Tour of California: NetApp's König climbs to stage seven victory, van Garderen stays strong in yellow
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tour of California: NetApp's König climbs to stage seven victory, van Garderen stays strong in yellow

by Steve Jones at 7:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
Team Jamis' Acevedo uses Mt. Diablo to reach the overall podium

NetApp rider Leopold KönigTour of California rode his way to victory on stage seven of the 2013 Tour of California, besting Team Jamis' Janeir Acevedo up the climb of Mt. Diablo.  Race leader Tejay van Garderen rounded out the podium in third to defend his yellow jersey on the wings of his BMC Racing team.  Acevedo's effort up the final climb wasn't in vain, however, with the move resulting in a place on the overall podium in third.

"It was an unbelievable team effort," van Garderen said of his BMC Racing team after the stage.  "I knew they were going to be strong, I knew they were motivated, but they just went above and beyond expectations.  They made my life somewhat easy out there, but it was still a hard day.  I'm just thrilled, I'm soaking it in."

The 147 kilometer Queen stage of this year's Tour of California set off through the city streets of Livermore, with race leader Tejay van Garderen holding a 1 minute 47 second advantage over second placed Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff).

Off to the races

The action started quickly as the peloton worked its way towards the first climb of the day, the category two Morgan Territory, just sixteen kilometers into the stage.  It was Vacansoleil-DCM's Juan Antonio Flecha and former race leader Lieuwe Westra who finally showed they had the horsepower needed to get clear.  The former dropped back after successfully launching his teammate off the front.

Behind a group of chasers formed that included Chris Butler (Champion System), David De La Cruz (NetApp Endura), Laurent Didier (RadioShack Leopard), Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager), Carter Jones (Bissell Cycling), Kristijan Koren (Cannondale), Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard), James Stemper (5hr Energy), Carlos Verona (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and German evergreen Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard).

The chasers managed to bridge to the riders ahead and put 40 seconds into the main pack before Westra made a strong solo effort for the KOM points.  It wasn't to be though, as the Dutchman was pulled back by the chasers.  It ended up being KOM leader Jones who would snatch up the points to lock up the jersey, with Schleck, De La Cruz, Westra and Didier crossing the line in his wake.

After descending the day's first KOM the leaders had a little over a minute on the field, with Butler, Nathan Brown and Nathaniel English (5hr Energy) chasing 30 seconds behind.  The trio managed to close the gap to make it a ten man break.  The leaders increased their lead to more than two minutes over the peloton before BMC Racing took up the chase, with race leader van Garderen doing his share of the work.

The break continued to increase its advantage over the main field, and after 50 kilometers of racing, their advantage had risen to more than 3 minutes.  As the riders approached he second climb of the day, the second category Patterson Pass, the leader's gap remained intact.  The KOM saw Jones take maximum points yet again, with Brown, Didier, Schleck and English crossing the line in tow.

The break solidifies

The now seven-strong break included Brown, Butler, De La Cruz, Didier, English, Jones, Koren, Schleck, Verona, and Westra, and managed put 4 minutes between themselves and the peloton with 44 kilometers remaining.  Team Jamis began to take up the chase and quickly took 30 seconds out of their advantage to setup up their climber Janier Acevedo for the day's closing ascent of Mt. Diablo.  By the time they reached the 30 to go kilometer mark, Team Jamis had whittled down the gap to just 2 minutes.

When the leaders hit the climb up Mt Diablo, the lead was down to only 1 minute and 15 seconds.  As the riders made their way up the the climb the break began to shred.  It was De La Cruz and Westra who proved strongest, with Schleck and his teammate Didier unable to capitalize on their work.  The Champion Systems team took control of the chase as Jens Voigt jumped clear of the group.  The German was soon joined, and then dropped, by Francisco Mancebo (5hr Energy), who quickly bridged up to the race leaders.

The devil is in the details

Race leader van Garderen's BMC Racing team took control of the chase as Mancebo continued to push the pace up Mt. Diablo.  De La Cruz and Westra were doing their best to hang onto his wheel after being in the break all day.

It was the Colombian Acevedo who launched a searing attack with just under 3 kilometers left to race.  He quickly bridged up to the race leaders and left the Spaniard Mancebo behind.  NetApp's Leopold König was the next to try his hand, and he too made his way to the front of the race to join the Team Jamis rider.  Meanwhile, third place overall Cameron Meyer was suffering up the climb.  He struggled  to limit his losses, with Acevedo a threat to take over.

The kilometer to go banner saw Acevedo continue to drive the pace with third place overall in his sights, while Czech König sat on his wheel waiting to pounce.  As the finish line approached, the NetApp rider put in his attack and crossed the line for the victory, with Acevedo remaining focused behind, and doing enough to hop onto the podium.  Van Garderen cruised across the line shortly thereafter, with his overall victory in this year's Tour of California all but certain.

2013 Tour of California Stage Seven Results:
1. Leopold Konig (NetApp Endura) in 3:54:17      
2. Janier Alexis Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) @ 0:07      
3. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) @ 0:12      
4. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) s.t.           
5. Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) @ 0:23      
6. Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) @ 0:29      
7. Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) @ 0:32      
8. Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy) @ 0:38
9. Jose Pimenta (NetApp Endura) @ 0:44
10. Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) s.t.
General classification after Stage 7
1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) in 26:38:53      
2. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) @ 1:47      
3. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Jamis-Hagens Berman) @ 3:26      
4. Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) @ 3:32      
5. Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) @ 3:33      
6. Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) @ 3:50      
7. Francisco Mancebo Perez (5hr Energy) @ 4:52      
8. Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) @ 5:24      
9. Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) @ 5:33
10. Chad Haga (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) @ 5:52


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