By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Braselton, Georgia
The near-winning performance in Thursday's team time trial at the Tour de Georgia gave High Road boss Bob Stapleton just one more thing to smile about, along with team sprinter Greg Henderson retaining the overall lead. "The team has just been on a real roll," he told Cyclingnews after the stage. "We got a big performance in Flèche Wallonne and have been consistently competitive."
Even though the team's captain George Hincapie is on a down slope after a strong spring classics campaign, Stapleton is grateful for his role in Georgia. "I think George is still pretty tired, but he has a huge leadership role on the team. But anything can still happen!"
Despite his confidence in his captain, Stapleton said two riders are tapped for the next two deciding mountain stages. "I think we are going to look to [Siutsou] and Lövkvist, we brought them both here to be ready for Brasstown. They are good GC guys, and that is who we are going to look to in the hills."
As for yellow jersey holder Henderson, Stapleton is optimistic that the hard-nosed Kiwi can pull himself over the climbs to keep the jersey for one more day, and without having to even ask. "He'll do it himself! That is a motivated, hard-working guy. I think getting a chance to ride for himself - he's been a selfless teammate all year - it's a big motivation for him. I think we can hold on on Friday and keep the jersey and then have two good players."