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Tour of California Team Team & Rider Comments Stage 6
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 2/25/2006
Tour of California Team Team & Rider Comments Stage 6
 

Tour of California Team & Rider Comments Stage 6
Rider and Team comments and Reports with some pre race comments from this morning. CSC, Health Net/Maxxis, KodakGallery.com/Sierra Nevada, Brian Holm D.S. T-Mobile, Hincapie, O'Grady, David O'Laughlin Irish Road Champ with photos from today.

AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
STAGE SIX POST-RACE QUOTES

“The crowds have been comparable [to the Tour de France]; it’s been amazing. Sometimes I forget if I’m in the Tour de France or the Amgen Tour of California,” said California resident Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), today’s KOM jersey winner.


Levi & Floyd at the after race Press conference photo c. MarkAdison Phd. & www.dailypeloton.com

“I have seen and witnessed a truly amazing event,” said Pat McQuaid, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body of cycling. “It’s important for us to have a race such as this… it would be one of my ambitions to include this on the Pro Tour.”

“Having had more than 1 million fans in attendance at the Amgen Tour of California in the last week is one of the many reasons that we can declare this inaugural event a success,” said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, the presenters of the Amgen Tour of California. “With such positive feedback from the cycling governing body, the cyclists themselves, the cities we rode through, and the dedicated fans, we are now committed more than ever to being even bigger and better in 2007.”

PRE-RACE QUOTES
George Hincapie (USA)
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

Pre-Stage Six Comments

Feed Zone George Hincapie ready to catch two musette's c. Mark Adkison & www.dailypeloton.com
There are several KOMs today but it’s a relatively short day. Do you think Discovery has enough power to kick things up today and change the overall general classification?
“I don’t think it’s a question of having enough power, I think it’s a question the race today. It’s probably not hard enough to do much damage so I don’t know if you’ll see much in the way of changes.”

How are you feeling today?
“I feel good. I’m happy with the way the season started so far.”
Stuart O’Grady (AUS), Team CSC
Pre-Stage Six Comments
There are only two stages left in the Amgen Tour of California. What is Team CSC’s tactics for today to change the standing in the overall GC?
“It’s going to be pretty hard. The course is difficult but really not difficult enough to split up the peloton. Phonak has shown they’re strong enough to be able to control the race so far. It’s kind of hard today and Bobby didn’t take any time on Floyd so we’ll just try and conserve their second and third place in the GC and the rest will try to get into the breaks and go for a stage win.”

What are you’re thoughts about the course, the scenery?
“Oh, it’s fantastic! Much better to be here than racing in Europe that’s for sure. Hopefully we’ll find a few more tours to do after this is over so we can stay a little longer!”

David O’Loughlin (IRL – Irish National Champion)
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
Pre-Stage Five Comments

What are some of your thoughts on the courses, the scenery and how this race fits into your racing schedule?
“It’s a beautiful place. The weather is really good this time of year. It is really positive for us, otherwise I would be stuck in Belgium and I think it’s snowing over there at the moment. The course is really tough with some good hard climbs. The race is really important to all of the teams here – you’re going to have a hard time if you’re hear just for training. And, I think everyone here is in pretty good form. It’s a good event and I hope it continues. ”

Do you think is an event that your team and the other Euro teams will put on their schedules every year?
“Oh for sure. I think it’s really important for a lot of teams and their sponsorships. I’m sure it will be on everyone’s agenda next year.”

Now, about the stage today. What do you think is going to happen out there today?
“I think it’s going to be aggressive again from the start, particularly the climbs coming so early. It’s going to be a hard day. I think it will be tough for Phonak to control early on, but I’m sure Floyd (Landis) won’t be in any difficulty. It’s going to be an aggressive race with a lot of attacking.”

Frankie Andreu (USA), Directeur Sportif
Toyota/United Pro Cycling Team

Pre-Stage Five Comments
With only two stages left, what are some of your thoughts about what is going to happen today?
“The shorter stage actually provides a more exciting stage because the riders are going to be very aggressive. Already the racing has been extremely fast, and I think today will be even faster. It’s the last chance for any of the GC riders to do anything, so it they want to do anything, like take Floyd Landis out of the golden jersey, it’s pretty much now or never. As for our team, it’s not really a stage for us because the last climb in Balcom Canyon is very, very steep and it’s about a kilometer and a half long. So, I don’t think our sprinters will be able to get over to the finish. Overall it could turn into one of the most exciting stages we’ve had so far.
Turning to how the Amgen Tour of California fits into the schedule of the pro teams, tell us about your thoughts about the placement on the calendar. Do you think the Euro teams will want to keep this race on their schedule?
“I think it’s a perfect placement. If you moved it anywhere else, you’d have a bigger conflict with some of the bigger European races. It’s also very beneficial for American cycling because we can start our season a little bit earlier and what the carry over will be is that you’ll have a lot of European teams probably coming over to beautiful California for training camps. Some other American race will try to hitch on by having races even before hand which these European teams can do for training races leading into the Amgen Tour of California. With the turnout that we’ve had and the weather that we’ve had and all of the excitement that the Amgen Tour of California has generated, you can’t even think about changing the date. Everything has been perfect.”

Do you think there are teams over in Europe think, “Hey, we should be in California?”
“Oh yeah! Even of the teams that are here, half of their teammates are saying ‘Damn, I wish I was there!’ They’re going to hear a lot of good things when they go back. This is going to become a new high-priority race for many riders.”


Olaf Pollack at press conference photo c. Mark Adkison & www.dailypeloton.com

Brian Holm (DEN), Directeur Sportif, T-Mobile Team
Pre-Stage Five Comments
Tell us about the Amgen Tour of California fits into T-Mobile’s racing calendar.
“It’s fits in quite good. I think next year will be better because now we know what the race is about. We had a training camp one week before the race in Solvang. I believe probably next year we’ll make it two weeks. It’s hard but it’s really nice because it isn’t too hot and it’s really good training. I’m sure we’ll be back next year."

Have you heard any feedback from Europe about the race? Do any of the other T-Mobile riders wish they were here?
“As you can image, the other riders are racing at Het Volk in the snow. I think we’re going to have a lot of riders wanting to come here to race because it’s so nice. We didn’t know what to expect and we’re very surprised. And you have to remember that cyclists normally complain from morning to evening – something is always wrong – but I can feel here that we have a problem in finding something to complain about! It’s a good race.”

Are you going to consider this a major event for T-Mobile in the future?
“I believe it will be a major thing. The organization here behind the race is perfect and the leadership is quite good. I’m surprised at the good job they’ve done so far.”

With regard to the race today, what’s going to happen today?
“Everybody was a bit surprised over the past few days that a break didn’t go away. It looks like Phonak is really strong and they’re working hard. It could look like a mass sprint today. Actually we hope it will be one, we’re going to try to make it a mass sprint at the end. We have two sprinters! If there is a break and they get more than four or five minutes, then we’ll start to chase.”
View Windows Media Video of interviews with Bobby Julich, David Zabriskie and Jens Voigt after today’s race.

Stage 6 Team and Rider Reports

CSC Falls Short in Stage 6
The number of Tour of California stages that Team CSC has a chance to win is officially down to one, as CSC was nudged aside in a Stage 6 that belonged to the sprinters.

The penultimate stage, a relatively short ride from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks, was won by Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile in a finish that was heavily contested by sprint teams. Team CSC moved to the front of the field after the peloton entered the three finishing circuits, setting a high pace so that Stuart O'Grady had a shot at the win. But CSC's main priority was to protect the general classifications of David Zabriskie and Bobby Julich, so O'Grady had only a few riders to get him into the finish. As CSC faded, the T-Mobile rider shot through to take the win.


J.J. chats with Bobby J at the start photo c. Mark Adkison Phd. & www.dailypeloton.com

Bobby Julich said that Team CSC was up at the front to look for a win and to stay out of trouble. "But on a course like that it was like an Indy car circuit," he said. "You could just sit at the back and do nothing and it was kind of pointless to ride on the front, but that’s what we do for training."

The early part of the stage was hilly as the peloton passed through the Ojai region, but not enough to affect the overall standings. The climbs were primarily important only to those riders seeking the king of the mountain jersey awarded to best climber. CSC's Karsten Kroon jumped onto an early breakaway that was reeled in after less than an hour. Two Gerolsteiner riders, Sebastian Lang and Sven Krauss, took off after that, sweeping up the king of the mountain points so that no one could take the jersey away from their captain, Levi Leipheimer.

Thousands cheered the race along as it made its way to Thousand Oaks, standing at some points shoulder to shoulder. The race's organizers estimate that more than 680,000 fans watched the race in person in the first five days alone, making it the most highly viewed sporting event in California since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. "I have no doubt that the potential is here to grow and develop this race into a big, big spectacle in both the state of California and the United States," said Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI, cycling's governing body.

Sunday's final stage will consist of 10 laps around a 7.65 circuit in the Southern California beach town of Redondo Beach. The circuit features a mild climb at its southern extreme, but the peloton will likely stick together for a huge bunch sprint. So, barring catastrophe, Floyd Landis of Phonak, Zabriskie and Julich are virtually guaranteed their spots on the podium.


Lars Bak leads Bobby J on the first circuit Photo

BOBBY'S BLOG: Tour of California, Stage 6
How did you feel on the course today?
I felt pretty good. I think it was definitely the most deceptive stage of the race so far. It was very difficult and with Discovery missing that breakaway right at the beginning it made it a pretty difficult day.

What was the team strategy today?
We just wanted to take control because we didn’t know how safe or how hard the circuits were going to be and we obviously wanted to keep myself and David Zabriskie out of harm’s way as well as help Stuart [O’Grady] for the sprint. But on a course like that it was like an Indy car circuit. You could just sit at the back and do nothing and it was kind of pointless to ride on the front, but that’s what we do for training and for next time so it wasn’t a total waste of energy.

Tomorrow is the last day, how do you think it will pan out?
I think the results will pretty much stay the same; it will probably come down to a sprint finish.
What is the importance of a circuit race at the end of the Tour?
The circuit at the end just gives the riders a chance to have a little bit of camaraderie. It’s not such a hard stage and it’s more of a spectacle for the crowd--they get to see us a bunch of times and they get to see the podium and the jersey presentations. And they get to maybe understand a bit more of the race as opposed to a road race when we just fly by.

 


Fraser 4th in chaotic sprint to Stage 6 finish line.
The final climbing stage of the Amgen Tour of California was one where a break with the right mix could’ve stayed away. But when Viachislav Ekimov (Discovery) was unable to bridge to a strong break in which all the other major teams – including the Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis with Mike Jones – were represented, it became apparent that everything would come back together for a sprint.

Just when it seemed CSC had the pack under control to set up Stuart O’Grady, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) made a desperate solo attempt to win the stage that would ultimately fall 20 meters short. Things quickly broke down on the wide streets coming into the finishing stretch.

“I was well positioned near the front, then all the sudden I was swarmed by 30 guys,” Greg Henderson said. “Everybody decided they were a sprinter today.”


Health Net in position as the peloton enters the finishing circuit c.MarkAdkisonPhd.

On the flip side, Gord Fraser actually benefited from the chaos. “I was pretty far back coming in, but I was able to move up when the pack spread out across the road.”
Fraser found his way to the line in fourth place, behind T-Mobile sprinter Olaf Pollack, Ricardo Ricco of Prodir-Saunier Duval, and Fred Rodriguez of Davitamon-Lotto.

Notes: Nathan O’Neill finished safely in the bunch to retain his 5th place position in the general classification.
Mike Jones abandoned in the feed zone suffering from dehydration, after his ill-fated break was absorbed.

Stage 6 Results
1 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile 3:26:49
2 Ricardo Ricco (SP) Prodir-Saunier Duval
3 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto
4 Gord Fraser (CAN) Health Net Presented by Maxxis
General classification
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 19:56:19
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.29
3 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 0.34
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 0.45
5 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis 1.08
22 Hayden Roulston (NZL) Health Net p/b Maxxis 4.31

About Momentum Sports Group, LLC: The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis is in its fourth year of professional racing. The team is owned and operated by the Momentum Sports Group, LLC, based in Piedmont, California.
Momentum Sports Group is dedicated to the growth and management of sports and entertainment assets worldwide. Momentum Sports Group, LLC is owned by The Gekko Group, LLC, a private equity and advisory firm which seeks to extract and maximize shareholder value, and Cycle Sports, Inc., a boutique bicycle shop located in Oakland, California, which sells high-end custom road and mountain frames, parts, accessories and equipment.


PERRAS ON THE ATTACK IN STAGE SIX
Perras on the Attack in Stage Six
Thousand Oaks, Calif. (February 25, 2006) - With today's sixth stage of the Amgen Tour of California presenting the final few climbs of the eight-day race, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Dominique Perras went on the attack just two miles into the race and again on the steep climb of Balcolm Canyon Road.

Getting away early in a group of seven riders with Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Scott Davis (T-Mobile), Brice Jones (Jelly Belly), Mike Jones (Health Net p.b. Maxxis), Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), and Justin England (Toyota-United), Perras initially was optimistic about the break's chances, with Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel) close to making contact.

Perras said afterwards, "We went hard from the start and we were rolling really well. Ekimov was 10 seconds back but Krauss didn't want to wait so [Ekimov] never made it. Discovery Channel started chasing, but I think we would have rolled away if Ekimov was with us."
After Perras took third in the first KOM and second in the next one at Lake Casitas, the group was caught on the descent towards Ojai.

Having spent several winters training in Ventura County, Perras was motivated to leave his mark on today's stage and attacked again on the steep slopes of Balcolm Canyon Road in an attempt to bridge up to solo leader Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner).

"Lang was two minutes up the road and I was hoping that a few guys would come with me. I knew all the roads today and this was the stage I targeted."
Although Perras gained almost two minutes over the field, he remained about a minute behind Lang before succumbing to the chase led by T-Mobile and Toyota-United.
After three finishing circuits at Amgen's corporate campus in Thousand Oaks, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Jackson Stewart was seventh wheel in the closing kilometers, but was pushed into the wind by Robbie Hunter (Phonak) and placed 15th in the field sprint won by Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile).

On a day in which his repeated breakaway attempts were smothered, Ben Jacques-Maynes finished in the field and remains in 25th overall.
"I was ready to go today but sometimes your luck just runs out. I did what a I could for Jackson at the end though."
www.KGSNCycling.com

Californian Floyd Landis Leads
Amgen Tour of California
Overall Attendance Estimates Top One Million Fans and

Approach California Sporting Event Record
 With more than 1.2 million fans already having lined the scenic route to support the riders in the Amgen Tour of California as it heads into its conclusion in Redondo Beach tomorrow, California resident Floyd Landis of the Phonak Hearing Systems Team remains the overall leader, with T-Mobile Team’s Olaf Pollack (GER) taking today’s stage six win in a sprint to the finish in Thousand Oaks.
Including an appearance by Lance Armstrong riding in the Discovery Channel team car, thousands of spectators lined today’s start in Santa Barbara and the finish line in Thousand Oaks, home of race title sponsor Amgen, where the three finishing circuits ended with Pollack taking the win in the field sprint to the line.
An early breakaway of seven riders left the field on a small rise at two miles into the stage. The break gained just over 2' on the up and down course through Santa Barbara. The Discovery-led peloton reeled in all but one of the escapees just before the Clif Bar Sprint Line in Ojai. A member of the original break of seven, Gerolsteiner rider Sven Krauss (GER) stayed off to win the sprint.

At the KOM climb out of Ojai, 14 riders were led by Levi Leipheimer (USA) and his Gerolsteiner teammate Fabian Wegmann (GER). Wegmann took the California Travel and Tourism KOM points followed by Leipheimer, with race leader Landis just behind in fifth over the fan-lined climb. The 14 were reabsorbed by the main field on the descent just before the feed zone.

Sebastian Lang (GER) continued Gerolsteiner's aggressive race tactics by attacking just past the Clif Bar sprint in Santa Paula and building a 2'45 lead over the Balcolm Canyon Road climb. With thousands camping out overnight and lining the climb in true European fashion, the fans also witnessed the increasingly competitive battle for KOM points between Bernhard Kohl (AUT) of T-Mobile and Leipheimer.

With Lang 12'07" down on Landis, Landis’ Phonak team allowed Lang a 3'15" advantage, but after an ill-timed rear wheel puncture at mile 70, Lang lost 1' of his lead. Lang struggled to regain his rhythm and the gap came down rapidly until he succumbed to the field just before entering the finishing circuits.

A bevy of attacks followed, with Krauss gaining a 7” advantage and entering Thousand Oaks on his own. With Team CSC and Health Net Professional Cycling presented by Maxxis keeping the pace high, the lone rider was brought back, setting up the sprint that was narrowly won by Pollack over Italy’s Ricardo Ricco from Prodir-Saunier Duval and Fred Rodriguez (USA) of Davitamon-Lotto.
“The crowds have been comparable [to the Tour de France]; it’s been amazing. Sometimes I forget if I’m in the Tour de France or the Amgen Tour of California,” said California resident Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), today’s KOM jersey winner.

“Having had more than 1 million fans in attendance at the Amgen Tour of California in the last week is one of the many reasons we can declare this inaugural event a success,” said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, the presenters of the Amgen Tour of California. “With such positive feedback from the cycling governing body, the cyclists themselves, the cities we rode through, and the dedicated fans, we are now committed more than ever to being even bigger and better in 2007.”

“I have seen and witnessed a truly amazing event,” said Pat McQuaid, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body of cycling. “It’s important for us to have a race such as this… it would be one of my ambitions to include this on the Pro Tour

“Amgen staff are excited to welcome the race to our corporate headquarters in Thousand Oaks and highlight our Breakaway from Cancer initiative, a partnership with The Wellness Community to support cancer patients and their caregivers,” said Jim Daily, senior vice president, North American commercial operations, Amgen. “We at Amgen take this opportunity to recognize the health care professionals and caregivers who make a difference in people’s lives every day. Most of all, we honor patients everywhere who face tremendous challenges with courage and grace. You are our inspiration.”

Earlier today, more than 500 local residents and Amgen staff and their families took part in the Breakaway from Cancer charity ride in Thousand Oaks. Participants raised nearly $38,000 for The Wellness Community. The funds will help provide free services and programs to help cancer patients and caregivers.

George Hincapie (USA) of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team kept his lead in the Clif Bar Sprint Competition and will wear the Clif Bar Sprint Jersey. With no KOM points on offer in tomorrow’s race, Leipheimer effectively wins the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey. Tom Peterson (USA) of Team TIAA-CREF will wear the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey into the final stage, and Lang’s solo breakaway earned him the Adobe Most Aggressive Jersey.

The climactic conclusion of Stage Seven in Redondo Beach tomorrow will determine the overall winner of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California. The riders will compete in a 7.65-mile circuit race, which will allow fans to catch repeated racing action as the riders complete 10 laps, vying for the final stage victory.

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 Web site at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
A one-hour race recap will be broadcast on ESPN2 tonight at 10 p.m. PST.

RACE FINALE TOMORROW:
Sunday, Feb. 26 – Stage 7, Redondo Beach Circuit Race
Estimated Start Time: 1 p.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 4 p.m.

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

 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 Angeles Sparks (WNBA) and the Amgen Tour of California
New Jersey. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com

 

 

 
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