California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Awards Amgen Leader Jersey to Tyler Farrar after Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 Finish in SacramentoOfficials Estimate 425,000 Fans Along the Course Over the First Three Days of the Race
SACRAMENTO, February 19, 2008 –The second stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California saw the emergence of a young star in Tyler Farrar (USA) of Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 and the return of old warrior in Mario Cipollini (ITA) of Rock Racing. But the wet and slippery streets of the State Capitol belonged to 2005 World Champion and Belgian superstar Tom Boonen (BEL) QuickStep, who claimed today's stage victory. Stage 2, which took cyclists from Santa Rosa to Sacramento, finished in front of record crowds, taking the total attendance number for the first three days of the race to 425,000, with five days left to go. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on hand at the official post-race ceremonies to help award the jerseys.
“The Amgen Tour of California is a wonderful experience for California and is great for our tourism,” declared Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after Stage 2, where he helped present leader jerseys. “The Amgen Tour of California showcases the state, which has some of the most beautiful places in the world. Thank you to the enthusiastic crowd for being here and being such great fans.”
Having spent most of the nearly 116-mile race chasing one rider, Scott Nydam (USA) of Team BMC, the field roared into Sacramento resigned to settle the matter in a bunch sprint. As the peloton poured around the final corner, Gerald Ciolek (GER) of High Road, wearing the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey, fired off the front and opened a massive gap. Reigning World Champion Paolo Bettini (ITA) of QuickStep charged after Ciolek with Boonen in tow. When Boonen finally broke loose, he focused on the legendary Cipollini, who came out of a three-year retirement to race for the American Rock Racing team.
“Racing in America seems less stressful; people approach the race differently,” said Boonen. “I think we’ll be coming back to the Amgen Tour of California for the next couple of years.”
Despite Boonen’s impressive win, it was U.S. riders Farrar and Nydam that took the limelight on today’s stage. Local rider Nydam, who lives in Santa Rosa, Calif., provided a bright spot on a rainy day for the enthusiastic fans who braved the weather to come out and cheer.
Imitating the Stage 1 performance of his teammate Jackson Stewart (USA), Nydam broke away from the field and rode solo after only 10 miles, gaining a lead that grew to as much as 15 minutes. Yet, as the peloton went into the final flats of the stage, he was reeled in and finally caught 15 miles from the finish after a brave 90-mile bid for victory.
Then, the rush began as the cyclists started on the three finishing circuit laps in downtown Sacramento. The roar of spectators, which were ten deep at points along the route, seemed to notch up the speed of the field. With two laps to go, Team CSC, which had riders that won each of the first two days and held the overall lead, suffered a catastrophe when its sprinter J.J. Haedo (ARG), who won Stage 2 in 2007 and captured the first stage in Santa Rosa this year, punctured a tire. Unselfishly, overall race leader Fabian Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC gave his wheel to Haedo, and remarkably Haedo caught up and surged to the front to contest the sprint, finishing in an impressive fifth place, just behind Mark Cavendish (GBR) of High Road.
Farrar, who finished third in Sunday’s Prologue, moved up the general classification rankings into the Amgen Leader Jersey, replacing Cancellara.
“This win probably tops any win I’ve ever had; it’s a pretty big deal for me,” said Farrar. “I’m ecstatic to be racing in America, and to be wearing the Amgen Leader Jersey is a big deal for me and for the team.”
Stewart held onto the California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey for a second day; however he turned over the Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey to Nydam. The Herbalife Sprint Jersey went to Heinrich Haussler (GER) of Gerolsteiner. Ciolek will continue to wear the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey for a second day. Team High Road assumed the overall team classification lead.
The top-three general classification leaders after today are Farrar in first, Cancellara in second and Boonen in third.
“All of the stages thus far on the Amgen Tour of California have been packed with spectators, and we are delighted with the overall response to the race and athletes,” said Andrew Messick, president, AEG Sports. “As the race progresses, we are seeing everything we hoped for, including the emergence of new, young American talent like Farrar; seeing cyclists who are in their prime like Leipheimer and Boonen; and world-renowned cyclists showing us what the best of the best looks like, like Cipollini. It’s all happening at our race and that is fantastic.”
As part of Amgen’s effort to celebrate cancer survivors and continue to raise awareness about its Breakaway from Cancer™ initiative, the Sacramento finish featured a Breakaway Mile that touched and inspired the Sacramento crowd. The one-mile honorary ride was led by local lung and breast cancer survivor Stephanie Hineline. She was joined by the team of people who supported her during her battle, including her daughter, brother and former boss, retired Senator Deborah Ortiz, as well as Amgen scientist David Lacey, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines. Participants also rode in memory of Stephanie’s husband, Marty, who lost a two-and-one-half year battle with bladder cancer last spring. Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative raises awareness of the valuable services and programs, provided free of charge, that help people living with cancer.
“Amgen’s sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California provides us an opportunity to further support the millions of people affected by cancer,” said Cynthia Schwalm, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. “Today, we were pleased to honor cancer survivors at the State Capitol. Through Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative, we’re saluting survivors across the nation and raising awareness of the vital services provided by our nonprofit partners, The Wellness Community and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.”
For the latest information on the Breakaway from Cancer initiative and ways to support those living with the illness, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 3 TOMORROW:Wednesday, Feb. 20 – Modesto to San Jose (102.7 mi/165.3 km)
Estimated Start Time: 10 a.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 2-3 p.m.
After a neutral start with parade laps through Modesto's revitalized downtown area, the race will head south through California's scenic farmlands. Then, a 26-mile section full of twists and turns with constant climbing will take the riders past the rugged beauty of the Frank Raines Regional Park, leading to a relentless climb over the backside of Mt. Hamilton, of the highest elevations ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California. Once the riders crest Sierra Road, the peloton will complete the course with a quick 18-mile run to the finish line in San Jose. For full results, archived footage, GPS data, team and course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race Web site at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
In addition to the Web site, fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Highlights from Stage 3 will air on VERSUS tomorrow at 11 p.m. EST.
About the Amgen Tour of CaliforniaThe largest cycling event in America, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style road race presented by AEG that will challenge the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding 650-mile course from Palo Alto-Stanford University to Pasadena from February 17-24, 2008.
About AmgenAmgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
About AEGAEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Sprint Center, The O2, NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, a Major League Lacrosse team, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers, the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com
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