|Toyota-United’s Ivan Dominguez won the sprint in the first stage of the Tour de Georgia 2008.
This makes Toyota-United the only domestic team to win a stage in every American stage race (California, Georgia and Missouri).
|Photo by Ken Conley|
With 1000 meters to go, team captain and tough guy, Henk Vogels led the charge with Dominique Rollin, Dominguez and Hilton Clarke on his wheel to set up the sprint. Vogels moved off the front with 500 meters to go putting Rollin in charge of the last lead out, and Dominguez blew past him with 200 meters to go to take the win,
“With 50 meters to go, I looked under my arm and saw I had the same gap as when I passed everyone earlier and realized then I was the fastest and no one was going to pass me.” said Dominguez after the race.
When I last talked with Dominguez, after the second stage in Redlands, he wasn’t satisfied with his form:
“Form is not good, not like last year. I’m still trying to get it, it’s not there yet but I’m trying. I’m riding here but I’m not a hundred percent, still suffering in some places but I’m not worried about it. I’m trying to get the most strength I can, I like to be racing.” said Dominguez after finishing third in the Redlands crit.
I guess his form is back. Jelly Belly’s Sanderson and Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) rounded off the podium.
The first attack was launched by Thor (Bissell’s Tom Zirbel) to get the ball rolling, but it was short-lived. A very interesting but brief 13-man break was created and included Slipstream’s Tom Danielson which opened up questions on Danielson’s role in Georgia. Danielson is returning from weeks of rehabilitation following his shoulder injury, surgery and herniated disk, and Georgia is only his second race back after Redlands. Danielson is a free agent to jump on any opportunity that arises and is not the GC leader for the team, Vande Velde is. The good news is that Danielson was able to read the break and jump in when the time came.
At about mid-way through the short 70.4 mile stage, a break finally stuck which included BMC breakaway artist Scott Nydam – from the BMC report:
“It was just another case of being in the right place at the right time,” Nydam said after the stage. “Daren Lill and I were protected in the pack while the other guys on the team were working to cover the moves,” Nydam described, “after about 40 miles things calmed down and Mike Sayers told me to keep my head up and look for the next moves to be more meaningful.” Sayers road wisdom paid off.
The 5-man break was reeled in by the sprinters’ teams with less than 10 miles to go. Teams were jostling to put their sprinters and leadout men into position, with Dominguez winning the battle at the line.
Dominguez will wear the yellow jersey in tomorrow’s stage, the 116.9mi rolling course from Statesboro to Augusta. Will Toyota-United defend the leaders jersey or are we going to be ‘treated’ to another break that gains over 20 minutes to the field, and basically settles the GC? Just like happened in the second stage of the Tour of Missouri when Dominguez had the leader’s jersey. The organizers and the fans hope not.
In other good news. Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United), in his first race back after knee problems, was very active in the intermerdiate sprints. Time will tell if he is fully recovered.
|For his work off the front, Scott Nydam gets, again, the most aggressive jersey; Photo by Ken Conley|