High Road of course, who executed perfectly. On stage 3, Greg Henderson won his first stage in a bunch sprint with his teammate Andre Greipel coming into second, grabbed a hold of the points jersey which he never let go and the yellow jersey. While the team had to relinquish the yellow jersey the next day, it came right back again with the great ride by Kanstantin Sivtsov on Brasstown Bald to snag the win. And then to cap it off, Greg Henderson won the last stage.
Slipstream-Chipotle. I won’t go into the ‘did they know about Sivtsov on not on Brasstown’? Either way, Trent Lowe showed great promise by sticking to Leipheimer’s wheel after Astana had thrown everything they could to soften him and his team up, so much so that the 23-year old Lowe was isolated. Second on overall GC and best young rider jersey is no mean feat. The team also grabbed the Team Time Trial utilizing the strength of each rider to its best.
The domestic teams raced aggressively all week and mixed it up on every stage. The best aggressive jersey was awarded to a domestic rider almost every day (the second stage’s jersey is debatable): BMC‘s Scott Nydam, Health Net-Maxxis’ Rory Sutherland and Tim Johnson, Jittery Joe’s Neil Shirley.
Toyota-United‘s Ivan Dominguez came through once again to win the first stage and the first yellow jersey. The team sent out their man, Justin England, in a long breakaway to rest the team and force other teams to chase, therefore keeping the yellow jersey for two days.
Health Net-Maxxis’ cheeky move to grab the KOM on the second stage by their sprinter Frank Pipp and keeping it until the first mountain stage was brilliant. And who knew Rory Sutherland could climb so well?
Bissell came into Georgia with a singular focus, the team time trial. When the results expected didn’t happen due to multiple reasons, the team regrouped and came out swinging the very next day. The team were in every move until the right one went and a calculating Teddy King got the KOM points needed to get on the podium that day. And then sprinter Richard England came through and with his win, showed everyone that he deserved to be counted with the other fast men.
Team Type 1, on its first year as a professional team, finished third in the team overall classification with four riders in the final top 20 including Moises Aldape’s sixth place finish on Brasstown Bald.
Symmetrics finally put a rider on the podium on the last stage, desperate to get media attention to try and save the team.
The great interviews conducted by Frankie Andreu and available on theBroadbandRacer. The wonderful photos and words by Ken Conley. Recaps and links provided by steephill.tv included video footage on the finishes.
the bad (or the not so good)
It’s great that the race was freely available via wcsn.com for all to view and to enjoy, but the quality of the coverage left a lot to be desired at times. First the commentators – okay so I can understand to need to get a professional talking head who knew nothing about cycling, but please provide him with information about cycling, strategy and the riders instead of letting him fill air with inane comments.
Then there’s the quality of the feed itself. On the first stage, the feed goes dead just before the finish so we miss the bunch sprint. Then on Brasstown Bald, after listening for hours to the commentators talking only about the Lowe-Leipheimer duel, the camera pans away in the last 500m and we missed their finish. Thank goodness we saw Sivtsov’s attack and win.
I could go on, but instead here are some recommendations. Get someone to listen to race radio to know what is going on in the race so they can feed the information to the commentators. Get someone to research the riders in the break for the same reason. Send your camera people (and motorcycle drivers) to a race in Europe to learn or import one to the next race and take notes. Never, ever pan away from the finish. If a motorcycle breaks on one day, make sure it doesn’t happen the next day.
and the… beautiful
All the riders that rode with their nose in the wind to protect their leaders, all the riders that jumped in long break to give an opportunity for their teammates to rest and then did it again the next day, all the riders that set up their sprinters bumping shoulders with the other teams, all the riders that went back and forth to fetch bottles from their team cars, all the riders that gave their wheels and bikes to their teammates, all the riders that crashed and finished the race with bruises, road rashes, cuts and all kinds of injuries, all the riders that crashed and couldn’t finish due to injury, all the riders that improved their best performance but didn’t get noticed by the media as they didn’t crack the ‘magic’ top 10, all the riders that crossed the line after the podium ceremonies were completed …. I applaud you.