Huge crowds turned out in a downpour to witness another sprinter showcase at the Santa Clarita finish line for the 10th anniversary Amgen Tour of California, with Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish (GBR) taking his third stage win in five days of racing, making him the winningest professional cyclist so far this season.
Within the first mile of leaving Santa Barbara, a breakaway of five jetted off, including Danilo Wyss (SUI) of BMC Racing Team, Alex Howes (USA) of Team Cannondale-Garmin and, the youngest rider in the peloton of 128 riding today, 19-year-old Geoffrey Curran (USA) of Axeon Cycling Team. Hailing from Hilton Head, S.C., Team SmartStop’s Chris Butler bridged to the group on the final KOM of the day at Balcom Canyon.
Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team and Hincapie Racing Team again did much of the work on the road at the front of the group weathering wind, rain and chill, with Hincapie successfully protecting the yellow jersey their young Latvian rider Toms Skujins won Tuesday. Veteran Amgen Tour of California riders have seen this course before from the 2007 and 2008 race editions, but not in such inclement conditions.
Photos © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com
“… freezing to absolute bone…,” said Cavendish, who had crossed the line on the same course first in 2008 only to be counted out after a disqualification. “It was good all around… It’s nice to see so many people out here despite the weather.”
The field steadily caught up to the breakaway in the final miles of the race. Wyss, the last rider standing, remained out front for about 92 of the 95.7 miles of Stage 5, presented by Visit California, but was reigned in over the final couple miles as the sprinters queued up for an explosive finish. In the last meters, several sprinters could taste the stage win, including UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s John Murphy (USA), Drapac Professional Cycling’s Wouter Wippert (NED), and Trek Factory Racing’s Danny Van Poppel (NED).
Nearing the line, Cavendish answered Sagan’s stage win yesterday with a powerful burst to the finish, gaining points in the Sprint competition over the Slovakian, who has taken the green jersey home for five years running and finished third today. Cavendish now has eight career Amgen Tour of California stage wins to Sagan’s 12. Zico Waeytens (BEL) of Team Giant-Alpecin claimed second place with BMC Racing Team’s Jean-Pierre Drucker (LUX) in fourth and Van Poppel in fifth.
Sagan shaved several more seconds off his overall distance from the race leader, now back only :18. The stage shook things up elsewhere among the leader board with Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team sliding up to third place (+:44); 2012 race champion Robert Gesink (NED) of TeamLottoNL-Jumbo moving into fourth (+:47) and in position to pose a serious threat; and Hincapie Racing Team’s Dion Smith (NZL) rounding out the top five (+:47).
STAGE 5 PODIUM
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
2. Zico Waeytens (BEL), Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
STAGE 5 JERSEY WINNERS
- Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
- Visit California Sprint Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
- Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
- Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Danilo Wyss (SUI), BMC Racing Team
- SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
SANTA CLARITA AND SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN TO HOST 2015 AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TIME TRIALS FRIDAY, MAY 15 DUE TO SNOW ON ORIGINAL COURSE AT BIG BEAR LAKE
With inclement weather making it impossible to hold the Friday, May 15 Amgen Tour of California Time Trial Presented by Lexus as planned at Big Bear Lake, a new course is being primed in Valencia and Santa Clarita for the Men’s and Women’s Individual Time Trial events. The course for the Stage 6 Time Trial presented by Lexus is expected to be blistering fast. One by one, the world-class cyclists will leave the start house in the Six Flags Magic Mountain parking lot and race 6.6 miles out and back. The riders will have to navigate a series of quick turns as they head out on The Old Road, revisiting roads used in past editions of the race. With no real elevation gain to contend with, this will be a quick, exciting course with plenty of chances for a surprise victor.
The UCI sanctioned Amgen Tour of California Women’s Invitational Time Trial empowered with SRAM, will precede the men’s Individual Time Trial (Stage 6). Twenty-three of the best women time trialists including Olympic Gold Medal winner Kristin Armstrong will compete in the invitational event on the same route. The women begin at 11:00 a.m., with the men following at 12:47 p.m. The 6.6-mile race is ranked 1.1 by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the highest race classification behind a World Cup.