Here we are – the much anticipated team time trial (TTT) on the Road Atlanta racetrack. In the TTT, each team will start all of its riders together. The finish time of the team will be determined by the time the front wheel of the fourth rider crosses the finish line. Any riders finishing behind the fifth rider on that team will be awarded their actual time across the line.
Stage Four takes place entirely upon the 2.54 mile Road Atlanta track in Braselton, GA (about an hour northeast of Atlanta). The course will have twelve turns, ranging from hairpins to long sweepers. The start will be no fun for anyone, as it launches the riders straight into a not-insignificant hill. Here’s a map of the course, after the jump:
Riders will be attacking the course in a counter-clockwise fashion. The start list will not include CSC’s Lasse Bochmann (abandoned early in Stage Three) or Slipstream’s Timmy Duggan. The last word on Duggan was that he was in ICU, in stable condition, with the swelling going down. I imagine that the Slipstream site is probably the best place to get updates on that, but you may also want to check out Timmy Duggan’s blog, where his blogmate – Ian MacGregor of Team Type 1 – is sharing updates.
The first teams are scheduled to roll out at 1:00pm and the last team will be off the track just before 4:00pm.
The teams will start in the following order:
- Heat 1
GE Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek (CHN)
Health Net presented by Maxxis (USA)
- Heat 2
Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team (USA)
- Heat 3
- Heat 4
Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)
Slipstream Chipotle presented by h30 (USA)
- Heat 5
Team Type 1 (USA)
Rock Racing (USA)
- Heat 6
Symmetrics Cycling (CAN)
BMC Racing (USA)
- Heat 7
Toyota United Cycling Team (USA)
- Heat 8
Team High Road (USA)
Yes, Team High Road – first in the overall team classification – will have the track all to itself.
The stage will start with the the leader jerseys on the following riders:
- AT&T Georgia Leader Jersey: Greg Henderson, Team High Road
- Georgia Power Sprint Leader’s Jersey*: Tyler Farrar, Team Slipstream
- United Community Bank King of the Mountain: Frank Pipp, HealthNet presented by Maxxis
- GE Energy Best Young Rider Leader’s Jersey: Nicholas Sanderson, Jelly Belly Cycling Team
- Georgia Lottery Most Aggressive Jersey: Rory Sutherland, Health Net presented by Maxxis
*Sprint jersey worn by Farrar due to Henderson wearing Leader; Best Young Rider jersey worn by Sanderson due to Farrar wearing Sprint Leader.
Rory Sutherland picked up Stage Three’s the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for managing a 12″ solo breakaway on the last circuit of the stage. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to sustain it.
No sprint points are available in the TTT format, so the current sprint standings will remain in effect until Friday. They are:
- Greg Henderson, Team High Road, 38 Pts.
- Tyler Farrar, Slipstream-Chipotle, 30 Pts.
- Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United, 25 Pts.
- Jose Juan Jose, CSC, 15 Pts.
- Nicholas Sanderson, Jelly Belly, 15 Pts./Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, 15 Pts.
Which are teams to watch? That’s hard to say. On one hand, you might expect the Pro Tour teams to be stronger, as a whole, than the other teams. But there’s also something to be said for experience in riding together, especially on a technical course like this. So maybe that will help a team with a relatively stable roster (like Jittery Joe’s or Toyota-United) a bit. On the other hand, this is *not* a flat course, so teams that are sprinter-heavy may suffer. Have I run out of hands yet? Yes, I have no idea how things will sort out tomorrow, beyond a feeling that Astana and High Road will end the day on top.
Also of interest is the race’s decision to require the teams use road – instead of time trial – bikes. The stated reasoning behind this was to keep things on an event footing for all teams, as shipping two sets of bikes may have been too much of a burden on some of the overseas teams. There may be more to it, though, especially considering the relative budget sizes of the domestic and overseas teams. In fact, one might wonder if a little domestic protectionism might be going on. In any event, the inability to haul out the time trial machines has been a disappointment to many, including Bissell DS Glenn Mitchell.
The top ten for the overall, at the moment:
- Greg Henderson, Team High Road
- Tyler Farrar, Slipstream-Chipotle, +9″
- Juan Jose Haedo, CSC, +11″
- Nicholas Sanderson, Jelly Belly, +13″
- Moises Aldape, TT1, +14″
- Andre Grepiel, TeamHigh Road, +15″
- Ivan Stevic, Toyota-United, +17″
- Christian Meier, Symmetrics, +18″
- Scott Nydam, BMC, +20″
- Andrew Pinfold, Symmetrics, +21″
What to say about Road Atlanta? Well, it’s obviously a motorsports venue, and thus sees a lot of rubber on its roads (albeit not very often in 23mm cross sections). It was first built in 1970, but the current incarnation didn’t arrive until the mid-90s. Not of the “Go Fast, Turn Left” variety of tracks, events there range from local car club track time to the Skip Barber Driving School to the Petit Le Mans. Road Atlanta is located in Braselton, Georgia, which means nothing to you, but makes every long-time Georgian immediately think “Oh, the town Kim Basinger bought.” Yup, it doesn’t take much down here. Today’s music is in honor of a town we managed to bypass on the Stage Three.
Want to watch it live? Live video from WCSN will start at 1:00pm EDT. Those of you outside of the US, can get it free from Cycling.tv here, time uncertain. The Tour Tracker should start its coverage when the things get moving at 1am EDT.
Shake ‘n bake!
-originally posted to PodiumCafe.com