One of the most exciting parts of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race is that with 18 of the best teams in the world, and only four stages available to win, the competition for stages and the yellow jersey is fierce.
Many riders described Stage 7 as the true Queen Stage of the race with the only true summit finish coming early in the week on Stage 3. The course traveled across the narrow, twisty, and undulating roads of Sonoma County just west of Santa Rosa – throughout the day there wasn’t a moment of rest or time to lose concentration. With the general classification standings very close on this tough day, the racing was aggressive and we saw an early selection of 50 riders form as riders fell victim to the regions’ short steep climbs.
Stage 8 was the shortest and easiest day of the week with only 86 miles of flat roads in Sacramento. After 700 miles and 7 continuous days of racing, the peloton was full of tired bodies. With the exception of top sprinters, most riders were content with just riding in the pack, but Chris Putt’s heart rate data below shows it’s more than a walk in the park just to stay with the pack.
Stage 4 saw the elite men ride one of the most famed stretches of coastlines in California as they departed Morro Rock in Morro Bay for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County. Stage 4 Presented by Visit California was classified as a ‘Rolling’ Stage, which understates the elevation gain of the stage.
Done and dusted…after eight days, eight stages and nearly 800 miles, the eleventh Amgen Tour of California is in the history books thus concluding another extraordinary week of America’s Greatest Race. We crowned the first French champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Ettix-Quick-Step), who is also the youngest winner in race history at 23 years-old. BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis, the Australian winner of the Stage 6 Folsom Time Trial, and American Brent Bookwalter completed the final GC podium. In other competitions, Rally Cycling’s Evan Huffman locked up the Lexus King of the Mountains polka dot tunic on Saturday. The revelation of the week is Axeon Hagens Berman’s Neilson Powless who takes home the SRAM Best Young Rider jersey. With fifteen career stage wins, including two this week, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won yet another Visit California Sprint jersey.
Stage 6 was the decisive Folsom Individual Time Trial for the general classification contenders and specialists in the discipline. For all other riders, especially those with ambitions to save energy and win later in the week, the goal of the time trial is to ride only has hard as required to make the stage’s time cut.