Rogers defends lead in Tour of California time trial; Martin wins the stage
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rogers defends lead in Tour of California time trial; Martin wins the stage

by Bjorn Haake at 7:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
Australian heads with nine-second lead over Zabriskie to final stage

Michael Rogers only had to succumb to his HTC Columbia teammate Tony Martin in the 33.6km time trial in the Tour of California. Martin was more than a minute faster than Rogers, but the latter held off David Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer in the race for the overall. Rogers now heads into the final stage with a nine-second lead over Zabriskie and 25 seconds over Leipheimer.

Rogers had high praise for his team after today's time trial saying, "We race as a team and I really do think you can see that.  Whether you're here at the event or watching it at home on TV, you can see's not just one winner it's a team. When one wins the whole team wins.  That's our spirit, and that's why we do it."

The Australian is confident going into the final stage adding, "Tomorrow is a tough stage.  We've raced well so far and I think we can hold our heads really high. I've got the team to support me the whole way to the line tomorrow, and I can't wait."

Racing in downtown LA

The race started from the Staples Center where the LA Lakers play, and headed south , along South Figueora street. With a construction in the middle of the four-lane street, it wasn't the most exciting section to watch, although the mediocre pavement added some interesting bike handling actions on part of the riders. That changed when the riders looped around the Exposition Park, with the LA Coliseum - the stadium used in the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. Going through the park brought the riders back to South Figueroa street, where they returned on the other side of the road.

But before heading back to the Staples Center, another little out-and back section, this time along South Olive street, had to be completed. There were a lot of spectators in the start-finish area, but other parts of the course were fairly empty.

Fabian Cancellara was the fourth rider to start and not surprisingly set a best time, with 43'25. More surprising was that his time did not last too long. Maarten Tjallingii, who started less than 15 minutes after the Swiss power house, bested Cancellara by 33 seconds.

Bert Grabsch, the 2008 time trial World Champion, was the 37th of 85 riders to go and he set a best time of 42'47 that was standing for a long time. Grabsch's time was pulverized by his own teammate Tony Martin, who was well warmed up from his efforts yesterday. Martin was more than a minute faster than Grabsch, clocking in at 41'41.

The fact that two laps were done helped some riders having a rabbit. When Jens Voigt was on his second lap, he had Zabriskie, who had started as the next to last rider, ahead of him. This helped Voigt to concentrate himself to finish in 42'40 and become the temporary overall leader.

Martin held the best intermediate time with 20'52 after one lap, one second faster than Rogers. Zabriskie came through in 20'57, seven seconds faster than Leipheimer.

Results stage 7

1 Tony Martin (HTC Columbia) 41'41
2 Michael Rogers (HTC Columbia) 42'03
3 David Zabriskie (Garmin) 42'08
4 Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) 42'14
5 Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) 42'40
6 Bert Grabsch (HTC Columbia) 42'47
7 Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) 42'52
8 Chris Horner (RadioShack) 42'59
9 Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare) 42'59
10 Robert Hunter (Garmin) 43'01

GC after stage 7

1 Michael Rogers (HTC Columbia)
2 David Zabriskie (Garmin) 0'09
3 Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) 0'25
4 Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) 1'12
5 Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare) 1'26



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