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Tour of California: Stage 2
 
02/21/2006
Stage 2 was as big as it was supposed to be, with George Hincapie taking the stage win and overall lead. Those of us who watched from the top of Sierra Road thought that Levi Leipheimer had the advantage and would protect his jersey. Leipheimer, Landis, and Kohl were over the top first, with a long string of riders behind them. Cycling is a team sport, though, and it was the combined might of Discovery that won out. Michael Barry and Jason McCartney pulled Hincapie over the top and on the descent they managed to link up with Tom Danielson, who was in front of them. A nineteen-man group formed that was able to slowly reel in Leipheimer, Landis, and Kohl. Michael Barry launched George Hincapie across the finish line for first place. Chris Horner followed in second, later saying that he didn't realize that he had a teammate on his wheel to help out. CSC had Zabriskie, Julich, and Vande Velde in the same group, but none were capable of outsprinting Hincapie and the various breakaway attempts on the final stretch failed.

Part of me was cheering for Ben Jacques-Maynes, a local Kodak rider who had his eyes set on the San Jose stages. He made a go of it with a three-man breakaway with Michael Creed and Mads Kaggestad, but Gerolsteiner was able to reel them in on the Sierra Road climb.

Video (shot by Al at 200m from the summit):

Leipheimer leads Kohl up to the top with Landis not far behind ( Google Video version ) Zabriskie and Prodir's Ricco follow the Leipheimer group NOTE: Cadel Evans, Tom Danielson passed by, and later on Michael Barry leading Hincapie's group, but the video didn't come out. The stage 2 photoset has more details. A group with Ekimov and Savoldelli that was not too far behind Hincapie's group ( Google Video Version )

The thing to note from these videos is that Levi had no teammates closeby, Hincapie had three immediate teammates and two more not too far behind.

kwc.org/blog/archives/2006/2006-02-21.tour_of_california_stage_2.html



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