Tour of California: Sagan again shows his class, Rogers takes over lead
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tour of California: Sagan again shows his class, Rogers takes over lead

by Steve Jones at 7:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
Cycling shows its bright future

Peter SaganLiquigas-Doimo's Peter Sagan easily won the sprint for victory in stage five of the Tour of California today, beating Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) into second and third place respectively. Rogers picked up a crucial two second bonus for his efforts, which saw him take over the overall race lead from Zabriskie.

The peloton set off under sunny skies with a 195.5 kilometer route from Visalia to Bakersfield in front of them.  The race didn't make it out of Visalia before a crash involving Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank), Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) and RadioShack's Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Chechu Rubiera happened on the narrow roads.  Armstrong was off to the hospital for x-rays and stitches, while O'Grady and Haussler were also forced to abandon the race.

As the profile started to tip upward a group of six got away that included Paul Mach (Bissell), Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia), Ben Day (Fly V Australia), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Kurt Hovelynck (Quick Step) and William Dickerson (Jelly Belly).

The escape was allowed more than 6 minutes as they approached the category 3 Old Stage climb, the first of two on the day.  Behind, RadioShack picked up the pace and began to close the gap, thinning out the main group to around 25 riders.  The chase crested the climb more than 4 minutes behind the leaders.

On the final categorized climb up Round Mountain road, Day was first to attack, with Renshaw reacting to bridge the gap.  As the two leaders hit the KOM, their lead over the main chase group was 2 minutes and 40 seconds, with the the peloton chasing hard to bring them back.  At the base of the climb the front group was back to six riders, with a 3 minute advantage over the chase.

With 20 kilometers remaining Renshaw, Day, Hovelynck and Neirmann all took their chances, but it only served to bring their gap down to close to the 2 minute mark.  On the finishing circuits it was Day who broke free, while Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) tried to escape the motivated chase group.  The Liquigas team shut the German down, and HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions moved to the front to finish off the Fly V rider.

Inside the final kilometer it was Zabriskie that attacked first, with Sagan sitting on the American's wheel and easliy coming around to celebrate the win.

2010 Tour of California stage 5 results:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo)
2. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)
3. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions)
4. Chris Hornter (RadioShack)
5. Paul Martens (Rabobank)

Overall after stage five:
1. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) in 22h 55m 59s
2. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) s.t.
3. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) @ 10s
4. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) @ 15s
5. Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare) @ 28s


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