Team CSC rider Brian Vandbourg edged out Team Discovery Channel's Viacheslav Ekimov to win the mountainous fourth stage of the Dodge Tour de Georgia. Marco Pinotti and Jason McCartney reportedly came in next, followed by 20 to 22 other riders. That group included Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis and most of the other cycling heads of state.
The race was punctuated by rather severe weather conditions as a storm swept across Northern Georgia, noticeably lowering the temperature from this morning. The storm featured rain, hail, thunder, and lightening. See my previous report from Woody's Gap.
Lance Armstrong was very quotable today. "I think it went pretty much the way we expected. Really freaky weather. We didn't get hailed on, it was a miracle." He also said that Floyd Landis is very strong, "but he has no team. They can roll on the flats, but as soon as they go up hill, they all drop."
I wish I had my camera ready when I saw Floyd Landis roll by on his way to the podium. He looked more upset than any other yellow jersey wearer I've seen. One spectator observed that he didn't look like he had any fun today. Since Landis had to ride without any teammates to stay with the lead group, he had to respond personally to every attack. I don't know how he will be able to respond in the same fashion over even more intense mountain terrain tomorrow.
I'd like to point out that Gabriel Richalot of Le Parisien was the first media person to identify Ekimov as the second place finisher.
The stage results are as follows:
- 1. Brian Vandbourg (Team CSC), 5 hours, 33 minutes, 2 seconds
- 2. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Team Discovery Channel), Same Time
- 3. Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval)
- 4. Jason McCartney (Team Discovery Channel), +8 seconds
- 5. Bobby Julich (CSC), Same Time
- 7. Lance Armstrong (Team Discovery Channel)
- 8. Floyd Landis (Phonak Hearing Systems)
Leaders in the race overall:
- Floyd Landis, General Classification
- Greg Henderson, Sprint Leader
- Trent Lowe, Best Young Rider
- Jose-Luis Rubiera, King of the Moutains
- Team CSC, Team General Classification