Reported by Mark Zalewski and Eddie Monnier
The Austrian Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) was the strongest sprinter and the lucky winner of the second stage of the Tour de Georgia. In the downhill finish in Rome, Georgia, Wrolich caught the right wheel for the last few hundred metres - the one of Lance Armstrong, who was right behind Levi Leipheimer - and managed to outsprint "The Boss", who used a 54 chainring to test his finishing powers, but finally had to give in to the specialists to cross the line in third position behind Saunier’s Manuel Quinziato. South African sprinter Robert Hunter will go into the stage three time trial with the leader’s jersey, with fellow sprinter Wrolich placed second on the General Classification that will very probably get shaken up on Thursday.
Andy Rihs (Phonak team owner):
"It's very, very, very important for us to have a strong performance here, for two reasons. For the bike market, this is the flagship type of operation you can do to bring a product into the American market. We have a good start with our partner here. What I hear is it is going very well. We're just a little short of supply but we will fix that for next year. And of course, for the hearing aid business. We promote better hearing through this."
When asked if he was suprised by the ruling on the Tyler Hamilton situation, the Phonak team owner replied, "Let's say it like this. In my opinion, from a legal viewpoint, say it cannot really give him a two year ban, no ban really, from a legal viewpoint. This test is unfortunately not as it should be done...I know it from this scientific committee. It gives you certain information, but then it’s not possible to go over to the interpretation. I think he has a good chance on the CAS appeal. USADA has only a two-to-one vote and this already says a lot about the case. It's a split opinion....USADA is nothing more than indirectly dependent on WADA, this is not a clear stage of separation of interests."
Alessandro Maserati (Team L.P.R.):
"The most important objective of the team is a stage win. Yesterday, the finishing circuits were very hard. We worked for our sprinter Danilo Napolitano. Today, we hope it will go better."
Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval - Prodir):
One of the most active riders on stage one, Marco Pinotti told Cyclingnews, "I decided to show myself a bit. I was in a break for almost 50 km. In the end, I was a bit tired on the final laps. But I was able to stay among the front group, so that's a good sign. Also, [Monday] was still a bit of jet lag, because we only came over on Sunday. Every day passing I think we'll feel better. I hope to do a good time-trial tomorrow."
Jeff Corbett, (Health Net directeur sportif):
"We'll have a crack in the finish. Ivan [Dominguez] was second here last year. He knows the course and the finish. He's riding good. Obviously, Henderson has some legs, too."
Regarding Monday’s unusually slow pace, "Everybody was surprised. You don't see a race go negative like that very often. It happens once in a blue moon. I don't think it will happen again. In fact, I think the riders were bummed about it, too, and don't want to see it happen again. I think we'll see some people on the gas today."
Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel):
"I thought the American teams were going to be more aggressive in the beginning. I was surprised how nobody was really chasing. I think it will be different now. The stages are prestigious and there aren't many left."
"I feel good for the mountains. Lance is riding really, really strong. I hope I'll be there for him in the mountains, keep pushing forward, and get him the win."
Christian Van der Velde (CSC):
"My personal aspirations are just to get better as the race goes on. I haven't really raced this year. So, I'm pretty fresh as far as that goes. I'm excited to do a stage race here in the United States. I haven't done one since 1999. It's nice to have something suitable for us rather than just US Pro every year."
Rene Savary (Phonak’s directeur sportif):
"We don't want to control the race all the time,but of course we observe what's going on. If there's a breakaway like yesterday, that might be good for us. Anyway, Robbie is not the man for the final classification. We're looking for a good platform for the time-trial tomorrow." He continued that the team would shift its focus to supporting Floyd Landis.
Gord Fraser (Health Net):
"I had a really horrible day on the bike yesterday. I'm kind of disappointed I couldn't defend my title in Macon. It's a contrast to how we started last year. But I'm optimistic. I'm feeling a little better, but that doesn't always translate to how I'll feel on the bike. So I'll keep my fingers crossed and hopefully things will work out."
Greg Henderson (Health Net):
"We'll have a look at the sprint competition. Obviously, I'm just struggling a bit with the distance, having come straight off the track. This is my first road race this season, but as the K's roll on, I sort of deplete faster than everyone else. But I'm sprinting pretty quick at the moment. On first lead out, we had to switch things around because I was sprinting so quick and a couple of the guys are sick. The heat's another thing. I've been training in Colorado where there's snow. And here it's like a million degrees, so we'll see how it goes."
Tony Cruz (Discovery Channel):
"[Monday] was really boring and then all of sudden it was all out. It was a little weird. Coming into the circuit, we were just doing work to keep Lance at the front. I didn't think we were going to go that fast, but Lance wanted to be right at the front. I think that Phonak will take now control. They have Floyd for the GC."
Micah Rice (Jittery Joe's / Kalahari) told Cyclingnews that Christian Foster would not start stage two. He spent the night in the hospital after becoming severly dehydrated during stage one. The young rider "drank only about five bottles, while the others drank about 10."