Tour of California Stage 5 Team & Rider Reports
Comment from Riders and Teams, CSC, Health Net/Maxxis, KodakGallery.com/Sierra
Nevada, Toyota/United Pro Cycling & Photo Gallery
All photos c. Scott Schaffrick, Mark Adkison Phd. &
Voigt, Bak Attack in Tour of California Stage 5
With Floyd Landis of Phonak clutching the Tour of California
leader's jersey tightly, other cyclists started grabbing what they could in
today's Stage 5. George Hincapie won the stage and the sprint jersey. Levi
Leipheimer of Gerolsteiner fought for the king of the mountains jersey. And Team
CSC did what it loves to do: attack.
Following Wednesday's pivotal Stage 3 time trial where
Landis grabbed a comfortable 29-second lead, Team CSC sport director Scott
Sunderland said that CSC's main goals would be a stage victory. So it was no
surprise that shortly after the 105-mile stage from San Luis Obispo to Santa
Barbara began Lars Bak, fresh off earning his most aggressive rider jersey
yesterday, latched on to a breakaway. When his group was reeled back in by
Discovery, who wanted a stage win for Hincapie, Jens Voigt almost immediately
launched a four-man break that characterized the stage.
"Before they caught Lars back, I radioed Jens and told
him to make a counterattack," Sunderland said. Because he was joined by
Discovery's tough veteran, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Discovery was content to let
Voigt is an accomplished breakaway artist who has won
stages in the Tour de France and rode a breakaway into the yellow jersey in the
2005 Tour de France. Today's breakaway, which also included Sebastian Lang of
Gerolsteiner and Nick Reistad of Jelly Belly, stayed away nearly four hours,
getting caught only on the final climb of the day, the Category 1 San Marcos
Pass between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara.'
Since none of the riders were much of a threat to Landis
— Ekimov was the closest at more than five minutes down — the peloton might have
let them stay away. But Lang and Reistad fell off the back, leaving two men to
fend off the pack. At the same time, Leipheimer tried to escape the peloton on
the climb up San Marcos, partly to make a play for the stage win and partly to
compete for the king of the mountains sprint on the climb. Since Leipheimer is
only a minute off of Landis' time, Phonak and the rest of the peloton chased the
break down and caught Leipheimer minutes after he crested the mountain.
From there, Hincapie's Discovery team set most of the
pace down to the beaches of Santa Barbara. The climb had split the peloton and
only 40 riders were able to contest the win. Since many true sprinters were
either dropped or worn out on the climb, Hincapie, a solid climber and an
excellent sprinter, was well-positioned to take the bunch sprint at the end.
With his second stage win in the race, he reclaimed the sprinter's jersey back
from Juan Jose Haedo of Toyota United Pro.
Sunderland said that the terrain has not presented CSC a
good opportunity to snatch the golden jersey. "The climb today just wasn't hard
enough to split up the field," he said. "But it's February—nobody's expecting
the Alps or the Pyrenees."
BOBBY'S BLOG: Tour of California,
“I don’t think it was such a critical stage than we had initially anticipated.
Stages 2 and 3 were the stages that really made the race. Today was just trying
to go for a stage win and we had Jens Voigt in the breakaway all day. We were
really hoping that Stuart O’Grady would be able to get over the last climb. But
it was just a little bit too much and it came down to a field sprint.”
On today’s strategy:
“Our strategy was to follow to see what happens. Then we saw there was a head
wind on that last climb and it wasn’t so difficult that there wasn’t really any
need to make a massive move because we knew that Stuart was just a bit behind
the time to get over the top of the climb. But he wasn’t able to make it and we
were just missing our sprinter for the finish.”
On the team’s performance so far:
“I’d say we’ve done very good, but we unfortunately haven’t won a stage yet,
which I’m a little disappointed about. But we’re right there scratching at it.
Everyday we have riders in the breakaways. We’re all together all the time in
the race, and we’ve obviously got some new guys on the team so we’re working out
the kinks. I’m sure we’ll be ready to rip in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico
SHOWS CLIMBING ABILITY IN SANTA BARBARA STAGE
With the last major climb of the Amgen Tour
of California looming at the end of today's 105-mile stage from San Luis Obispo
to Santa Barbara, Ben Jacques-Maynes of the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Pro
Cycling Team had a final chance to show his ability to climb with the leaders,
and the San Jose rider rose to the occasion.
As the field closed in on a four-rider break of Jens Voigt (CSC), Sebastian Lang
(Gerolsteiner), Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery) and Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly)
near the base of the Category 1 climb of San Marcos Pass, teammates Jackson
Stewart and Scott Zwizanski helped position Jacques-Maynes near the front of the
On the climb itself, Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Ricardo Ricco (Saunier
Duval-Prodir) attacked and opened a gap of around 20 seconds, while Jacques-Maynes
held strong in the group of race leader Floyd Landis (Phonak), along with fewer
than thirty other riders.
At the finish, the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada team leader moved up to 25th
overall and was 10th across the line as George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) won
his second stage of the race.
As the field rolled out of San Luis Obispo in the morning, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra
Nevada riders featured in a slew of attacks as small groups tried to break away
from the Phonak-controlled pack.
In particular, Dominique Perras was part of a 13-rider group that looked
promising for a time, but TIAA-CREF prevented the gap from increasing to more
than a minute and the break eventually lost steam. Perras did take third in the
Clif Bar sprint point at Guadalupe though.
Today's stage also served as a homecoming for Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada
Operations Manager Kurt Stockton, as family and friends turned out at the finish
to welcome the Santa Barbara native and former USPRO Champion back to his
hometown, where his cycling career began.
O’Neill holds steady when fireworks fly on
Everybody expected the final climb of today’s Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of
California to be decisive. It also came as little surprise that it was the
Gerolsteiner team of Levi Leipheimer, sitting 6th overall just two seconds
behind Nathan O’Neill of the Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis,
that lit the fuse on the fireworks.
Mike Sayers leads photo c.M. Adkison
the remnants of a four-man break still up the road by about a minute,
Gerolsteiner lined up three riders on the front and drilled it from the bottom
of the Category 1 climb over San Marcos Pass, which gains nearly 1,500 feet in
four miles. The pack, which had mostly stayed together until that point,
immediately began to fragment.
One by one, Leipheimer’s teammates peeled off the front, while riders
in bunches fell of the blistering pace.
“Levi had his teammates do a one-two-three thing and it put a lot of people on
the ropes,” said O’Neill.
Finally, Leipheimer launched off the front alone, with Ricardo Ricco (Prodir-Saunier
Duval) the only rider able to bridge to Leipheimer, determined to make more
noise in his home state tour.
“When he finally went off the front,” O’Neill continued, “it was actually a
bit of a relief because the main bunch eased off a bit. There was about a
minute-and a-half or two that I was feeling a bit rough.”
The Leipheimer and Ricco bridged to the three remaining riders from the
break, which included another of his Gerolsteiner teammates, Sebastian Lang. He
sold out for his team leader, and Leipheimer and Ricco continued up the road,
opening a gap of :20 on the main field. But slowly, the gap started to close,
with a group of 40 strong men grinding their way back up to Leipheimer.
“Once our bunch started working its way back up to them, I started to feel a
bit more comfortable,” O’Neill said. “I pretty much sat on a wheel up to the
top. I was actually a bit surprised I was that comfortable.”
From climbing to sprinting
Once the 40-man group absorbed the two leaders, it became apparent that it would
come down to a sprint finish out of the front group. Health Net Presented by
Maxxis strongman Hayden Roulston, who was initially gapped when the heat turned
up on San Marcos, had slowly made his way back up to the front group, and
immediately become the team’s top threat in the sprint.
“I got gapped off early, and just worked my way back up to the pack,” Roulston
said. “I was back on by about 2 km from the top.”
did a great job of getting himself back up to the front group,” team directeur
sportif Jeff Corbett added. Roulston used the descent to recover. “His primary
job was to look after Nathan coming into Santa Barbara,” Corbett continued.
“Once it looked like everything was staying together, I told him to start
sniffing around for the sprint.”
Coming up the finishing straight on Cabrillo Street in Santa Barbara,
Roulston was well positioned behind the train of Discovery, trying to set up
George Hincapie for the stage win. With the pack moving up the left side,
Roulston lit out up the right side from 300 meters out. “Then the group moved to
the right and I had to check up a bit,” Roulston said. Instead, he had to settle
for 7th across the line behind stage winner Hincapie.
For O’Neill, he said after the stage, “my primary objective was to not lose
time to Levi. But Levi has the mountains jersey now, which hopefully will make
him a bit happier.”
Stage 5 Results
7 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Health Net p/b Maxxis
27 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis
5 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis 1.08
22 Hayden Roulston (NZL) Health Net p/b Maxxis 4.31
Pro Cycling Team's
Chris Baldwin 15th Moves Up in
Heading into the home stretch and what
the Tour expects to be some of the largest crowds to date, U.S. Time Trial
Champion Chris Baldwin finished in 15th place with the first pack of riders
today on the beachfront in Santa Barbara.
With the Tour rapidly becoming more aggressive and the day’s strategy in place,
the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team focused on execution with the goal of placing
Baldwin in position to be among the first group of world-class riders to cross
the finish line.
Over the 105-mile race at speeds reaching nearly 55 mph on the descent from San
Marcos Pass, the mission was accomplished.
The stellar finish resulted in Baldwin moving up in the overall Tour standings
to 24th among the field of 107 riders. George Hincapie of Discovery won the
stage completing the ride in 3 hours and 52 minutes to tie Toyota-United Pro
Cycling Team’s Juan Jose Haedo for two stage wins in the inaugural Amgen Tour of
“Our objective was to get Baldwin in place for the Category 1 ascent over the
San Marcos Pass with the first group,” said Team Director Frankie Andreu.
“Overall we were happy with the stage.”
Coming off a tremendous training camp, TUT’s Heath Blackgrove sits in 29th
place, and Tony Cruz jumps to 38th.
“We tried to conserve energy today and prepare for tomorrow,” said Team Director
Harm Jansen. “The race was pretty hard, the last climb was tough, but we
executed our strategy well with a strong finish from Chris.” Jansen added that
tomorrow’s Stage 6 is a short race – only 89 miles. The start is hilly and the
ride through the Canyon could be a breaker.
“It could be a group finish or a break that takes off early. Either way it’s
going to be a very dynamic race. I think we may be in for surprises,” said
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
Stage 5 Results:
15. BALDWIN Christopher TUT 3.52'02"
50. CRUZ Antonio TUT 3.53'15"
51. ENGLAND Justin TUT 3.53'15"
52. BLACKGROVE Heath TUT 3.53'15"
72. FRIEDICK Mariano TUT 3.58'26"
79. GARCIA José-Manuel TUT 4.02'50"
83. HAEDO Juan José TUT 4.02'50"
Overall standings through Stage 5:
1. LANDIS Floyd PHO 16.29'40"
24. BALDWIN Christopher TUT 16.35'53"
29. BLACKGROVE Heath TUT 16.36'43"
38. CRUZ Antonio TUT 16.38'53"
70. ENGLAND Justin TUT 16.50'04"
82. FRIEDICK Mariano TUT 16.54'21"
96. GARCIA José-Manuel TUT 16.58'02"
102. HAEDO Juan José TUT 17.00'44"
Overall Attendance Estimates Primed to Top One Million, with
More Than 830,000 Estimated Fans on the Course to Date
Crowds line the finish in Santa Barbara
photo c. Mark Adkison Phd &
Following another day of crowds in the
thousands and with the Amgen Tour of California on pace to set records in
attendance for any single sporting event in California, as well as for any
cycling event in the United States with more than 830,000 attendees to date,
George Hincapie (USA) of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team powered down the
street to Santa Barbara and his second stage victory.
Thousands of spectators lined the course as the riders blazed out of San Luis
Obispo at an average speed of almost 30 mph to begin the 105.3-mile course to
Santa Barbara, and a bevy of attacks kept speeds high throughout the day. Two
large breaks of ten riders were able to stay off the front of the field with
maximum gaps of 45" respectively.
Shortly after the second large group was reabsorbed on the open and flat roads
into Orcutt, four riders were able to slide off the front of the field to gain a
significant advantage as the course turned toward hilly terrain in Santa Barbara
County. The four-man group included German Jens Voigt (GER) of Team CSC,
Sebastian Lang (GER) of Gerolsteiner, ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games time trial
medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov (RUS) from Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, and
American Nick Reistad (USA) from California-based Team Jelly Belly.
With Ekimov 5'20" down to Landis in the overall, Phonak allowed the four a
maximum advantage of 3'20" and held the gap steady at approximately 3' to the
Category 1 climb of San Marcos Pass Road. At 3.1 miles to the summit, the lead
had shrunk to 1'33".
Halfway up the climb, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Gerolsteiner and Ricardo Ricco (ITA)
of Prodir-Saunier Duval joined the front group and established a 22" lead on the
field at the summit of the KOM, with Leipheimer leading over the top of the
climb. 40 riders regrouped on the descent. With a similar finishing dynamic to
Stage Two, George Hincapie showed that he is one of the fastest men out of a
select group by winning the sprint and taking his second stage in the Amgen Tour
“We knew all the roads, and we knew the last climb really well. The team was
really strong today. We've had a great week and have a lot of fun racing here,”
“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 Jim Daly, senior vice president, North American commercial operations,
Amgen. “Through the Amgen Tour of California sponsorship, we will raise
awareness of the proper use of our medicines and the medical breakthroughs
possible through biotechnology while partnering with The Wellness Community to
further support cancer patients and caregivers.”
Charity Ride Preview
Breakaway from Cancer
Five hundred local residents and Amgen staff and their families will take part
in the Breakaway from Cancer™ charity ride on Saturday, Feb. 25 – the same day
that Stage Six
of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California rolls into Thousand Oaks from Santa
“Breakaway from Cancer is an integral, complementary component of the Amgen Tour
of California, and it benefits cancer patients across the country,” said Kathryn
West, advocacy director, Amgen. “Amgen is proud to host the Breakaway from
Cancer charity ride in our headquarters city and we look forward to joining
members of the community to raise additional funds to help empower people with
cancer so they can live well with the disease.”
Launched in December 2005 as a partnership between Amgen, The Wellness Community
and George Hincapie, the Breakaway from Cancer initiative is a complementary
component of Amgen’s title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California. The
initiative includes a series of free workshops designed to help people who are
affected by cancer learn about new treatments, side effects, support networks
and educational resources.
After his performance in today’s stage, Hincapie reclaimed the lead in the Clif
Bar Sprint Competition and will wear the Clif Bar Sprint Jersey during Stage
Six. The points awarded to Leipheimer for being the first rider over the San
Marcos Pass puts him in the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain
Jersey, while Tom Peterson (USA) of Team
TIAA-CREF remains in the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey. For his efforts in
the day’s longest breakaway, 23-year-old Reistad earned the Adobe Most
“It’s clear that the race is taking on a momentum of its own; the crowd support
on the road today was beyond anything we’ve seen yet,” said Shawn Hunter,
president of AEG Sports, the presenters of the Amgen Tour of California. “From
the start in San Luis Obispo and on through all of the towns along the course,
people were out in the thousands to support the best cyclists in the world race
to Santa Barbara.”
Stage Six tomorrow will bring the riders 89.5 miles from Santa Barbara to
Thousand Oaks on their final day of distance racing, followed by a circuit day
finale in Redondo Beach on Sunday. Tomorrow’s shorter stage with a hilly profile
features four KOM climbs and finishes with three laps of a three-mile circuit in
Thousand Oaks that will cover the stages’ final ten miles and finish at Amgen’s
For full results, official times, archived footage, photos and play-by-play from
today’s stage of the Amgen Tour of California, please visit the official race
website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com <http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/>
. For images from today’s stage and the week, please go to www.gettyimages.com
<http://www.gettyimages.com/> . A one-hour race recap will be broadcast on ESPN2
10 p.m. PST.
STILL TO COME THIS WEEK:
Saturday, Feb. 25 –
Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Charity Ride, Thousand Oaks
Estimated Start: 8:30 a.m.
500 riders registered
Stage 6, Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks
Estimated Start Time: 10 a.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 – Stage 7, Redondo Beach Circuit Race
Estimated Start Time: 1 p.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 4 p.m.
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
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To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit
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Los Angeles Kings (NHL), five Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey
franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los
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California cycling road race debuting in San Francisco on February 19th; AEG
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For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com