Stage 4: Road Atlanta team time trial - Dahlonega
Thursday, April 24, 2008 8.59pm
High Road's Henderson keeps lead
Team Slipstream punches the wind for victory in stage 4 today. Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Team Slipstream won stage 4 of the 2008 Tour de Georgia, a 10-mile/16.1km team time trial at Road Atlanta Thursday. Team High Road's Greg Henderson kept his leader's jersey.
The team time trial is a new event for the Tour de Georgia, and it presented a unique challenge to the teams in stage four. With a rolling, twisty course including one steep leg-breaker of a hill at the start of each of four laps, teams had to choose between keeping riders together or using them up and jettisoning them in pursuit of stage glory. The Slipstream squad chose the latter, dropping second placed overall Tyler Farrar with one lap to go. The gamble paid off, and Slipstream powered its way to the line with Dave Zabriskie leading the way to the fastest time, 19'38.86.
Astana started in the second to last position, and put in a blistering first lap, going five seconds faster than Slipstream. But the rapid pace spelled the end of the race for Swiss rider Michael Schär, who crashed on stage two. He was dropped early on and abandoned. The next rider to go was Roman Kireyev at the start of the second lap, the hill doing damage each time. Andrey Mizurov was the next to go not long after his Kazakh countryman, and Astana was down to five riders with two laps to go. With the time decided on the fourth rider, the team had no choice but to ease off, and finished six seconds behind Slipstream's three lap time. The team of Levi Leipheimer rallied back on the final lap and pulled to within two seconds of the argyle squad to finish in 19'40.79.
Starting last, Team High Road set a fast, steady pace, and after losing German time trial champion Bert Grabsch after the first lap stayed intact until the finish, keeping yellow jersey holder Greg Henderson in their midst. High Road finished third, just behind Astana and comfortably kept the overall lead.
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1 Slipstream Chipotle 19.38.86 2 Astana 19.40.79 3 Team High Road 19.42.06 4 Team CSC 19.49.58 5 BMC 20.08.51 6 Gerolsteiner 20.09.53 7 Health Net p/b Maxxis 20.17.72 8 Bissell 20.18.06 9 Toyota United 20.20.29 10 Rock Racing 20.29.21 11 Symmetrics 20.29.67 12 Team Type 1 20.32.42 13 Jelly Belly 20.47.12 14 Jittery Joe's 20.57.57 15 GE Macro Polo Trek 20.59.41