Frank Schleck Wins Stage 8 - Levi and his team Astana overall winners of 2009 Amgen Tour of California
| | Stage 8 Results
| Press Release
We saved the best for last at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Stage 8 was the Queen's stage, the most difficult of the race. It was a 96.8-mile pedal from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido, which was the first time the race has traveled to San Diego County. The route included four California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climbs, none bigger than the fearsome Palomar Mountain, an above categorization climbs that peaks at 5123 feet, the highest summit ever reached in the Tour. With two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (AST) in the leader's tunic, an abundance of attacks were expected in a final effort to claim the yellow jersey. An early break was established, but eventually collapsed on Palomar Mountain where an elite group formed including Leipheimer and his closest rivals – David Zabriskie (GRM) and Michael Rogers (THR). On the descent four riders formed a new move, which then slimmed down to duo consisting of Frank Schleck (SAX) and Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ). The pair made it over the final KOM climb of the race on the testing Cole Grade and motored towards the finish on the valley floor while the Astana-powered peloton kept the gap close to preserve Leipheimer's overall victory. After rounding the final corner, Schleck made his move and pulled away for the stage win ahead of Nibali. George Hincapie (THR) won the pack gallop to claim 3rd place for the day. The top three positions on the General Classification held up: Leipheimer followed by Zabriskie (36 seconds) and Rogers (45 seconds). Tonight Leipheimer celebrates his Amgen Tour of California three-peat and his Team Astana toasts the Team victory. After winning back-to-back stages earlier in the week, Mark Cavendish (THR) takes home the Herbalife Sprint jersey. Jason McCartney (SAX) climbed his way to the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains title. For the third consecutive year, Robert Gesink (RAB) leaves the Golden State with the Rabobank Best Young Rider jersey in his suitcase.
Stage 8 Profile
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Refuel, Relax & Explore
Escondido: The Bikes Stop Here and You Should Too
Escondido means hidden in Spanish. But it's the center of the cycling world as the conclusion of Amgen’s 800 miles of climbs, descents, and sprints. Taste Your Way Through Rancho Bernardo and San Diego
Though more resort town than urban neighborhood, Rancho Bernardo is officially part of San Diego. Base yourself here, then hit spots popular with local cyclists.