Tour of California: Farrar leaves everyone behind in Santa Barbara
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tour of California: Farrar leaves everyone behind in Santa Barbara

by Kyle Moore at 7:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
Garmin-Sharp gets two for the day as Farrar gets first win of the season

Tour of CaliforniaAfter Ramunas Navardauskas broke away to win the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, Tyler Farrar made it two-for-two as he sprinted to a dominant victory in stage four of the Amgen Tour of California. Farrar came around Ken Hanson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) for the victory, with Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in third.

Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) sprinted to fourth, and starting from too far back, stage three winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) could only manage fifth.

Farrar received numerous congratulations over the finish line, including one from Sagan. The win for the American helps ease the frustration of a dry streak, marking his first victory of the season and first since he took two stages of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last August.

"It’s been a while, so, it feels good to get the monkey off my back," said Farrar. "It was a great finish. This was a beautiful setting for a race finish, and I’m happy I won today."

Much more seasonable temperatures greeted riders as they signed on, several hours later than on previous stages, as they faced a largely flat 134km run from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara. When racing got underway, Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Nathan Brown (Bontrager) tried their luck in a break, but Westra would not be able to make it in to boost his lead in the sprints classification.

After 15km had elapsed, Frank Pipp (Bissell) got away with Brown and yesterday’s most courageous rider Chad Beyer (Champion System). Three others would soon attach in Chris Baldwin (Bissell), Marsh Cooper (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), and James Stemper (5-Hour Energy), and a breakaway was born.

With 30km done, their lead was three minutes, and it stretched out to four minutes ten kilometers later. Stemper rode through for maximum points at the intermediate sprint in Santa Paula, and with 75km to go and the kilometres already counting down, the escapees were within 3’30”.

Two category-four climbs were on offer on the stage, and Baldwin launched to take the most points at the top of the first one, in support of team-mate and KOM leader Carter Jones. Through the feed zone with 60km to race, the break’s advantage was down to 2’45”. Thirty kilometres later, the catch seemed imminent, and with the peloton just 55 seconds behind, Pipp was yo-yoing off the back of the break.

With 22km to go, Radioshack-Leopard had men on the front to drive the pace in a crosswind, and in the break, Stemper got jumpy and sprung away. His move was short-lived, as Cooper and Brown caught and eventually distanced the 5-Hour Energy rider, and with 15km to go, it was Brown who was going solo, with a 40-second lead. Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard) and Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) broke away from the main bunch in a bid to surprise, but in perhaps even more of a surprise, the duo was chased down by Sagan.

NetApp-Endura launched two attackers in the final 10km, but a bunch sprint was obvious as Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale amassed large lead-outs with 5km to go. David Zabriskie was leading a long line of Garmin-Sharp men, with Farrar at the back and Cannondale ready and waiting behind him. On an awkward roundabout, Matt Brammeier (Champion System) jumped to the left of it and took what would happen to be the short way around, and used the move to launch his own solo bid.

With 1km to race, Brammeier was still out front, but Orica-GreenEdge had two men who clawed him back, looking to set up the Australian Michael Matthews. Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies then took over, springing Hanson, who was the first to open his kick. Behind Hanson was Farrar, and behind Farrar was Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The Frenchman, riding a little out of his element as lead-out man for Meersman, missed Farrar’s first acceleration and let a yawning gap open.

This gave Farrar and Hanson the bit of daylight they needed. Farrar blazed past his less-heralded compatriot and gave a two-arm salute over the line. Sagan was missing a little spark and was situated much too far behind in the final 500 meters, and fifth was the best the Slovak could manage.

Tour of California Stage 4: Santa Clarita – Santa Barbara (134km) Brief Results:

1, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
2, Ken Hanson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
3, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
4, Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM)
5, Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
6, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)
7, Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing)
8, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
9, Jeremy Vennell (Bissell)
10, Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager)

General Classification after Stage 4:

1, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
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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