Tour de Georgia... It's ON!

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.


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)

Time Trial
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.

Tom Danielson
Levi Leipheimer
Gianni Meersman
Jason McCartney
Jose Luis Rubiera
Pavel Padrnos
George Hincapie
Brian Vandborg

Fred Rodriguez
Nicholas Gates
Christophe Brandt
Stefano Zanini
Dominique Cornu
Olivier Kaisen
Geert Steurs
Preben Van Hecke

Team CSC
David Zabriskie
Matthew Goss
Anders Lund
Michael Blaudzen
Kurt Asle Arvesen
Juan Jose Haedo
Martin Pedersen
Christian Vandevelde

Quick Step-Innergetic
Leonardo Scarselli
Kevin Seeldraeyers
Alessandro Proni
Hubert Schwab
Maarten Wynants
Andrea Tonti
Ivan Santaromita
Davide Vigano

Prodir-Saunier Duval
Gilberto Simoni
David Millar
David Canada
Rammert Wielinga
Javier Megias
Christophe Rinero
Rubens Bertogliati
Guido Trentin

Tinkoff Credit Systems
Tyler Hamilton
Elia Aggiano
Steffen Weigold
Daniele Contrini
Ruggero Marzoli
Pavel Brutt
Alexander Serov
Salvatore Commesso

Health Net
Nathan O'Neill
Doug Ollerenshaw
Jeff Louder
Ryder Hesjedal
Kirk O'Bee
Rory Sutherland
Karl Menzies
Tim Johnson

USA Cycling
John Devine
Brent Bookwalter
Sheldon Deeny
Caleb Fairly
Zachary Grabowski
Nick Reistad
Chris Stockburger
Chad Beyer

Navigators Insurance
Phil Zajicek
Oleg Grishkin
Sergey Lagutin
Glen Chadwick
Ciaran Power
Valeriy Kobzarenko
Ben Day
Viktor Rapinski

Team Slipstream
Danny Pate
Patrick McCarty
Blake Caldwell
Lucas Euser
Tom Peterson
Mike Lange
Jason Donald
Timmy Duggan

Chris Baldwin
Durke Swindlehurst
Ivan Stevic
Ivan Dominguez
Henk Vogels
Chris Wherry
Justin England
Caleb Manion

BMC Racing Team
Scott Moninger
Scott Nydam
Alexandre Moos
Jonathan Garcia
Ian McKissick
Michael Sayers
Jackson Stewart
David Vitoria

Jittery Joe's
Trent Wilson
Neil Shirley
Austin King
Evan Elken
Tommy Nankervis
Chris Jongewaard
Cody Stevenson
Matt Shriver

Colavita/Sutter Home
Anthony Colby
Charles Dionne
Gustavo Artacho
Alejandro Acton
Tyler Wren
Davide McCann
Davide Frattini
Peter Hatton

Priority Health
Ben Jacques-Maynes
Omer Kem
Brian Sheedy
Scott Zwizanski
Edward King
Richard England
Garrett Peltonen
Emile Abraham