Green Jersey Sprinter Peter Sagan Wins Los Angeles!

Photo Courtesy of Amgen Tour of California

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
Pos. No. UCI Code Rider Team Time Gap

1. 41 NED19860531 GESINK, Robert RAB 30:42:32 00:00:00
2. 18 USA19790112 ZABRISKIE, David GRM 30:43:18 00:00:46
3. 11 USA19780313 DANIELSON, Tom GRM 30:43:26 00:00:54
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
6. 21 USA19731024 LEIPHEIMER, Levi OPQ 30:44:45 00:02:13
7. 43 NED19910325 KELDERMAN, Wilco* RAB 30:45:02 00:02:30
8. 1 USA19711023 HORNER, Christopher RNT 30:45:21 00:02:49
9. 6 POR19851018 MACHADO, Tiago RNT 30:45:26 00:02:54
10. 67 NED19810405 WEENING, Pieter OGE 30:45:37 00:03:05


Team Standings
1. RadioShack-Nissan (LUX) 92:12:41 00:00:00
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
6. Garmin-Barracuda (USA) 92:23:44 00:11:03
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
11. Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA) 92:51:51 00:39:10
12. Argos-Shimano (NED) 93:03:09 00:50:28
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
1. 43 NED19910325 KELDERMAN, Wilco* RAB 30:45:02 00:00:00
2. 145 USA19910512 DOMBROWSKI, Joseph * TLS 30:46:10 00:01:08
3. 62 AUS19910409 DURBRIDGE, Luke* OGE 30:47:35 00:02:33
4. 105 NED19901111 DUMOULIN, Tom* ARG 30:50:01 00:04:59
5. 72 FRA19901109 BARDET, Romain* ALM 30:51:00 00:05:58


King of the Mountain
1. 132 CAN19871002 SALAS, Sébastian OPT 65
2. 113 CAN19900428 BOILY, David * SPI 48
3. 91 COL19880115 ATAPUMA, Jhon COL 27
4. 128 NZL19801006 VENNELL, Jeremy BPC 22
5. 1 USA19711023 HORNER, Christopher RNT 18


Overall Sprint Standings
1. 57 SVK19900126 SAGAN, Peter* LIQ 87
2. 13 AUS19840225 HAUSSLER, Heinrich GRM 54
3. 22 BEL19801015 BOONEN, Tom OPQ 29
4. 63 AUS19891018 HOWARD, Leigh OGE 24
5. 75 FRA19840501 GEORGES, Sylvain ALM 23

Leipheimer, with a recently broken leg, finish 6th over all!


The Big Bear Climb

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.

Stage results

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

General classification

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