Tour of California Time Trials

Photo Courtesy of Amgen Tour of California

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

Here is the change to the overall standings;

1. ZABRISKIE David GRM 35’59” 25

2. VOIGT Jens RNT 23″ 15

3. VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC 34″ 10

4. GESINK Robert RAB 39″ 5

5. TALANSKY Andrew GRM 48″ 3

6. VELITS Peter OPQ 49″ 0

7. TJALLINGII Maarten RAB 52″ 0

8. DURBRIDGE Luke GEC 01’01” 0

9. DANIELSON Tom GRM 01’07” 0

10. SUTHERLAND Rory UHC 01’10” 0

11. MEYER Cameron GEC 01’26” 0

12. CRADDOCK Lawson BLS 01’30” 0

13. HINCAPIE George BMC 01’30” 0

14. IRIZAR ARANBURU Markel RNT 01’33” 0

15. DUMOULIN Tom ARG 01’37” 0

16. SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon RAB 01’40” 0

17. LEIPHEIMER Levi OPQ 01’44” 0

18. BROWN Nathan BLS 01’49” 0

19. BUSCHE Matthew RNT 01’49” 0

20. NIBALI Vincenzo LIQ 01’52” 0

Peter Sagan is Unstoppable!

Photo Courtesy of Amgen Tour of California

Peter Sagan (SVK) of team Liquigas-Cannondale came from behind to edge out Heinrich Haussler (AUS) of Garmin-Barracuda and Tom Boonen (BEL) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

The race began this morning in sunny San Jose, the only city that has participated in all seven races. A large group of Slovakians came with their flag to greet and have pictures with their countryman, Peter Sagan.

The peleton had a neutral start to get out of the city. Twenty eight miles later, with sprint points awarded downtown, the peleton entered Livermore.

The riders then took an 87 mile route north. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Michael Creed (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) attacked first. Creed fell back and Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jason McCartney (Unitedhealthcare p/b Maxxis), and Wilson Torres (Colombia – Coldeportes) joined Jeremy Vennell in the breakaway group, creating a one minute gap. As the race reached Fenestra Winery the four riders widened the gap to four minutes and 25 seconds.

Once the feedzone was over, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) picked up the pace at the front of the main group of riders. As the 43 mile marker approached, the breakaway gap increased to eight minutes and the ascent of Mount Diablo began. There were huge crowds on the upper slopes to greet the riders as they averaged 13 mph up the grade.

Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) made it up the mountain first taking the KOM points. While the main field was stretched out, Salas began a screaming descent. The big teams had to step up and put the hammer down.

At the 44 mile mark, team Liquigas-Cannondale controlled the peleton and narrowed the gap to six minutes and 20 seconds. Levi Leipheimer was at the front of the main group chatting with his teammates.

Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep took over the pace, keeping Tom Boonen in striking distance.

Jeremy Vennell maintained his aggressive riding, again extending the gap while Frantisek Rabon (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) drove a grueling pace for the peleton. There were stunning pictures of wind turbines lining the tops of the hills while the breakaway group’s gap was narrowed to two minutes and 35 seconds.

As Patterson Pass approached the breakaway group was looking shaky and the gap narrowed to 40 seconds. Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep did all of the work, including pulling Peter Sagan along.

Patterson Pass is a category 3 climb with a 4 ½% grade. Riders reach the summit after covering 105 miles. It didn’t discourage the sprinters. The timing couldn’t have been better.

The Garmin-Barracuda team made a move in support of Heinrich Haussler. They worked with the wind. It whipped through the heart of the peleton, splitting the main group of riders. The acceleration of team Garmin-Barracuda put pressure on the back of the peleton.

Fabio Duarte (Columbia-Coldeportes) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) made a break. Duarte is a strong climber and he took the initiative. Roche tried to challenge for KOM points, but Duarte crossed first.

As they made the descent, the lead switched between Liquigas-Cannondale and team Omega Pharma-Quickstep. Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep wanted to keep Tom Boonen close to the front. There was not a lot of organization and at the 10 kilometer marker Rabobank joined the front of the peleton.

With seven minutes to go, speeds approached 31 mph. Although Liquigas-Cannondale set the tempo, Hienrich Hauseller was right beside them.

Josh Atkins (Bontrager Livestrong Team – Best Young Rider) dashed to the front and caught all of the sprinters off guard. Chris Horner scrambled to the front in order to keep his position.

AG2R La Mondiale took over the pace for a moment hoping to position Maxime Bouet. But Rabobank, desperate for a win, rushed to the front to retake the pace for Michael Matthews.

The final sprint appeared to be between Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). But Peter Sagan edged them out for his third consecutive stage win.