PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Just like they did last year, Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson and Phonak's Floyd Landis slugged it out on the Tour de Georgia's key stage to the summit of Brasstown Bald. And like last year it was Danielson who came out on top, but unlike 2005 this time Landis was right on his wheel and managed to hang on to his narrow four-second overall advantage.
"Tom knows that he's better at accelerating and I'm better at a constant speed, so I assume that's what they were telling him he should do on race radio," said Landis as he set himself up for a third stage race win of the season. "I didn't have a choice but to stay with him.
"I thought he would let his team-mate (Yaroslav Popovych) win. I wanted to keep Popovych close, although I knew he wasn't going to get a minute. All I had to do was stay with Tom, and that was my goal. I didn't want to ride in front of him too much. He sprinted at the end, got the stage, but I did what I had to do."
Popovych worked with Danielson on the final five-kilometre climb up Brasstown and finished 17 seconds back in third place. He was followed close behind by Cesar Grajales of Navigators, much to the delight of the thousands of fans lining the twisting mountain who were looking for the Colombian to repeat from his 2004 victory.
"Today we had a very strong team, and we were ready to do a great climb," said Danielson. "I think, from my perspective, we underestimated how strong Floyd was. We had such a great team at one point, there were three of us, and one of him. Last year I had attacked at the bottom and this year I put all my cards at the end, but Floyd was very, very strong. I went once and Floyd was with me, and I waited for Popovych. It became this tactical race, trying different tactical manoeuvres, it was like a chess match."
Sunday's final stage starts in Cumming and finishes in Alpharetta with six circuits of a four-mile circuit, where Landis should wrap up overall victory after wins in the Tour of California and Paris-Nice already this season.
Stage 5, Blairsville-Brasstown Bald
1 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 152km in 4.05.56
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 0.18
4 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators 0.23
5 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel
6 Remmert Wielinga (Hol) Quick Step 0.28
7 Jos Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak 0.49
8 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Discovery Channel 1.35
9 Justin England (USA) Toyota 1.49
10 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval 1.58
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 19.23.10
2 Danielson 0.04
3 Popovych 1.55
4 Gutierrez 2.11
5 Brajkovic 2.15
6 David Zabriskie (USA) CSC 2.31
7 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net 3.45
8 Pinotti 3.54
9 Chris Baldwin (USA) Toyota 4.01
10 Grajales 4.20
- Alessandro Petacchi won his fourth consecutive stage at the Tour of Lower Saxony in Germany, beating Rabobank's Graeme Brown into second place for the second time in the race, with Danilo Hondo third. Bonuses enabled Petacchi to move his overall lead out to 22 seconds over Brown.
Stage 4, Rheda Wiedenbrck-Duderstadt
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 197km in 4.31.54
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lamonta
4 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile
5 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner
6 Emanuele Rizza (Ita) Naturino
7 Tom Flammang (Lux) Sparkasse
8 Dariusz Rudnicki (Pol) Intel
9 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Jonas Owczarek (Ger) Sparkasse
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM