Monday, April 16, 2007
Tour of Georgia Kicks off
Tour of Georgia starts today with a stage for the sprinters 153K. 7 stages in all. Discovery have brought out the heavy hitters and arguably have the strongest team in the race with Danielson,Leiphemer,Hincapie supported by Brajkovic,Vandborg, and Padrnos. CSC have the on form JJ Haedo who should clean up the sprints as well as Dave Zabriskie. Saunier Duval bring in some big names with Simoni and Millar. Quickstep and Lotto both are in the race but with the Classics just ending it isn't with the A-Team.
Domestic Squads are fully represented and HealthNet, Navigators, and Toyota United all look strong. Tinkoff have Pavel Brutt and of course the returning Tyler Hamilton. I still remain conflicted on Tyler's return and am expecting to revel in his lack of form. Maybe David Millar can talk some sense into him. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton pulled a teary eyed rerun of the Richard Virenque story.
Stages 4 and 5 should be decisive-an ITT followed by Brasstown Bald.
I will predict a podium consisting of Danielson,Leiphemer. and Zabriskie. I would love to see a couple domestic teams work together to bring the Pro-Tour giants to their knees but I doubt it will happen. Domestic teams will probably have to be content to lose time and gun for stage wins.
Hopefully a serious duel between domestic and international climbers with Simoni vs Grajales on Brasstown. Without a doubt Saunier Duval have the best named rider in the racw with Dutchman Remmert Cornelis Wielinga!
Can George Hincapie escape his bad luck and get some results in Georgia? With Discovery's team sponsorship unclear for next year, George needs some results if he is to remain a leader for the classics. Otherwise he better be prepared to make like Van Petegam or Horner and work for a new leader.
Pais Vasco wrapped up with Sammy Sanchez winning a time trial and Juan Cobo from Saunier Duval getting the overall. Contador continues to stay strong
Ardennes classics are lurking only about a week away for Leige and 2 weeks for Fleche Wallone and of course Amstel Gold. Nice.