Posted by Editoress on 04/21/05
Amy Smolens has sent through her report and interviews for stage 3 of the Tour de Georgia.
After 2 days of fun in the sun the weather took a turn for the worse today - rain for the 18.6 mile Rome Time Trial.
As expected, Eric Wohlberg of Team Symmetrics was Canada's top finisher, in 27th, 3:12 behind stage winner Floyd Landis. I asked him about the conditions during today's stage:
"With 150 psi in the wheels it was plenty slippery, put it that way. It was slippery all the way up the hill so as soon as I hit the steepest part of the climb I put it in the lightest gear I could and just sat down just so I wasn't skidding my disk all the way up the hill, which probably wasn't the fastest way to get up the climb, but I did the best I could. I gotta say, the marshalls were all very good trying to warn us about the corners and stuff like that. But as it was I was just that slow in the corners so I wasn't really slipping too much. I slipped it pretty good the first corkscrew corner and after that every one I was just absolutely creeping so I definitely lost time through the corners, but at least I didn't fall down so I'm happy about that... I was at my physical limit and also at my limit as far as I what I felt I could safely corner without risking falling down. I probably could have taken a couple more risks in the corners and maybe could have been 15 or 20 seconds faster but I've learned that if you crash you're not going to lose 15 or 20 seconds you're gonna lose a couple of minutes so I was plenty cautious, that's the safest approach for me. Even when it comes down to field sprints and stuff like that I'm not a big one for taking huge chances."
I wondered if Friday's Dalton to Dahlonega stage could be a chance for him and Team Symmetrics to get into some breaks and make some noise:
"We obviously can't leave it to the climb to Brasstown Bald (Stage 5 Saturday) so we're gonna try to tag the moves and if stuff goes up the road hopefully we're gonna put a guy in it but I just have a bad feeling that if Discovery all goes to the front or Phonak all goes to the front and absolutely throws it down they're just gonna rip this thing apart plain and simple. It all depends on how much courtesy or if any courtesy at all they're gonna extend to us on these climbs... I think like last year for instance really Postal Service did extend a little bit of courtesy to us by not just absolutely throwing down all day long. I mean Brasstown Bald that whole final climb up that thing then it was thrown down but it didn't seem like many teams really had it in their minds to absolutely decimate things early on, but who knows what's gonna happen?"
The Jittery Joe's-Kalahari team has a great situation here in Rome. No cookie-cutter motel for them - Director Sportif Micah Rice rented out the entire Claremont House Bed & Breakfast, a beautiful Victorian built in 1882. I had an opportunity to sit on the porch and chat with Geoff Kabush, who finished in 29th, 3:18 behind Landis, as the mechanics worked on the team bikes in the backyard. I asked him about the course conditions:
"I woke up and it was pretty warm out but I could tell the clouds were rolling in so it definitely changed the conditions quite a bit with the rain coming down. It was a pretty hairy descent going 55-60 mph into some of those switchbacks so you could really feel the tires pushing on the corners. A couple of teammates went down but I was able to keep it on the bike. Yeah, it was tough out there, my first time on a road TT bike probably since 1997 Canada Games so it's been a while. Felt alright, definitely put it all out there going over the top of the climb, limbs were going pretty numb, glad I was able to recover before the corners started coming... I was definitely not afraid of the weather so sure it affected some guys more but I'm used to the mud and the wet so I wasn't worried about that, just had to take it a little bit more cautious in the corners."
He talked about his perfomance as a mountain biker against some of the top Pro Tour road racers:
"I mean I felt decent out there, didn't feel like I had a ton of pop but I think it was just a hard day and the wind was blowing so I think everyone was struggling. Lance (9th in the stage, @ 1:46) isn't on top form yet but Levi (Leipheimer - 6th in the stage @ :50) came flying by me after 10k so it was pretty impressive to see him go by and I just tried to ride within myself and save a bit for the climb.... The first day I finished up there but I knew today was going to be the first really good fitness check... it's a solid result, top 30."
On Stage 4, from Dalton to Dahlonega:
"It's gonna sure be hard, I know that much. I rode a bunch of the climbs in a training camp earlier on in the year and it's 215k so one of the longest stages and it's got some serious climbing and it looks like it's gonna go really hard from the start with the big sprint and big KOMs so I'll try to stay up near the front and see if anything can slip away... I've really been looking forward to the mountains so that's where I'm gonna be looking forward to kinda showing myself or see how I stack up tomorrow for sure. I'm down a bit on the GC now so I might look to be a little more active in the hills tomorrow and see if I can sneak away in a break."
Dominique Perras - Kodak Easyshare Gallery/Sierra Nevada finished 52nd @ 4:31, and looked ahead to Stage 4 from Dalton to Dahlonega:
"That could be a good chance for us to sneak into a small breakaway near the finish, that would be good. That would be a good chance for me and Glen Mitchell and my team to get into a break that perhaps would make it with a minute or so. It's pretty rolling in the end and it's going to be difficult for the teams to control so we'll see. But I don't expect it to be a battle for the top 5 overall, so that's why it might be a good chance to break away."
Marsh Cooper of Team Symmetrics had a tough day - a puncture, a wheel problem that necessited a wheel change, and a crash on the slick decscent of Mount Alto. According to Director Sportif Jeremy Storie, he slid pretty far and got skinned up, but nothing's broken or torn and he's ok. The officials extended the time cut (he finished 10:20 down on Landis) so he'll be able to race tomorrow - he and the team are very happy about that.
Note: Friday's forecast is for 60% chance of rain.
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