Posted by Editoress on 04/24/08
Tour de Georgia
Report by Amy Smolens
Today's Stage 4 of the Tour de Georgia is an unusual one, a Team Time Trial on the race car track at Road Atlanta. It's a 2.5 mile circuit and each team will ride four laps for a 10 mile race. The race will be run in heats with two teams in each, except for the final heat, in which High Road will race solo. Symmetrics, currently 5th on team GC, is in the 6th heat and will start two minutes before BMC. I figured who better to ask about their thoughts on this unique stage than the squad's two resident time trial gurus, Eric Wohlberg, who was the Canadian TT Champ from 1996-2003 and Svein Tuft, 2004-2006 National Champion?
Amy Smolens: What experiences have you had in team time trials?
Eric Wohlberg: Well, team time trialing is kind of something of the past. We've done so little of it generally here in North America but we've actually done a fair bit of it in some of these South American races that we've done. We're definitely looking forward to that stage. I think it's going to be a little dicey with all the turns on that Road Atlanta course but hopefully we'll have a chance to preride it and get something figured out. I think we could have a good ride there actually.
AS: You and Svein should be the time trial horses, right?
EW: Exactly, but you can have a bunch of guys who are good in individual time trials but team time trialing is a totally different thing and it's just a different way you have to ride, you kind of have to hit it hard at the front and then get to the back as quick as you can and recover. So it's not so much of a steady effort as an ITT.
AS: Unlike many of the North American teams, Symmetrics has some experience in team time trials - how is that an advantage for you?
Svein Tuft: Yeah, down in El Salvador we've done a couple. I mean just knowing how much it actually hurts is a huge part of the trick. Because a lot of guys seem to think it's just going out there and taking your pull, but if you do it wrong you can suffer and really blow apart. So you have to basically know everyone's limits. And that's going to be the trick, we're really going to have to pace ourselves.
AS: And no one was in a break today (stage 3) so you should all have relatively fresh legs, right?
ST: Yeah, I think so, I think we haven't had to do too much work, we've just been trying to tag moves and really try and dial it up at the finish, but yeah, I think that most of our guys are pretty darned fresh!
AS: Alright, should be interesting.
ST: Yeah, it will be!
Eric Wohlberg's wish will be granted, as the teams will have an opportunity to preride the course and check out the famous "esses" from 11:30-12:30.
One note about preparation: I have heard that some racers on other teams have been prepping for this stage by using the PlayStation of the Road Atlanta course. I hope they know that the cars and motorcycles race the course in a clockwise direction but Thursday's TTT will be run counter-clockwise.
Both Eric and Svein show their modesty by failing to mention one important detail - Team Symmetrics won the Team Time Trial at the Vuelta a El Salvador in both 2006 and 2007. In addition to the two that I spoke to, Jacob Erker, Cameron Evans, Christian Meier, Andrew Pinfold and Andrew Randell were also a part of at least one of those victorious teams, so watch out!
Dominique Rollin's Toyota-United team will race in the 7th heat, starting two minutes before Astana.
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