Haedo Wins Second Stage and Landis Keeps LeadSan Luis Obispo, Calif., February 23, 2006 – With the Amgen Tour of California on pace to set records in attendance for a spectator sporting event in California, as well as for any cycling event in the U.S., Californian Floyd Landis retained the overall lead while Juan José Haedo won his second stage, the Queen Stage, of the 2006 event.
In the first five days of the inaugural international professional cycling race which began February 19, record crowds of more than 680,000 fans have come to the course to cheer the riders on, with another 200,000 in the first four days of the race tuning in for live action at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
After yesterday’s decisive victory in the San Jose time trial, Landis fought to retain the Amgen Leader Jersey on a picturesque 130-mile course overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Monterey to San Luis Obispo on Highway 1.
Today’s stage was fast and active. After numerous attempts to establish an early breakaway on the 131-mile stage, a group of eight successfully gained a 25-second gap at mile 64, despite the near 29 mph average speed. Instigated by Lars Bak (DEN) of Team CSC, the lead group swelled to 12 at mile 71. With the addition of Chris Horner (USA) of Davitamon-Lotto and strong representation from both ProTour and top American teams, the gap over the field grew to a maximum of 1'15".
The breakaway lost numbers and the time gap to the field began to drop as the course flattened out past San Simeon and Hearst Castle. With Prodir-Saunier Duval and Davitamon-Lotto setting tempo on the front of the main field through Cambria, attacks within the 12-man group began to break the leaders' rhythm.
As the larger part of the breakaway was absorbed, Vladimir Gusev (RUS) of Discovery Channel and Glen Chadwick (AUS) from Navigators Insurance escaped the pressure of the main field and established a gap of 2'25" with 25 miles remaining on the course to San Luis Obispo.
With the teams beginning to position their sprinters for a potential field sprint, the two leaders were caught in the final run-in to San Luis Obispo. Out of the final corner, Haedo once again demonstrated his speed by winning the field sprint over Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, and third-place Andre Korff (GER), T-Mobile Team.
“I can’t ask for any more,” said Heado about his second win in the inaugural race. “I would hope for more, that’s for sure, but I can go home today and be the happiest guy here.”
Redondo Beach colon cancer survivor Judith Opdahl kicked off the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California. In 1994 she joined TWC as the Executive Director/CEO of the Redondo Beach facility, where she participated in groups and volunteered for three years during her personal bout with cancer. She embraced this opportunity with incredible passion after acknowledging that going to The Wellness Community was one of the best things she did in her fight for recovery.
“For more than 15 years, The Wellness Community has been my sanctuary – a place where I can go and be totally free to express my feelings and fears with people who truly understand,” said Judith Opdahl, cancer survivor. “The emotional support that programs like Breakaway from Cancer provide is of immeasurable value to those going through the cancer experience.”
Launched in December 2005 as a partnership between Amgen, The Wellness Community and George Hincapie, the Breakaway from Cancer initiative is a complementary component of Amgen’s title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California. The initiative includes a series of free workshops designed to help people who are affected by cancer learn about new treatments, side effects, support networks and educational resources.
Haedo reclaimed the lead in the Clif Bar Sprint Competition and will wear the Clif Bar Sprint Jersey during Stage Five. Bernhard Kohl continues to wear the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey, while Tom Peterson will once again wear the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey.
“It looks to be a good race. Not just good teams here, but the teams have brought good riders as well, and they’re all motivated to do very well. From the UCI’s point of view, it’s good to see this in its first year,” said Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI. “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.”
Stage Five tomorrow will bring the riders 105.3 miles from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara. The stage will follow the central coast until the sprint city of Guadalupe, where the field will leave the flatlands and head east to the Santa Ynez Mountains via the Solvang area. The riders will then face the four-mile Category One climb to San Marcos Pass before descending to a beachfront finish in Santa Barbara.
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 website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com. For images from today’s stage and the week, please go to www.gettyimages.com. A one-hour race recap will be broadcast on ESPN2 tonight at 10 p.m. PST.
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