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Amgen Tour of CA 2008 - Stage 5 Team News
 
By Staff
Date: 2/23/2008
Amgen Tour of CA 2008 - Stage 5 Team News
 

Amgen Tour of CA 2008 - Stage 5 Team News
Team Reports and Rider Comments After the Time Trial in Solvang...


Scott Nydam California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains Leader, “I'm wearing this jersey for Jackson Stewart. He earned this with a brave ride, but the elements didn't let him finish his work. I'm happy to defend this jersey for him, my team and myself.”

Bissell Pro Cycling Team
Tom Zirbel and Ben Jacques-Maynes Rip Top Ten in Solvang TT

Tom Zirbel and Ben Jacques-Maynes furthered BISSELL PRO CYCLING’s ‘team-to-watch’ status after a stunning showing during the 15-mile Stage 5 undulating time trial in Solvang, CA.

Zirbel, the 59th rider to take off from the starting block out of 105 remaining riders set the time to beat, and held 2nd place for most of the race until the last of the big guns slowly unseated he and Jaques-Maynes, pushing them permanently into eighth and ninth place, respectively.

As has been repeated throughout the week, the BISSELL boys were the only US Domestic team to break the top ten, the remainder of the top twenty (with the exception of Ben Day) made up of Pro Tour cyclists Pro Continental cyclists.

“We knew that both of these guys were capable of that caliber of performance today – and they proved it,” said BISSELL’s Director Sportiff Glen Mitchell. “Two in the top ten; definitely couldn’t ask for anything better than that. It was an outstanding day.” Jaques-Maynes remains in 16th on GC.


Doug Ollerenshaw on the climb.

Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
On today’s race:

“It was another great day for me here in Solvang. I’m just so happy and proud. I gave it my all today. Every time I had my doubts, I just told myself to do my best. The sign of a good time trial is that you don’t remember a lot of it, and I don’t remember a lot from today. Fortunately, I knew the course well, so I knew how to pace myself; I knew I had something left towards the end. With every kilometer, I was just yelling at myself to keep going. When I came to the last corner, I just hoped I didn’t crash since I was a little cross-eyed. This may be an even bigger win for me this year.”


Levi - looking fresh at the top of the climb.

“I gave 100 percent today. I didn’t hold back. I took the corners great, pushed myself in all the right places; the only fight I had to win was the one in my head.” “I’ll try to defend this to the end since my team has done everything to put me in this place. They’ve been amazing all through the race, and yesterday, they were in front for nearly seven hours, so today I didn’t want to let them down.”

On how he felt before today’s time trial:
“To be honest, I was nervous. I’m not going to try and act like I’m a machine; I had my doubts. I just told myself to do my best. I knew it was going to be ugly, but I knew I’d fight. I wanted to show that we’re a fighting team and we’re not going to back down. I trained all winter for this. Astana has something to prove. We are the best team in the world and we need to be in the big races.”

On today’s conditions:
“The conditions were the same as last year; a little windy. I had to make a decision on equipment, but obviously, it was a good choice, a good decision.”

On Cancellara’s performance at today’s time trial:
“We’re not machines. Fabian made an amazing performance the other day; he blew everyone away and showed lots of guts, but you pay for that, and obviously, today was not a normal day for him. He’s better than that, and I guess I’m just a little bit lucky.”

On the race overall:
“All of the communities we’ve raced in throughout California have been exceptional, and Solvang is no different; they’ve been awesome. I’ve spent two of the most memorable racing days of my life here in Solvang, so I love coming here; it’s so beautiful. I saw my name on the road several times and I heard the support everywhere. I can’t thank the crowds enough for coming out.”


George Hincapie (Team High Road) finished a few minutes off the pace today in 23rd place. Still a strong performance after spending all day in the break all day in the rain and wind yesterday in stage 4 where he finished second.

Toyota-United greets Solvang Time Trial crowd to champion show.
Ben Day finishes 17th in Solvang Time Trial.

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team came into the Solvang 15 mile time trail exhausted like the remaining riders after the 7.5 hour victory ride in stage 4 by Dominique Rollin. It was a nice break for the team in Solvang with only one transfer today from the San Luis Obispo finish to Solvang. The team spent 2 weeks in training camp in Solvang so was eager to get on with the longer time trial of the race here. The fans were strong again and the weather brightened up and the sun shined on the field as the new course demanded some tough work.


Dominique Rollin - Rolling along in his green points leaders jersey.

Ben Day shone today in a field again that has been obliterated by flu and viral infections and tough weather conditions. Mr. Day finished 17th today as the top Australian in the field and continued his overall strong run in the general classification with a current 31st place overall for Toyota-United. We are now down to 102 riders left in the field with two days remaining in the 2008 affair.

Rollin rode today in his newly acquired green sprint jersey as his lead in the overall sprint total from yesterdays epic ride kept him in the green. Tomorrow the boys get back in the saddle for a long ride from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita. The 105 mile route again challenges all riders with four more King of Mountain sections along with two more sprint challenges. The race is heating up with the end in just two more days. Toyota-United looks forward to seeing our fans in Southern California for the last two days.

Saunier Duval/Scott
The best SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT men were Rubens Bertogliati (15th) and Raivis Belohvosciks (19th), who landed spots among the top 20. Camaño is still the best positioned "red bird" in the GC (15th). Stage 6 today, from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (169.6 kilometres), is the last but one leg in this edition of the Tour of California.


"Super Mario' Cipollini

David Millar (GBR) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
On today’s time trial:
“We checked out the course last week, so I felt comfortable. I made a mistake in the Prologue by going out too easy, so this time my goal was to start strong. Luckily, you didn’t have much of a choice but to go hard out of the gate because of the first climb. The course was pretty dynamic with all the turns, and I was making the most out of it. There were places on the course that allowed you to go hard or easy, which was nice. It was a beautiful course.”


Millar grits back the pain as he approaches the finish.

On the fans:
“I even enjoyed the pain today. The crowds were wild. I don’t usually notice them when time trialing because I’m so focused on what is happening in front of me and in serious pain, but the fans were there cheering at the top of the hill and everywhere else it seemed. It was like being in Europe, I loved it.”

On recovering from yesterday’s race:
“Yesterday was definitely one of the top-5 worst days, weather wise. I just ate loads this morning and then my team director had me on the bike early today, which was probably the best thing I could have done. When I got on the bike, I felt great. If you are fit, you can kind of soak up anything.”

On team morale:
“Morale couldn’t be better. We came here with a point to prove ourselves and to show everybody who we are and how we race. We are not the type of team to sit back and take it easy, and I think we definitely proved that we are one of the strongest teams here. We are very proud of what we’ve achieved. I think we are on our way to doing something unique. I’ve never enjoyed cycling so much; it has been magic really. We are working so hard, but this is just the beginning.”

Health Net Presented by Maxxis
Two more  riders fall victim to illness during time trial stage.

Solvang, CA - The stomach bug that has been making its way through the peloton at the Amgen Tour of California claimed another rider from the Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis. Phil Zajicek, one of the top time trialists in America, was hit by the bug overnight before the time trial and was unable to finish today's time trial within time cut. "This is probably the first time ever that Phil has missed a time cut on a time trial," team director Mike Tamayo said. "He's one of the best there is, so for him to struggle like this, you know he was hurting from the bug."


Frank Pipp (Health Net) enjoys a fast descent during the early going on this 15 mile route

Two other of the team's riders also have suffered from the stomach bug and have subsequently dropped out. Karl Menzies finished outside of the time cut in Stage 3 after getting the bug Monday. "Karl has never missed a time cut in his life," Tamayo added. "He was fighting through it really well over Mt. Hamilton, but Sierra Road just took its toll."

Matt Crane was hit by the bug following Stage 3. He started Stage 4, but decided it was best to step off the bike about 75 km into the rain- and wind-swept stage.

Roman Kilun also suffered during the time trial today. He's been battling a respiratory illness that has restricted his breathing for much of the week. Despite that, he still found himself in the main break of the day during Thursday's epic stage from Seaside to San Luis Obispo.

"I was okay during the prologue, but coming over Coleman Valley Road my chest started to hurt with the colder weather," Kilun said. "I really started to feel sick Monday night."

He's been battling heavy lung congestion since then, and after seven-plus hours in the rain Thursday, his energy was sapped, and he also finished outside of the time cut today.

Health Net Presented by Maxxis has been one of the hardest hit teams this week. Gerolsteiner had four riders drop out early in Thursday's stage due to the bug, including green jersey wearer Heinrich Haussler, while a fifth crashed out during the neutral roll-out. In all, over 30 riders have dropped out of the race due to illness this week, among them Tyler Farrar (Slipstream) while he was wearing the race leader's jersey during Stage 3.


Toyota/United Pro's Dominque Rollin

Dominique Rollin (CAN), Herablife Sprint Jersey and Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey Leader
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team
On today’s race:
“I took it easy today after yesterday's fight, but it’s not like I’m eating ice cream and burritos just yet; I’m still here to do my work and focus on the tough mountain climbs and sprints in the next two days. I like the color green, and I hope to be in green (Herbalife Sprint Jersey) when I wake up Monday morning.”

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Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
On today’s time trial:

“I don't know what to say except I'm really happy to be here. I'm having fun, I'm on a new team and I'm on the podium on a beautiful day. It's a really good feeling being here. I surprised myself today; I really expected Cancellara to win. I’ve started to put a little more pressure on myself and I really wanted to get up on the podium. It was very windy out there today. There were a few times when I was going downhill that I almost got thrown off my bike, which kind of stayed in my head throughout the race.”

On tomorrow’s race:
“Who knows what tomorrow will bring. It will probably be a combination of a lot of teams going after it; guns blazing just like every year. There are some really nasty climbs, so I’m sure everyone will be tired. Yesterday was a big day for everyone.”

On team morale:
“I think my grin says it all; I’m just trying to let it sink in. I feel really comfortable on this team. I really thought we’d do great. All the work we have put in is really starting to pay off. Hopefully we can continue this momentum for the rest of the year. I’m just proud to be here and be a part of this team.”

Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team CSC
On today’s race:

“I think today was a statement about my actual fitness. I did a very good stage to San Jose, and I think I paid the price today. I came here to help my team and win a stage, but my role was changed suddenly when I was second in the GC. It was evident today that Levi is a better rider now. We will have to see what’s possible in the next two stages. They are not flat and Levi is climbing well, so we’ll see how it goes.”


"Z-Man" Zabriskie riding towards the finish.

Robert Gesink (NED), Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey Leader
Rabobank
On participating in the Amgen Tour of California:
“I'm so happy to be here. It's a day with sun and crowds and only 35 minutes of riding to keep my jersey (Union Bank Best Young Rider). I think I'll be wearing this home in a few days. I'm planning to come back every year. I love this race; it's unique in the world. I hope it will grow and continue for many years to come.”

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports
Presenter of the Amgen Tour of California
On the race overall:
“The race has been fantastic. We were all a little discouraged yesterday afternoon, but after reflecting for the past 24 hours, we think that yesterday will be remembered mostly as an epic stage highlighted by the emergence of another new talent, Dominique Rollin, who attacked alone after nearly seven hours of riding in the wind and rain to take the stage. All the riders had a really rough day.”

On the crowds in Solvang:
“Solvang has been fantastic; the support here is tremendous. The roads were packed and it was a true celebration of American cycling. The time gap between the three leaders is minimal, so we’ve got two terrific days of racing ahead of us.”

On AEG’s partnership with USA Cycling and UCI:
“USA Cycling and UCI have been critical partners for us in establishing the ground rules in a fight to make sure the Amgen Tour of California is a clean and fair race; we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Pat McQuaid, President, UCI
On the Amgen Tour of California:

“I have watched the Amgen Tour of California for the last couple of years, and without a doubt, it’s getting bigger and better. The race is gaining more and more acceptance; the field couldn’t be much better. Just the size and scale is getting better. By in large, there is no doubt that this is the biggest and best race in the U.S. This race has a big future, and if AEG wishes to take it to a new level, we’d be willing to help them get there.”

“We do plan to discuss a strategy for this race moving forward; there is really no limit to the amount of days to which this race could grow. There are only three Grand Tours at the moment, but there is no reason why there couldn’t be more; this race is certainly a good candidate. The Amgen Tour of California is one of the top-tier events of the season.”

On yesterday’s stage:
“Yesterday was one of the worst days any cyclist could go through, and it will be remembered for years to come. What really amazed me though was the number of fans out on the road. Taking into account the geography and the weather, it was amazing to me that those fans braved the weather for hours on end just to cheer on the riders. Even when we got into San Luis Obispo, where the fans had to wait an extra hour for the riders to come in, the atmosphere was just superb; everyone was still cheerful.”

Steve Johnson, CEO, USA Cycling
On the Amgen Tour of California:

“The Amgen Tour of California certainly kicks off the season, and it seems like each year, we are describing this race with new superlatives. As was already mentioned, each year, a new rider always seems to make a statement. This race is really a great platform for new American riders, and it brings the best teams in the world to the U.S. It’s very clear that the American fans who come out to watch this race appreciate the fact that the best riders in the world are here to race for them.”

“As a result of the Amgen Tour of California, we fully expect to see an American on a podium some day that got there because this race inspired them when they were young. This race is wonderful; a great way to kick off each season.”

Race Organization Report
ASTANA’S LEVI LEIPHEIMER WINS INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL IN STAGE 5 OF THE AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Leipheimer Retains Overall Lead in 2008 Professional Road Race Heading Into Seventh Day
SOLVANG, CALIF., February 22, 2008 – Enthusiastic fans in Solvang welcomed professional cyclists from 17 international and domestic teams for the critical Stage 5 individual time trial of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. After a challenging day of racing yesterday, the riders were faced with a 15-mile course that was dominated by Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana for the second consecutive year. Besting David Millar (GBR) of Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 by 29 seconds, Leipheimer further built on his overall lead in the 2008 race and will wear the Amgen Leader Jersey going into Stage 6 tomorrow.

Moving into second and third were Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 riders David Millar and Christian Vande Velde (USA), respectively.

Racing on a 15-mile course in surprisingly dry conditions, Leipheimer rolled out of the start gate with confidence. Coming off a savage 135-mile stage on Thursday, most of the cyclists struggled to beat the 33-minute barrier. Of the early riders, Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of High Road posted 32:16, which was good enough to keep the lead for the first part of the day.

But in this ‘race of truth,’ each rider alone against the clock, the competition became tougher as the race went on, and the top-five finishers would crack the 32-minute barrier.

“It was very windy out there,” said Vande Velde, noting the crosswind gusts between buildings in certain sections actually pushed him to a 45-degree position. “I almost got thrown off my bike. I had to settle in.”

Vande Velde was the first rider to break through the 32-minute barrier, posting a 31:31, but that time would soon be beat by another strong rider, his teammate Millar. Millar, a former World Champion and winner of the Tour de France individual time trial, whipped into the finish stretch and posted a seemingly untouchable 31:15.

The most anticipated rider of the day, World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC, who demonstrated amazing fitness on Wednesday to take the stage and rival Leipheimer, came in fifth today with a time of 31:51, which put him in fourth place overall going into tomorrow’s stage.

“Today was a statement about my actual fitness,” said Cancellara, who wore the Amgen Leader Jersey on Monday and Tuesday. “I did a very good stage to San Jose and I think I paid the price today.”

All heads swiveled to the monitors to see Leipheimer, clearly on a great ride. Leipheimer hit the tape to post an amazing time of 30:46. Despite wind, turns and hills, he had powered his bike nearly 30 mph for a half hour and crushed the competition at every time split.

“This may be an even bigger win for me than last year,” said Leipheimer. “It was another great day for me here in Solvang. I’m just so happy and proud. I gave it my all today.”

Going into the final two stages, the Astana team will work to help Leipheimer keep the Amgen Leader Jersey and defend his title as the winner of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California.

“Solvang has been fantastic; the support here is tremendous,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “The roads were packed and it was a true celebration of American cycling. The time gap between the three leaders is minimal, so we have two terrific days of racing ahead of us.”

Today’s stage didn’t bring any changes to the jersey winners. Dominique Rollin (CAN) of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team retained the Herbalife Sprint Leader Jersey and the Tachyon Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for a second day. Scott Nydam (USA) from Team BMC claimed the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains Jersey for the third consecutive day. Robert Gesink (NED) of Rabobank held onto the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey. Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 is now leading the team classification.

Title sponsor Amgen will hold another "Breakaway Mile" tomorrow on the final mile of the course before the peloton streaks into Santa Clarita. “Amgen continues to seek out meaningful ways to communicate the progress we have made discovering and developing innovative and vital medicines that have helped millions of patients fight cancer, kidney disease and other serious illnesses,” said Scott Foraker, vice president research & development operations, Amgen. “Through the Amgen Tour of California sponsorship, we are able to raise awareness of the medical breakthroughs possible through biotechnology while also helping support cancer patients and caregivers through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative.”

Amgen created Breakaway from Cancer™ in 2005 as a complementary component to its race sponsorship. The initiative is designed to help empower people affected by cancer and supports the services of two nonprofit organizations – The Wellness Community, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people affected by cancer, and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country.  For the latest information on the Breakaway from Cancer initiative and ways to support those living with the illness, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.

STAGE 6 TOMORROW:
Saturday, Feb. 23 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (105.4 mi/169.6 km)
Estimated Start Time: 11 a.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 3-3:30 p.m.
Stage 6 could be the pivotal stage for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. The stage is one of the longest at 105 miles and it is heavy on climbs with four KOMs, three sprints and a demanding finishing circuit in Santa Clarita. With the individual time trial late in the race again this year, there is the potential for several riders to be separated by just a few seconds as they begin the stage. After a start in view of the Santa Barbara shoreline, this stage, sponsored by Health Net, will take the peloton to Highway 192 and through the outskirts of Carpenteria. The route will then take the riders on Highway 150 where they will face two KOMs before passing Lake Casitas and riding into the scenic town of Ojai. The third KOM will be just a few miles outside Ojai, and then the course will head downhill into Santa Paula. The ominous Balcom Canyon will be the final climb of the day, where in 2007 nearly 25,000 fans formed a narrow corridor for the riders. The cyclists will end the day with three circuit laps in Santa Clarita that finish at McBean Parkway at the Valencia Town Center.  please visit the official race Web site at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

In addition to the Web site, fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Highlights from Stage 6 will air on VERSUS tomorrow at 2 p.m. PST/5 p.m. EST.

About the Amgen Tour of California: The largest cycling event in America, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style road race presented by AEG that will challenge the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding 650-mile course from Palo Alto-Stanford University to Pasadena from February 17-24, 2008.

About Amgen Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.

About AEG AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Sprint Center, The O2, NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, a Major League Lacrosse team, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers, the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com

 
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