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April 22/08 11:48 am - Tour de Georgia: Stage 2 report


Posted by Editoress on 04/22/08
 

Tour de Georgia Georgia USA


Report by Amy Smolens

Prerace, Andrew Pinfold - Symmetrics

I spoke to Andrew Pinfold as his Symmetrics teammates heckled him about being the "team leader."

Amy Smolens: Talk about how yesterday went, pretty good to have Christian Meier in the break and take the pressure off you?

Andrew Pinfold: Oh, I think it was excellent to have Christian up there and we thought maybe he'd be able to get enough time bonuses to get in the jersey for the young rider competition but... It was good, you know the guys rode well and covered the moves and then at the end we tried to kind of do a bit of a later hitout and come into the finish a bit later but it was just too narrow and it didn't really work out. We should have known better, I should have known better and said we had to get up there a bit earlier but you know, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

AS: Knowing today's profile how do you think the stage will unfold and what do you know about the finale?

AP: I think it depends, if it's really hard on the hill (one small climb tackled twice in the finish circuit,) if Frank (Franç:ois Parisien) is feeling good I think we'll look to him maybe a little bit. We'll see, if it's wide open and it stays together, you know we'll have a dig but if it goes as hard as it's supposed to maybe Frank will have a go so it'll be good.

Prerace, Franç:ois Parisien - Symmetrics

AS: Andrew thinks today's a good profile for you, what do you know about today's finale, do you think that, too?

Franç:ois Parisien: It's definitely better than yesterday. It's more punchy and I'm a punchy rider. Yesterday was a big massive sprint, it's a little bit harder for me, but today there's a climb, the top of the climb's only 4k from the finish so that should take out some of the big, fast sprinters, so I have a better chance I think.

AS: And after your bad luck at Redlands, your crash on the last day, are you itching for a result?

FP: Yeah, I'm looking for some good luck, try to reverse everything around and just hoping for the best.


Well, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and that final climb on the circuits was not as tough as expected. The teammate of race leader Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United's Justin England, was away on a solo break for 32 kilometres. Marco Polo's Rhys Pollock and Jelly Belly's Bryce Mead later joined him for an additional 60k away from the field. The sprinters' teams pulled the break back before the reaching Augusta, and the pure sprinters had no problems powering their way up the hill twice. For the second day in a row the stage finished in a field sprint, this time with Juan José Haedo of CSC besting High Road's Greg Henderson and Dominguez. Dominguez hung on to the Yellow Jersey by a mere 3 seconds over Henderson. Symmetrics' "team leader" Andrew Pinfold showed well for the team, crossing the line in 5th place.


Postrace, Kevin Cunningham - Owner, Team Symmetrics

AS: Talk about today's stage and how it developed.

Kevin Cunningham: It was a pretty standard stage where a break got up the road and everyone just basically ignored it, and with about 80k left to go they started doing a little chasing and then they caught them with about 10-15k to go. And then Tthe hill (on the circuit) wasn't hard enough to really split the field up so it was a little obvious that it was going to come down to a field sprint so then it was just about positioning coming into the last 2k.

AS: How did the team want to set things up for the sprint?

KC: Well, yesterday we left it until way too late so we wanted to get the guys a lot closer to the front, and coming in with about 2k to go we had Svein (Tuft) right at the front and Pinner (Andrew Pinfold) was in a good position. I think you have to come out of these corners in the top 3 if you want to podium and he still was a little too far back, but 5th is still a good result.

AS: How good is that result in a big race like this?

KC: Well, we're really happy with 5th, obviously we always think we can do better. We're pretty confident with the team we have here so we're looking for more of those as the race goes on and we're excited about the next five days.

AS: And your goals for the rest of the race, what do you see on the horizon for Team Symmetrics?

KC: Well, I think Brasstown Bald's going to be really good for Christian (Meier,) Svein is in really top form right now and Cam Evans is in really top form. We come into these races as a really balanced team, so just depending on breaks and how the race unfolds really decides how we race it.

AS: And what about Thursday's Team Time Trial, is that something you guys have worked on?

KC: Yeah, we've done quite a lot of team time trialing and quite a lot of pursuiting on the track so we're quite anxious to do it. We're looking forward to it so we think we're going to put in a strong one, but there's a lot of strong teams here.


Postrace, Len Pettyjohn - Director, Toyota-United

AS: So the second straight consecutive successful day for Toyota-United, another day in Yellow. Things went just as you planned it, right?

Len Pettyjohn: Not exactly, you never know. You have to make decisions on the fly. We knew the race would be aggressive. We were not going to defend for Dominguez, we were just going to be there and look for opportunities to be in the moves. There are a lot of ways to defend the jersey - one is you can ride tempo or you can be in the breaks and if you're in the right break then you don't have to work. You can also make the breaks and that's what Justin (England) did, it was just a decision on the fly, things kind of lulled a little bit, Justin just rolled off the front and got a time gap and was like "ok fine, just keep going and see what happens" and a lot of guys sat up at that point and he got enough of a gap and as soon as you get that gap everybody starts looking at everybody else. And then with one guy or three guys it's not a problem to bring them back but at that point it was not OUR problem, then it was the other teams who were riding for the stage and for the GC.

AS: And then Ivan Dominguez, Dominique Rollin, Henk Vogels and your other guys can just relax.

LP: You know they're in there, it's not easy, but they don't have to work. Now they don't have to hit the front so it worked out very well, smart move by Justin and good move for the team.

AS: Talk about how Dominique contributes to the success of Toyota-United.

LP: Well I think all the guys contribute. Dominique Rollin's a new guy to the team and I think people already know what a big horse he is and he's enormously talented. We expected a little better out of him today but he started suffering allergy problems, as are most of the guys either already or will. Because the pollen counts are enormously high here and it really saps your strength and he was really having trouble breathing the last 50-60k in the race. So for him it's frustrating because he felt so good in the morning and it could have been and should have been a day for him but when the allergies hit, I mean everybody knows what it's like.

AS: Not to date you, but you've been around for a while. Who would you compare Dom to in style of riding and type of engine?

LP: Well, I've been around since 10-speeds. In current comparisons Dominique probably reminds me a lot of Tom Boonen. He's that size, that style and can handle very rough, difficult conditions. He's very powerful, with enormously high numbers. He also reminds me a lot of Jens Voigt, that style of rider and if you know, realistically very similar power profiles. And he's developed into a pretty smart bike rider - he's still young, just turned 25 so I think the future's ahead of him and he's got to have a chance to ride the Classics and the big races in Europe and I think he's gonna be a contender.

AS: And perhaps he'll have a chance to represent Canada in the Olympics this summer...

LP: Well, I think everybody would be shocked if he's not in Beijing. I mean, it's certainly not his kind of course but he deserves to represent Canada because he's clearly one of the top guys North of the border and South of the border.

Courtesy Tour de Georgia

In the final 100 meters of a 115.7-mile (186.2 km) stage, sprint specialist Juan Jose Haedo (ARG) of Team CSC burst ahead of the 119-rider field in downtown Augusta to win Stage Two of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. Recovering from a broken wrist while training in March, Haedo edged out Greg Henderson (NZL) of Team High Road and Ivan Dominguez (CUB) of Toyota-United Pro Cycling, who finished second and third, respectively.

"I decided in the last 5 K (kilometers) that I would know if I wanted to be in the sprint. I just wanted to be safe, so I managed to stay in the front and I found Ivan's (Dominguez) wheel; so I think it was the perfect lead out," said Haedo, winner of the Sprint Jersey at the 2007 Tour de Georgia.

With his third place finish today, Dominguez will continue to lead the General Classification (G.C.) and wear the AT&T Overall Leader jersey. Henderson moved to second place in the G.C., three seconds behind Dominguez. Haedo's victory moved him up to third place overall. Notable American riders in the G.C. are Chris Horner of Astana (27th), George Hincapie of Team High Road (36th), Tom Danielson of Slipstream Chipotle (39th), Bobby Julich of Team CSC (57th) and Levi Leipheimer of Astana (61st).

Today's Stage Two of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T was highlighted by the first significant break of the Tour. Justin England (USA) of Toyota-United, Rhys Pollock (AUS) of GE Marco Polo presented by Trek, and Bryce Mead (USA) of Jelly Belly Cycling broke away from the peloton at the 40-mile mark in the race before being absorbed by the group as it approached the downtown Augusta circuits. Back in the pack, Team High Road and, later, Slipstream Chipotle aggressively jostled for positioning in the final sprint.

"We have a great team and I had George Hincapie looking after me in the final sprint and he got me in the right position with about a kilometer to go," said Henderson. "I jumped on the back of CSC and I went for the line, but unfortunately as I shifted to my 11 sprocket, my big gear, I couldn't drop down in time, so I missed a big opportunity there."

Stage Two began in Statesboro, home of Georgia Southern University. The relatively flat course favored sprinters initially with Georgia Power Sprints in Millen and Sardis, before giving climbers their first opportunity to gain points at the first United Community Bank King of the Mountain (KOM) line in North Augusta. This KOM point marked the first time the Tour has entered South Carolina.

While Dominguez will remain as the Maxxis Sprint Leader, the sprint jersey will be worn in Stage Three by Henderson, currently second in sprint points. Frank Pipp (USA) of HealthNet presented by Maxxis won the United Community Bank King of the Mountain (KOM) competition. Pollack's efforts in the break earned him the Georgia Lottery Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for Stage Two. Nicholas Sanderson (AUS) of Jelly Belly will continue to wear the GE Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage Three will depart Wednesday from Washington, in Wilkes County, GA, a first-time host venue for the Tour. The stage will begin at 11:00 a.m. and is expected to finish between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. in Gainesville/Hall County, GA. This will mark the third time the Tour has been held in Hall County, with Gainesville hosting a stage finish in 2003 and a stage start in 2005. Riders will leave the tree-lined streets and restored antebellum homes of Washington for a 109.7 mile (176.5 km) journey through undulating terrain before a circuit finish on the streets of downtown Gainesville. Riders will have three opportunities to earn sprint points at Georgia Power Sprints in Comer (Madison County), Ila (Madison County) and Homer (Banks County).

 


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