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!
Results of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California
2012 Overall Standings
|4.||31||USA19880812||VAN GARDEREN, Tejay||BMC||30:43:49||00:01:17|
|5.||92||COL19860611||DUARTE AREVALO, Fabio Andres||COL||30:44:08||00:01:36|
|2.||Rabobank Cycling Team (NED)||92:15:46||00:03:05|
|3.||Orica GreenEDGE (AUS)||92:18:53||00:06:12|
|4.||BMC Racing Team (USA)||92:21:55||00:09:14|
|5.||AG2R La mondiale (FRA)||92:22:49||00:10:08|
|7.||Unitedhealthcare p/b Maxxis (USA)||92:31:25||00:18:44|
|8.||Colombia – Coldeportes (COL)||92:31:40||00:18:59|
|9.||Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)||92:37:30||00:24:49|
|10.||Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)||92:48:19||00:35:38|
|13.||Team Exergy (USA)||93:07:03||00:54:22|
|14.||Team Spidertech Powered by C10 (CAN)||93:10:18||00:57:37|
|15.||Team Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)||93:33:57||01:21:16|
|16.||Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)||93:34:32||01:21|
Best Young Rider
|2.||145||USA19910512||DOMBROWSKI, Joseph *||TLS||30:46:10||00:01:08|
King of the Mountain
|2.||113||CAN19900428||BOILY, David *||SPI||48|
Overall Sprint Standings