Stage 5Time: 13:51:23
You can view the standings for Stage 4 here.
Stage 5 begins at 10:00 am in San Luis Obispo.
Good morning everyone from Santa Barbara. It's stage 5 of the Tour of California. The race starts in San Luis Obispo today, winding through the mountains with one steep 1500 and another steep 2000 foot climb.
Floyd Landis sounded much more confident at the end of yesterday's stage. The other contenders will need to make a move today if they have any hope of closing the gap.
We got lucky with RF coverage yesterday, but stage 5 passes through equally remote locations. We may or may not have video and progress reports early on.
As always, please send your questions to ATOCINFO@GMAIL.COM. We will do our best to answer them.
John just asked what Dave Z would have to do to take the lead today. John, Dave and his team would have to somehow crack Landis and Phonak. No way to tell what'll happen today but I'm sure they'll try.
By the way we had no fewer than 90 cow-related e-mails yesterday. That's got to be a record.
Dave Z's real strength is the time trial, as we all know. I'm not sure if he and his team can escape in the climbs today.
Jean, the riders have indeed commented on the beautiful scenery during the Tour. Haven't heard anything about the seals though.
Uh, just to clarify. When I mention cows and bulls, I really mean cows and bulls. If you're not up on cycling terminology you might assume I was talking about some kind of glossary term...
Someone just asked about equipment. I haven't been close enough to the action to see anything truly unique, but I know that many of the riders do use power monitors now. I actually did a piece about that yesterday under 'tech'.
Chris, the riders use small radio units that sit in their rear pockets. Generally the leader has a 2-way and the rest of the team has a 1-way radio.
Chet, you can expect Discovery to attack today. It's really their last chance to make a dent.
By the way, yesterday was the 'queen stage' because that's what you call the toughest stage in a Tour. Thanks Chris!
In the interest of accuracy, the cows/bulls yesterday were actually steers...
The riders are off, and stage 5 is under way.
The peloton is rolling out of San Luis Obispo. This stage starts flat and gets hilly towards the second half.
Yesterday the racers in the break were a bit upset at Chris Horner when he bridged. The reason was he jumped when Floyd Landis broke a spoke...
The peloton is still together, just rolling through town. It's absolutely beautiful today: Sunny, maybe 65 degrees, a very light breeze out of the west and north.
The peloton looks to be speeding up a bit now. A few Toyota and CSC riders are chatting with each other.
Levi predicts an early breakaway today that makes it all the way to the finish.
However, Healthnet says they want to try to keep the pack together and not lose time on the climb so that they can get Gord Frasier a win. Should be an interesting day.
The peloton is definitely speeding up. They're almost single file on a flat stretch. They just passed a crowd of several hundred, cheering them on.
The peloton is rolling along at 30 MPH now. Sven Krauss of team Gerolsteiner took a brief flier off the front but only built a 5-second lead before being caught.
We're at mile 4.5 now. Peloton is still together.
Bobby Julich just went back to chat with his manager.
There's a 12 man break at mile 5. Ekimov, Ben Brooks (Navigators), Craig Lewis (TIAA Cref), Scott Zwizanski (OSN), Charles Dion (Prodir) and Jose Angel Gomez (Prodir).
We're halfway to the first sprint at 6 miles. Peloton is going 32 mph. The break is still away but the gap is very small. The wind is coming up here in Santa Barbara, too.
4 km to the first sprint and the break looks like it's 8 now.
It looks like the break may have been caught. The peloton is just flying, single file as they head for the sprint. A great crowd!
Looks like a break of 3 now. We'll have sprint results shortly.
Sprint results: Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile won. Gord Fraser of Healthnet second, then Jens Voigt of CSC
The peloton is back together climbing a slight grade. The wind here is definitely picking up.
A good size group just broke away. The peloton has accelerated and is nearly single file. Now two riders have broken away from the lead group, too. It's getting busy.
The peloton is rolling. There is a 9 man break including Lars Bak of CSC, yesterday's Most Aggressive rider, and at least one Phonak rider.
It's a 10 or 12-man break now, including Bak, Justin England, Ben Brooks and others. They're 30 seconds ahead of the pack with Mike Creed chasing 20 seconds back. We're at mile 17.
Phonak and Discovery are at the front of the peloton pushing the pace, hard.
Sorry folks, trying to keep up with towns as they approach but it's pretty imprecise. I can tell you the break is at about mile 19 now.
Someone just pointed out that Haedo, yesterday's stage winner, won two stages at Redlands last year, too...
No Phonak riders in the break, but no one in there is a threat to the GC.
At 21 miles the break has a 35 second gap. We're approaching the 2nd sprint of the day at 29.9 mph.
At 1 mile from the sprint the gap is 55 seconds with TIAA Cref setting the pace. We're passing by cabbage farms now.
The 2nd sprint results are: Ben Brooks (Navigators), Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), Dominique Perras (OSN). The peloton is back together.
Sorry the break is still away. The gap is down to 35 seconds at 28 miles, though.
In spite of two such suggestions now, I think Haedo is probably happier racing than running for governor.
30 miles and the break looks a bit ragged. Lots of gaps between riders. The Discovery train is pulling the peloton at what has to be 30 mph.
Lots of fun and games in the break. Riders keep jumping away and the break is snaking back and forth as riders try to get a gap. Bak and Haselbacker have sprinted away as the rest of the break has been absorbed.
Mark McCormack has bridged to the breakaway.
A lot of the peloton are headed back to their support vehicles for fresh water bottles
Lucas Euser is trying to bridge to the break, which is now 35 seconds ahead at the 35 mile mark.
Sorry folks there's no good way for me to give accurate ETAs for towns along the route. Please try to follow the mileage reports and use that to predict when they'll arrive in your town.
The break is looking very fast and smooth. The peloton is eating and drinking and may be fueling up for a chase, though.
Breakaway has a 30 second gap now. The peloton just started chasing hard at 38 miles.
Average speed is now 29.2 mph.
The peloton is totally single-file now. They can see the break on a long, long flat stretch.
Discovery, CSC and Phonak are driving the peloton. The three breakaway riders just sat up - they're going to let the peloton catch them.
The break is caught. The peloton is still flying though, single or double file.
Another four riders are trying to get away. It looks like Discovery, Gerolsteiner, CSC and a Jelly Belly rider. The terrain is very flat right now.
The break includes Sebastian Lang of Prodir, Ekimov of Discovery, Nick Reistad of Jelly Belly and Mike Sayers of Healthnet. The riders are on part of the Solvang Century route now, around the 42 mile marker.
The break has jumped to a 1:35 lead as the peloton has slowed. The break is averaging 28.8 mph.
The riders are on a very bumpy stretch of road. If I remember my Solvang Century route, the road is called Foxen Canyon...
The break is working very well. In just 3 miles they've extended their lead to 2:10. Average speed is 28.2. The peloton is entering the feed zone now.
Correction: Jens Voigt is in the break and Mike Sayers is a minute or so behind. The lead is now 2:40 while the peloton has lunch.
Looks like lunchtime's over. Phonak is at the front and the peloton is single file again.
Break is now 3:15 ahead.
At the 54 mile mark Mike Sayers is back in the pack. The peloton continues to hammer along, chasing the break. Sebastian Lang just went back for a word with his manager.
The peloton is chasing hard but the break has increased its lead to 3:30.
We're at the 55 mile mark. Can the break stay away on the climbs?
The pace has slipped a bit to 27.2 mph.
The lead has fallen to 3:20 now. The peloton may be finally making some headway.
Ekimov is the highest-ranked person in the break at 5:20 in the GC. The peloton may have gotten worried about the break because of that.
The gap is now only 3 minutes. It's amazing how fast it can close when it's 100+ versus 4.
The riders have just started up the first big climb. That climb will drop back down to Satna Maria and then start up again. There's a single KOM on the very last climb. The lead is only 2:45 now.
The break keeps powering up the climb with the peloton chasing hard. We're at about mile 60. The wind is still picking up here in Santa Barbara, which will mean a strong tailwind at the finish.
The breakaway is still 2:45 ahead. The peloton is now going about 32 mph down the slight descent after the first little climb.
It sounds like a lot of folks have gotten out to cheer the racers on as they come by. Keep it up everyone!
The temperature is now 76 degrees. We're at mile 63. The break's lead is now only 2:30 as they head up the second part of the climb.
The break is now only 2:15 ahead. They just took a sharp left-hand turn and rode past a nice crowd of folks cheering them on.
We just heard there are literally thousands of fans waiting at the KOM.
The gap is back up to 2:45 now. And the temperature has climbed to 79 degrees as the riders pass through the drier, hotter saddle/valley between the climbs.
At the 66 mile mark the peloton is descending at over 60 mph.
The peloton just passed through San Marcos. They're headed for a climb called the Cachuma Saddle, for those of you who know the area.
Hey, not to put too fine a point on it, but another way to make sure the Tour is a success is to buy stuff. Click 'merchandise' at the top left, or go to http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/Tour/merchandise.html. End commercial.
The break is 2:55 ahead headed for Cachuma. That is an absolutely relentless climb.
You know Phonak will be watching Discovery and CSC like a hawk. That climb is the last best chance to close the gap with Landis.
The peloton is once again putting the hammer down. Phonak is at the front, with CSC.
The break is 3:25 ahead at 75 miles. Ekimov, in the break, is currently in 23rd 5:20 down. He won a gold in the individual time trial in Sydney and a silver in Athens. Eki has competed in 14 Tours de France.
The break is now 2:55 ahead. The lead will go up and down as they ascend and descend.
I suspect that CSC's turns at the front are not to accelerate, but instead to disrupt, the pursuit. They have Jens Voigt in the break.
The peloton is not chasing as hard as it was. Not sure why. We're at mile 80 or so, approaching the KOM climb.
The gap is now 2:15. Phonak is now at the front of the peloton again, pushing hard.
We are receiving about 85 e-mails per day, by the way. Thanks everyone.
Phonak is still at the front. I think they plan to stay there for a while. One great way to prevent an attack is to go to darn fast for one to work...
The lead is now 2:10. We're less than 10 miles from the summit of the KOM.
The break is now only 2:00 ahead. They're starting up the beginning of the long, hot climb.
Gap is down to 1:55. Don't know if they can stay away over the summit...
Must have hit a rough spot at mile 85. Sven Krauss of Gerolsteiner and Mike Rogers of T-Mobile had to get rear and front wheel changes, respectively.
Correction, they're climbing San Marcos Pass, not Cachuma Saddle. The break is now only 1:35 ahead and still includes Jens Voigt, Sebastian Lang, Ekimov and Reistad.
The race is about 5 KM from the KOM. Bob notes that Levi and Landis both train on this climb. Both Discovery and ex-Discovery riders are familiar with it. Reistad is dropped from the break.
Sebastian Lang just crossed the summit. We're waiting for official KOM results. The descent on the other side should have riders hitting over 60 mph.
The gap is now only 1 minute. Two riders are trying to bridge: Levi Leipheimer and Ricardo Ricco.
Leipheimer just ate up the distance to the break and he's still going! Ricco is still on his wheel.
Gerolsteiner is putting on a great tactical show here. Leipheimer is riding away and has dropped the original break with Ricco still sucking his wheel. Two Gerolsteiner riders are at the front of the peloton and have slowed things down.
The peloton is 30 seconds back, and it has totally shattered.
Gap is down to 20 seconds. Don't know if they can stay ahead of the train...
Levi is flying down the hill now in a full tuck. The Prodir rider is still behind him. Leipheimer is only 1:10 back in the standings, remember. If he can take a bite out of Landis' lead today he may have a chance...
40 riders are chasing, now 15 seconds back. We're 10 miles from the finish.
Gap is now only 10 seconds. Looks like the two riders can't stay ahead of the 40 on the descent.
The break is caught. A gutsy move though. The riders are now hitting 55 MPH.
8 miles to go. Look for CSC and Healthnet to start trying to position riders for a stage win.
Looks like Discovery is working for position too, and maybe Gerolsteiner.
6 miles to go and there are five Discovery riders at the front.
The peloton just made a screaming left-hand turn into town. The front is a bit of a mess but it looks like Discovery and Gerolsteiner up there.
The peloton is flying. But I guess you can figure that out.
Discovery is in the lead with Phonak right behind.
Very hard right hand turn now. Landis is in the main lead group of 30 - just got confirmation.
Discovery is still at the front just hammering away with Phonak right behind. 4 miles to go. This could be the longest lead-out ever.
Riders are single file. We've got four Discovery riders, then two Phonak, then two more Discovery in the lead. Great crowd heading into downtown.
5k to the finish.
Discovery is setting up Hincapie!
3.5 k to go. They're coming down the waterfront now. HUGE crowds on the street here and there, mostly at the turns.
2k to go and it's Discovery at the front and DVL.
40 MPH towards the finish!!!!
500m to go... 2 Discovery riders at the front... 45 mph! Here they come! It's Hincapie on a great leadout by teammate Paolo Salvodelli!!!!
Discovery played it beautifully. They just overpowered the field with a great 7-man, 5 kilometer leadout. They went too fast to be passed...
Unofficial 1-2 are Hincapie of Discovery and then Wegmann of Gerolsteiner. That's Hincapie's second stage win.
Thanks everyone. We will post official results shortly. See you tomorrow in Thousand Oaks...
Landis keeps the Golden Jersey
The stage 5 recap and results are now available here.