Tour de Georgia Stage 4 – Slipstream just goes harder and wins the TTT and Hendy keeps the yellow

Posted on 24. Apr, 2008 by in race

Slipstream TTT - (c) Ken Conley Slipstream-Chipotle ‘just went harder’ (in honor of their teammate Timmy Duggan ) won the first even Team Time Trial (TTT) at the Tour de Georgia crossing the line with the minimum number of riders.

Astana finished second at 4 seconds back with High Road in third a further 2 seconds back.

Photo by Ken Conley

High Road’s Greg Henderson keeps his yellow jersey for another day with his teammate Andre Greipel in second place. With their team win today, Dave Zabriskie moves to third overall followed by Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde.

Teams approached the 2.5 mile, 12 turn hilly course that started off with 14 percent kicker on the first climb with different tactics.

High Road - (c) Ken Conley For High Road, it was about keeping the team together for as long as possible, they started off with 7 guys (as Devine didn’t start due to sickness), kept a relatively steady speed and only lost 1 guy before crossing the line, always protecting yellow jersey Henderson.
Photo by Ken Conley

Astana chose to blast out of the gate, setting a blistering first lap of over 31 miles/hr, But the pace was too high for the team, and riders dropped immediately, started off with Schär, then Kireyev, and Mizurov. Diesel engine Leipheimer had to slow down to make sure that enough guys were still there at the finish line, and Astana crossed the line with 5 riders still together out of the 8 starters. Dropped - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Slipstream, with 7 riders, went out fast and did the third fastest time in the first lap, keeping the pressure up using riders up when needed. When Tyler Farrar could no longer follow the pace, he was jettisoned even if he was second in the GC going into the stage, all in the pursuit of the stage win. And it worked.

“The hill was hard but a nice part of the course for me. I actually used it to recover,” said Danielson, one of the very few riders that appreciated the hill. “Plus it added some disruption to the course, so teams really needed to ride smart to keep it together for all four laps.

Team CSC finished fourth at 13 seconds and Toyota-United in fifth place. There seems to be some confusion as to the Toyota-United result, CyclingNews has them in 5th place at 23 seconds back, and the Tour de Georgia site has them in 9th place. Since no major incident was shown during the live coverage, I chose to go with the 5th place result until official results are finally posted.

This leaves BMC in 6th place at 31 seconds back, which is a good result for the team.

“Overall, I am really very pleased with how the guys rode,” BMC Directeur Sportif Gavin Chilcott said after all the teams had completed their rides. “The laps unfolded as planned, and though we may have been able to go 10 seconds faster due to little 1-2 second mistakes here and there, there were no technical mistakes and everyone was riding strongly.”

Shows the speed for each lap for a few select teams.

Yeah, that’s what happens when stuck in meetings.

Looking around at some of the other teams, through the blogosphere.

Bissell was hit with bad luck when their ace TT Tom Zirbel dropped his chain going up the hill on the third lap. He was never able to rejoin the team, and the team finished 41 seconds behind Slipstream.

Rock Racing showed that having good individual time trialists does not necessarily mean good TTT results. They also lost riders quickly, and faded to the end finishing in 10th place. Oscar Sevilla did longer pulls and showed his great form, but Botero was surprisingly one of the dropped riders.

Symmetrics started off conservatively, too conservatively, and even though they were, with Team Type 1, the only teams to finish with all their riders, their 11th place was a so so result for the team.

“It was the first that we were doing a team timetrial together”, said Symmetrics’ François Parisien. “We started a bit slow, with 10 seconds off the average time and we increased 5 seconds per lap. We rode a bit too conservatively, and we all agree that we could have had a better time. Since we are in the average time, no one is very happy but no one is too disappointed”

Team Type 1 was happy with their results finishing in 12th place, 56 seconds slower than Slipstream. The team learned from the misfortune of others, as described on their blog:

“We made sure we changed into the little ring before we reached the climb because of the danger of dropping your chain,” Glen Chadwick said. “We also had Fabio (Calabria) not in the rotation on the middle laps because he’s not the best guy to draft off of. But then on the last lap he actually put the hurt on us.”

So how tough was it?

“There were a few times my vision went blurry and my head tilted sideways.” said Health Net-Maxxis’ Matt Cooke on GamsJams.net. And that about sums up the TTT.

Tomorrow a new Tour de Georgia starts when the climbers and GC contenders come out and play. Stage Five is the Tour’s longest stage at 133.4 miles (214.7 kilometers) and is the first of two mountain stages, and includes 3 KOMs and 1 intermediate sprint to add even more powder to the mix. Teams have to ask themselves if they want to conserve their potential GC spot or risk it all.

Expect Symmetrics to try and blow it apart tomorrow. Teams will be jockeying for the break again – riders such as Jelly Belly’s Aaron Tuckerman, CSC’s Inigo Cuesta or Jason McCartney, Team Type 1′s Glen Chadwick. Health Net-Maxxis’ Tim Johnson and BMC opportunists to try and initiate the early break. Jittery Joe’s Neil Shirley has stated that he wants the KOM jersey so he has to go early and try and collect the points. Bissell will want to forget their disappointing TTT and will try to join the frey. Toyota-United’s Ben Day and Chris Baldwin have been very quiet, are they looking for top 10 GC or for a stage win? With 4 guys in the top 10, Zabriskie, Vande Velde, Danielson and Lowe, who will Slipstream send up the road to force Astana to chase? Or will they wait to put everything on the line on Brasstown Bald?

On a side note, check out The Broadband Racer for great interviews conducted by Frankie Andreu.

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