Cortina and Van der Breggen Win Ventura Stages


May 16, 2019

Queen Stage from Ontario to Top of Mt. Baldy Looms for Both Pelotons Tomorrow


VENTURA, Calif. (May 16, 2019) – Though intact, the leader board has grown tighter after day five of the Amgen Tour of California, with the crucial Queen Stage on tap tomorrow.

Stage 5 presented by Lexus from Pismo Beach to Ventura was the longest road day of the week at 136.4 miles. BORA-hansgrohe’s three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK) was determined to get into the breakaway today with multiple attempts, finally bridging to the early leaders with a small collection of others to form the day’s lead group of 12. However with no Sprint wins today, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Kasper Asgreen claimed enough bonus points to pull the green jersey from Sagan as well as move two seconds closer to the race leader Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.) of EF Education First Pro Cycling, who now leads by just four seconds with two racing days left.

BAHRAIN-MERIDA did some heavy lifting throughout the stage to chase down the breakaway and put their sprinter Ivan Garcia Cortina (ESP) into the mix for the final bunch sprint where he seized his first pro victory, fending off some of the race’s Sprint favorites and overtaking Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), who came in second for the stage.

On the fast approach to Ventura, EF Education First Pro Cycling’s Sergio Higuita (COL) attacked at the top of the final climb with Jumbo-Visma’s 2017 race champion George Bennett (NZL) on his wheel. The two sped together over the final two miles before being caught by a large chase group containing Higuita’s teammate and race leader van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.). Higuita remained in hot pursuit to the finish, picking up third place and valuable sprint bonus points; with Bennett claiming points at an intermediate Sprint, both rose in the overall standings to 6 and 8 respectively.

The infamous climb up Mt. Baldy looms tomorrow, with just 36 seconds separating the top 10 overall race leaders.

“We just gotta try to get into the base of Baldy with our top guys with as fresh of legs as possible, which means it’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting from guys like Lawson [Craddock], Alex [Howes] and Lachlan [Morton] – but those guys have been stellar all week, and they rode like champions today,” said van Garderen.

Today’s hilly stage caused the polka dot jersey to switch hands to Astana Pro Team’s Davide Ballerini (ITA), while the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey remains for the fourth consecutive day with UAE Team Emirates Tadej Pogacar (SLO).

 

AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S RACE EMPOWERED WITH SRAM

The Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM began today with the punchy and windy 60-mile course beginning and ending in Ventura.

The wind and challenging hills saw the peloton shatter and reform many times over, including on the final climb to the finish. As the teams were organizing to launch their sprinters to the line, World Champion Anna van der Breggen (NED) of the Boels Dolmans Cycling Team attacked and ran away to a solo victory despite a wicked headwind. Van der Breggen is a returning race champion, having won the event in 2017.

“There was a beautiful climb 5k’s from the finish so it was a good moment to go and try to see if I could go solo to the finish line,” said van der Breggen. “It was up to us on that final climb to try something…I’m really happy for the team and for myself to take the stage win and to have a good start on this stage race.”

Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team’s Olga Zabelinskaya (UZB), the former Russian National Time Trial Champion and three-time Olympic medalist, attacked at Casitas Pass and grew her lead to a minute and a half, but was caught shortly before the finish where attacks then began flying. Valcar Cylance Cycling’s Elisa Balsamo (ITA) came in second (+18”), with Astana’s Arlenis Sierra (CUB) in third (+18”) for the day.

Earlier on the stage, presented by Lexus, Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling’s Lindsay Goldman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) made a solo break that held for nearly an hour, earning her the Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Most Courageous Rider Jersey.

“It’s [the women’s race] grown every year…the challenges are huge and the field is amazing,” said Amgen Tour of California Race Ambassador Kristin Armstrong, a decorated former pro and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist. “The platform that the Amgen Tour of California provides for women’s racing across the world is very impactful. In fact today, the racers that are here at the race, you’re going to see them one year from now in the Tokyo Olympic Games. The qualification for the Olympics for all federations starts now at the [Amgen] Tour of California. And I’m telling you what, there’s a lot of races within the race happening out there this week…it’s fantastic, and it’s thrilling.”

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Tomorrow’s Amgen Tour of California will see the women’s and men’s teams contest the grueling climb from Ontario to the summit of Mt. Baldy, a critical stage for riders pursuing the overall win. Both races wrap up on Saturday at Pasadena’s famed Rose Bowl.

Fans can stay up to date on the race via daily live airings on NBC Sports Network with the May 18 conclusion live on NBC, and via the free Amgen Tour of California App, Voxwomen and daily recaps on the race’s youtube channel.

Amgen Tour of California fans can connect with the race through all of their favorite social media platforms and use #AmgenTOC to join the conversation.

Amgen, title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California for the 14th consecutive year, is a biotechnology company in the race to dramatically improve patients’ lives and the company leverages its sponsorship to raise awareness and connect with patients through its Breakaway initiatives.

On May 1, Amgen launched the Breakaway Challenge, a national social fitness movement to motivate individuals to take action in their health and to support the fight against heart disease and cancer. Amgen’s Breakaway Challenge joins together Breakaway from Cancer® and Breakaway from Heart Disease™ and urges participants to turn their walking, running or cycling miles into support for eight nonprofit advocacy organizations that are dedicated to cancer and heart disease research. 

Amgen has teamed up with Strava, a social fitness app that tracks cycling and running activities, to create the Breakaway Challenge. Strava will aggregate the total miles contributed to the Breakaway Challenge with the goal to collectively reach as many miles as possible with Amgen matching the first 400,000 miles with a $400,000 donation evenly distributed to the independent, nonprofit partners. Today, 13,662,684 miles toward the Breakaway Challenge have been logged. Join Amgen and make this the biggest Challenge ever. Learn more at www.AmgenBreakawayChallenge.com.

“Building and connecting with communities is at the core of Amgen’s Breakaway initiatives and we are incredibly pleased with the community forming as part of the Breakaway Challenge,” said Corrine Le Goff, Senior Vice President, General Manager, General Medicine, Amgen. “Amgen is more committed than ever to scientific innovation and to building a community of support for patients. It takes a team to win the Amgen Tour of California, it takes a team to make great strides in scientific innovation and it takes a community to educate, support and empower patients. Join our Breakaway Challenge community today.”

Created by Amgen in 2005, Breakaway from Cancer® is a national initiative to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer – from prevention to survivorship. And, the Breakaway from Heart Disease™ initiative encourages Americans to take charge of their risk of heart disease through diagnostic screenings as well as information and tools related to physical activity and healthy eating. Learn more at www.breakawayfromcancer.com and www.breakawayfromheartdisease.com.

Throughout the race, Amgen will honor and celebrate patients. Each day the race will be started by a cancer or heart disease survivor, and the Most Courageous jersey will be awarded by a survivor as well. Cyclists will also wear Breakaway “I Ride For” bibs recognizing someone in their life impacted by cancer or heart disease.

“Creating powerful connections in the communities is part of our mission to develop vital medicines and serve more patients who suffer from serious diseases. This is how we make a difference in the world; every patient, every time,” continued Le Goff. “Today’s healthcare options for treating serious illness are more promising than at any other time in our history. Now more than ever, patients living  with serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease can look to the future with greater hope. Our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California gives us a platform to discuss, educate and empower patients to have hope and believe in innovation to live a longer, healthier life.”

For more information, visit www.amgen.com.

About the Amgen Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California and the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM are Tour de France-style cycling road races created and presented by AEG. Running concurrently, the races challenge the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along demanding courses that traverse hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions, and award important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. For more information visit the Amgen Tour of California on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world's largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

About AEG

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 150 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including STAPLES Center, The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands, AXS.com ticketing platform, AXS cable television channel and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.

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Media Contacts:


Michael Roth, AEG
213-742-7155
mroth@aegworldwide.com

Josh Levitt, Canvas Blue
213-335-5671
JLevitt@canvasblue.com