On the second of three consecutive courses favoring the sprinters, Team Garmin-Sharp jockeyed for position throughout the final miles, sending sprinter Tyler Farrar (Seattle, Wash.) to his first place podium finish, also the first stage win by an American rider during the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. Farrar also claimed a third place podium spot following yesterday’s stage.
“It’s been awhile, so, it feels good to get the monkey off my back,” said Farrar, whose last win came in August 2012 at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado Springs. “It was a great finish. This was a beautiful setting for a race finish, and I’m happy I won today.”
Ten miles into the 84-mile course from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara, six riders pulled away from the peloton, where they remained until the final few miles of the race. The youngest rider in the breakaway, Bontrager Cycling Team’s Nathan Brown (Memphis, Tenn.) rode nearly 70 miles in the lead group and was the last to be caught by the peloton, earning him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey today.
Photo © Darrell Parks
“You’re just doing everything to be the first one to the line. I just put my head down and gave it everything I had,” said Brown. “I was hurting so bad but just had to hang on. There wasn’t much I could do today but I gave it everything.”
The breakaway held out until shortly after passing through Carpinteria when Jens Voigt (GER) of RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK led the attack to catch the riders around the 8-mile mark, followed out of the peloton by UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Lucas Euser (Napa, Calif.). With a unified field and about six miles to the finish, teams took turns on the attack with Team Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale Pro Cycling leading the peloton with about three miles left, waiting for the right time to bring their sprinters to the front for the dash to the finish.
A roundabout on the course with about a mile and a half left to ride resulted in a surprise leap ahead of the pack by Ireland’s national road race champion Matt Brammeier, riding for Champion System, with riders from ORICA GreenEDGE and Cannondale Pro Cycling in hot pursuit.
In the final moments, Team Garmin-Sharp’s strategic riding paid off, with Farrar seizing victory by pulling ahead of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Ken Hanson (San Diego, Calif.) just before the finish line. Third place for the stage went to Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team’s Gianni Meersman (BEL). Stage 3 winner, Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan (SVK), finished in fifth place after falling too far back in the peloton during the final meters to overtake the leaders.
“It was a really fast run into the finish – the last few kilometers were downhill. My team did a really good job taking care of me, and I was able to have the ideal position for the sprint,” said Hanson. “I moved from Santa Barbara this past December. I lived here from 2007 to 2012. This was a really special stage for me, and I’m happy to get on the podium in second place.”
There was no change to the overall leader standings with Team Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Janier Alexis Acevedo (COL) continuing to wear the Amgen Race Leader Jersey tomorrow.
“I’m very happy to continue wearing the yellow jersey every day,” said Acevedo. “It was difficult today; it was a hard stage – high speeds. But in the end my team was helping me to keep the yellow jersey.”
Though he was not on the podium today, Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan was awarded the Visit California Sprint Jersey for his efforts during Stage 4. BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo.) continues to hold onto the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey for a fourth day, and the Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey will continue to be worn by Bontrager Cycling Team’s 21-year-old cyclist Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas).
Now in its eighth year, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California is running south to north for the first time, covering nearly 750 miles of California’s most scenic highways, roadways and coastlines over eight days, concluding in Santa Rosa, Calif., May 19. With one of the most difficult courses in race history, 114 elite cyclists (127 riders began the race, though several have been eliminated or abandoned due to time cuts, injury or illness) will compete through 12 Host Cities and 60,000 feet of climbing, a record for the race, including a first-time summit finish at Mt. Diablo in the Bay Area.
A critical partner since the race’s inception, Amgen returns this year as the race title sponsor.
As part of Amgen’s effort to honor and celebrate cancer survivors and to raise awareness about its Breakaway from Cancer initiative, the Santa Barbara finish featured a Breakaway Mile. Santa Barbara cancer survivor Peggy Rantanen has proven to be a “Champion” as a person and as a patient, and also because she represents the unsung “Champions” of women who have been diagnosed with the silent and devastating disease of ovarian cancer. Peggy has inspired family, friends and those she has met with the same diagnosis by being open with her struggles as she’s dealing with her ongoing treatment, yet finding ways to manage and cope and remain positive through the process.
Rantanen was joined by approximately 150 community members – cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and advocates – and Kelly Oliner, scientific director of Medical Sciences at Amgen, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.
STAGE 5 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY VISIT CALIFORNIA:
Wednesday, May 15 – Santa Barbara to Avila Beach (115.4 mi/185.7 km)
Start Time: 11 a.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:51 p.m. PT
A start along the beach in Santa Barbara will see the race retrace much of the route from 2006, but in reverse. This will take the race over the steep and windy San Marcos Pass (Hwy 154) before descending into the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area. A second KOM looms at Foxen Canyon outside of Los Olivos. The race will pass through Santa Maria and the quaint farm town of Guadalupe that gave a warm welcome to the race in 2006. A sprint in Arroyo Grande will foreshadow an expected massive sprint at the finish. Avila Beach is unlike any town the race has visited in its eight years. It has several quaint shops, a beautiful beach and a picturesque harbor. But on May 16, the 1,700 residents will be joined by several thousand race fans to watch the peloton storm down the 200 meters of Front Street to capture the stage win. With a narrow left turn in the final 300 meters of the race and a slight rise in the final meters to the finish, positioning will be crucial to win this stage.