Georgia stage 5: Danielson comes alive

Tom Danielson won the Dodge Tour de Georgia's 'queen stage' to the top of the at times 23-per-cent-g

Tom Danielson won the Dodge Tour de Georgia’s ‘queen stage’ to the top of the at times 23-per-cent-g

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The Discovery Channel’s Tom Danielson blew Saturday’s fifth stage of the Dodge Tour de Georgia apart with a vicious attack on the final climb of the day, coming home 15 seconds ahead of Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), and 59 seconds ahead of his team-mate Lance Armstrong. The penultimate stage of the Tour de Georgia was always going to be the toughest stage of this year’s race, with the ‘hors categorie’ Brasstown Bald, with gradients reaching 23 per cent in the final kilometre, coming after first a third, then a second, and then a first category climb. After Discovery’s Jason McCartney was brought back on the penultimate climb – Hogpen Gap – by a group of sixteen riders, CSC’s Christian Vandevelde went clear, building a lead of almost a minute-and-a-half on the lower slopes of Brasstown Bald. His lead quickly came down as the climb got steeper, and Armstrong took over at the front, along with team-mates Jose Azevedo and Danielson. Then it was Danielson’s turn, giving it everything at the front, but with Leipheimer stuck to his wheel. Another effort took him clear, and the huge crowds, many of whom had been waiting in the freezing cold conditions for hours, were warmed by another US win. “I was just fortunate that Lance gave me this opportunity to race today, and on the second to last climb he went to the front and just pulled the whole of the climb,” Danielson explained. “The whole time I was on his wheel, I was just thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to lose this race here today,’ because my idol before I even was on a bike was riding on the front for me, and I was not going to let anything happen today.” Sunday’s final 200km stage ends with four laps around the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta. Those fans used to seeing Armstrong doing laps up and down the Champs Elysees in Paris each July will be more than happy to see another American, clad in yellow, trying to defend his lead in Georgia’s capital. True, Danielson holds a tentative lead over Leipheimer, but with a six-time Tour winner working for him, the odds have to be in his favour. Stage 5, Gainesville – Brasstown Bald 1 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 182.4km in 5.06.15 2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.15 3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 0.59 4 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.09 5 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 1.42 General classification 1 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 21.54.44 2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.04 3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.09 4 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 1.10 5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 1.41