UnitedHealthcare – Maxxis takes flexible approach to leadership in Tour of California
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

UnitedHealthcare – Maxxis takes flexible approach to leadership in Tour of California

by Shane Stokes at 11:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Louder, Deignan, Sutherland and De Maar all well positioned

Philip DeignanWith the Amgen Tour of California heading towards the three most important stages in terms of determining the general classification, the UnitedHealthcare – Maxxis team has said that it will take a ‘wait and see’ approach in terms of who should be the protected riders.

After four stages in the race, Jeff Louder is best placed of the team in third overall, but there are three other riders within a minute of quadruple stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale).

Marc De Maar is 37 seconds back, while Rory Sutherland and previous Vuelta a Espana stage winner Philip Deignan (pictured) are a further three seconds down.

Deignan was one of those who worked hard on the final climb of stage two to set Sutherland up for a late attack, but general manager Mike Tamayo confirms that no decisions have been made yet as to who is the protected rider.

"Leadership is a good question,” he told VeloNation, in response to a question about the roles in the team. “You can lose this race in the time trial and you can win it at Mt. Baldy. Rory is time trailing well and always has for this team. Philip is climbing well. We are ready for both cards and both riders are ready to sacrifice for each other.”

However he believes that the team has two more cards that it can play from this point. “Jeff Louder is doing well, too. And when you look the other way, we have Marc de Maar. So far, so good."

The first reshuffling of the general classification will occur today as a result of the 29.7 kilometre Bakersfield time trial. Tomorrow’s 186.3 kilometre stage to Big Bear Lake includes enough climbing to thin the bunch right down, while Saturday’s 126 kilometre race to the summit finish of Mount Baldy is certain to shake things right up and will almost certainly determine the final winner of the race.

UnitedHealthcare Maxxis is riding one of its most important events of the year and will take an aggressive approach, particularly if it still has two or more riders within range after the time trial.

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