|A great day for High Road.
Kim Kirchen won the Fleche Wallone in Europe, and Greg Henderson won the third stage and took over the GC lead in the Tour de Georgia.
Adding the cherry on top, teammate Greipel finished second on the stage.
|Photo by Ken Conley|
After finishing second in yesterday’s bunch sprint, High Road’s Greg Henderson was a bit disappointed:
“At 150m to go I thought I was going to pull it off but I couldn’t get into the 11 cog,” he explained. I don’t don’t really want to blame my gears thought. At least I proved I have good speed and I’ve got another opportunity to go for it tomorrow.”
And he went for it again today. After catching the obligatory break, team High Road took control of the race in the final kilometres moving the whole team to the front coming into the final two circuits.
George Hincapie wound up the lead out, with Andre Geipel as the final man for Henderson.
“We have one of the strongest teams in the race. Right at the finish there I had Kansta Siutsou and George Hincapie looking after me pretty well. I don’t think we left the top five for the last three laps and then coming up 500 to go George just nailed it and Greipel actually dived down inside me on the last corner. I was like ‘that looks good, three High Road.’ And it was just a drag race between Greipel and I to the line. And, yeah I was lucky enough to get it.” said Henderson.
Henderson crossed the line, with Greipel on his wheel, and Slipstream-Chipotle’s Tyler Farrar coming in third. Farrar also picked up the Best Young Rider jersey for his ride.
Again, finding the right composition for the break was a difficult balancing act, as teams were jostling to send their riders into the ‘perfect’ break for the 108 mile stage. Four riders finally managed to escape, Scott Zwizanski (Bissell), Moises Aldape (Team Type 1), Frank Pipp (Health Net-Maxxis) and yesterday Most Aggressive Rider Rhys Pollock (Trek-Marco Polo) and gapped the field by almost five minutes before being reeled back.
The leg-busting rollers took a toll on the breakaway companions, as described by Aldape
“It was a good composition in the beginning, but then guys started to get tired,” Aldape said. “The Bissell guy missed a pull and started to get dropped. I was taking second in the sprints hoping I would make it to the finish and make it in a good position, but when it was under two minutes I started to miss pulls knowing that the peloton was going hard.”
The four-man breakaway was swallowed up by the field charging into the two finishing circuits in Gainesville.
Health Net-Maxxis’ Rory Sutherland launched an attack, went flat out like a lizard drink’n and gained about 10 seconds on the field. Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) chased, caught and passed Sutherland with a charging peloton that quickly gobbled the two riders up.
|High Road team came to the front in a fast and furious sprint to put their two riders on the podium.|
|Photo by Ken Conley|
Yellow Jersey Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) was not able to follow the accelerations in the final circuits, and dropped off the back of the field.
The stage results brought about a shuffle in the GC classification going into tomorrow’s TTT, with Farrar moving up to second place, 9 seconds behing Henderson, and JJ Haedo (CSC) is now in third place.
While crossing a bridge over the Broad River at mile 40, riders Corey Collier (Health Net-Maxxis) Ben Day (Toyota-United) and Tim Duggan (Slipstream Chipotle) were involved in a crash. Duggan was taken to an area hospital where he will remain for the night. Day and Collier were able to finish the stage. According to the team website, Duggan is in stable condition and undergoing further tests. I wish him all the best.
Tomorrow’s Team Time Trial (TTT) should start to identify the contenders. The TTT is raced on the Road Atlanta course in Braselton, GA, a hilly 2.5mile, 12 turn race track with two-minute gaps separating each team as they race a total of 10 miles.
Expect the known timetrialists to shine such as CSC, Astana and Slipstream. It will be very interesting to see if Rock Racing, with some strong time trial talent, can function well as a team in their first team time trial. Also, can BMC repeat their Giro del Fruili team time trial victory? And Bissell also has some very strong time trialists with Tom Zirbel, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Jeremy Vennell.