Georgia 6: Kanstantin Sivtsov wins on Brasstown Bald

High Road climber grabs lead going into final stage

While the favourites watched each other during the decisive Tour de Georgia stage 6 finishing atop Brasstown Bald, High Road's Kanstantin Sivtsov launched a powerful final attack to take not only the stage win, but the overall lead in the race.

While then leader Trent Lowe (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30) closely marked the other favorite Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and even attacked him on his way to second place, Sivtsov went onto victory, taking it with enough of a margin to catapult himself into the overall lead ahead of Lowe.

Right from the gun, the attacking started and the first break to stick was one consisting of seven riders including Jason McCartney (Team CSC), Ivan Stevic (Toyota - United), Andrey Mizurov (Astana), Craig Lewis (Team High Road), Stephan Schreck (Gerolsteiner), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joe's), Svein Tuft (Symmetrics). On the way to the first KOM up Hogpen Gap, B World Champion Stevic dropped off the pace. After him, Lewis and Schreck soon followed leaving a lead group of four that would spend much of the day off the front although Mizurov did no work. The Astana rider was under no obligation to do so as his team's leaders were sitting safely in the main peloton waiting for the race to come back together.

Six chasers escaped from the peloton including José Luis Rubiera (Astana), Bradley McGee (Team CSC), Craig Lewis (Team High Road), Thomas Lövkvist (Team High Road), Stephan Schreck (Gerolsteiner), and Santiago Botero (Rock Racing). Lewis and Schreck fell off the pace on the second KOM up Unicoi Gap, leaving four riders in the chase group.

After an extended team pursuit-style effort, the chasers finally caught the leaders, forming a group of eight riders. Shirley wasn't content and immediately launched an attack. He opens a gap, but can't sustain it once the grade pitches up leading into the final Brasstown climb.

Brasstown's climb made a tough selection and in the end, three riders were left to do battle: Sivtsov, Leipheimer and the yellow jersey Lowe. Leipheimer set the pace at the front for much of the climb, but Lowe stuck to him like glue. Sivtsov launched at the top of the climb and rocketed away with no serious chase by Lowe or Leipheimer. Lowe then attacked Leipheimer and came in about five seconds in front of him. At first, it seemed Lowe had held onto his jersey, but it was Sivtsov who earned enough of the final margin to take over yellow.

Here's a transcript of the live race reporting. For final stage results, photos and a report visit Cyclingnews.com.

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