American cyclist Chris Horner wins 2011 Amgen Tour of California
Matthew Goss Races to the Finish to Capture Stage 8 Win and Team Garmin-Cervelo Takes Overall Team Competition for Second Consecutive YearTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (May 22, 2011) – Chris Horner (USA) of Team RadioShack crossed the finish line of the last stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California in Westlake Village with an overall time of 23 hours, 46 minutes and 41 seconds, capturing the Amgen Race Leader Jersey and solidifying his place at the top of the podium, while Matthew Goss (AUS) of HTC-Highroad won the final stage. Horner's teammate Levi Leipheimer (USA), a three-time winner of America's biggest race, finished second overall only 38 seconds back, while Thomas Danielson (USA) of Team Garmin-Cervelo, finished two minutes and 12 seconds behind to claim third place.
"It feels fantastic to be the winner of the Amgen Tour of California," said Horner, who at 39 marks the oldest winner in the six year history of the event. "I have competed in this race since its inception and I have helped Levi (Leipheimer) win it many times. As soon as they added the summit finishes, I made it one of my personal goals to finish high in the race. Team RadioShack came in with a great squad this year. We had some great help, and the crowds throughout the race have just been amazing."
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California officially kicked off in Nevada City, California, on Monday, May 16, after less-than-favorable weather conditions in Lake Tahoe forced the cancelation of Stage 1 and necessitated a change in start location of Stage 2, with rider safety in mind.
Considered the most difficult route in the race's six-year history, the 18 professional cycling teams competing rode through the state of California, experiencing everything from beautiful rolling hills to snaking winding roads to brutally steep climbs. In the end, four riders were awarded top honors in special categories, including Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Cannondale who won the Herbalife Sprint Points Jersey; Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) of Team Spidertech Powered by C10 who captured the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey every stage of the race; and Tejay Van Garderen (USA) of HTC-Highroad, who secured the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey, awarded to the top rider age 24 or under.
"The Amgen Tour of California is unprecedented in its growth and popularity," said Leipheimer. "More people were at the start today than attended the entire Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain, one of racing's three Grand Tours). The race keeps getting bigger and better and I think yesterday's stage proved that. It was as big and epic as the other Grand Tours, similar to what you would see at the Tour de France or Giros (d'Italia). Having stages like Sierra Road and Mt. Baldy will continue to improve the race, and I am proud to be able to say that I am the first winner of the Mt. Baldy climb."
Added Bob Stapleton, general manager and owner of the American-based HTC-Highroad, "American cycling is on the rise. Look at both the young and old cyclists who have done well in this race. This is America's biggest race, and Americans are doing well in races all over the world." The top five finishers of the 2011 race were Americans, a first for the event.
Starting in the city of Santa Clarita, the neutral start quickly gave way to multiple attacks, none of which stuck. Riding along at a brisk pace of 32 mph, four riders went out on the attack, including Jan Barta (CZE) of Team NetApp, Bradley White (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, Jose Fernando Antogna (ARG) of Jamis-Sutter Home and Michael Friedman (USA) of Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth. With 1 kilometer away from the first KOM of the day, and the last of the race, the breakaway had a three minute and 40 second lead over the group. Barta took the final KOM points, and Antogna took the first intermediate sprint points.
Along with Team RadioShack, who continued to set tempo for the peloton, HTC-Highroad, Liquigas-Cannondale and Saxo Bank Sungard all contributed riders to the front as the group rolled towards the suburban streets of Thousand Oaks. With five laps to go, the break crossed the finish line for the first time with a lead of two minutes and 35 seconds in front of the peloton. Leopard Trek and Rabobank Cycling Team sent riders on the attack, trailing the break by 39 seconds.
With Liquigas-Cannondale pacing the peloton, Martin Mortensen (DEN) of Leopard Trek and Maarten Tjallingii (NED) of Rabobank Cycling Team joined Barta in the breakaway, as White, Fernando and Friedman dropped. With 13.5 kilometers to go, the group held on to a 25-second lead, but was eventually caught with five kilometers to go. HTC-Highroad, Sky Procycling and Saxo Bank Sungard raced to the front and were soon joined by Liquigas-Cannondale and Rabobank. With the sprinters strung out across the front, it was Matthew Goss (AUS) of HTC-Highroad who accelerated to cross the finish line first. Barta earned the Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey for his passionate riding throughout the stage.
"We took another step forward this year," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. "We have been working hard to create what we think is a great race; we have aspirations to make the Amgen Tour of California one of the greatest cycling races in the world. American cycling fans deserve it, riders deserve it and America deserves it. We want it to be known that not every great cycling race exists in Western Europe."
And while everyone celebrated the race finale today, organizers announced they had already been looking ahead.
"The future starts 51 weeks from now in Santa Rosa," continued Messick, "where we will start the 2012 race. Santa Rosa has been an exceptional home to the race and we look forward to bringing it back there next year."
Additionally, today, Thousand Oaks cancer survivor Reine Wiley was honored and celebrated today at the final Breakaway Mile, a special one-mile walk that crosses the finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. Wiley's diagnosis was revealed shortly before the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. She has demonstrated a strong will to fight and commitment to continue to cycle, even while she's undergoing treatment.
During the Breakaway Mile, Wiley was joined by approximately 150 community members – cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and advocates – and Joe Miletich, Amgen's senior vice president of Research & Development, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.
"The 17,000 staff members at Amgen come to work every day motivated by the chance to make a dramatic difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer and other life threatening illnesses," said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. "As a company dedicated to tapping the power of pioneering science to fight serious illness, Amgen is passionate about helping people who are battling cancer, and Breakaway from Cancer is one of the ways that Amgen is fighting cancer. Amgen is proud to sponsor the Amgen Tour of California and the opportunity to help increase awareness of the important resources available to people affected by cancer."
STAGE 8 QUOTES
Chris Horner (USA), Amgen Race Leader Jersey Winner On winning the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"It feels fantastic to be the winner of the Amgen Tour of California. I have raced in the Amgen Tour of California since its inception and I helped Levi (Leipheimer) win it many times. As soon as they added the summit finishes, I made it my one of my personal goals to finish high in the race. Team RadioShack came in with a great squad this year. We had some great help. The crowds throughout the race have just been amazing."
On riding in Southern California
"It was very, very nostalgic riding through these roads. The whole So. Cal. area has been my stomping ground. I had a huge grin from ear to ear the whole time out there today."
Levi Leipheimer (USA), Second Place Overall On the race overall
"The Amgen Tour of California is unprecedented in its growth and popularity. More people were at the start today than attended the entire Vuelta a Espana. The race keeps getting bigger and better, and I think yesterday's stage proved that. It was as big and epic as the other Grand Tours, similar to what you would see at the Tour de France or the Giro (d'Italia). Having stages like Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy will continue to improve the Amgen Tour of California and I am proud to be able to say that I am the first winner of the Mt. Baldy climb."
On taking the race to the next level
"It is pretty big right now. I put my full trust in Medalist and AEG. The race kicked off in its first year as one of the biggest races and it gets bigger and better every year."
Tom Danielson (USA), Third Place Overall On taking third place overall in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"It was an honor standing on the podium with Chris (Horner) and Levi (Leipheimer) today. I have learned a lot from both of these guys and I wouldn't be the cyclist that I am today without these guys. It was great to be able to celebrate with them."
On the weather
"I just want to clarify that the weather we had throughout the Amgen Tour of California is not bad weather. The weather that we race in in Europe on a good day is similar to the bad weather that we had here, so it's all relative."
Matthew Goss, First Place, Stage 8 On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"I didn't look at the average speed. It was a fast and furious stage. The shorter stages tend to be faster and the guys I was riding with today were perfect. It was important to do well because this is a home race for the team and it caps of a highly successful week. We couldn't ask for anything better than to finish with a stage win and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey."
Andrew Messick, President of AEG SportsOn the race overall
"We took another step forward this year. We have been working hard to create what we think is a great race; we have aspirations to make the Amgen Tour of California one of the greatest cycling races in the world. American cycling fans deserve it, the riders deserve it and America deserves it. We want it to be known that not every great cycling race exists in Western Europe."
On the 2011 route
"We worked hard and took some chances this year. The finishes on Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy worked out well, and the International Women's Time Trial worked out well; Tahoe, not so much. We are not playing it safe. We are trying to continue to provide to some of the best athletes in the world and we are getting better."
On the weather
"We were unlucky with weather last Sunday (what was to be the official start of the race), but the rest of the week was fantastic. In reality, one day of bad weather in a stage race isn't that untypical. We like our position on the calendar. We all warmed up."
On the 2012 Amgen Tour of California
"The future starts 51 weeks from now in Santa Rosa, where we will start the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. It has been an exceptional home to the race and we look forward to bringing it back there next year."
Jim Birrell, Race Director, Amgen Tour of CaliforniaOn the race overall
"It has been a great eight days. We saw things and did things that we have never done before. Our focus throughout the course of the race was always rider safety."
On cancelling Stage 1 of the race
"We were faced with a challenge and were forced to make a decision that none of us were happy to make."
On the 2011 route
"Having the opportunity to take the race to two summit finishes was amazing. We created a little village and saw some unbelievable dynamics on the top of Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy. The fans up there were unbelievable. Yesterday was such an epic course. It resonated so deep and well with the type of athletes we have. It unveiled some unbelievable strength. It was incredible. Today's finish is one of the biggest in our history."
Jan Barta (CZE), Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Jersey Winner On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"The beginning of this stage was quite fast. A lot of riders wanted to be in the first group; I had the chance, so I took it. We were with five riders and we were afraid of the peloton coming up from behind. There were two riders from Rabobank and Leopard Trek that joined the break, so that was kind of lucky. With those two guys in the break, I thought we might have a chance of holding off the peloton. The pace we kept was very fast and it made for a difficult day of racing."
Peter Sagan (SVK), Herbalife Sprint Jersey Winner On the race overall
"I am very happy to have been able to participate in this race and the team is very satisfied.
On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"The circuit today was dangerous because everyone wanted to be up front and the pace set by HTC-Highroad and Sky Procyling was very fast. I had to re-launch my sprint and just ran out of room towards the end."
Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains Jersey Winner On the race overall
Team Spidertech Powered by C10
"The Amgen Tour of California is such a great race. There were so many fans. To get the climbers jersey is a big deal for me and for the team. I am really happy to do this for them."
Bob Stapleton Team Owner On the race overall
"This event continues to grow into one of the top international sporting events. Amgen Tour of California race organizers provided a great stage for great American athletes to really showcase their talent. They also showcased the tremendous beauty of the state."
On professional cycling
"The sport has a strong association with leading a healthy lifestyle and well-being. That's why you have a growing group of young athletes. This is the only sport that is open and free to everyone. Our focus is delivering that to the public in the best way we can."
Jonathan Vaughters, General Manager On Americans in professional cycling
"The reason there are so many good American riders around the world is because the American developmental teams have a pretty good rivalry. In the past, sometimes American teams were good in the Tour de France, but we have mostly just had one Pro Tour team. Now we have a multitude of riders. We have more Pro Tour teams than any other country in the world."
On Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
"Yesterday's race was a humdinger and well done. Kudos and hat's off."
About the Amgen Tour of CaliforniaThe largest cycling event in America, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race, presented by AEG, that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course through the state from May 15-22. For more information about the Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
About AmgenAmgen discovers, develops, manufactures, 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, 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, bone disease, and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our 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, 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.
|Michael Roth||Erin Barrier|