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Tour of California - 2009 Photo Journal
 
By Staff
Date: 11/13/2011
Tour of California - 2009 Photo Journal
 

Tour of California - 2009 Photo Journal
Jim Adams 2009 Tour of California Photo Journal stage 1 & 3

Photos by Jim Adams


2009 Tour of California: Francico Mancebo makes his solo run to victory on Stage1
Photo 2011 Jim Adams

Stage 1 Davis -  Santa Rosa 173.2km
The tour of california stage one got off to a rainy start (liquid sunshine) in front of large crowds in the northern California cycling crazy town of Davis at noon on Sunday. The wind and rain set the stage for an epic day in the saddle for the for the international  peloton. But it was Rock Racing's Spaniard Francisco Mancebo who would animate the stage and defy the weather and peloton of favorites by leaving the peloton shortly after the 5 km neutral section in a break and win in Santa Rosa.


24 year old Vincenzo Nibali on the way to claiming second on Stage 1. Photo 2011 Jim Adams

Mancebo won handily over duo Belgian Jurgen Van de Walle and Sicilian Vincenzo (the Shark of the straight) Nibali attacking the duo on the a small rise on final approach to the line taking a stunning victory. The duo had both bridged to the rider in the final circuits with first Nibali attacking the group of 20 and then Van de Walle following only to catch Mancebo on the final circuit, gaining no time; but joining the Rock star on the podium.

Stage 3 - Patterson Pass


Stage 4 Brad White and Jeff Louder lead the break ahead of the TV moto follows break on stage 3 as they approach KOM 2 on Patterson Pass Photo 2011 Jim Adams 

The early break of four; tour d'Avenir winner Bauke Mollema of Rabobank, OUCH's Bradley White, Liquigas's  Brian Vandborg, and Tour of Utah winner Jeff Louder (BMC) escaped shortly after the neutral zone 6 miles into the stage, the quartet worked well together and forged ahead over the first climb of the day; the Cat. 1 Sierra Road (1930 feet).


Bauke Mollema and Brian Vandborg climb Patterson Pass.
Photo 2011 Jim Adams

The roads continued to be wet on the climb and the lead grew to better than 5 min as they approached the summit at the 47.1 mile mark almost half way through the stage led by Mollema, Vanborg and  Louder taking the points and time bonuses in that order.

With the climbing behind the riders, the roads drying out, and the 48 mile flat run into Modesto, the day was come down to the pursuit driven by the sprint trains to capture the four escapees before the finish still with near a five minute gap.


Astana's Smiling Chris Horner leads race leader Levi Leipheimer  Photo 2011 Jim Adams

Through the intermediate sprint in Tracy (68.8 mi) with Liquigas' Vanborg leading Louder and Mollema the quartet had 35 miles to the finish and the gap holding at 4:30. Fighting cross winds, an unorganized push at the front of the peloton slowly brought the break back to 3:20. Astana continued to bear the brunt of the work with Columbia/Highroad and Quick Step each throwing  a rider to the front with Tom Boonen in mind.


Lance Armstrong climbs in the bunch  Photo 2011 Jim Adams

It looked as if the ride was all over for the breakaway as the peloton closed in on the outskirts of Modesto when Louder launched an attack. Giving chase was Mollema as Vandborg and White cracked. Mollema caught Louder, and counter attacked as the gap fell below a minute. The two settled down in short order began to work together.

One lap to go and the lead was 12 seconds. Mollema tried to break from Louder but the two rejoined. Finally the two riders accepted they had run out of road; the duo sat up and waited. Quick Step, Cervelo and Columbia dueled for control of the head of the race with few Slipstream riders jockeying for position coming around the final turn it was 4 Cervelo's at the front.

Cervelo took the front and Thor Hushvod pounded out some thunder - taking the victory for Cervelo.

2009 Tour of California Article Index

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