BMC Racing Team Seizes Victory Before Massive Crowds During Eighth and Final Day of Racing in America's Greatest Race
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (May 19, 2013) – After eight epic days of racing along nearly 750 miles of California's most iconic roadways, highways and coastlines, BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen (Boulder, Colo.) sealed his first major stage race win at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, which concluded today in Santa Rosa, Calif.
"It's a big relief. It's a weight off my shoulders. I got the monkey off my back and hopefully this gets the ball rolling, and I can start racking up a bit more [wins]," said van Garderen, of ending the race in the Amgen Race Leader Jersey he gained after Stage 5. With his five-week-old daughter Rylan there today to share his victory, he reflected: "Maybe becoming a daddy was the difference [in taking the overall win]...I think I'm just maybe a bit more relaxed, a bit more mature, and I just had to be patient."
Cannondale Pro Cycling's Peter Sagan outsprinted the field to win the race's final stage, a 80.7-mile jaunt that took cyclists from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge for the only the second time in race history, to the overall finish in the cycling mecca of Santa Rosa. The race's final stage aired live on NBC. It was Sagan's 10th career Amgen Tour of California stage win, the most of anyone who has ridden in America's Greatest Race. A sea of fans turned out for the BMC Racing Team's homecoming, which included overall team honors in this year's race. Team leader van Garderen was named the Best Young Rider in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California and placed fourth overall last year, but today marked his first career overall title with a final time of 29:43:00.
"I'm very happy for the win today and I thank all my teammates because we did work hard from the start and then when we [came to the] circuit, we were always in the front. And then Garmin was the last group, but my teammates helped me on the last turn. I was on the front, then I started doing my sprint the last 200 meters, and I won," said Sagan. "I dedicate this victory to my Cannondale friend, Alex Shephard [an 11-year-old fan fighting brain cancer]. It's great to win this stage because I get to dedicate this to him."
In the final five miles, where the racers completed two circuits in downtown Santa Rosa at speeds of up to 40 mph, teams jockeyed for position to lead out their sprinters for a dash to the finish line. After challenges from Team Garmin-Sharp, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies and ORICA GreenEDGE, Cannondale regained control with .7 miles left in the race.
Stage winners were equal parts sprinters and climbers this year, as racers had to contend with several game-changing climbs that totaled a race record of 60,000 feet. Second for the overall finish was 2010 Amgen Tour of California champion Michael Rogers (AUS) of Team Saxo-Tinkoff (1:47), followed by Team Jamis-Hagens Berman's Janier Alexis Acevedo(COL), whose determined climbs in Stages 2 and 7 earned him the precious seconds he needed for a podium finish (+3:26). Acevedo wore the yellow jersey for the first half of the race, and after getting caught out by a breakaway in Stage 5, he battled his way back to podium position yesterday to end the race just ahead of fourth- and fifth-place finishersMathias Frank (SUI) of BMC Racing Team (+3:32) and Cameron Meyer (AUS) of ORICA GreenEDGE (+3:33). Proving on home turf they are a force to be reckoned with, American cyclists took four of the top 10 finishes overall.
Earlier in today's stage, a three-man breakaway escaped from the peloton around mile four and held their advantage until 10 miles to the finish, when Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team's Thomas De Gendt (BEL), the third-place finisher in last year's Giro d'Italia, fell back into the pack. The remaining two riders, Bontrager Cycling Team's Antoine Duchesne(Petaluma, Calif.) and Santa Rosa-based BISSELL Pro Cycling's Jason McCartney(Coralville, Iowa) kept their lead until just before the finishing circuits. McCartney, the second of the three to rejoin the peloton, was awarded the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey for his ride out front today. McCartney is the only cyclist of the 127 who began this year's competition who has started and finished in all eight editions of theAmgen Tour of California.
"It's been fantastic," said McCartney of his time with the race over the years. "One year I was third….I got the climbers jersey one year…we won it with Levi [Leipheimer] one year, with [Chris] Horner another year, so I've just had great experiences here. It's a beautiful state. I love racing here."
McCartney's teammate on BISSELL Pro Cycling, Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo.), cinched theNissan King of the Mountain Jersey competition yesterday, having worn the polka-dotted jersey every day since the race began; and Bontrager Cycling Team's 21-year-old Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas) came away with the Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey, which he has worn since Stage 3.
"The future of American cycling has arrived. How fitting that in America's biggest stage race, we've seen America's next big cycling superstar emerge to claim his first major stage race victory. And, a great showing of top-10 finishes by Americans in a field of the top riders in the world," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. "The 2013 Amgen Tour of California was the most spellbinding yet, and it's thanks to our sponsors, partners, Host Cities, teams and riders – and most importantly the fans – that the race continues to grow in both size and prestige year after year."
The eighth annual Amgen Tour of California from May 12-19 ran south to north for the first time this year, covering nearly 750 miles of California's most scenic highways, roadways and coastlines. With one of the most difficult courses in race history, 127 riders on 16 teams (111 remained in the final day of racing) battled through 12 Host Cities and a record 60,000 feet of climbing, including an epic summit finish atop Mt. Diablo yesterday.
An important partner since the race's inception, Amgen returns this year as the race title sponsor.
Founded by Amgen in 2005 as a complementary component to its title sponsorship of theAmgen Tour of California, Breakaway from Cancer continues to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer – from prevention to survivorship.
"The 18,000 staff members at Amgen come to work every day motivated by the chance to dramatically improve people's lives," said Rolf Hoffmann, senior vice president of U.S. Commercial Operations at Amgen. "As a company dedicated to helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease and other serious illnesses, Amgen is proud to sponsor the Amgen Tour of California and have the opportunity to increase awareness of the important resources available to people affected by cancer through our Breakaway from Cancer initiative."
Following a successful week of honoring and celebrating cancer survivors as the race traveled through the state, today Mountain View resident and long-time Breakaway from Cancer supporter, cancer survivor Blaine Mauldin fired the official start gun to begin the stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. Marc Van Riper, 2012 Breakaway from CancerChampion, had the honor of awarding BISSELL Pro Cycling's Jason McCartney with the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey. And Hoffmann presented the overall race leader jersey to 2013 Amgen Tour of California winner Tejay van Garderenof BMC Racing Team.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The largest cycling event in America, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race, created and presented by AEG, that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that stretches across nearly 750 miles of scenic California roadways, highways and coastlines from May 12-19, 2013. For more information about the race, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
Amgen 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 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, 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 Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visitwww.amgen.com. Follow Amgen on www.twitter.com/amgen.
AEG 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 Best Buy Theater 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 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 atwww.aegworldwide.com.
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