Stage 4 Play by Play18:11:58
Stage 4 from Seaside to San Luis Obispo of the Amgen Tour of California was an epic marathon that forced the riders to battle the elements along with hilly, technical terrain over 135 miles/218 kms along the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway. It rained the entire day and a nasty headwind combined with cold temperatures to make the Queen stage miserable for the peloton. A ten-man break escaped early and it eventually withered to eight riders while the Astana-led peloton, riding in support of race leader Levi Leipheimer, seemed content to let the break stay away. They dutifully manned the front for nearly 200 kms without any assistance from the other teams. A late attack from Toyota-United's Dominique Rollin shattered the break and everyone except for High Road's George Hincapie and Saunier Duval-Scott's Iker Camano were dropped and later caught by the CSC-driven field. The two rode in desperate pursuit of the young Canadian, but Rollin managed to hold them off to pocket the win solo after almost 7-and-a-half hours in the saddle. His Toyota-United remains the only domestic team to win a stage of the Amgen Tour of California. They have won at least one stage in all three editions of the race.
There were no changes at the top of the general classification today, but look for plenty of changes tomorrow. The crucial Stage 5 individual time trial starts at 12 PM PST in Solvang. The 15-mile/24-km primarily flat course will be a thrilling battle as time trial aces Fabian Cancellara, David Millar and David Zabriskie are within striking distance of Leipheimer, who is attempting to defend his Amgen Tour of California title. I'm Rick Scott and I'll be reporting live starting at 11:30 AM PST. You can watch the race live on our site as called by Frankie Andreu & Fantastic Joe Silva. Thank you for spending the day with us at the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. Have a great evening and we'll see you tomorrow. Don't miss it.
17:35:49 The official results and updated GC will be posted on our site as soon as they are available.
17:26:05 No GC changes. These guys have been riding since 10 AM, nearly 7.5 hours in the saddle.
17:24:06 Cavendish took it for High Road. Everyone got around the final left corner safely.
17:23:28 The sprinters are going to go for it as valuable points are up for grabs for the green jersey.
17:22:15 We await the finish of the field.
17:21:02 Hincapie took 2nd with Camano in 3rd.
17:20:49 Three men are ahead of the peloton, but here comes Rollin for the win solo!
17:19:21 Rollin is looking back. 3 km to go. He's got 12 seconds over Hincapie and Camano. The field is a kilometer further behind. Riders are launching from the field around CSC.
17:18:52 4 km to go for Dominque Rollin.
16:54:49 20 seconds gap for Rollin over Hincapie and Camano.
16:53:00 The gap is 2:50 for Rollin on the field.
16:52:18 Rollin is still away with a 15-second gap over Hincapie and Camano.
16:50:09 Rollin opened a big gap and is being chased by the two men.
16:49:05 Rabobank's Mollema has been dropped from the break. Dominique Rollin is off the front and is being chased by George Hincapie and Iker Camano.
16:47:03 20 km to the finish for the break.
16:46:11 The gap is still at 1:50.
16:44:36 Astana looks content to let the break take the day. If the teams of the sprinters don't come to the front to lift the tempo, the break will stick.
16:43:04 Some are even taking natural breaks.
16:40:45 Riders are taking time to down energy bars and gels to help them get through the rest of the stage.
16:36:13 The break is 25 km from the finish. Start warming up the showers.
16:35:40 You also have to love the fans lining the roads of Stage 4 and have amassed here at the finish in San Luis Obispo despite the weather conditions. The break is up to 2:05.
16:31:09 The gap is 1:50 as Astana has been at the front of the peloton for 200 kms…in the cold, rain & wind. Ah…you've gotta love bike racing.
16:29:43 The break continues to share the load fairly.
16:28:37 If you have comments or questions, you're invited to email us at ATOC2008@yahoo.com. I'm Rick Scott, your eyes & ears at the Amgen Tour of California. Frankie Andreu & Joe Silva are broadcasting the race live on our site and they are answering your emails.
16:26:37 The gap is down to 1:50.
16:25:45 The break is entering Morro Bay as the race hits the 6-hour mark.
16:23:40 The field is at 116 miles with the break 2:05 up the road.
16:21:26 The break is holding at 2:15. Although I don't like their chances, you kind of want the break to succeed after being away for so long in dire conditions.
16:18:47 There's a ton of hot Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including men's & women's shirts, sweatshirts, hats and jerseys. In fact, you can enjoy a 20% discount on jerseys today by using the merchandise code "JRSY2008" at checkout.
16:18:01 Five Astana's are guiding their captain, Levi Leipheimer, at the front of the peloton with CSC right behind in support of Fabian Cancellara. Astana has done all the work today while CSC has been able to rest.
16:16:44 Bryce Mead of Jelly Belly has been dropped from the break, which has a 2:15 advantage
16:13:32 Bissell's Burke Swindlehust has abandoned.
16:09:55 The Astana-led peloton has slashed 20 seconds off the break although there's been no visible change in their tempo.
16:07:22 At mile 107 of 135, the 8-man break is at 2:45.
16:05:55 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative empowers patients and their caregivers with education and hope so they can live well with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation when you text the word "DONATE" to 222377.
16:04:33 Word is that Jackson Stewart of BMC has abandoned, but we have not received confirmation. He had collected enough points during this stage to assume the lead in the California Travel & Tourism KOM competition.
16:03:06 The gap is 2:35.
15:58:04 Quite a few riders have pulled out today. It could be the atrocious weather, it could be because yesterday's mountain stage was so hard, or it could be due to the stomach virus that is rapidly spreading through the peloton and race caravan.
15:55:41 The peloton is pedaling along single file, but the pace is moderate. The faces of the riders look very uncomfortable, clearly not enjoying their ride along the gorgeous California coast in cold, rainy & windy conditions.
15:51:56 The gap is up again, now to 2:10.
15:48:37 The gap is at 2 minutes. CSC is riding behind the Astana train.
15:47:28 The gap is small enough that the sprinter's will likely settle the day today.
15:45:55 Clearly the riders are being slowed by the headwind they're riding into.
15:40:28 Leipheimer looks to be spinning along comfortably as the break shrinks to 1:50.
15:38:43 The break consists of Camano, Hincapie, Mollema, Wyss, Rollin, Kilun, King and Mead.
15:36:40 Astana is still at the head of the peloton. Race radio just corrected their mistake: there are 8 men in the break.
15:35:41 Break is down to six men, who have been away about 15 miles into the stage.
15:32:58 Leaders are at 100 mile marker and they are 2:30 ahead of the peloton.
15:27:07 Finally got official word that Slipstream's Tom Danielson abandoned earlier today.
15:25:56 We're at the 5-hour mark of today's Stage 4 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, sponsored by Olevia. It's raining steadily at the finish in San Luis Obispo, but there's still a nice crowd awaiting the finish. There's a hot corner about 200 meters from the finish line, which will prove dicey wet.
15:18:11 Other time trial specialists within 30 seconds of the yellow jersey are the Team Slipstream duo of David Millar (20 seconds) and David Zabriskie (21 seconds).
15:14:07 With 13 seconds separating the GC, tomorrow's time trial in Solvang will be crucial for the favorites to deliver. If things hold up, it will be an exciting battle between the yellow jersey, Levi Leipheimer, and Fabian Cancellara, the World Time Trial Champion.
15:11:46 The break is at 2:50 as they pass through the final Herbalife Sprint of the day. No word yet on who took it. No time bonuses were up for grabs, but green jersey points were.
14:55:54 Word is the break stretched back up to 3 minutes.
14:34:11 There's a ton of hot Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including men's & women's shirts, sweatshirts, hats and jerseys. In fact, you can enjoy a 20% discount on jerseys today by using the merchandise code "JRSY2008" at checkout.
14:33:25 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative empowers patients and their caregivers with education and hope so they can live well with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation when you text the word "DONATE" to 222377.
14:32:59 Everyone is flying blind here at the Amgen Tour of California broadcast team at the moment. We're sitting at the finish line in San Luis Obispo and it's cold, rainy and windy. Downright nasty weather. I'm Rick Scott and I wish I could give you an update since you've entrusted me to be your eyes & ears at the race. Stay tuned and we'll get you race info as soon as it becomes available.
14:28:39 The gap was down to two minutes, but unfortunately we've got nothing for you for a bit as the satellite airplane refuels. Please bare with us.
14:26:23 Officially the third California Travel & Tourism KOM points went to Stewart. Didn't catch the other names because race radio faded due to the weather. Sorry!
14:15:02 15 miles until the final Herbalife Sprint of the day at Hearst Castle, which comes at 91.5 miles/147.3 km.
14:12:01 The Specialized angel is at the top of the KOM to welcome the field.
14:09:54 The break clears the final KOM as the two HealthNet riders, Kilun and Murphy, have been dropped. The lead group is down to 8 men.
14:08:40 Lots of locos in costumes out on the side of the road in the rain on the KOM.
14:06:41 The leaders are 1 km away from the KOM as he break shrinks to 2:05.
14:04:25 The gap is down to 2:15.
14:03:20 Bettini is receiving a front wheel change.
14:02:38 The third and final KOM for today is approaching.
14:01:07 Officially the second California Travel & Tourism KOM points went to Stewart, Wyss, Hincapie and Camano.
13:56:46 The break has crested the KOM with Stewart snatching the top points.
13:56:04 The gap is down to 3:20.
13:55:04 The rain is falling steady with Astana setting pace.
13:53:53 The break is near the summit of the KOM.
13:53:16 For those watching the race on our site with Frankie Andreu & Joe Silva, we apologize for the picture break-up. The weather conditions are playing havoc with the satellites and have grounded the helicopter.
13:48:56 The peloton is snaking their way along the sinewy Pacific Coast Highway overlooking the ocean.
13:45:52 For those just joining us, we've got a 10-man break up the road. None are a threat to Levi Leipheimer's GC lead, but Jackson Stewart is gobbling up valuable KOM points, which could allow him to take the jersey from his teammate, Scott Nydam.
13:43:04 The skies have opened up again. The break is 5 km away from the second California Travel & Tourism KOM.
13:41:16 The wind is taking a toll as the pace of the race is running way behind schedule, perhaps as much as 30 minutes behind. This stage could go as long as 7 hours. The break's advantage is 3:55.
13:34:45 The field is getting their feed now.
13:30:43 The break is in the feed zone. At the 70.6-mile/113.6-kms point is the category 4 California Travel & Tourism KOM on PCH.
13:27:24 The field is at 62 miles and their deficit is under 4 minutes.
13:22:15 In the break, Jonathan Hivert of Credit Agricole flatted, but he got a quick change and is riding back through the cars to the leaders. The break has a 4:10 advantage.
13:18:40 The gap has crept up to over 4 minutes as the field is enjoying a respite from the weather as they ride through a sunny, dry patch.
13:08:21 The field is 55 miles into the 135 they'll cover in today's Queen Stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. I'm Rick Scott. Glad you're with us for today's live coverage. Ivan Dominguez of Toyota-United has just abandoned. He won the final stage of last's year's race.
13:04:52 The break is still 3:10 up the road. There's a ton of hot Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including men's & women's shirts, sweatshirts, hats and jerseys. In fact, you can enjoy a 20% discount on jerseys today by using the merchandise code "JRSY2008" at checkout. There's even an Amgen Tour of California Collector's Bell available made from recycled cartridges from Norwegian Military practice ranges.
13:03:30 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative empowers patients and their caregivers with education and hope so they can live well with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation when you text the word "DONATE" to 222377.
12:59:50 It's a shame the weather is so poor today because the scenery they are riding through is amongst the most beautiful coastline in the world.
12:55:00 Julien Belgy, who was in the break, has abandoned.
12:51:35 Tomorrow is a big day in the tour with the crucial individual time trial. With the atrocious weather conditions, no one seems to be riding quickly today. The pace is at the slowest anticipated time. The riders are approaching the feed zone.
12:48:00 The break is down a bit at 3:10.
12:44:27 Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole has abandoned while the break is up to 3:25.
12:40:31 The break is 10 men strong as Bouygues Telecom's Julian Belgy has dropped off the pace.
12:38:54 Five Astana's at the front of the peloton, including our race leader, Levi Leipheimer, defending champion of the Amgen Tour of California. If you have comments or questions, you're invited to email us at ATOC2008@yahoo.com.
12:34:21 The break is working well with everyone taking a turn making tempo. The gap is at 2:55.
12:26:57 The miles are rolling by during the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California, sponsored by Olevia, from Seaside to San Luis Obispo in dismal weather conditions.
12:19:45 Matt Crane of HealthNet has abandoned. The peloton is taking time to eat & drink now, which is key on such a long stage. They're only 40 miles into the 135 they'll ride today. The gap is at 2:15.
12:12:51 The break soldiers on. We'll try to get you an update on the time gap. I'm Rick Scott, your eyes and ears at the third Amgen Tour of California. You can watch the race being broadcast live now with announcers Frankie Andreu & Fantastic Joe Silva.
12:05:44 The rain is pelting the riders precipitously.
12:05:09 The gap is at 1:45 as the field slows for a nature break.
11:59:56 The gap is down to 1:35.
11:58:45 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative empowers patients and their caregivers with education and hope so they can live well with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation when you text the word "DONATE" to 222377.
11:56:55 Officially the KOM points went to Stewart, Wyss, Camano and Kilun.
11:54:41 And he does. The break is descending. Back in the group, Quick Step's Dmytro Grabovskyy has abandoned. The field is over the KOM.
11:52:25 Jackson Stewart prepares to take the maximum KOM points for BMC.
11:49:05 Astana drives the peloton along as they roll past the 30-mile mark. The break is 1 km from the summit.
11:46:26 The rain continues to fall as the break nears the first KOM of the day.
11:45:14 The break is now at 2:05.
11:42:41 Kelly Benefit's rider Jonathan Sundt has abandoned.
11:41:57 Up next will be the California Travel & Tourism KOM, a category 4 climb on PCH, which comes at 30.8 miles/49.6 km. The break's gap is 1:55.
11:39:00 Officially the Herbalife Sprint points went to Rollin, Kilun and Hincapie. The time gap is 1:50 for the break.
11:35:54 Toyota-United's Dominque Rollin took it.
11:35:39 Here comes the break to the sprint line.
11:33:10 The California Travel& Tourism KOM leader is Scott Nydam. His father was diagnosed with Leukemia two weeks before the Amgen Tour of California began, which has clearly inspired his performance.
11:29:27 We're nearing the first of two Herbalife Sprints at Big Sur River Inn. CSC's J.J. Haedo is the leader on the road with the withdrawal of Haussler.
11:25:58 There's a ton of hot Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including men's & women's shirts, sweatshirts, hats and jerseys. In fact, you can enjoy a 20% discount on jerseys today by using the merchandise code "JRSY2008" at checkout. There's even an Amgen Tour of California Collector's Bell available made from recycled cartridges from Norweigian Military practice ranges.
11:24:05 CSC is grouped behind Quick Step and Astana.
11:22:23 Quick Step, including Tom Boonen, are riding right behind Leipheimer & Astana now.
11:19:46 The peloton is creeping along through the rain & wind. Astana is at the point of the arrowhead.
11:15:55 CSC is riding directly behind Astana. The break is up to 45 seconds.
11:14:41 The gap is up to 40 seconds while Astana is grouped at the front leading their leader Leipheimer at the head of the peloton.
11:12:05 The break consists of Camano (Saunier Duval), Hincapie (High Road), Mollema (Rabobank), Hivert (Credit Agricole), Belgy (Bouygues Telecom), Wyss & Stewart of BMC), Kilun (Toyota-United), Rollin (Toyota-United), King (Bissell) and Mead (Jelly Belly). Their gap is 30 seconds.
11:08:56 The wind is taking a toll as the riders hit a rolling hill, which caused the group to split in two along with forming an echelon.
11:06:35 The first Herbalife Sprint appears at the 26.6-mile/42.9-km mark at Big Sur River Inn.
11:05:10 The peloton is at mile 16. The chase has caught the break. It's now 11 riders in the break.
11:03:50 Bryce Mead of Jelly Belly has lost contact with the break.
11:03:03 The peloton is winding their way along the Pacific Coast Highway amidst breathtaking scenery along mountains and the ocean.
11:01:18 The break is now just 6 men.
10:59:22 Astana continues to man the front of the group.
10:57:47 The peloton is at mile 13.
10:57:09 They have only a 20-second gap.
10:57:00 The break includes Jackson Stewart (BMC), Bissell's Scott Zwizanski, Rory Sutherland (HealthNet), Dominque Rollin (Toyota-United) along with a Saunier Duval and a Bouygues Telecom rider.
10:55:27 The break has swelled to 7 and they are working well together. Make that 8 now as John Murphy of HealthNet has reached them.
10:50:49 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative empowers patients and their caregivers with education and hope so they can live well with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation when you text the word "DONATE" to 222377.
10:46:25 A Saunier Duval rider has leapt off the front followed by a Bouygues Telecom rider, but Astana is quick to react.
10:43:03 Riders from the peloton are stopping for natural breaks showing they have no concern about the break on this very long stage. Astana is attentive at the front though.
10:41:15 The field is at mile 8 with the break not far up the road.
10:38:48 The break has swelled to five men now.
10:36:35 There's a ton of hot Amgen Tour of California available at our online store, including men's & women's shirts, sweatshirts, hats and jerseys. In fact, you can enjoy a 20% discount on jerseys today by using the merchandise code "JRSY2008" at checkout. There's even an Amgen Tour of California Collector's Bell available made from recycled cartridges from Norweigian Military practice ranges.
10:32:07 You can watch the race live right now on our site. Frankie Andreu & Fantastic Joe Silva are handling the play-by-play.
10:30:26 A slew of counterattacks are reacting to Vogels, who still has a gap.
10:29:20 Henk Vogels has launched an attack for Toyota-United.
10:26:54 The rain has picked up on the peloton now, too.
10:25:50 The official race is underway. The rain is coming down hard is San Luis Obispo where they'll finish later this afternoon.
10:24:05 The Herbalife Sprint leader Heinrich Haussler of Gerolsteiner did not take the start this morning either so the green jersey is back up for grabs.
10:17:34 Two more miles of neutral section to go. Non-starters this morning are a pair of sprinters: High Road's Mark Cavendish and Saunier Suval-Scott's Luciano Pagliarini.
10:11:00 World Champion Paolo Bettini won here last year and the past two years, this stage has come down to a sprint. If you have comments or questions, email us at ATOC2008@yahoo.com.
10:07:05 The riders are cloaked in rain capes and jackets along with kneewarmers. With CSC's Jens Voigt down over 7 minutes in the GC, this could be the day for him to launch one of his trademark attacks and go on a long break. Just a feeling…
10:02:35 The race is underway starting with a neutral section for 6.2 miles.
09:45:45 Today's stage will feature two Herbalife Sprints and three California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains climbs on a route that is hilly and technical down the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway that will pedal through Big Sur and past the Hearst Castle before arriving in San Luis Obispo. Leipheimer's GC lead over CSC's Fabian Cancellara is 13 seconds, which could be reversed in tomorrow's time trial. Astana will likely set the pace today with CSC nearby.
09:35:55 Welcome back to the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. I'm Rick Scott coming to you live from the Stage 4 finish line in San Luis Obispo. Today's stage, sponsored by Olevia, is the Queen stage, the longest of the tour at 135.3 miles/217.8 kms. Defending champion Levi Leipheimer is in the golden leader's tunic after a stellar performance in the mountains yesterday. It's raining at the start in Seaside and although it's dry here at the finish, rain is expected by the time the peloton arrives. Stay with us for all the racing action, which gets underway at 10 AM PST.
08:49:56 Good morning. Stay tuned for our live stage 4 broadcast starting around 9:30.