Tour of California: Janier Acevedo conquers hellish stage two summit finish
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tour of California: Janier Acevedo conquers hellish stage two summit finish

by Kyle Moore at 7:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
 
Jamis-Hagens Berman rider tops Van Garderen and Deignan in brutal last 5km

Tour of CaliforniaJanier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) was the first survivor to the top of the summit finish outside of Palm Springs in the Amgen Tour of California stage two, and the Colombian snapped up the stage win and overall lead.

A brutal final five kilometres, made that way by the steepness of the gradient, the intense heat, and 195 kilometres already ridden, caused immediate gaps in the main bunch and had riders struggling across the finish line one-by-one, requiring immediate assistance to stay upright.

Acevedo left Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) behind with half a kilometre left to race and got the biggest victory of his career, which comes after his win in stage one of the Tour of the Gila on May 1. Van Garderen struggled home for second, and Phillip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare), who had attacked earlier on the climb, hung on for a quality third place.

“I knew Tejay was the rider to beat,” said a satisfied Acevedo after the stage. “I knew when to attack and felt strong enough to beat him today. I waited for the moment when he felt the strongest and, thankfully, it actually worked out.”

The Jamis-Hagens Berman rider comes from Colombia, and says his hometown is 2,200 metres above sea level. That helped him deal with the altitude today, and he was also able to cope with the intense heat.

Now, as a result of his ride, he’s leading the race. “I knew it was going to be hard today with a lot of difficult climbs. I knew I’d do well today,” he said, speaking about the confidence he felt before the stage. “I feel amazing. It’s a spectacular win. I knew I could do it. I’m very happy.”

A large peloton rode into the base of the Palm Springs climb, clawing back the day’s early break just before the gradient got steep. But the large peloton was immediately in tatters, and previous yellow jersey holder Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) showed early that he would not be an overall threat, dropping off the pace quickly and eventually coming in around ten minutes behind the winner.

Deignan was the first rider to make a serious move, and spent the better part of two steep kilometres dangling ten seconds ahead of a dwindling bunch of favourites, which ended up being just five-men strong until Van Garderen made a move up to Deignan with Acevedo following.



Another hot stage with a hilltop finish beckoning:

Riders were granted no relief from the blazing temperatures of a day ago, with projected highs in the Palm Springs area at 42 degrees Celsius. But a breakaway was undeterred, and it was Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Pat McCarty (Bissell), Scott Zwizanski (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Kin San Wu (Champion System) who moved away and quickly hammered out a gap. For the second day in a row, feeding from team cars was opened early to help combat the conditions, and the peloton was quick to take it easy and allow the strongly diverse breakaway some leeway.

Wu dropped out of the breakaway early, leaving four men up front, though Bobbie Traksel (Champion System) tried for some time to make it five, though his lone chase would eventually prove unsuccessful. After 20km of racing, the gap was up to 4’30”, and it was 7’30” ten kilometres later before Vacansoleil-DCM got on the front to support yellow jersey holder Westra. At the 45km mark, the quartet’s lead was over ten minutes, and McCarty passed through the first intermediate sprint checkpoint uncontested, as they continued to cycle through evenly.

On the first big climb of the day, the category-one ascent of Mountain Center, the escapees had more than eleven minutes in hand. The 16km climb was not too steep, and the break even took advantage of a feed zone on the way up. Jacques-Maynes led over the top, and in the peloton, replicating their ambitions of yesterday, Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) emerged from the peloton to mop up the remaining points. This time it was Wren ahead of Euser, with KOM jersey wearer Carter Jones (Bissell) third over the top out of the main bunch.

On a 10km plateau before the descent proper, Vacansoleil-DCM and BMC helped to chop into the lead of the escapees, and when the road finally tilted downhill, with 70km to race, their lead was under nine minutes.

Westra lost a support man with the abandonment of Tomasz Marczynski, a loss for Westra that wouldn’t be so crucial given that he would later prove the GC wouldn’t be for him. With 47km to go, Westra was actually chasing back solo after a puncture, and ahead, Zwizanski cycled through at the second intermediate sprint. Still facing a large gap to the escapees, the peloton was recharged by work from Saxo-Tinkoff, BMC, and NetApp-Endura. With 35km to race, the gap was down to 5’20”, and ten kilometres later, when Zwizanski accelerated away, two more minutes had been knocked off their advantage.

The escapees played cat and mouse for the better part of ten kilometres, while Chavanel just sat on all the moves, and they held their advantage at three minutes for the duration. Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies team-mates Marsh Cooper and Jesse Anthony briefly hit out from the main bunch, seemingly in an attempt to set up Anthony. From the 15km mark to the 7km to go point, the main bunch took another two minutes off their deficit, and the writing was on the wall for the breakaway, which had just 40 seconds in hand.

Approaching the Palm Springs climb, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the first rider of note to ease off the gas, and with the breakaway back in, the final climb kicked up. Westra was soon dropped, riding the wheel of Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing). For the second day running, NetApp-Endura had a rider on the front causing havoc for the rest of the peloton, and it wasn’t long before the leading group was 15 men. Deignan hit out with 4km to go, and the first big names to struggle were Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) and Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy).

With 3km left, an elite group of five had consolidated behind Deignan, with Acevedo, the BMC duo of Van Garderen and Mathias Frank, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard), and Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff). Westra was already three minutes back when Acevedo accelerated in pursuit of Deignan. The Colombian’s first move was unsuccessful however, and Frank was doing yeoman’s work for Van Garderen as he pulled back Acevedo. With 1.5km to go, Van Garderen took over, and ate up the gap to Deignan in a matter of seconds. Only Acevedo could hang onto the American, as Frank and Busche were dropped, and Rogers cracked soon after.

With the 1km banner in sight, Frank left Busche behind, and Van Garderen and Acevedo were past Deignan, who was riding third on the road just ahead of Rogers. Acevedo made his decisive attack with 500 steep meters remaining and Van Garderen could not follow. The American ceded the stage and overall lead, forced to ride his own tempo to the line.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 2: Murrieta – Palm Springs (200km) Brief Results:

1, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) in 5hr07’40”
2, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) at 12”
3, Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) at 27”
4, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) at 45”
5, Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 55”
6, Chad Haga (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 1’13”
7, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard) at 1’15”
8, Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy) at 1’15”
9, Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) at 1’32”
10, Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) at 1’40”

General Classification after Stage 2:

1, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) in 5hr07’40”
2, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) at 12”
3, Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) at 27”
4, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) at 45”
5, Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 55”
6, Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy) at 1’03”
7, Chad Haga (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 1’13”
8, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard) at 1’15”
9, Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) at 1’32”
10, Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) at 1’40”

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