April 23/07 6:13 am - Tour de Georgia: Stage 7 photos and final report
Posted by Editoress on 04/23/07
Report Courtesy Tour de Georgia
After a week and 667-miles of racing, 23-year-old Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team maintained a 12-second advantage in the General Classification for the final three days and won the 2007 Tour de Georgia. Second place in the G.C. was won by American Christian VandeVelde of Team CSC, and Spain's David Canada Gracia of Prodir-Saunier Duval finished third overall.
The seventh and final stage of the 2007 Tour de Georgia was contested today in downtown Atlanta. Close to 100,000 spectators, many of them at Centennial Olympic Park, watched 106 of the original 117 pro cyclists push a relentless pace over a nine-lap race, covering 66.8 miles (107.5 km). At the one kilometer to go mark, J.J. Haedo of Team CSC initiated a move that saw him make contact with Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United), then recover sufficiently to pass "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto) with 50m to go and claim the Stage Seven victory.
Rodriguez hung on for second place in Stage Seven, getting the same time as Haedo. Sergey Lagutin (UZB) of Navigators Insurance Cycling team came in third on the stage. This is the second consecutive year Haedo has captured the final stage of the Tour de Georgia.
"The last 700m, a train with the Tinkoff guys came up and I moved behind themâˆ‘ [it was an] uphill sprint and headwind, so you have to wait as long as you can until the end," said Haedo. "(I) think I wait long enough and then I touch a little with Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Cycling Team) so I lost speed with like 100m to go, but I was still able to pass Freddie (Rodriguez) with 50m to go."
A rising star in the cycling world, Brajkovic finished fifth overall in the 2006 Tour de Georgia. Along with his overall win, claiming the AT&T Leader jersey and the Frabel trophy, his Discovery Channel team was named Best Team at the 2007 Tour de Georgia.
"(This is) the biggest win of my career so far. I wasn't even planning to be here, so it's really an amazing victory. To win this race by myself would be impossible, but with the team we had here, they were just amazing and they did a lot of work the past few days," said Brajkovic, whose teammates helped him get back in the peloton at one point following a flat tire. "To have the guys like George (Hincapie), Tom (Danielson) and Levi (Leipheimer)âˆ‘ helping me, a young guy, it's an amazing feeling."
Brajkovic also won the GE Best Young Rider jersey. The Dent Wizard Most Aggressive Rider jersey was awarded to Glen Chadwick (NZL) of the Navigators Insurance Cycling team and Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) of Health Net presented by Maxxis was awarded the United Community Bank King of the Mountain jersey. Haedo's win gave him the necessary points to earn the Maxxis Sprint Leader Jersey for this year's race.
"The course has been great, the crowds have been greatâˆ‘ even in the middle of the week people taking off work, people flying down here to Georgia," said overall runner-up VandeVelde. "We came in to this race with J.J. (Haedo) and myself and Dave (Zabriskie) for the overall (win). I was fortunate to get in the break (on Stage 3) at the last minute and given a great opportunity to take advantage of the situation and play my biggest card I ever had for the raceâˆ‘ and get on the podium. The team supported me 100%, but it was like we were playing bridesmaids a little bit too many times."
One of the highlights for race spectators in Atlanta today was a ceremonial lap ridden by top Georgia Cancer Coalition fundraisers in the BriarRose Grand Peloton. The group was led by 2006 Tour de Georgia and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. After the Stage 7 finish, the BriarRose Grand Peloton presented a check for $70,687 to the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
1. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC, 2:25:30
2. Fred Rodriguez (USA) Predictor-Lotto
3. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance
4. Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota-United
5. George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel
6. Justin England (USA) Toyota-United
7. Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Tinkoff Credit Systems
8. Daniele Contrini (Ita) Tinkoff Credit Systems
9. Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's
10. Charles Dionne (Can) Colavita/Sutter Home
32. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Health Net presented by Maxxis, all s.t.
1. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, 25:26:33
2. Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC, at 0:12
3. David Canada Gracia (Esp) Saunier Duval - Prodir, 3:04
4. Rubens Bertogliati (Sui) Saunier Duval - Prodir, 3:06
5. Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic, 4:22
6. Scott Nydam (USA) BMC Racing Team, 5:35
7. Jeffry Louder (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis, 6:00
8. Timothy Johnson (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis, 6:59
9. Lucas Euser (USA) Team Slipstream, 10:08
10. Ivan Santaromita (Sui) Quick Step - Innergetic, 12:15
17. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Health Net presented by Maxxis, 29:03
64. Charles Dionne (Can) Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, 41:28
Ryder Hesjedal wins KOM jersey