Rosters are up for this year's Tour de Georgia, with a few surprises. Defending champion Janez Brajkovic won't take the start, while three riders prevented from starting the Tour of California for Rock Racing all will apparently compete.
Rock Racing originally announced an 8-rider roster for the California tour, but the final official start list showed only 5 riders, deleting Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla, and Santiago Botero, apparently out of concern for the Operacíon Puerto investigation, which had just been re-(re-?)opened. All three are on the Tour de Georgia Rock Racing roster, alongside “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez, with 4 career TdG stage wins, Victor Hugo Peña, Michael Creed, Kayle Leogrande, and Doug Ollerenshaw.
Astana brings former TdG champion Chris Horner, last year's TdG double stage-winner (and US road champion) Levi Leipheimer, José Luis Rubiera, Antonio Colom, Roman Kireyev, Michael Schar, Aaron Kemps, and Andrey Mizurov.
Team CSC is led by veteran Bobby Julich, but also features Bradley McGee, Inigo Cuesta, former TdG King of the Mountains and stage winner Jason McCartney, and sprint specialist Juan José Haedo, who has won the final stage of the past two TdGs, as well as the sprint classification last year. Anders Lund, Lasse Bochman, and Michael Blaudzun round out Team CSC's start list.
Slipstream-Chipotle has a deep squad here, with 2005 TdG winner Tom Danielson the appointed team leader. Danielson won the stage to Brasstown Bald in 2006. Supporting Danielson this year are last year's runner-up Christian Vande Velde, US time trial champion Dave Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Trent Lowe, Tyler Farrar, Tim Duggan, and Lucas Euser.
Team High Road features two riders from just up the road: George Hincapie and Craig Lewis, who both live in Greenville, SC. They should absolutely rock the team time trial with German TT champion Bert Grabsch, former Swedish road and TT champion Thomas Lövkvist, John Devine, Greg Henderson, Andre Greipel, and former U-23 world champion Kanstantin Siutsou.
Gerolsteiner will be led by Robert Forster, supported by Thomas (“The Other”) Fothen, Sven Krauss, Sebastian Lang, and Matthias Russ, among others.
Chris Baldwin will lead Toyota-United, ahead of Ivan Dominguez, 2007 stage winner Ivan Stevic, and Justin England. Dominguez had a remarkable string in the 2004 TdG, where he was 2nd in Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3.
They can't bring themselves to type “Tour de Georgia” -- trust me, guys, it gets easier. They'll have Ben Jacques-Maynes and Tom Zirbel leading the team and powering the TTT, joined by Aaron Olson, Richard England, Garrett Peltonen, Scott Zwizanski, Jeremy Vennell, and Teddy King. Bissell will also sponsor, naturally enough, the “Clean Sweep” broom wagons.