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April 22/04 8:34 am - Tour de Georgia: Stage 4 Story


Posted by Editoress on 04/22/04
 

Tour de Georgia Georgia, USA

This report made possible by Human Kinetics Publishers

The Tour de Georgia has now truly become the Tour de Lance, with Lance Armstrong (US Postal) winning his second stage of the day in the 29.9 kilometre individual time trial, held in Rome. Armstrong finished 22 seconds ahead of Jens Voight (CSC) and defending champion Chris Horner (Webcor) was third at 45 seconds. Armstrong took over the Yellow Jersey with his win. Voight and Horner will take second and third respectively in the overall rankings.

The major obstacle the riders faced was a surprisingly tough climb at the two thirds mark. Once over the climb, it was mostly downhill to the finish line. Armstrong spoke at the press conference afterwards about the stage, the upcoming difficult climbing stages (5 and 6), and his preparation for the Tour de France.

"The climb felt similar to Euro climbs, but we were all surprised to see that the climb was that severe. I drove it with Johan (Bruyneels - Directeur Sportif) and Eki (Ekimov) after the morning stage, and wasn't sure what gearing to use - I was even contemplating a 25.

It is important for me to do time trials; there are not many chances, and I was happy that they changed the race to include this time trial - it was one of the reasons we came. This is the last time I will race the time trial bike on a course like this before the Tour, so it was very good to have an opportunity here in Georgia. Based on my training and racing here, I feel we're on track. I wasn't as sure of my fitness, because I haven't raced since the Criterium International. But it has been good to be back in the States. I have spent quality time with my kids, which was great, and had good training.

I like our chances here overall. The team is strong, with a good mixture of experience. The team isn't going to be what loses the race, it will be the leader, so it will be up to me. The favourites haven't changed from what we saw today: Chris, Bobby (Julich - CSC) and Jens."

Chris Horner, the strongest domestic threat, was pleased with his third place. "It is enough for the moment. There are still two more hard stages. He's the best in the world, and I'm content with what I got. It is going to take Lance going bad, not me going good, because I'm already going good. We're content to let them (US Postal) have the lead and defend. We'll try and take it in the mountains."

Race Notes:

- The next two days are the hardest, with four Cat 2 climbs and one Cat 3 over 224 kilometres tomorrow, and a Cat 1 climb and HC (Hors Category) climb finish after 206 kilometres the following day.

- There was one very unfortunate mishap during the time trial, when a USA Team member - Craig Lewis - collided with a car. He has been hospitalized with reported serious head trauma.

1. Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service/Berry Floor, 39:51
2. Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC, 40:13
3. Chris Horner (USA) Webcor Builders, 40:36
4. Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC, 40;55
5. Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC, 41:15

 


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