Tour of California: Sagan wins and wins, Rogers retains lead
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Tour of California: Sagan wins and wins, Rogers retains lead

by Steve Jones at 7:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
 
The Slovakian steamrolls to another big win

Peter SaganTwenty year old prodigy Peter Sagan took his second consecutive victory in stage six of the Tour of California today, sprinting out of a select group and crossing the line with a healthy gap over second placed Rory Sutherland.  Michael Rogers rounded out the podium in third to retain his overall lead, also securing a 4 second time bonus to increase his advantage over David Zabriskie.  The brutal day of climbing saw 28 riders abandon the race.

More California sun

The 217.7 kilometer stage from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake was expected to give the overall contenders and opportunity to increase their time gaps going into tomorrow's time trial.  With seven categorized climbs on the route, it only took a few kilometers for a group of eight to slip away from the peloton.  The group eventually slimmed down to six and included Jason Mccartney (RadioShack), Andy Schleck and Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank), Matthew Wilson (Garmin-Transitions), George Hincapie (BMC Racing) and Thomas Rabou (Team Type 1), who was on the hunt for more King of the Mountains points.

After 125 kilometers had been ridden, the breakaway had six minutes on the peloton, but as they approached the last set of climbs their advantage began to fall.  With 51 kilometers remaining their lead was just under 4 minutes.  Behind the Tony Martin along with young HTC-Columbia teammate Tejay van Garderen led the chasers and began to seriously eat away at the gap.  In just six kilometers Schleck and Rabon had lost contact with the group and their lead plummeted to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Attacks eat away at the advantage

RadioShack began to animate the chase group with Janez Brajkovic the first to make a move, but he was soon reabsorbed.  When the front group hit the 41 kilometer mark Mccartney attacked which drew Hincapie and Wilson, with Fuglsang unable to match the pace.  Brajkovic hit the chase group again, this time taking Martin and teammate van Garderen along with Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions).  It was the Garmin-Transitions team that reacted to pull the quartet back into the fold.

Next to attack was Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), who was followed by RadioShack's Chris Horner.  The move resulted in Peter Stetina (Garmin-Transitions), who was second place in the best young rider competition, coming unhinged.  Hesjedal was left to do the work alone, while the constant attacking continued to erode the advantage of the three leaders.

With 24.5 kilometers remaining the front trio was absorbed, while Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) took the opportunity to jump clear of the group.  The Dutchman was able to quickly gain an advantage of 40 seconds.  Hesjedal jumped again and took three riders with him, but Martin continued to drive behind for teammate Rogers to bring them back.

Wilson was the next to go, and was able to ride across the gap on a descent.  The pair held on to a tenuous lead over the chase group led by HTC-Columbia, but the American team did their job perfectly and brought them back with a kilometer remaining.  Martin and van Garderen continued to drive the group to the finish, while Cervelo TestTeam’s Oscar Pujol jumped clear with 750 meters remaining.  The Spaniard didn’t have enough in the tank to stay away from the charging Slovakian, who once again showed his elders he deserves a measure of respect.  Sagan immediately hopped off his bike and hoisted it in the air with delight after taking what was his fifth victory this season.

 

2010 Tour of California stage six results:
1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo)
2. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare)
3. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)

Overall standings after stage six:
1. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)
2. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) @ 4s
3. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) @ 9s
4. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) @ 14s
5. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) @ 28s

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