Tour of California: Hesjedal takes the stage, Rogers the overall
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tour of California: Hesjedal takes the stage, Rogers the overall

by Steve Jones at 8:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Australian fights off attacks in final stage

Michael RogersGarmin-Transitions’ Ryder Hesjedal won the eighth and final stage of the Tour of California today, beating George Hincapie (BMC Racing) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) in the sprint out of a five-man break.  Thirty seconds later Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) led home a group containing the race favorites, with HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers crossing the line safely to secure overall victory in the race. Liquiga-Doimo’s Peter Sagan led the third group on the road home to seal up his lead in the points and best young rider classifications, while Thomas Rabou (Team Type 1) finished the stage to take the King of the Mountains prize.

"It was a really tough race," said Rogers. "I knew the last stage of this race wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but I didn't realize it would be that tough. It was obvious early on that Garmin and Radio Shack were going to attack on the fourth lap so we were ready for it. They really stuck it to us and I'm really happy that we could hold on. It was a really tough course.

"This is a very big day for us," said Rogers. "With HTC-Columbia being an American Team based in California, this race is second only to the Tour de France in importance.
"I'm really happy that I could rely so much on my team this week. It's amazing what a team can do together when they have the yellow jersey. They really stepped up to the occasion to win this race."

It didn’t take long for the action to start, with a break riding away in the first few kilometers that included Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia), Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions), Kiel Reijnen (Jelly Belly), Dominique Rollin (Cervelo TestTeam), Brad White (Garmin-Transitions), Maarten Wynants (Quick Step), Simon Zahner (BMC Racing), Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) and Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies).  The group quickly built up a 50 second gap by the time they reached the Rock Store Climb, but the Garmin-Transitions led bunch brought them back into the fold before they finished the first lap.

The peloton was tasked with four laps of a 33.8 kilometer circuit that provided 1200 vertical feet of climbing per lap.  The route featured the Rock Store Climb with an average gradient of 7 percent for 4.2 kilometers that included 900 feet of climbing.

By the time the peloton started the second lap the group containing the favorites was whittled down to close to 30 riders.   A chase group that included Saxo Bank’s Jens Voigt, Andy Schleck and Cancellara was 30 seconds behind and managed to bridge across to the front group making it 45 riders strong.

Dominque Rollin (Cervelo TestTeam) and Brad White (UnitedHealthcare) attacked the second time up the Rock Store Climb, with Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) and King of the Mountains leader Thomas Rabou (Team Type 1) latching on.  The motivated peloton brought them back only to see Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) make his move with a vigilant Rabou following.

Seven riders rode up to the two escapees to make it nine.  The new additions included George Hincapie (BMC), Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack),  Oscar Pugol (Cervelo TestTeam), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling), Matt Wilson (Garmin-Transitions) and Brad White.  The break had 2 minutes and 20 seconds for the third time up Rock Store, and had lost Wilson due to a mechanical.

With one lap remaining the break had 3 minutes over the group of favorites, with the race leaving a constant trail of abandons in its wake.  Wilson rode hard at the front of the chasing group, while race leader Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) was well protected behind teammates Tony Martin and Teejay van Garderen.  The RadioShack team was also present at the front for defending champion Levi Leipheimer.  Wilson’s work had brought the leader’s advantage down to 1 minute 45 seconds by the start of the final lap. 

With 19 kilometers remaining Leipheimer had a flat tire, but had a fast change from his team car and was quickly paced back onto the group by a follow car.  Up front Barredo and Pugol tried to go, but Hincapie was alert, making it three riders out front on the last time up the Rock Store Climb.

Behind Leipheimer jumped from the group of favorites with Rogers straight onto his wheel.  Second placed overall David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) missed the move, and was forced to bridge the gap on his own with Chris Horner (RadioShack) tacking onto his wheel.  Hesjedal was next to make it across to the group of favorites, leaving the yellow jersey isolated.  Pugol and Barredo went again in the lead group, but Hincapie wouldn’t let go of the climbers, clawing his way back into contention for the stage win.  Their advantage was brought down to one minute from the attacking behind, while Popovych was caught by the chasers and took over the pace at the front for Leipheimer.

Zabriskie and Leipheimer kept hitting the race leader, while Hesjedal and Horner were able to break free in pursuit of the leaders.  Rogers was eventually gapped, but stayed calm and benefitted from the help of Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) to bring them back.  With 9 kilometers remaining the top three places in the overall were back together, with Horner and Hesjedal having made their way up to the three leaders.

On the run into the finish it was Barredo and Pugol firing off attacks, but Hincapie still wouldn’t let anything go clear.  Horner came to the front to lead out the break in the final kilometer.  The US Champion slotted in to second wheel, but it was Hesjedal who was able to jump clear and take his first victory since stage twelve of the Vuelta a Espana last year.

2010 Tour of California stage eight results:
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions)
2. George Hincapie (BMC)
3. Carlos Barredo (Quick Step)

2010 Tour of California final overall standings:
1. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)
2. Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) at 0:09
3. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) at 0:25
4. Chris Horner (RadioShack) at 1:04
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) at 1:08
6. Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) at 1:44
7. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) at 1:58
8. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) at 2:06
9. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) at 2:42
10. Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) at 3:21
 

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