Augusta's own James Brown starts the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia.
Michaelsen Wins Stage 1 of the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia
American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) and Australian Caleb Manion of Jelly Belly capture podium spots.
Lars Michaelsen (Denmark) of Team CSC, the No. 1-ranked ProTour team this season, captured the Ford Leader Jersey in a sprint in downtown Macon for Stage 1 of the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia. American Fred Rodriguez of the Belgian team Davitamon-Lotto and Australian Caleb Manion of the domestic Jelly Belly Cycling team finished second and third, respectively.
?The circuit turned out to be quite good for me. I only saw the race book this morning and had no idea how it was. I was talking to (Mark) McCormack (competitor on American team Colavita-Sutter Home) and he said ?this is just you Lars, good hills and with cobblestones.? And it was. It was a fast circuit,? said Michaelson after winning the longest stage of the week, covering 129.8 miles/ 207.4 km.
The field of 119 professional cyclists began at 11:30 a.m. in Augusta, Ga., and finished in just under five hours, with Michaelsen leading eight riders to the same time of 4:45:46. Numerous breakaway attempts were unsuccessful due to high race speeds on the rolling route to Macon, with all the racers coming back together for three furious circuits of 2.1 miles each in the ?Cherry Blossom Capital of the World?. American Aaron Olson of the Spanish Saunier Duval-Prodir squad was awarded the Aaron?s Most Aggressive Rider jersey, having led a four-man breakaway after 60 miles into the race that gained an 11-minute advantage. He was the final of the four to be brought back.
?The first two hours were fairly easy and we had the wind with us most of the day and that helped keep the pace high. It was a fast day,? added Olson at the post-race press conference.
Michaelsen also won the Maxxis Sprint Leader jersey after Stage One. Since he will wear the Ford Overall Leader jersey to start Stage Two, Rodriguez will wear the Maxxis Sprint jersey on Wednesday. The GE Best Young Rider jersey was awarded to Poland?s Peter Mazur of Prodir-Saunier Duval. Defending champion Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel Professional Cycling team finished 11th, seconds behind the leaders.
Stage Two will begin at in Fayetteville, Ga. and take the peloton through sprints in Peachtree City, Ga. and Rockmart, Ga., en route to Rome, Ga., a distance of 116.1 miles / 186.9 km. The first United Community Bank King of the Mountain competition will take place in Rome on Clocktower Hill on the finishing circuit, Wednesday.