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).
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.
1. Sylvain GEORGES, Ag2r La Mondiale in 5:07:06
2. Peter SAGAN, Liquigas-Cannondale +28
3. Peter VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step +28
4. Thomas DAMUSEAU, Argos-Shimano +28
5. Tom DUMOULIN, Argos-Shimano +28
6. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC Racing +28
7. Romain BARDET, Ag2r La Mondiale +28
8. Christopher HORNER, RadioShack-Nissan +28
9. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing +28
10. Robert GESINK, Rabobank +28
1. David ZABRISKIE, Garmin-Barracuda in 25:37:04
2. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing +34
3. Robert GESINK, Rabobank +39
4. Peter VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step +45
5. Andrew TALANSKY, Garmin-Barracuda +48
6. Luke DURBRIDGE, Orica-GreenEdge +1:01
7. Thomas DANIELSON, Garmin-Barracuda +1:07
8. Rory SUTHERLAND, UnitedHealthcare +1:10
9. Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge +1:26
10. Lawson CRADDOCK, Bontrager-Livestrong +1:30