Well, we're heading into the third stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia in pretty much the same condition we started the first stage. No one is yet building a claim to the overall GC. In fact, we're still in the dark as to who some teams are turning to for their GC hopes. And the only clear favorite is waiting with quiet confidence at the back of the peloton. Against this background, the Tour de Georgia has thus far been a sprinter's race, and don't expect that to change for Stage Three.
Stage Three starts in the small town of Washington and heads north to Gainesville. This 109.7 mile (176.5 km) stage will mark start of the transition to the mountains of North Georgia, with this stage featuring a steady rise in elevation. Most of the ride will feature rural country highways until the peloton arrives in Gainesville for another circuit finish.
The stage is scheduled to start at 11:00am and finish sometime between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. You can get the official terrain profile and map (as PDFs) or you can check out a composite from MapMyRide.com (provided in partnership with WCSN).
The stage will start with the the leader jerseys on the following riders:
- AT&T Georgia Leader Jersey: Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team
- Georgia Power Sprint Leader's Jersey*: Greg Henderson, Team High Road
- United Community Bank King of the Mountain: Frank Pipp, HealthNet presented by Maxxis
- GE Energy Best Young Rider Leader's Jersey: Nicholas Saunderson, Jelly Belly Cycling Team
- Georgia Lottery Most Aggressive Jersey: Rhys Pollock, GE Marco Polo presented by Trek
- * Worn by Henderson due to Dominguez holding Leader jersey.
Rhys Pollock also brings some glory to the GE Marco Polo team, having snagged the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for his efforts in bridging from the peloton up to Toyota-United's Justin England. It's a bit surprising, however, that this jersey didn't go to England, who created the reason for Pollock's efforts in the first place.
The sprinters will have three opportunities to earn sprint points at sprints lines in Comer (48 miles in), Ila (60 miles in), and Homer (80 miles in). The overall sprinter's jersey is far from decided, so look for some animation at these points. Current sprint standings:
- Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United, 25 Pts.
- Greg Henderson, Team High Road, 23 Pts.
- Tyler Farrar, Slipstream-Chipotle, 20 Pts.
- Jose Juan Jose, CSC, 15 Pts.
- Nicholas Sanderson, Jelly Belly, 15 Pts./Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, 15 Pts.
- Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United, 7:02:39
- Greg Henderson, Team High Road, +3"
- Juan Jose Haedo, CSC, +4"
- Nicholas Sanderson, Jelly Belly, +6"
- Tyler Farrar, Slipstream-Chipotle
- Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, +10"
- Ivan Stevic, Toyota-United,
- Christian Meier, Symmetrics, +11"
- Scott Nydam, BMC, +13"
- Rhys Pollock, GE-Marco Polo
Want to watch it live? Live video from WCSN will start at 12:00pm EDT. Those of you outside of the US (and it looks like WCSN and Cycling.tv haven't yet agreed as to whether Canada is, in fact, a sovereign nation apart from the US), can get it free from Cycling.tv here around 1:30pm EDT. The Tour Tracker should start its coverage when the race gets rolling at 11am EDT.
Update: course profile after the jump.
- Mark Blacknell for PodiumCafe.com