 AM: Two minutes
The four have two minutes over the pack.
Terrain is rolling, winding roads, the guys in the break are working well together, going over a hill out of the saddle
we are at mile 41
11:36 AM: Sweet pavement
Nice smooth roads, no wind. The break is out of sight of the pack. They’ve got about 13 or 14 miles until the start of the climb.
Gap is 4:20. This may be the break du jour.
11:38 AM: Health Net’s car
The team car is heading up to support Johnson in the break. It looks fine from the rear, but we can’t get a view of the side …
11:39 AM: The finsih
There is a 20-mile descent leading into Dahlonega, but then a kicker climb just a few K’s from the finish: Crown Mountain, where the day’s final KOM points will be awarded.
11:45 AM: 5:10
All four are through the feed zone, they took bags.
Evans, the Canadian road champion, is showing the maple leaf jersey. Johnson, who is married to Canadian cyclocross star Lynne Bessette, lives much of the year in Canada, too.
11:47 AM: 7:15
The gap is over 7 minutes. The pack has apparently decided to let these guys go.
The break is hammering over some little kicker hills. Just standing up for a few pedal strokes, then up and over.
11:48 AM: Nose to stem
Everyone gets into a tuck on the fast little descent, then pops out of the saddle to get over the next hill.
11:52 AM: Mile 48
9:20 the gap now.
Bissell’s Teddy King is second on the KOM competition, so he will looking to get the points today to take over the lead from Frank Pipp.
Bissell was a bit disappointed with its TTT yesterday, when Zirbel dropped his chain … they are on the hunt today.
11:56 AM: 10:20
The gap over ten minutes now. We are rolling past the Life is Good health food store
11:57 AM: Boiled peanuts
We are passing some boiled peanut stands. We will need some reader input here: what’s the appeal? We’ll see if we can pick some up later.
12:00 PM: Duggan
Lots of concern among the riders (and readers) about the health of Timmy Duggan after his big crash. Neal Rogers reports that Duggan is expected to make a full recovery and may be released from hospital later today.
We are at mile 52
12:04 PM: Five-mile gap
The break is at mile 53, the chase is at mile 48.
The separation is too large for the race radios; they are having to rely communications between the gap.
This is reminiscent of last year’s huge gap on stage 3. At some point it becomes a challenge for officials to keep the roads closed for such a long time.
12:06 PM: Riders in the break
12:06 PM: “Biled P-nuts”
We are told you will see signs like that. For the record, all the signs we’ve seen today have been in proper American English spelling, which is more than we can say for this report …
We are told: “Boiled peanuts are actually pretty tasty. Soft, salty, kinda messy and fun
12:09 PM: Georgian Edamame
We are told:
“Pop the whole thing (shell and all) in your mouth. Suck until the yummy salty juice is gone.
“Then — this takes practice — crack open the shell without taking it out of your mouth. Extract the nuts. Spit out shell.”
Sounds fun. If this breakaway gap gets any wider, we’ll be able to stop and buy some while we wait for the “chase” group.
12:15 PM: Last year …
We don’t think we’ll see a repeat of last year’s nearly 30-minute break on stage 3.
Many folks have criticized the teams for allowing that break last year, but you have to admit: it’s become a sort of legend in American biker racing already … we will be talking about it for years.
12:17 PM: An acquired taste?
Not all our readers are fans of boiled peanuts.
One race fan writes:
“They smell putrid — like if you were to pour hot water into a peanut butter jar. They are slimy. And … they taste just as bad as they smell and feel.”
12:22 PM: Mile 57 (for the field)
Leaders are 5k to the top of the KOM
They have an 11-minute gap.
12:23 PM: The chase
Astana, High Road and Slipstream are leading the chase.
The hills are getting harder
12:27 PM: Our four
Evans and King look the strongest, sitting on the climbs, while Johnson and Kobzarenko are standing.
All four are eying each other a little warily – they all are interested in the KOM points, with the possible exception of Johnson, who is likely here primarily to set up teammate Rory Sutherland.
12:28 PM: Rock Racing
A RR rider is jumping away from the field, we can’t ID him
12:29 PM: Sweet view
The road is opening up for a spectacular view of the mountains ahead
12:30 PM: Pena
Victor Hugo Pena is the RR rider. He’s moving, has about 15 seconds, we are in a bit of dip, but we are still in the midst of a long sustained climb — if that makes sense.
12:31 PM: Pena absorbed
That didn’t go far.
12:32 PM: Pena
Don’t know what that was all about.
He’s still just a tick in front of the pack.
11:50 to the break.
12:33 PM: KOM
The chase has 5k to the KOM.
The break must be over the top, but we haven’t heard the points yet, over the race radio.
12:35 PM: Pena
Pena is still dangling off the front.
He may be hoping to get the 5th place KOM points at the top …
12:37 PM: Pena
Is really, truly, caught. 11 mins to the break
12:39 PM: Kobzarenko
Kobzarenko got the KOM, after attacking the others with about 2k to the summit
King was second, then Evans and Johnson.
The four have regrouped on the descent.
12:40 PM: 1k
The field is 1k from the top, all together.
12:44 PM: Boiled peanuts
One reader, a born and bred Alabamian, says “the wimpy palate of the Northerner cannot handle the culture and taste of the boiled peanut.”
We hesitate to even post this; we don’t want to start a culture war here on VeloNews.com today …
12:45 PM: Henk Vogels
Toyota-United’s Vogels dropped out at the KOM summit
12:45 PM: Winding descent
We’re hitting 40-50mph. nice view of the valley ahead to the north
12:47 PM: Nice grass
Nice tall grass on the side of the road. If the boys overshoot a corner they’ll have a soft landing.
Nice road surface. This is a 4-mile descent, according to the race bible.
12:50 PM: Subway again
The media car is breaking into the Subway boxed lunches. The cookies always seem to go fast …
12:53 PM: Fifth place KOM
Was grabbed by Lucas Euser of Slipstream
12:56 PM: The next climb
Is Woody Gap, topping out at about mile 107.
The word over the radio is that it’s sprinkling up there. It’s cloudy here with the pack.
12:59 PM: Ben Day
Toyota-United has lost another rider. Day, who crashed on that downhill the other day, has left the race.
01:03 PM: Marco Polo
Two Marco riders are stopped with mechanicals
The field is is at 72.5 Some dropped riders are back at mile 68 … we’re trying to get a split to the four breakaways …
01:05 PM: The chase
The front of the pack is now single file, the pace is picking up a bit as High Road, Slipstream and Astana contribute.
01:07 PM: 8:55
The gap is coming down a bit
01:13 PM: More abandoned
Health Net’s Kirk O’Bee has dropped out, along with Marco Polos Sergey Koudentsov.
So we’ve had 4 drop outs today — the broom wagon is filling up.
Mavic support is helping out Rock Racing’s Mike Creed with a mechanical.
01:15 PM: Another disaster averted
A race volunteer, who we like to call The Dog Wrestler, has a puppy pinned in a front yard, keeping him out of the road. He’s kept a few pups out of harm’s way this week.
01:17 PM: Looks like California all over again
With Levi Leipheimer’s Astana squad providing most of the horsepower for the chase, it looks like the TOC. And Leipheimer doesn’t even have the lead here. High Road is chipping in a few riders, too.
01:19 PM: Gonna be some tired legs tomorrow
There is a LOT of up and down today, even besides the three KOM climbs. Tomorrow will be tough.
01:21 PM: Zooom!
Ok, we are back with the leaders.
The four are laboring up yet another grade, Johnson is just peeling off the front.
01:22 PM: The gap: 8:00
Eight minutes even for our four, who are passing a small crowd.
The field is at mile 80.
Our four are speeding down a descent now.
01:24 PM: Abandoned
We may have misheard the radio – it was apparently two Marco Polo riders who abandoned, and Health Net’s O’Bee is still in the race
01:28 PM: Our four.
Johnson is taking on some bottles from the team car. the guys have been fueling up these last few miles. They still look fairly relaxed. They have about 18 miles to go to the next KOM on Woody Gap.
01:32 PM: gap 7:30
Field is at mile 84.
Leaders are at mile 87
01:34 PM: Health Net
They have just the one car, and they have to go up to the break to feed Johnson, then park and wait for the pack to support the rest of the boys.
In the field, Astana is still on the front 90 percent of the time. They are really showing some leadership here. There are still a few Slipstreamers and High Roaders in there at the front, too.
01:37 PM: Our four
reminder, the break is:
Tim Johnson of Health Net,
Teddy King of Bissell,
Cam Evans of Symmetrics and
Valery Kobzrenko of Team Type 1.
They have a bit over seven minutes gap. they are at mile 89, the chase is at mile 86
01:38 PM: High Road on the front
We see a High Road rider taking a turn at the front.
the media car is officially out of cookies. these long stages are tough.
01:40 PM: The skies
Are a bit gray, but it doesn’t look stormy.
We may have missed our chance at boiled peanuts, haven’t seen any signs lately.
Nice dogwoods. The Fannin County Fire Truck #13 is greeting the race with its lights on. Reminds me of an R.E.M. song.
01:44 PM: Leaders at 90.8
Our four are at Mile 90.8, the pack is at 88.
The four are still rolling through, biding time until the big climb. They look very relaxed.
The pack is rolling along beside a nice river, the Toccoa.
01:45 PM: Echelon
Astana and High Road have the front of the chase peloton spread out from gutter to gutter.
The pack is averaging 25mp for the day so far.
01:46 PM: The break
Johnson is taking a pull, munching on something.
01:47 PM: King
Teddy King is dousing himself with a water bottle.
The gap is 7:05.
01:49 PM: The break
has hit a nice little descent
01:52 PM: Still fueling
Our four are eating, drinking and dousing themselves, preparing for the climb.
01:54 PM: gap 6:50
back with the chase, at mile 93, we are passing the Huntin’ and Fishin’ Headquarters. We are rolling down into another valley, passing some cows
02:01 PM: The Gap: 6:30
Mile 95 for the field.
The sun is coming back out. Looks like we may dodge the rain today.
There is group of six off the back in danger of missing the time cut, according to race radio. We don’t have IDs on those riders yet.
We were premature in saying the breakaway had reached the foot of Woody Gap, sorry about that. They still have a bit to go.
02:04 PM: The four-man break
Their gap is under seven minutes. They are working up a bit of a climb together. Out of the saddles.
Johnson is taking a feed. TJ looks a tad tired, but he’s still taking his turns at the front.
02:07 PM: 5:45
the gap is 5:45. the field is at mile 99
02:10 PM: some big old rollers
Just up and down all day. It’s about 79 degrees out here. We are on a sweet, narrow rural road, no center line.
02:14 PM: Gap is coming down
Astana, High Road and Slipstream continue to chew away at the gap.
Our break is — really and truly — approaching the base of Woody Gap, and we can expect it to disintegrate once the climb gets going in earnest.
hard to say who looks strongest, although Kobzrenko looks pretty motivated, and Johnson looks to perhaps be having a bit of trouble latching back onto to the break when he come off a pull, especially on the climbs …
02:17 PM: Wind
There’s not much wind, but there’s a breeze from the rider’s right; they are fanning out a bit on the open sections.
02:23 PM: On Woody Gap
Our leaders have just under 5k to go to the top.
They are still working together, trading pace.
Johnson is on the front currently. Kobzrenko still looks freshest to our eyes, but that may just be his riding style.
02:24 PM: Evans and King
Johnson pulled off and left a little gap to Evans and King, while Kobzrenko was stuck behind, but Johnson closed it.
02:25 PM: Slight descent
And as they hit a slight descent, Johnson went back to the front. They are at 105.5 mile
02:26 PM: Their gap under 5 minutes
4:50 is the gap back to the peloton now.
02:28 PM: 3:50
break is at mile 106.5
field is one mile behind.
the skies are getting darker …
02:31 PM: 1K to the KOM
for the leaders.
In the back, rider 117, Emile Abraham of Team Type 1, has abandoned.
02:32 PM: Johnson attacks
He put the hammer down, then blew
02:32 PM: the other three
are duking it out, not sure who got it
02:34 PM: Field within 1k of the KOM
they are still all together.
looks like Johnson will catch on on the descent
02:37 PM: Johnson is back with the others
He just did one of those little attack-before-you-get-dropped things with about 400 meters to go to the KOM. But the others sat up over the top to wait for him.
02:39 PM: Evans
it was Cam Evans who got the KOM, followed by King, Kobzrenko, Johnson and, back with the field, Andrey Mizurov of Astana.
the field is now at mile 112 and, on the road, it smells like rain.
02:41 PM: Yellow jersey dropped
High Road’s Greg Henderson was dropped with five other riders on the climb.
02:42 PM: 115
Leaders at at mile 115, screaming down this descent
02:43 PM: Damp roads
A shower must have moved through a while ago — the roads are a bit damp, but the riders don’t seem to be having any troubles.
02:48 PM: Thanks to NOAA
Dahlonega this afternoon: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76. South wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
The race will be heading due south into the city and the finish on the campus of North Georgia College and State University.
02:49 PM: the gap grows
It’s back up to four minutes, now.
02:52 PM: 3:50
And the four are, perhaps, realizing that they’ve now got a real chance of staying away to the finish. We see a little more energy in this group.
02:55 PM: 3:30
The gap now 3 1/2 mins
The break is at mile 120, the field is at mile 117.
02:56 PM: Rain
It’s raining lightly on the leaders now.
02:57 PM: 2:55
The gap is under 3 minutes, the rain is picking up.
The leaders are about to see the 20k to go sign.
02:59 PM: the Health Net car
is coming back to the front to support Johnson.
There is a steady drizzle now.
03:00 PM: Johnson
Johnson is taking a lot of strong pulls, but the lead is coming down.
03:01 PM: 2:20 gap
As the pack went over the hill at 20k to go, the break had just 2:20. High Road led over the top.
03:02 PM: Wipers on
Just to give you an idea, we’ve got the wipers on the low setting.
03:04 PM: If it gets slippery
You’ve got to give Johnson a better than average chance, based on his bike handling skills. He’s the reigning national cyclocross champ
03:05 PM: Evans looking good
Evans looking smooth on a climb at mile 125. He’s got the best poker face of the four, at least.
03:06 PM: Gap is 2:10
The peloton is at mile 123.8. Yellow jersey Greg Henderson is still off the back
03:08 PM: Rain picking up
This could become a real issue. It was a nice cooling rain, now it’s becoming a almost heavy. The fast wiper setting soon …
03:09 PM: Henderson is back
Henderson is back in the fold, but Tyler Farrar has been dropped.
The leaders are approaching the 10k to go line
03:12 PM: 1:55
The latest gap is 1:55 to the four, who are really pouring it on, now.
03:13 PM: 1:35
the gap continues to shrink, as the rain lightens up. 1:35 is the gap at the 10k line
03:15 PM: Sun
The leaders are back in the sun and are hammering, altho, we might humbly observe, they are looking over their shoulders a bit too often.
03:16 PM: 1:15
The gap is 1:15
We hear it’s nice and dry at the finish.
03:18 PM: the final KOM
The top of Crown Mountain is STEEP. That’s got to blow this group apart.
03:18 PM: 5k to go
3k to the KOM, then another 2k to the finish
03:19 PM: If there is still a group …
the final half k is a steady uphill, too
03:20 PM: one minute
60-second gap with 4k to go
03:21 PM: Johnson
Skipped a pull
40 second gap now
03:22 PM: Ik to the KOM
the leaders are 1k from the top
03:22 PM: TJ!
03:23 PM: he’s gotta good gap over the over 3
but the peloton is just 20s back
03:24 PM: Johnson was looking good
but the whole peloton has caught them
03:24 PM: We’re all together now, on the last steep part of the hill
They are over, not sure who led,
03:27 PM: Rock Racing
There is a RR rider off the front on the descent.
Coming into the finish, there is a sharp left at 150 meters to go
03:29 PM: And – A Bissell rider!
in the sprint, it looks like England
03:32 PM: Bissell’s Richard England
England held on to take the uphill sprint
03:37 PM: unofficial results
1. Richard England (Aus) Bissell Pro Cycling
2 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis
3 George Hincapie (USA) Team High Road
4 Andrew Pinfold (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team
5 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Rock Racing
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7 Moises Aldape Chavez (Mex) Team Type 1
8 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
03:40 PM: Sutherland
Sutherland almost took the stage, after getting a free ride all day thanks to Johnson’s presence in the break.
There was some separation in the field as they came over the finish, so what this will mean for the overall is uncertain – we think we saw Henderson come over a few seconds behind England (and Leipheimer) and crew …
04:04 PM: Still with us?
Slipstream’s Trent Lowe is now in yellow and leads the best young rider comp.
Henderson has the sprinter’s jersey
Teddy King took over the KOM
And Tim Johnson gets the most aggressive award
And that’s all from here. Check back to VeloNews.com soon for a full report, photos and complete results.