DAHLONEGA – Two boys from down under enjoyed some Southern hospitality Friday during Stage 5 of the Tour de Georgia in Dahlonega as Richard England (Bissell), of Australia, may have won the stage, but it was England’s fellow countryman, 24-year-old Trent Lowe (Slipstream Chipotle) who took away the biggest prize.
Lowe, who once was signed for his climbing abilities by the Discovery Channel team, a team made famous by Lance Armstrong, took the yellow jersey from General Classification leader Greg Henderson who suffered on the mountainous terrain and fell to 93rd place, 15 seconds behind overall leader Lowe.
“I knew that if I was in first around the corner, even though there were guys with good legs behind me, I knew I was still going to have a chance on the podium,” England said.
“I went around the corner and gave it everything I had to the finish line and ended up coming out on front.”
Three rated climbs, including Burnt Mountain in Jasper, Woody Gap near Suches and Crown Mountain in Dahlonega, tested riders during Stage 5 meaning Henderson wasn’t alone in his struggles as a five cyclists abandoned during the 133.4-mile stage, the longest of the Tour.
David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, Levi Leipheimer and Christopher Horner round out the top five of the overall standings in the Tour de Georgia heading into Stage 6, a prime place for climbing afficianados considering it encompasses the sharp ascent of Brasstown Bald.
The day’s breakaway Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis), Cameron Evans (Symmetrics), Edward King (Bissell) and Valery Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) escaped 34 miles into the stage, and stayed clear for nearly 100 miles.
With Lowe in the yellow jersey, the next in line for the Best Young Rider is Christian Meier (Symmetrics Cycling) who will done the jersey in today’s 88.4-mile Stage 6, that includes a climb up Georgia’s highest peak.
The National Forest Service, which operates the visitor center at Brasstown Bald Mountain in Union County, expects over 25,000 spectators to watch the final 3.12 miles of the race.