With all that is going on in Belgium and Northern France this week it can easily be forgotten that 2nd largest stage race in the US is scheduled to start on Monday. Should be some great story lines in this one including Big George and how he is recovering from the injury earlier. Interesting to see how Tom D. will handle Brasstown after last year when he admits that his strategy was the reason he lost that climb. I could not find a comprehensive listing of the riders starting the race so I compiled the start list from the Tour De Georgia website and listed it below. This is a VDS race and will be sure to generate a lot of points for someone (me I hope).
Stage rundown and startlist on the flip:
Tour De Georgia
The Tour De Georgia starts on Monday as a race that almost did not happen. Sponsor trouble put the race in doubt after a strong couple of years. It has been overshadowed the last two years with the Tour Of California drawing the early season Pro Tour teams. It is a very important race to the National teams though. It gives them a great opportunity to showcase their talent and sponsors against a selection of the big Pro Tour guns. Of course every rider from any team wants to win but it always seems as though there is special meaning to the US riders in this one.
2007 TOUR DE GEORGIA
Stage 1: Monday, April 16 - Peachtree City to Macon, 97 miles (156 km)
Start 1 p.m. Expected finish 4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
This stage is a gradual downhill run into Peachtree City. Profile shows only minor bumps along the way. Expect the sprinters to get their first shot here.
Stage 2: Tuesday, April 17 - Thomaston to Rome, 135 miles (217 km)
Start 11 a.m. Expected finish 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Tuesday adds a few smaller climbs, the profile does not show it as much of a climb but the finish is listed as being KOM (4), which I am assuming is the same as a Cat 4 climb. Another day for the sprinters or perhaps the breakaway.
Stage 3: Wednesday, April 18 - Rome to Chattanooga, Tenn. 118 miles (190 km)
Start Noon. Expected finish 4:15 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Now we are talking. Four categorized climbs, 2 Cat 4's a Cat 3 and then a Cat 2 with under 18 miles to go. Climbers will get to test their legs to day on the last climb before Thursdays TT climb of lookout mountain.
Stage 4: Thursday, April 19 - Chickamauga/Walker Co. to Lookout Mountain, 18.9 miles (30.4 km)
Expected finish 11:40 a.m. - 2 p.m. Individual cyclists depart in 1 minute intervals; final 10 riders depart in 2 minute intervals.
A time trail up one of the coolest mountains in the area. This will be a true test of the Time Trialers who can also climb vs. the Climbers who can also Time Trial. The 8-9 km section of the profile looks like you would need an elevator to get up it.
Stage 5: Friday, April 20 - Dalton to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns Co, 107 miles (172 km)
Start 11 a.m. Expected finish 2:50 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Probably the most famous Stage of any Pro race in America right now. The climb up Brasstown Bald always has some fire works and it was here that last year Landis showed his form over a strong Levi L. and Tom D. Expect the big guns to let it all hang out here as huge chunks of time will handed out by the end. The Brasstown Bald climb makes Lookout Mtn look flat. It tops out over 4700 ft after starting out at a meager 2000ft to begin the climb. That's 2700 ft in under 10 km's. Just to get your legs warmed up though you can start the day with a Cat 2 right out of the gate and then a Cat 3 in the middle.
Stage 6: Saturday, April 21 - Lake Lanier Islands/ Hall Co. to Stone Mountain Park/Dekalb Co. 113.5 miles (183 km)
Start 11 a.m. Expected finish 3 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Fairly flat day for the legs to rest should make a great day for a breakaway to go the distance. If not it is definitely going to be a sprint finish.
Stage 7: Sunday, April 22 - Atlanta (circuit race) 77 miles (123.9 km)
Start 1 p.m. Expected finish 4 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The race wraps up with the typical circuit race around Atlanta. Should be great for the crowd to see all the big-time riders. Look for a win by one of the National teams in this, they have some great circuit riders looking to make a mark for themselves.
Here is a rundown on the teams and riders in this years edition.
Jose Luis Rubiera
Preben Van Hecke
Kurt Asle Arvesen
Juan Jose Haedo
Tinkoff Credit Systems
BMC Racing Team