Stage 7 Play by Play17:02:09 The final day of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, the Amgen sponsored Stage 8 from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido is the Queen Stage, meaning the most difficult of the race. There will be four California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climbs, including the above categorization Palomar Mountain, a massive hunk of rock that peaks at 5123 feet, the highest elevation this race has ever reached. It's also the furthest point south the Amgen Tour of California has gone as we welcome two new San Diego County host cities. Join Frankie Andreu & JoE Silva for our pre-race at 11:30 AM PT. Live race coverage begins at 12 PM PT. Thanks for riding with us. This is Rick Scott sending you peace, love & cycling bliss from Pasadena.
16:50:51 It was aggressive from the start of Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California on a stage sponsored by Herbalife that traveled 88.9 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. Attack after attack ensued in an effort to establish a break. Eventually the elastic snapped and a break was established containing Frank Schleck (SAX), Christian Vande Velde (GRM), George Hincapie (THR), Hayden Roulston (CTT), Pieter Weening (RAB), Markus Zberg (BMC), Andy Engles (QST), Chris Baldwin (RRC) and a pair from AG2R, Martin Elmiger and Rinaldo Nocentini. The break made it over the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climb of the Millcreek Summit, the second highest point the Tour passes at 4905 feet. After a rapid technical descent into Pasadena, the break began to attack itself as rider after rider attempted to getaway on the five-mile circuit encircling the legendary Rose Bowl stadium. Finally three men – Nocentini, Roulston and Weening – opened up a gap that proved to be the winning move. The trio dueled to the finish with Nocentini outfoxing Roulston on the line. Minutes later, Levi Leipheimer crossed the finish line surrounded by his Astana teammates safe in the yellow overall leader's jersey heading into tomorrow's final stage with a 36-second advantage over David Zabriskie. (GRM).
15:40:15 The field has safely crossed the line. Levi Leipheimer (AST) retains his yellow leader's jersey.
15:39:24 The unofficial top 3 in Stage 7 are Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R), Hayden Roulston (CTT) and Pieter Weening (RAB).
15:38:20 Amgen Tour of California merchandise is selling like gangbusters out on the road. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the lifestyle festival. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on jackets. Enjoy a 15% discount by entering the code jackets09 at checkout.
15:37:40 Roulston took the advantage, but Nocentini takes the win for AG2R!
15:36:57 The drag race is on!
15:36:40 Weening, Nocentini and Roulston are going to settle the day.
15:36:18 Three men are going to duke it out in the sprint. The chase is 15 seconds behind.
15:35:47 1 km to go!
15:34:54 Their gap is 17 seconds.
15:34:32 Roulston is a terrific track racer so he would be the bets bet for the sprint if this move sticks.
15:33:54 3 km to go for the leaders.
15:33:29 Wow...catch your breath because it's going to be one heck of a finish!
15:32:52 Weening has attacked again, but is being nailed back. Their advantage is 15 seconds over the rest of the break.
15:32:07 Three men have an advantage.
15:31:52 Weening (RAB) has joined as has Roulston (CTT).
15:31:20 Nocentini (AG2R) has jumped from the break, which was immediately countered.
15:30:48 1 lap to go for the field, which is 3:10 behind. They don't seem to be chasing the break.
15:29:55 Frank Schleck has gone again as have Hincapie and Roulston.
15:29:27 Vande Velde (GRM) and Elmiger (AG2R) were the two to join the move, but the break is all back together again.
15:27:59 Two more have linked up so we have four leaders who have a 4-second advantage over the chase.
15:26:50 Hayden Roulston (CTT) and Pieter Weening (RAB) have attacked and opened a gap.
15:25:57 Another attack from the break, but they're all together again.
15:25:09 1 lap to go for the lead riders.
15:24:54 Frank Schleck has been caught. There is a group of nine at the front. The gaps holds at 3:20.
15:23:37 We're still seeing Schleck with a gap with three behind him in pursuit.
15:22:24 We have a trio now.
15:22:11 Schleck is fully committed and is riding to win the stage. Nocentini and Hincapie (THR) are about to catch him.
15:21:10 It's still Astana amassed at the front of the peloton.
15:20:46 2 laps to go for the field.
15:20:33 Nocentini (AG2R) chases Schleck (SAX).
15:20:07 Schleck has the gap is riding alone.
15:19:13 Schleck is gone. The break behind has splintered completely.
15:18:28 Frank Schleck (SAX is attacking the break on the first hill. He has flown the coop!
15:17:25 The break is now jockeying, which doesn't help their chance of survival. Two laps to go.
15:16:01 The ten men in front are sharing the load in the escape.
15:15:23 The gap to the field is 3:30.
15:13:18 The chase has caught the break. The break is 10 strong again.
15:12:43 Five men remain up the road on the finishing circuit in Pasadena.
15:11:32 Astana continues to set tempo in the field, 3:20 behind the break.
15:10:18 Love that my SoCal peeps are out en force to see this race. Rick Scott thanking you on behalf of the Amgen Tour of California. Stay with us for the finish of Stage 7.
15:08:25 3:15 is the gap to the field.
15:07:43 3 laps to go for the leaders.
15:07:27 Schleck (SAX, Zberg (BMC), Hincapie (THR), Nocentini (AG2R) and Pauwels (CTT) are 8 seconds ahead of the other half of the break.
15:05:38 The break has split into two groups of five.
15:04:33 The two have opened a gap over the break.
15:04:17 Nocentini (AG2R) has attacked the break. Hincapie (THR) has countered.
15:02:55 Astana is still at the head of the field. The teams with the top sprinters can't chase since they have men in the break.
15:01:37 The gap is 3:28.
15:01:00 BMC's Markus Zberg has attacked from the break.
15:00:38 The Pope himself has blessed us with his presence on one of the climbs on the Pasadena circuit.
14:59:54 4 laps to go for the peloton. The group of dropped riders has entered the circuits as well. They are down a lap.
14:58:58 Huge crowd lining the circuit in Pasadena.
14:58:04 The break has crossed the finish. Four laps to go.
14:57:42 3:35 is the gap.
14:57:13 1 km to go on the first of five circuits.
14:55:59 To remind you, in the break are Chris Baldwin (Rock Racing), Hayden Roulston (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie ( Columbia-Highroad), Pieter Weening (Rabobank), Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank), Addy Engels (Quick Step), Martin Elmiger (AG2R), Markus Zberg (BMC), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Slipstream) and Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R). Their advantage is dissipating precipitously. It's 3:20.
14:53:49 Thomas Peterson (GRM) has rejoined the field after recovering from a crash.
14:52:29 The gap has already lost 20 seconds. Astana is still camped at the head of the field.
14:51:30 5 laps to go for the field.
14:51:17 1 km to the second Herbalife Sprint.
14:50:44 The field is approaching the feed zone and are being warned about the immense crowd here in Pasadena.
14:50:02 The gap is holding at 4:20.
14:49:51 Last year, Hincapie (THR) won here after a long break. Might we see history repeat itself?
14:48:45 Amgen Tour of California merchandise is selling like gangbusters out on the road. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the lifestyle festival. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on jackets. Enjoy a 15% discount by entering the code jackets09 at checkout.
14:48:26 5 laps to go for the leaders.
14:48:09 The KOM on the road we believe is Jason McCartney (SAX).
14:47:22 The break is entering the circuits.
14:47:00 Mancebo (RRC) is being transported to hospital after a nasty crash. He was leading the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountain competition.
14:45:37 The gap is 4:20 for the 10-man break leading Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.
14:42:58 In the crash are two from Colavita/Sutter Home, two from Garmin-Slipstream and one from Bissell.
14:41:38 Riders down in the field!
14:39:46 Vande Velde is already back on the road riding after a very fast wheel change.
14:39:00 Christian Vande Velde (GRM) has flatted in the break and is calling for a rear wheel.
14:38:12 The break is at mile 61 of the 88.9 miles they'll cover today.
14:37:05 The gap is 3:50. A Cervelo rider is receiving a rear wheel.
14:34:32 The ten-man break is about 15 kms away from the circuits around the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
14:32:43 He went down on a descent. He's still on the ground receiving medical attention. he's the current California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains leader.
14:31:55 Rock Racing's Franciso Mancebo has crashed. It doesn't look good.
14:30:31 The crowd is thick and thickening at the finish in Pasadena. Come on down if you are in the area. It's a beautiful warm day.
14:25:07 We have ten men up the road have 3:40 on the field.
14:24:04 The break is moving closer to the circuits in Pasadena where they will complete five laps on a five-mile loop.
14:20:16 Armstrong is back on the road and is being ushered back to the field by a couple Astana teammates. The gap is at 3:25 for the break.
14:18:25 Lance Armstrong (AST) is receiving a front wheel change.
14:12:37 The break is at mile 48.3. Three men have joined the move, which is now ten strong.
14:11:34 Astana is setting tempo single file for their yellow jersey-clad leader, Levi Leipheimer, who is bidding to win his third consecutive Amgen Tour of California.
14:08:05 The break is up 2:55.
14:07:42 The field is safely through the tunnel.
14:07:21 Great to have you with us today at the Amgen Tour of California. Stage 7 from Santa Clarita to Pasadena is about halfway through. Rick Scott banging out the words for you while Frankie Andreu & "Cuppa" JoE Silva are your commentators.
14:04:53 The break is through the tunnel.
14:04:31 Amgen Tour of California merchandise is selling like gangbusters out on the road. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the lifestyle festival. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on jackets. Enjoy a 15% discount by entering the code jackets09 at checkout.
14:04:00 The break is inside 1 mile from a tunnel that race radio is sending out warnings about the darkness in the tunnel.
14:01:31 The break consists of F. Schleck (SAX), Hincapie (THR), Roulston (CTT), Christian Vande Velde (GRM), Baldwin (RRC), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) and Pieter Weening (Rabobank).
13:59:09 The California Travel & Tourism King of he Mountain points available on Millcreek Summit went to Chris Baldwin (RRC), Hayden Roulston (CTT), George Hincapie (THR), Pieter Weening (Rabobank) and Frank Schleck (SAX).
13:55:15 The gap is 2 minutes for the break.
13:55:05 The field is over the top and have begun their descent.
13:54:32 Race radio is urging team managers to warn their riders about the enormous crowds lining the turns on the descent.
13:53:35 Astana is at the head of the peloton as they near the KOM summit.
13:52:55 Huge crowd at the summit of the KOM, a sea that parted to allow the riders to go over the top to begin their descent.
13:52:09 The gap is 1:42. Snow banks the sides of the road.
13:51:19 Hincapie wears the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey after his performance in year's stage.
13:50:27 1 km to the KOM for the break, which is up 1:25.
13:50:05 The break is nearing the summit of the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountain climb of Millcreek Summit, a category 3 mountain of 4906 feet.
13:48:01 Astanta is at the front of the field setting tempo.
13:47:22 The break is up 1:20.
13:43:50 The break is down to 7 riders at the 35.5-mile point.
13:43:19 George Hincapie (THR) missed his feed when Chris Baldwin (RRC) got in his way. Bad etiquette there from Baldwin, a veteran who knows better.
13:40:15 The gap is up 20 seconds.
13:39:13 The gap is 15 seconds.
13:38:53 8 men are off the front with a pretty sizable gap.
13:37:20 Tyler Hamilton is back receiving some service from his Rock Racing vehicle.
13:34:32 With Hincapie and Frank Schleck are Markus Zberg (BMC), a Liquigas rider, Martin Elmiger (AG2R) and a Garmin-Slipstream rider.
13:31:08 Hincapie (THR), Frank Schleck (SAX)and four others have opened a 10-second gap.
13:29:34 The break has been caught.
13:29:03 31.5 miles into the stage. Lance Armstrong (AST) is one of the riders in the eight-man break.
13:28:06 Their advantage is 10 seconds. Three more have joined the move.
13:27:36 The riders are from Quick Step, AG2R and Cervelo Test Team.
13:26:35 George Hincapie (THR) joins him along with 3 other riders.
13:25:49 The break is caught as Oscar Sevilla (RRC) attempts to getaway again.
13:25:00 The gap is 10 seconds.
13:24:48 The field chasing is led by a pair of Columbia-Highroad riders followed by Astana.
13:23:17 11 riders have slipped away with a Columbia-Highroad rider chasing.
13:19:14 27.2 miles into the stage, the peloton is moving at 27 mph.
13:18:17 The Herbalife Sprint points and time bonuses (3 secs., 2 secs, and 1 second) went to Serge Pauwels (CTT), Tyler Farrar (GRM) and Michael Rogers (THR).
13:16:38 The riders fly through the Herbalife Sprint in Acton.
13:15:27 Serge Pauwels (CTT) has opened a slight advantage.
13:14:46 1 km to the Herbalife Sprint in Acton. McCartney has been caught by the peloton.
13:13:42 At the front we have an attack by McCartney (SAX).
13:13:05 The group of 16 riders are down over 3 minutes.
13:10:54 1:10 for the group of riders who have lost contact with the field. The group is 16 riders strong.
13:09:21 Riders are being warned about an abundance of sand in the road.
13:07:52 About 8-10 riders have opened a slight gap. We're 5 km to the sprint.
13:06:15 GarminSlipstream, Saxo Bank, Rock Racing and Cervelo Test Team have riders mixing it up. Rabobank and OUCH are up there jostling as well.
13:04:03 Six riders have attacked off the front.
13:03:22 We're less than five miles from the first Herbalife Sprint in Acton.
13:01:38 The riders are pedaling amidst a stunning mountain range near Angeles Crest.
13:00:32 Four riders have moved ahead of the field with two chasing.
12:59:47 Jason McCartney (SAX) and Jeff Louder (BMC) are chasing the break, but now the break has been caught.
12:58:43 Kevin Hulsmans (QST) is receiving a rear wheel after puncturing.
12:57:46 The advantage is 5 seconds.
12:57:11 The other is a rider from OUCH.
12:56:57 Ben Jacques-Maynes (BPC) is one of the riders.
12:56:15 Two riders have joined the break.
12:54:55 Big acceleration from Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) and he's joined by Trent Lowe (GRM). They've opened a gap.
12:53:37 Mile 17 of the 88.9 that comprise Stage 7.
12:52:52 7 riders have opened a small gap.
12:52:29 The Bissell rider has been caught and passed by a Saxo Bank rider.
12:51:14 More attacks...this time it's Liquigas. He's passed by Bissell and Colavita/Sutter Home. George Hincapie (THR) has joined the move.
12:49:24 The field is climbing through a tunnel after 15 miles into the stage.
12:47:58 The peloton is climbing at 26 mph. The dozen who have already been dropped are riding 35 seconds behind the field.
12:45:44 Tuft (GRM) is trying to get away again.
12:45:16 It's a pleasant day in Southern California with a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures are in the upper 60s.
12:44:24 The field has caught the break. 12 riders are off the back of the main field.
12:43:11 Four riders are off the front with a 10-second advantage.
12:41:39 They are joined by Valeriy Kozarenko (TT1). The gap is 12 seconds.
12:40:56 Three riders are off the front with a 5 second advantage. They are Dominique Rollin (CTT), Svein Tuft (GRM) and Tom Zirbel (BPC).
12:39:33 Frank Schleck (SAX) is calling for his team car. He's talking to his director Bjarne Riis.
12:38:22 We're over 20 miles into the stage.
12:37:48 The peloton has turned onto Soledad Canyon Road.
12:37:00 The speed on the descent is 49 mph. The rider are all together descending single file.
12:35:56 Sevilla is quickly joined by Frank Schleck (SAX). The riders are descending.
12:34:53 Oscar Sevilla (RRC) has ridden away from the field.
12:32:48 Left turn onto Sand Canyon Road.
12:32:16 Gustav Larsson (SAX) opened a small gap, but he's quickly reabsorbed.
12:31:32 GRM's Christian Vande Velde is up front trying to get away, but no one will let him go.
12:30:09 The field is descending at 51 mph.
12:28:41 The first Herbalife Sprint comes at mile 26 in Acton.
12:27:49 Team Type 1's Valeriy Kobzarenko is at the front pushing the pace. The field is all together.
12:25:39 Four more riders have joined them.
12:25:10 The two riders are Chris Baldwin (RRC) and Svein Tuft (GRM), who have a slight advantage.
12:24:13 Off goes a Rock Racing rider with a Garmin-Slipstream rider.
12:23:47 All back together again.
12:23:34 Five men have a slight advantage...and are joined by another...and another...
12:22:45 Right turn under a narrow bridge at the 4-mile mark.
12:21:26 A Jelly Belly rider attempts to go again and he is marked by an AG2R rider.
12:20:43 A bunch of attacks and counter attacks are being launched. Very aggressive riding in the effort to get a break going.
12:19:47 A Bissell rider is attempting to launch a move. Foiled...
12:18:33 The field is at 2.7 miles in moving at 31 mph.
12:17:34 They've been caught by the peloton.
12:17:11 Four riders are bridging to the two leaders. They are successful. The break is now six strong.
12:16:28 Van Ulden is joined by AG2R's Christophe Riblon.
12:15:21 Van Ulden's knee is bandaged from a crash earlier this week.
12:14:50 Van Ulden has opened a small gap.
12:13:57 Once agin, it's Jelly Belly launching the first move. The rider is Bernard Van Ulden.
12:13:21 The green flag has been waved. Stage 7 is on. 88.9 miles to go.
12:10:06 Armstrong (AST) has rejoined the field and has made his way back towards the front with his Astana teammates.
12:09:25 Stef Clement (Rabobank) is riding back to the bunch from a mechanical now as well. What the heck is going on out there today?
12:07:57 Oscar Sevilla (RRC) is the other rider who had a mechanical. He's rejoined the bunch.
12:06:49 Lance Armstrong (AST) is one of the riders with a mechanical.
12:05:23 2 more miles of neutral left. A couple riders are already dealing with mechanicals.
12:02:41 The riders have rolled off enjoying a leisurely pace as they loosen up their legs.
12:00:40 The peloton is about to make their start in Santa Clarita. The day begins with a 3.5-mile neutral section.
11:51:54 Amgen Tour of California merchandise is selling like gangbusters out on the road. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the lifestyle festival. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on jackets. Enjoy a 15% discount by entering the code jackets09 at checkout.
11:47:01 Took a ride this morning on the 5-mile circuit around the Rose Bowl. It's a challenging rolling loop.
11:45:26 Just shared an orange in the broadcast compound with Phil Liggett. Yes, kids, he's wearing Rock 'N Republic jeans today. Stylin' and profilin'
11:36:52 On the final day of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, Hincapie sprinted to victory from a small breakaway group that escaped during a rugged new route from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. This year, the peloton will face the same difficult, hilly and technical terrain on the penultimate day of the Tour. Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, opens with a gradual 25-mile climb out of Santa Clarita, through Acton, to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. Showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, the course continues uphill to the massive Millcreek Summit, which at 4906 feet is the second highest elevation ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California. What goes up must come down and the riders will scream down a 15-mile trek to Angeles Crest Highway before dropping precipitously to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Surrounded by mountains and the legendary stadium, the field will conclude the stage with five challenging circuits on a rolling five-mile circuit around the picturesque Rose Bowl.
11:33:41 Good morning and welcome back to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Sponsored by Herbalife, Stage 7 is the same course this race ended with last year when George Hincapie (THR) celebrated victory after a long successful group break on the 88.9-mile course from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. Live race coverage begins at 12 PM PT. Rick Scott here at the finish in the shadow of the Rose Bowl. Frankie Andreu & "Cuppa" JoE Silva are your commentators. Thank you for joining us.
15:39:21 Starting in Santa Clarita, Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, will travel 88.9 miles to Pasadena where the stage will conclude with five circuits around the legendary Rose Bowl. En route the riders will battle through two Herbalife Sprints and a California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climb to the category 3 Millcreek Summit (4906 feet). Commentators Frankie Andreu & G.I. JoE Silva will be here for the pre-race show at 11:30 AM PT with live coverage commencing at 12 PM PT. Thanks for riding with us. This is Rick Scott sending you peace, love & cycling bliss from Solvang.
15:29:59 This has already been an unforgettable Amgen Tour of California and we're not finished yet. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the tour festivals. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, jackets, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on sweatshirts. Enjoy a 15% discount by entering the code sweats09 at checkout.
15:29:38 The all-important 15-mile individual time trial at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California took place in Solvang under bright sunshine and spring-like temperatures in front of a massive crowd. Sponsored by Breakaway from Cancer, Stage 6 traversed a challenging course that tested the riders' limits. Race leader Levi Leipheimer (AST) took a big step closer to his third consecutive Amgen Tour of California title by acing the stage with a winning time of 30:40, eight seconds faster than U.S. National Time Trial champion David Zabriskie (GRM). Gustav Larsson (SAX), who won silver at the Beijing Olympic Games in the time trial, had the third fastest time, 16 seconds slower than Leipheimer, who padded his advantage in the General Classification over Zabriskie.
15:16:36 To help support Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer and make a fashion statement at the same time, pick up at bike chain bracelet for only $5.00 available exclusively at www.calpolywheelmen.org.
14:40:32 The top 3 today are Leipheimer (AST), Zabriskie (GRM) and Larsson (SAX). Leipheimer has added to his overall lead.
14:39:20 Leipheimer crosses the line holding up 3 fingers. He clearly is riding for the Amgen Tour of California three-peat.
14:38:16 He does it! Leipheimer has the stage winning time of 30:40!
14:38:13 He does it! Leipheimer has the stage winning time of 30:40!
14:37:36 It's going to be close to Zabriskie's time!
14:37:29 It's going to be close to Zabriskie's time!
14:37:08 1 km to go for our yellow jersey.
14:36:30 Leipheimer is inside 2 km until the finish.
14:36:06 Rogers will lose his 2nd place GC.
14:35:43 Rogers (THR) is 31:02, 3rd place at the moment.
14:35:00 2.5 km to go for Leipheimer (AST).
14:34:36 Rogers is next to finish. 1 km to go. I'm Rick Scott, your eyes and ears at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Thank you for tuning in.
14:33:15 Armstrong approaches the finish. His time is 31:56, 12th best time.
14:32:46 Unbelievably large crowds here today in Solvang.
14:32:06 Armstrong has 1 km to go.
14:31:03 Armstrong powering up the final rolling roads on course on his way back into town.
14:29:50 Only Armstrong, Rogers and Leipheimer are left to finish.
14:29:26 Zabriskie has the new best time of 30:48!
14:29:02 The top 3 intermediate times today are by Leipheimer (Astana), Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) and Larrson (Saxo Bank).
14:27:17 Leipheimer has the best intermediate time besting Dave Z. in a time of 19:16.
14:26:13 Only 5 riders left to finish.
14:26:01 Current top 3 at the finish at Larrson and Voigt (Saxo Bank) followed by Hincapie (Coluimbia-Highroad).
14:24:53 Leipheimer (AST) is the last man to approach the intermediate mark.
14:24:24 Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) passes the intermediate point in 5th with a time of 19:43.
14:23:23 Armstrong's intermediate time is 20:10.
14:22:54 There are a pair of guys running alongside the riders on the climb wearing Speedos and bike helmets.
14:20:15 Armstrong is on the Ballard Canyon Road climb.
14:19:39 Armstrong is next to arrive the intermediate point. Un loco in a Speedo ran up the hill cheering on Zabriskie.
14:18:21 Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) has the new best time at the intermediate mark at 19:19.
14:17:09 Horner's (Astana) intermediate time was 20:30.
14:16:29 Checu Rubiera (Astana) crosses the finish in 32nd place for the moment.
14:15:43 Wild blue and yellow paint scheme on Leipheimer's Trek time trial machine.
14:13:56 Astana's Chris Horner is approaching the intermediate point.
14:13:52 Astana's Chris Horner is approaching the intermediate point.
14:13:21 Gesink (Rabobank) finishes in 31:55, good enough to keep his Best Young Rider lead.
14:12:00 This has already been an unforgettable Amgen Tour of California and we're not finished yet. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the tour festivals. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, jackets, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on sweatshirts. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code sweats09 at checkout.
14:11:27 Top 3 times are Larrson (Saxo Bank), Voigt (Saxo Bank) and Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad). The best time is 30:37.
14:08:56 Voigt (Saxo Bank) has the 2nd best finishing time of 31:10.
14:07:51 Leipheimer is off! The Santa Rosa, California resident is the two-time defending champion of this race.
14:06:52 1 km to go for Voigt (saxo Bank).
14:06:24 Our last rider to start today is our overall race leader, Levi Leipheimer (Astana). He won the time trial last year in Solvang and will look to repeat that feat today as his GC lead is only 24 seconds over Rogers.
14:04:03 Up next to start is Australian National Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), a former three-time World Time Trial Champion.
14:02:42 Lance is picking teammate Levi Leipheimer to win the stage today. He's referring him as LEVISTRONG.
14:01:55 All cameras are pointed on Armstrong as he takes off down the start ramp. The enormous crowd erupts.
14:00:32 Up next to start on the returned time trial bike that was stolen last weekend after the Prologue in Sacramento is Lance Armstrong (Astana).
13:59:27 David Zabriskie, the USPRO Time Trial Champion, in on course for Garmin-Slipstream.
13:56:50 Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) is through the intermediate point with the 2nd best time of 19:33.
13:56:06 2nd best finishing time for Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) in 31:16.
13:55:28 Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) finishes at 31:35.
13:54:56 Vande Velde finishes at 31:49.
13:53:17 1 km to the finish for Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream).
13:52:54 Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia-Highroad) makes his start. He's 6th place in the GC. All the big names are about to start. Stay with us.
13:51:56 Larsson is the first rider to finish under 31 minutes.
13:51:33 New best finishing time by Larsson (Saxo Bank) at 30:57!
13:50:03 Zirbel, McCartney and Clement (Rabobank) are currently at the top of the leader board.
13:49:07 McCartney's (Saxo Bank) finishing time is best at the moment at 31:21. Wait! He just got eclipsed by Tom Zirbel (Bissell) at 31:19.
13:47:40 Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) has the 3rd best intermediate time at 19:44.
13:44:29 O'Grady has the 3rd best time at the finish for Saxo Bank - 31:56.
13:43:45 Landia (OUCH) finishes in a disappointing 33:23, 23rd best time for now.
13:42:54 Today's Stage 6 is sponsored by Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer, a national initiative that strives to empower patients and their caregivers with education, resources and hope. Through Breakaway from Cancer, Amgen and their nonprofit partners aim to increase awareness of the important resources available to cancer patients from prevention to diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship. Visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com to connect with a wide array of free services and programs to help people to cancer. You don't have to go through it alone. Like cycling, beating cancer requires a team effort.
13:41:32 Best Young Rider leader Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is on course.
13:41:06 New best intermediate time is by Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) at 19:33.
13:38:19 Tom Zirbel (Bissell) is the 3rd rider to reach the intermediate point under 20 minutes. His time is 19:58.
13:37:03 Rule #1 in time trialing: never miss your start!
13:36:41 Ivan Basso (Liquigas) has missed his start!
13:34:30 Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) is on course.
13:34:03 Approaching the finish is Svein Tuft (Garmin-Slipstream), the Canadian National Time Trial champion. His time is 3rd best at 32:03.
13:32:30 Floyd Landis (OUCH) is past the intermediate point in around 24th place.
13:31:53 Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank) approaches the line and finishes in the new best time at 31:21.
13:29:11 Top 3 intermediate times are Clement (Rabobank), McCartney (Saxo Bank)and O'Grady (Saxo Bank).
13:28:06 Top 3 finishes for the moment are Clement (Rabobank), Sutherland (OUCH) and Riblon (AG2R).
13:26:59 George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) took his start wearing a Camelback for hydration.
13:25:42 20:16 is the new 3rd best intermediate time by Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady.
13:25:07 New 2nd best time at the finish by Sutherland (OUCH) at 32:06.
13:24:04 Boisterous crowds are lining the climbs on course.
13:23:17 Jason McCartney is the 2nd rider to come through the intermediate point under 20 minutes His time is 19:49.
13:22:25 Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) is ready to start. He finished 4th in last year's Tour de France and 3rd place overall here.
13:20:09 BMC's Markus Zberg finishes in 33:27, 12th place for the moment.
13:19:19 Astana's Yaroslav Popovych has made his start.
13:17:41 Tim Johnson of OUCH has the 3rd best finish in a time of 32:43.
13:14:56 This has already been an unforgettable Amgen Tour of California and we're not finished yet. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the tour festivals. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, jackets, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on sweatshirts. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code sweats09 at checkout.
13:14:29 Cavendish's time is 5th best at the moment at 33:08.
13:13:50 Top 3 at the intermediate point are Clement (Rabobank) in 19:43 followed by Rory Sutherland (OUCH) and Riblon (AG2R).
13:11:14 Don't go anywhere as the top of the General Classification will take their starts at 3-minute intervals in less than an hour.
13:08:58 Garmin-Slipstream's Steven Cozza is in the start house. He was a previous winner of the U.S Under 23 National Time Trial Championship.
13:07:41 Pauwels has the 3rd best intermediate time, but obviously faded. I'm Rick Scott and as I discovered by pre-riding the course twice this morning, the second half of the course is the harder part. If you don't pace yourself properly, you will fade towards the end.
13:05:53 Cervelo Test Team's Serge Pauwels finishes at 33:36.
13:04:09 New 3rd place finish by Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly) in 33:06.
13:03:25 1 km to the finish for Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad).
13:00:18 Top 3 are Clement followed by Riblon and Michael Barry (Columbia-Highroad).
12:57:00 It's the new best time of 31:23 for Clement.
12:56:29 Here comes Stef Clement (Rabobank), who has the best intermediate time, nearing he finish.
12:55:45 Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) is off on his start. He won the Best Young Rider jersey in last year's Tour de France.
12:54:55 Top 3 riders at the finish are still Riblon (AG2R), Menzies (OUCH) and Hansen (Columbia-Highroad). The time to beat is 32:22.
12:49:19 34:11 finishing time for Chris Baldwin (Rock Racing), a former U.S. Time Trial champion.
12:46:25 New best intermediate time is Stef Clement in 19:43 for Rabobank.
12:45:45 For now the leader's board is Riblon, Menzies and Adam Hansen (Columbia-Highroad).
12:44:02 32:22 is the new best time by Riblon (AG2R).
12:43:32 33:09 is the new best time by Menzies (OUCH).
12:43:10 36:13 finishing time for Fred Rodriguez (Rock Racing).
12:40:36 Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank) just took his start.
12:39:24 Hamilton (Rock Racing) was 22:12 at the intermediate point. Not too bad considering his mechanical.
12:38:08 36:09 is Chicci's time. He barely held off Guptil by a few seconds.
12:37:58 Our first rider, Chicci (Liquigas) is about to finish, but he's about to get passed by Andy Guptil (Colavita/Sutter Home).
12:35:42 Riblon's time is 20:29.
12:34:59 New best intermediate times is by Christophe Riblon (AG2R).
12:32:28 32 riders on course. Mark Cavendish has made his start after winning the last two stages for Columbia-Highroad.
12:30:36 21:35 for Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) at the intermediate point.
12:29:44 Daniel Oss (Liquigas) is through the intermediate spot in 2nd at 21:34.
12:27:07 21:03 is the new best intermediate time by Karl Menzies (OUCH).
12:26:24 The best time at the intermediate point is Andsy Guptil (Colavita/Sutter Home) at 22:24. The point is at 8.7-mile mark at the top of the Ballard Canyon climb.
12:23:49 Michael Barry of Team Columbia-Highroad is ready to take his start.
12:20:33 Quick Step's Marco Velo is off on his start.
12:19:19 Hamilton (Rock Racing) has found his rhythm today, but lost to much time to be a factor today.
12:17:39 Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) is ready to start.
12:16:50 Hamilton is stopped and getting a bike change. The chain is jammed. He's trying to fix it himself and can't. He's off trying to ride again.
12:15:50 Hamilton's chain is off. More problems for Rock Racing today!
12:14:58 Tyler Hamilton, the 2004 Olympic Time Trial gold medalist, is on course for Rock Racing.
12:12:34 One of the six men in the break yesterday, Curtis Gunn (Fly V Australia) has made his start. He's a talented time trial rider, but after being in the break for over 100 miles yesterday, he probably won't have much left in the legs today.
12:09:36 Bad luck! Fast Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing) has flatted, but is riding on it as support doesn't seem to be around.
12:08:42 Six men are already on course. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team), the reigning Tour de France champion, has made his start.
12:07:01 The second half of the course is super challenging with a couple of short 2-minute climbs, a fast technical descent, rolling roads that are a bit bumpy and rough, and some quick turns before powering straight back into town for the finish.
12:04:48 The course climbs shortly after the start before reaching a flat straight section that becomes a false flat.
12:01:30 Chicci is on a road bike with clip-on bars.
12:01:07 The first rider - Francesco Chicci (Liquigas) is off. We are underway. The riders are starting at one minute intervals.
11:59:47 It's sunny and the temperature is in the mid-60s, which should be perfect for the riders.
11:59:01 A huge crowd is gathered in Solvang with many people pre-riding the course today, including yours truly. It's a very testing course.
11:57:56 Our commentators are Frankie Andreu & G.I. JoE Silva. If you have comments or questions, show your love at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11:43:06 This has already been an unforgettable Amgen Tour of California and we're not finished yet. You can get the same tour merchandise that they sell here at the tour festivals. This year, there are many new clothing and commemorative souvenir offerings available including jerseys, jackets, t-shirts, hats, socks, cowbells and more. Please visit www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. Today we have a special on sweatshirts. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code sweats09 at checkout.
11:17:59 While cycling is a team sport, the time trial is an individual race against the clock. Stage races are won and lost in the time trial, thus Stage 6 will be a crucial test for the true contenders for overall victory at the 4th Amgen Tour of California. The drama once again takes place in Solvang, the idyllic Danish village that hosts training camps for ProTour teams and some of the largest cycling events in the U.S. The fast and primarily flat course that includes the short, steep Ballard Canyon climb showcases the beauty of the Santa Ynez Valley as it unfolds through quaint towns, vineyards and farms. With the start and finish located only one block apart, it’s an ideal stage for spectators to watch the best cyclists in the world rise to the challenge.
11:14:11 Good morning and welcome to the quaint Danish enclave known as Solvang, the scene of what is certain to be a dramatic Stage 6 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. I'm Rick Scott and today is the race of truth, a 15-mile individual time trial. No teammates, no hiding. One man against the clock. Two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) is in yellow, but three men - Michael Rogers (Team Columbia-Highroad), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) - are all within 30 seconds of our leader. The top four also are exceptional time trial riders so today we shall witness a thrilling showdown. Live coverage begins at 12 PM PT when the first rider takes off down the start ramp. Stay with us for what will be a pivotal stage in this year's race.