Big Bear Continues its Quest as a Cycling Powerhouse in Southern California
Big Bear Lake, CA March 28, 2014 – In 2010 and 2012 Big Bear Lake was a host city for Amgen Tour of California, which is considered the largest and most prestigious road cycling race in the USA. Last year, Redlands Bicycle Classic, another premier-domestic race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, included Big Bear as one of its five stages. This year the Redlands Bicycle Classic returns to Big Bear for the second consecutive year for the Stage 2 Time Trials Thursday, April 3. These elite professional road cycling events held in Big Bear demonstrates that Big Bear is well-received by the industry as a premier cycling destination.
“The riders really enjoyed the mountain setting and high altitude challenge last year, and they’re even more inclined to race the course in 2014,” said Redlands Bicycle Classic Director Eric Reiser.
The Stage 2 Time Trials in Big Bear, referred to as the Race of Truth, is an out and back course on the north shore. The 7.8 miles course starts and ends west of Stanfield Cutoff near the East Launch Ramp. The course leads racers into the town of Fawnskin, which is the turnaround point for racers to sprint back to the finish line. The course is challenging for the riders because of the demanding high-altitude environment.
“This course will definitely get the racers hearts pounding and lungs scorching,” said Big Bear Cycling President Craig Smith.
One of the key reasons why the Redlands Bicycle Classic chose to return to Big Bear is it gives riders a change of scenery with a beautiful alpine lake and mountain vistas in the background. The community of Big Bear is thrilled to once again show the cycling world that the mountain resort is a premier cycling destination, and continues its quest as a cycling powerhouse for Southern California. For best viewing locations and other spectator information visit www.redlandsclassic.com.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) demonstrated that he’s a dangerous sprinter, edging out Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) for the Los Angeles Stage 8 win. Omega Pharma-QuickStep led their rider into the last turn. But Peter Sagan, propelled by Liquigas-Cannondale, powered through the last 150 feet and barely hit the finish line before Tom Boonen.
The day began with a neutral city start in Beverly Hills, with a hazy 73 degrees and a two mph wind. The terrain was a mix of flat stretches and small hills, totaling just under 43 miles.
Michael Creed (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) led the first attack 30 minutes through the course. He was followed out by Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda), Timothy Roe (BMC Pro Cycling), Christopher Jones (United HealthCare), and Matt Cooke (Team Exergy).
Robert Gesink (Rabobank), yesterday’s stage winner, remained insulated within the peleton. His goal was the overall win. Risks were not necessary today.
A new break formed creating a 45 second gap. It was composed of Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda), Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano), Scott Zwizanski (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies), Morgan Schmitt (Team Exergy,) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager-Livestrong). Each team tried to keep someone out front while Rabobank set the pace at the front of the peloton.
The race leaders entered the finishing circuit, a five mile loop from Pico Blvd. to Temple Street. Riders had to complete 6 laps, each time studying the dangerous last turn for the final sprint. The average speed was 30 mph. The seven riders in the break were locked into a 30 second gap.
The second lap continued with Rabobank’s Luis Leon Sanchez and Robert Gesink working together. Haas and Sutherland traded the lead in the break. The fast 30 mph pace continued as the riders pushed over the line to begin lap three of six. The peleton showed discipline and remained in the shape of an arrowhead, narrowing the break to 17 seconds.
With three laps remaining, a rider from Orica GreenEDGE moved into the front of the peleton, Rabobank was happy to share the workload. Lap 5 saw the seven rider gap close to 15 seconds. Team Rabobank still controlled of the pace.
Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare), a superb time trialist, charged from the break with Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda) off his back wheel. The racers still had five miles left to the finish. Stage 8 is considered a sprinters’ stage and expectations were high for a “sprint royale.” The announcers wondered if the rest of the peleton was aware of Nathan Haas’ prolific win record which includes the Japan Cup. This is his first chance riding for a big team.
The peleton started to pick up speed and brought the break back to ten seconds. Robert Gesink was sitting comfortably in third position with his “domestiques” taking first and second position. Liquigas-Cannondale formed to the right of center bringing up Peter Sagan. Garmin-Barracuda formed on the left with their man, Henrich Haussler. The 110 riders lifted the pace to 35 mph.
Rory Sutherland and Nathan Haas took turns attacking out of the break. Unfortunately, it seemed to slow the average speed of the break.
Tom Boonen’s Team, Omega Pharma-QuickStep moved to the front of the peleton, challenging Liquigas-Cannondale. They formed an impressive lead out train, flying past the last corner. But the pace of Boonen’s acceleration was not enough to beat out green jersey sprinter, Peter Sagan. He powered through the last 150 feet and swiped the finish from Boonen’s grasp.
Gesink finished with the peleton, taking the overall win of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the King of the Mountain Jersey. The sprinter’s Green Rider Jersey was awarded to Peter Sagan. Jeremy Vennel (Bissell Pro Cycling) received the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. The crowd roared in response to retiring Robbie McEwen (Orica GreenEDGE) as he received the Most Courageous Rider Jersey. Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) received the Young Riders Jersey.
The cyclists rode a total of nearly 750 miles through Northern, Central and Southern California. They embraced heat, unending mountainous climbs and long hours on the course. It was an exciting and unpredictable race. Many of us will continue on to the Tour de France in July; followed by the Olympics. The Amgen Tour of California has set the bar!
Robert Gesink (NED) of Team Rabobank took one of the most difficult stages of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. The last few meters saw the lead switch between Jhon Atapuma (Columbia-Coldeportes) and Gesink. But Gesink managed to hold on, barely beating Atapuma to the finish.
The Queen Stage went from Ontario up to Mount Baldy. There were three rated climbs. The most difficult was called the “Hors Categorie.” The altitude at the finish line is 6,445 feet.
Today was a day of tactics and strength. Riders opted out of their rooms in Big Bear Lake and headed down to sea level, to help with their recovery. Since the riders informed the USADA officials, no violations were issued.
The race began with a 2.2 mile neutral zone. Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) made the first attack along with Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). They maintained a slight advantage over the main group.
Michael Matthews (Rabobank) and Nathan Brown (Bontrager Livestrong Team) moved up to replace Dries Devenyns. The breakaway group had a ten second lead over the peleton. The peleton picked up the pace and kept the leaders close.
At eight kilometers from the top, there was a large breakaway group of 14 riders representing seven teams. Team RadioShack-Nissan had four riders in the group. The break had a 1:10 advantage.
As the break crested the climb, the peleton was back 1:50. Team RadioShack-Nissan took the top three spots in the first King of the Mountain. The winner was George Bennett, followed by Jens Voight and Chris Horner.
The peleton tightened the gap on the descent. Meanwhile, T.J. Van Garderen (BMC Pro Cycling) punctured, but was quickly set back in the race. The top of the descent is technical and extremely fast. It’s followed by an open stretch along the reservoir to Glendora.
Rabobank did the work at the front of the peleton as the gap widened to two minutes. They were joined by Garmin-Barracuda. Garmin-Barracuda was interested in keeping Chris Horner manageable. Horner has three teammates in the group.
The men in the breakaway group included: Christopher Horner (USA), RadioShack-Nissan; George Bennett (NZl), RadioShack-Nissan; Grégory Rast (Swi), RadioShack-Nissan; Jens Voigt (Ger), RadioShack-Nissan; Timothy Duggan (USA), Liquigas-Cannondale; Maxime Bouet (Fra), Liquigas-Cannondale; Marc de Maar (Ned), United Healthcare; Bradley White (USA)United Healthcare; Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia-ColdePortes; Alexandre Geniez (Fra), Agros-Shimano; Lucas Euser (USA), SpiderTech; Christopher Baldwin (USA), Bissell.
Brad White (United Health Care) dropped from the breakaway group, along with Lucas Euser (Team Spidertech Powered by C10). Euser had mechanical troubles but quickly returned to the break. Chris Horner was the last Radioshack-Nissan man left in the break.
Horner stormed away from the front of the peleton with Darwin Atapuma (Colombia – Coldeportes) and powered past the break, creating a gap of 3:25 on the peleton.
BMC Pro Cycling took up the work at the front of the peleton keeping T.J. Van Gardener in the race.
Atapuma took the second KOM, with Chris Horner second. The gap of 3:45 caused a move out of the peleton. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) was surrounded by his teammates and looks relaxed.
BMC Pro Cycling’s work started to pay off. The gap diminished to 2:55. There was still 13 miles to the summit which was mostly uphill. Jeff Louder (United Health Care) popped and abandoned the race.
Chris Horner has been a professional cyclist since 1994. He let Jhon Atapuma, a renowned climber, take the second KOM. The motto of the Columbia-Coldeportes team is “Inspired by Climbing.”
Jens Voight recovered and returned to the main group. He was responsible for propelling Chris Horner into the lead. Luke Durbride (Orica GreenEDGE – Stage 6 Young Rider’s Jersey) moved up to fifth place. Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was suffering and slipped away.
With six and three quarter miles left to go, the peleton was strung out along the mountain. Zabriskie still looked calm. The BMC Pro Cycling was still shouldering much of the work.
The peleton closed the gap to 1:20 at nine and a half kilometers. BMC Pro Cycling was putting the hammer down and forcing Garmin into a defensive response. BMC Pro Cycling was interested in setting up T.J. Van Garderen for the win.
David Zabriskie was down to one teammate, Tommy Danielson. The Spanish Rabobank rider, Luis Leon Sanchez, along with teammate Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink (a top sprinter) picked up the pace. The riders were into the steepest part of the climb.
Levi Leipheimer moved into sixth place. He was the overall winner of the Baldy stage last year.
With the last five kilometers to go, Atapuma broke from Chris Horner, but Horner soon caught him. Meanwhile George Hinncapie (BMC Racing Team) popped, along with yesterday’s stage winner, Sylvan Georges.
Jhon Atapuma launched another acceleration. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) powered out along with Joseph Dombrowski (Bontrager Livestrong Team). Zabriskie looked like he had nothing left.
Gesink continued driving hard. He had Van Garderen and Danielson on his wheel. They managed to close Atapuma’s gap to 35 seconds.
First Gesink bridged the gap and caught Horner. This is the same man who broke his leg in September of last year. He passed him, but it was momentary. Horner quickly caught back up. Dombrowski and Danielson were still in the chase group along with Duarte Arevelo (Columbia-Coldeportes).
With one kilometer to go, Dombrowski left the chase group, leaving Danielson on his own.
Gesink powered through the uphill and finally caught Atapuma’s back wheel. The two sprinted towards the finish. As Atapuma cut the angle, it looked like he was going to take the stage.
Gesink poured it on, barely remaining in control at the final curve. He powered past Atapuma to take the Queen’s Stage of the Tour of California.
Stage 7 Results
1. Robert GESINK, Rabobank at 3:37:08
2. Darwin ATAPUMA HURTADO, Colombia-Coldeportes at s.t.
3. Fabio Andres DUARTE AREVALO, Colombia-Coldeportes at :14
4. Joe DOMBROSKI, Bontrager-Livestrong at :18
5. Thomas DANIELSON, Garmin-Barracuda at :26
6. Christopher HORNER, RadioShack-Nissan at :38
7. Wilco KELDERMAN, Rabobank at 1:04
8. Tiago MACHADO, RadioShack-Nissan at 1:06
9. Levi LEIPHEIMER, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 1:08
10. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing at 1:22
1. Robert GESINK, Rabobank in 29:14:52
2. David ZABRISKIE, Garmin-Barracuda at :46
3. Thomas DANIELSON, Garmin-Barracuda at :54
4. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing at 1:17
5. Fabio Andres DUARTE AREVALO, Colombia-Coldeportes at 1:36
6. Levi LEIPHEIMER, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 2:13
What has been historically, a bunch finish, changed to a single rider victory. Sylvan Georges (AG2R La Mondiale) broke early away and maintained his lead through the finish line. AG2R La Mondiale had been looking for a victory and Georges delivered.
Once again the race started in a neutral zone. Within 20 minutes six riders attacked off the front. The breakaway group included Gregory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan) Mickaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale), Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano), David Boily (SpiderTech), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Andrew Bajadali (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies).
As the riders began their approach to Mount Emma the breakaway group had a 2:15 advantage over the main group. They extended their lead at the King of the Mountain (KOM) mark to 3:05. David Boily (SpiderTech) took the KOM and was followed by Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The breakaway group stayed out in front through the descent and into the flats. They extended the gap to 5:20. They continued to extend their advantage to 7:00. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) stopped to change a tire, but quickly rejoined the break. The break stabilized at 7:15. With Wrightwood at 6888 feet, it was hard to image that the breakaway could maintain their lead.
As the riders climbed the mountain, the breakaway group managed to extend their lead to eight minutes. Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) attacked and Boilly (SpiderTech) couldn’t keep up with him. Sebastian Salas won the KOM, followed by Andrew Bajadali (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies). David Boily came in third.
The descent saw speeds reaching 62.1 mph. The peleton was able to narrow the gap to 6:10. Two more category 3 climbs remained. With 40 kilometers left, the riders passed through the feedzone. The gap stabilized at 6:20.
At 1:30 PM the riders reached Silverwood Lake. The temperature was 79 degrees as the cyclists began the long, tedious climb to Crestline. Sylvan Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) once again drove to the top, taking the KOM points with David Boilly (SpiderTech) coming in second.
Darwin Atapuma (Colombia-Coldeportes) attacked out of the peleton but was quickly pulled back in. The peleton crested the mountain while the gap slowly increased to 4:05. Liquigas-Cannondale began driving the front.
Sebastian Salas took the next KOM points with Sylvan Georges on his wheel. Salas’ performance was incredible considering he only began cycling three years ago. Salas now has a total of 65 King of the Mountain points and Boilly has 48. The climb to Mount Baldy offers 16 points with two category 2 climbs and 12 points for the HC climb to Baldy.
Gregory Rast (RadioShack), Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano) tried to rein in Sylvan Georges (AG2R La Mondiale). Georges continued to have a 15 second lead ahead of the breakaway group. Then he extended his lead over the four riders to two minutes and five minutes ahead of the main group. Meanwhile the peleton pulled in Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano).
Photo Courtesy Amgen Tour of California
With 27 kilometers remaining, Peter Weening (Orica GreenEDGE) attacked out of the peleton. He joined with Gregory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan) and Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank Cycling Team) and tried to close the three minute lead of Sylan Georges. Garmin-Barracuda and Liquigas-Cannondale with Tim Duggan took the head of the peleton.
Sylvan Georges was the first to cross the Big Bear Lake Dam and enter Fawnskin. The ride around the lake is mostly flat. Finally, the peleton started to panic. Sylvan Georges began to lose time and the gap closed to one minute from the break and two minutes ahead of the peleton.
The peleton pulled in the three riders. Jens Voight and Peter Sagan attacked and closed to 1:20 of Sylvan Georges. It didn’t matter. Sylvan Georges, clearly suffering, managed to hang on and cross the finish line.
Stage 6: Four Ranked Climbs
The Category 4 climb up Mt. Emma, which summits at 22.2km;
The Cat. 1 climb at Wrightwood, which summits at 69.6km;
The Cat. 3 on California 138, which summits at 122.4;
The Cat. 3 on California State Highway 18, which summits at 139.1km.
The time trials in Bakersfield presented a different type of challenge today. Temperatures reached 100+ degrees and the road became hot and grippy. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) was on fire. He was the only rider to reach the finish in under 36 minutes, catching three riders who left before him. Although he went out fast and lost a little on the final climb, he managed to win the time trials, taking Stage 5 of the Amgen tour of California.
Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) lost a chunk of time finishing at 37:43. For a man with literally one good leg, this was an inspirational ride.
Photo Courtesy of Amgen Tour of California
Austalia’s Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEDGE) was excellent against the clock and took over the Young Rider’s Jersey. He balanced an aero-dynamic form with strength.
Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) set the best split time at 15:48. He managed to hang on to most of that, placing second at 34 seconds off of the leader.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas Pharma-Quick-Step) was the final rider and left the starting line with a 40 second advantage. By the time he hit the intermediate split, it was clear this wasn’t his type of race. Normally he rides with the peleton and makes explosive moves at the last minute, beating everyone else across the finish line. Peter Sagan climbed steadily to the finish but conceded nearly three minutes to Zabriwskie.
David Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) took the leader’s jersey today. He’s been known to climb mountains and it will be interesting to see if he can hang on to it during “The Big Bear Climb.”
Todays Race Results
General classification after stage 5
1 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin – Barracuda 20:29:31
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:34
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:39
4 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin – Barracuda 0:00:48
5 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:49
6 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:01:01
7 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin – Barracuda 0:01:07
8 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:01:10
9 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:01:26
10 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:29