Floyd Landis race leader, Chris Horner, George Hincapie, Nick Reistad, and Levi
Leipheimer answer questions about Stage 5. Photo Gallery of riders and race
Chris Horner (USA) Davitamon?Lotto
Third Place Finisher, Stage 5
us a little bit about the break today, bringing it back and then the final
“The first strategy was simple, just get over the climb in the first group.
After that it was Discovery doing all the work all the way to the finish. Simple
strategy was to stay on George’s (Hincapie) wheel. His wheel was in perfect
position and then the Gerolsteiner guy came by at about 300 or 400 meters. Just
enough time to where either I was going to have to let him in and try to sprint
two wheels from behind to try to catch George, which is next to impossible, or
sit there and fight with him and then lose for sure. So I let him in. I think I
had good speed for the finish, just coming from too far back.”
When the break got as much as three minutes, Phonak came up and dropped
What was going on?
“There was a lot of weird stuff going on. There was a big break that went off
and then TIAA-CREF Team goes to the front and starts pulling at max. They did a
really good job in pulling it back; I don’t know what it accomplished in the
long run to do that kind of work, but they didn’t have a guy in the move and
they wanted a guy in the move, so they pulled it back, which gave Phonak a lot
of rest. I think the end result didn’t change anything all day. It looked like
it was going to be a sprint. With a climb like that, it was not going to be a
sprint with a sprinter but with fast guys, and that’s what it came down to. The
climb just wasn’t steep enough to get rid of guys, and there was a pretty good
headwind that last two or three (kilometers) from the top, so sitting on gave
you a pretty good benefit too.”
How about the crowds today on the climb and coming into Santa Barbara,
what was that like?
“It was fantastic all day – there at the start and then coming into Santa
Barbara they were good. Fans were on all the climbs and at the sprints. Again,
the Amgen Tour of California has done a fantastic job putting (the race) on, and
then evidently promoting it. The people in the area know it’s on and they’re all
coming out supporting it, so it’s been fantastic.”
Chris Horner in the KOM Jersey photo c. Mark Akison &
You never give up. Are you still going to keep going and go for the
“Well, we have Freddy for the next stages. The other two stages (seem to be)
built for him. We were setting up Freddy the first day and he had a flat at one
(kilometer) to go – what are you going to do? Second stage we climbed the last
corner a little bit wrong and we wanted him to come in the last corner first,
which he did, but the distance to the last corner ended up being more like 250
so if you look, he lost that stage too. We’ll get him a stage. We’ll help him
get to the line; we’ll get him the stage win.”
George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
Winner, Stage 5
George at the press conference. Photo c. Mark Adkison & Daily
What was the strategy of your team after the break was caught and heading into
the final sprint?
“I felt really good on that last climb. We just wanted to get as many guys as we
could over, and we knew we couldn’t do much damage because there was a headwind.
We were fortunate we got six guys over, and the strategy at that point was not
to let the real sprinters come back because the group was small. (We kept a)
high pace so they wouldn’t come back, and once we knew they were gone we just
kept a high tempo so nobody would attack. And the team just took me right to the
line without much effort. It was a perfect day.”
When did you come out and go for the sprint?
“About 300 meters to go. It was kind of a long way and it was a never-ending 300
meters. It worked out perfect.
Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
Amgen Race Leader
Your team had its work cut out for them with the breakaway. Tell us about
pulling that back.
“We actually didn’t mind if it went to the finish. It was fine with us. Ekimov
was the first guy, but as long as they didn’t get five minutes we were happy
with that. I figured some things would go down on the last climb so as long as
the guys were ok until there and we saved a few guys then everything was good.
At the top we were suffering, but everybody was suffering.”
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner
King of the Mountain Jersey Winner, Stage 5
Was one of your goals today to drop Bernhard (Kohl) and take the jersey?
“No I wasn’t even thinking of the jersey at all. I just wanted to attack and try
to break the race open. I knew this climb wasn’t very hard, but I had to give it
a go anyway. There were not many opportunities left in the race. I was trying to
be aggressive and shake up the classification. When I got to the top (of the
climb) there was only one other guy with me, and I say, hey, I want to take the
points so that was the only time I really thought about it – right there at the
There was talk that maybe the break was your last chance to get the win.
“At one point it looked like it was a really good situation. I had teammates up
there and that would have been perfect on the downhill, but the problem is I
caught them too far from the top and they couldn’t stay with me, so it was only
two of us on the downhill. It’s not a very steep downhill, it’s windy. You could
never stay away from a group of thirty or forty.”
Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team
Most Aggressive Rider, Stage 5
Tell us about your aggression out there today.
“I just knew I wanted to get into the break today, at least we wanted to have
someone in the break today. I saw Jens Voigt go, and that looked like a good
time to attack because the field had kind of sat up a little bit. We got a big
gap right away.
Nick Reistad in good company. photo c. Mark Adkison &
It looked like everyone was taking equal pulls and working well together.
“Yeah! We were all riding really hard out there, and we did the best we could.
We just got caught on the climb and that was it! I’m a little bit bigger of a
guy, so I wouldn’t call myself a climber by any means.”