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Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Teams & Riders Comments
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 2/20/2006
Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Teams & Riders Comments
 

Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Teams & Riders' Comments
Teams, Riders comments and Photos of today's action: Toyota/United Pro Cycling, Health Net presented by Maxxis, CSC, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada

 


JJ Haedo dominates the sprint Photo c. Scott Schaffrick and www.dailypelton.com

Toyota/United Pro Cycling
Juan Jose Haedo Sprints to a First Place Finish in Stage One

Blasting from the peleton in the final 300 meters of today’s Stage One of the Tour of California, Juan Jose Haedo of Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, pulled away from Prologue winner Levi Leipheimer of Gerolsteiner, CSC’s Stuart O’Grady, and Discovery’s George Hincapie – besting some of the world’s most renowned cyclists for a win in front of over 150,000 fans in Santa Rosa.

The 25-year-old, four-time Argentinean National Champion came from nowhere for a surprise win after riding a total of 84 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. His win, by a gap of more than two-and-a-half bike lengths, marked the first stage win of the race and first official scheduled race win for the new Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team.
“My team did a great job keeping me safe,” said Haedo. “I broke out in front and from then on it was all the way. I’ve won big races in Argentina, but this is my biggest win on American soil. I can’t say I wasn’t surprised, but I trained hard to be here and I put myself in a good position to defend my jersey. We came here to win stages and we want to win a few more stages in the next few days.”

It was a strategic move, according to Team Director Frankie Andreu. “Today it was decided that every rider would help Haedo to win the stage,” said Andreu. “Our main concern was to make sure J.J. and a few teammates would enter into the circuit in good positions. We were confident that if the team could drop Haedo off at one or two kilometers from the line that he would be able to finish it off.”

Team Owner Sean Tucker says he wasn’t surprised by the win.
“When we signed J.J., I knew we’d signed one of the fastest and most aggressive sprinters in the world,” said Tucker. “After dreaming of building this team for 11 years it’s great to see it finally come together and win our first big race on a world stage.”

In other team news, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team’s Tony Cruz steered into a 9th place finish, helping the team move to 7th place overall as the team heads into Stage Two, a 95-mile race from Martinez to San Jose that will include the peleton’s first Category 1 ascent, the Sierra Road climb, 22 miles before the finish line.

“This takes enormous pressure off our shoulders,” said Team Director Harm Jansen.
“It’s fantastic to see J.J. come out on top. Today we relied on our sprinters, tomorrow we’ll rely on our climbers. We are enjoying today’s win, and now we can focus on the next stage win.”


Podium Stage 1 AToCA Photo c. Scott Schaffrick and www.dailypelton.com

Following are today’s Stage One results, including the top 10 finishers and
& Toyota-United’s individual results
Sausalito to Santa Rosa (84 Miles)
1. HAEDO Juan José TUT 3.14'13"
2. POLLACK Olaf TMO 3.14'13”
3. O'GRADY Stuart CSC 3.14'13"
4. HUFF Charles Bradley TIA 3.14'13"
5. HINCAPIE George DSC 3.14'13"
6. RAPINSKI Viktor COL 3.14'13"
7. HASELBACHER René GST 3.14'13"
8. ELMIGER Martin PHO 3.14'13"
9. CRUZ Antonio TUT 3.14'13"
10. JULICH Bobby CSC 3.14'13"
67. FRIEDICK Mariano TUT 3.14'13"
68. ENGLAND Justin TUT 3.14'13"
77. BALDWIN Christopher TUT 3.14'13"
81. GARCIA José-Manuel TUT 3.14'13"
88. BLACKGROVE Heath TUT 3.14'13"
112. DOMINGUEZ Ivan TUT 3.14'42"

 

G.C. After Stage One:
1. LEIPHEIMER Levi GST 3.19'06"
2. JULICH Bobby CSC 3.19'11"
3. HINCAPIE George DSC 3.19'12"
4. LANDIS Floyd PHO 3.19'12"
5. ZABRISKIE David CSC 3.19'15"
15. BLACKGROVE Heath TUT 3.19'20"
24. BALDWIN Christopher TUT 3.19'23"
63. ENGLAND Justin TUT 3.19'34"
69. HAEDO Juan José TUT 3.19'36"
71. GARCIA José-Manuel TUT 3.19'37"
87. CRUZ Antonio TUT 3.19'42"
105. FRIEDICK Mariano TUT 3.19'57"
114. DOMINGUEZ Ivan TUT 3.20'34"

The Tour of California marks Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team’s first public appearance since the team’s official launch on Feb. 7. The team’s presence at the Tour of California includes a large expo tent that captures cycling fans’ interest featuring a look at the new 2006 Toyota RAV4, the team’s limited edition team issue bicycle by United Bicycles, a team video, a life-size standup of the team (a crowd favorite), a retail store including apparel and team merchandise, and membership kiosks allowing fans to become a part of the Toyota-United team.

About Toyota: Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates ten manufacturing plants including one under construction. There are more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S. which sell more than 2 million vehicles a year. Toyota directly employs over 32,000 in the U.S. and its investment here


Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team
Jackson Stewart  Most Agressive Rider

With Jackson Stewart (Los Gatos, CA) winning the Most Aggressive Rider prize, things went according to plan for the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team in today’s first road stage of the Amgen Tour of California, covering 81.5 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.

After the Gerolsteiner team of race leader Levi Leipheimer controlled the field over the initial climbs out of Sausalito through Muir Woods, Stewart and Credit Agricole’s Jean-Marc Marino found themselves clear of the field about four miles ahead of the Clif Bar sprint line at Point Reyes Station.

Taking advantage of the advice given by Racing Manager Jonas Carney in last night’s team meeting, Stewart surprised Marino by starting his sprint well ahead of the left-hand corner leading up to the sprint line.

Although the pair’s advantage over the field would grow to over three minutes, they were caught on the run-in to Santa Rosa with around 15 miles to go after 43 miles off the front. Stewart’s effort earned him the Adobe Most Aggressive Rider jersey.

“Marino established the move,” said Stewart, “but I was waiting and I jumped on it. We rolled pretty well together, and I was pretty sure I’d get the most aggressive jersey after I won the sprint at Point Reyes. This is really good for Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada.”
Stewart looks back for Marino after taking the sprint at Point Reyes

Carney added, “Considering the competition that we’re up against, we’re really pleased to have won the intermediate sprint and the most aggressive jersey. Also, Ben and Martin did a great job of positioning in the finale, even though things got a little crazy in the last kilometer. This was a good day for our team.”

Race organizers estimated that 130,000 spectators attended today’s stage, which also marked the road racing debut of Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada sponsor SRAM’s new professional-level road component group.

Team leader Ben Jacques-Maynes commented, “I’ve ridden the SRAM group in training and a couple shorter races, and I was looking forward to using it in a major race. I was confident that it would perform as needed and it didn’t let me down.”

Tomorrow’s difficult stage from Martinez to San Jose will be an important test for Jacques-Maynes himself, as a San Jose resident and Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada’s co-leader along with Dominique Perras.

D. S. Jonas Carney said of tomorrow’s stage, “We’re going to swing for the fences.”

Health Net Presented by Maxxis Report
With no major climbs, Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California was expected to be a day for the sprinters, with the Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis looking to set up Canadian Gord Fraser for the finish. However, a puncture mid-way through the first of three 5 km finishing circuits in Santa Rosa took Fraser out of contention, despite the best efforts of teammate Mike Jones to pace him back to the fast-moving peloton.

Instead, with the first climbing stage looming on Tuesday, the team had to content itself with keeping overall race contenders Hayden Roulston (8th) and Nathan O’Neill (t-19th) out of trouble.

“Coming into the finish we had decided to set up Gord for the sprint,” team Directeur Sportif Jeff Corbett said. “When he flatted, that pretty much took him out of it, and unfortunately, Greg Henderson wasn’t on a good day.
“Guys like (Mike) Sayers and Roulston can try and have a go, but on a stage like today’s, unless you’re a pure sprinter it’s hard to be successful.”

Notes: Sayers was the highest finisher on the day for Health Net Presented by Maxxis in 11th. Roulston came across the line in 20th position. Fraser finished safely in the bunch to maintain his top 20 position in the overall.
The team remained 5th overall in the team classification.


O'Grady Third in Tour of California Stage 1

Australian sprinter Stuart O' Grady took third in a bunch sprint at the end of what was an otherwise quiet Stage 1 for Team CSC in the Tour of California.

With only two 750-foot climbs, the flat ride along the coast from Sausalito north to Santa Rosa seemed destined for a breakaway or a bunch sprint. It got both, with a two-man breakaway that lasted almost to in Santa Rosa. But once the peloton hit the 3.1-mile technical finishing circuit, the sprint trains churned into action and took over. In the final three laps the peloton stretched almost single file as speeds hit nearly 40 miles per hour. Despite the presence of established sprinters like O'Grady and Fred Rodriguez of Davitomon Lotto, the stage went to a relative unknown: Juan José Haedo, an Argentine with the newest U.S. domestic team, Team Toyota-United Pro.

O'Grady's results were even more impressive considering that CSC didn't have a sprint train to lead him to the line. CSC's main priorities today were protecting David Zabriskie and Bobby Julich for general classification. " If Stuart could do something on his own, that was great," said Team CSC sport director Scott Sunderland. "He's a very capable sprinter – he can look to see what the other sprinter's teams are doing and can grab hold of those trains."

Despite a crowded start site that saw O'Grady knocked off his bike by a photographer, CSC had a relatively calm day. CSC was able to sit in the peloton and conserve its strength, in part because golden jersey wearer Levi Leipheimer's Gerolsteiner squad was obligated to reel in any attacks off the front of the pack.
" We just kept the guys together, in case they needed to do something they do it as a whole," Sunderland said.

Tuesday's Stage 2 is expected to be the first stage to bring about a split in the peloton. The 95-mile stage from Martinez to San Jose hits a single Category 1 mountain, the Sierra Road climb east of San Jose. But the road to the peak is so narrow that not all the peloton will be able to fit on it at once, so riders who want to have a shot at the golden jersey will need to be in the front of the peloton when the roads start to squeeze.

Bobby Julich’s thoughts about the outcome of today’s Stage 1:  “I was a little surprised when the Discovery Team lit it up on the climb. But it was pretty much business as usual, a sprint finish.”
On his strategy for today’s stage:  “Save enough energy for tomorrow and the next day.”
Stage 2? Arguably the most challenging stage of the tour:
“The whole thing is challenging. It’s a very difficult stage, especially with that climb at the end with about 25 kilometers to go. It’s going to be very difficult.”
On being back in Santa Rosa, Calif.:  “I’m very happy. I have a lot of friends over here so it’s so nice to see them and hang out for a bit.”

HAEDO WINS STAGE ONE OF AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
Leipheimer Retains Lead In Front of Hometown Crowd in Santa Rosa
A crowd of more than 130,000 from Sausalito to Santa Rosa watched the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, won by Argentinean sprinter Juan José Haedo of the Toyota-United Pro cycling team. Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer (USA) kept his lead in the inaugural international professional cycling race throughout California from February 19-26.


Gerolsteiner sets tempo Photo c. Scott Schaffrick and www.dailypelton.com

On a stage that saw Leipheimer’s Gerolsteiner team set tempo for most of the day’s 81.5 miles – from the first climb out of Sausalito through the Muir Woods National Monument until the sprinters’ teams took over on the first of three finishing circuits in downtown Santa Rosa – Haedo won with a significant gap over second place Olaf Pollack (GER) of T-Mobile Team and third-place Australian Stuart O’Grady of Team CSC.


Cycling Crazy Santa Rosa! Photo c. Scott Schaffrick and www.dailypelton.com

A two-man breakaway composed of KodakGallery.com/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team’s Jackson Stewart (USA) and Jean Marc Marino (FRA) of Credit Agricole escaped the field three miles before the first Clif Bar Sprint of the race in Point Reyes Station. The pair gained a maximum advantage of 3’22” and stayed away for 42 miles until being caught by the Gerolsteiner led field on the approach into Santa Rosa.

JJ Haedo “The team worked for me to stay safe in the front, and then I was on my own [for] the last part. I almost crashed at about 1[kilometer], but I really decided to go and win the race. I just went as hard as I could and I went a little bit early. It was really good, eh”, said Haedo. "I'm really surprised that I had that big of a gap. With nine ProTour teams, I was really surprised and at the same time, I worked for that, and I think I kicked at the right spot. It was very emotional.”

With his win, Haedo also took the lead in the Clif Bar Sprint Competition and will wear the Clif Bar Sprint jersey during Stage Two. Bernhard Kohl (AUT) of T-Mobile Team keeps the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey and Colavita Olive/Sutter Home’s Zachary Grabowski (USA) stays in the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey. Stewart earned the Adobe Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for his role in the breakaway. Leipheimer retains his lead in the general classification and will wear the Amgen Leader Jersey for a second straight day.
Levi: “I’ve been dreaming for months, training the whole winter, every day, thinking about the possibility of winning the prologue and bringing the yellow jersey into my hometown, and then to actually realize that dream is something I can’t describe.
It’s an amazing feeling,” said Leipheimer. “I got reports last night that they were expecting 50,000 people today and [thought] well, that’s maybe a little bit much.
But I think you saw today that was at least as many people out there. It was very impressive to see the support for the race and for me. I’m overwhelmed and very grateful. It’s just a special day for me,” he added.

“We could not have scripted this any better, with Levi riding into his hometown in the leader jersey. It was a fantastic day for the event and for cycling,” said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports. “We knew we had something special here, and I think it is exceeding all of our expectations. It was very special, and we still think our biggest and best days are ahead.”

Levi Photo c. Scott Schaffrick and www.dailypelton.com

Amgen’s vice president of Corporate Communications and Philanthropy Phyllis Piano presented the Amgen Leader Jersey to Leipheimer. “It was a great honor to present the leader jersey to Levi Leipheimer on behalf of Amgen today. As the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, we would like to extend a special thanks to the city of Santa Rosa, home to an avid cycling community, for being such an enthusiastic host city.”

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 our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com <http://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 Corporation, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, The Manchester Evening News Arena and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), five Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angdeles Sparks (WNBA) and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race debuting in San Francisco on February 19th; 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. Additionally, the company has begun fully developing the 28-acre Millennium Dome and adjacent property located in the eastern part of London along the Thames River and will create the O2, a new arena within the ‘Dome’ and additional arenas, on a 50-acre site in the heart of Berlin and Spring Center in Kansas City, Missouri; stadiums in Bridgeview, Illinois and Harrison, New Jersey. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com <http://www.aegworldwide.com/>

 

 
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