Hall (W) and Pogacar (M) Conquer Mt. Baldy
May 17, 2019
Race Winners Will Be Decided Tomorrow at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
BALDY, Calif. (May 17, 2019) – A determined ride by UAE Team Emirates’ 20-year-old Tadej Pogacar’s (SLO) today could make him the youngest ever Amgen Tour of California champion when the race concludes in Pasadena tomorrow. First-timers to this race, Pogacar and 21-year-old Sergio Higuita battled to the steep summit finish atop Southern California’s Mt. Baldy, with the EF Education First Pro Cycling Columbian rider slipping into second place for the stage after a wide turn to the finish gave the younger rider clearance to the line.
“It was for sure a team effort. Once again, my team did a really good job protecting me all day and leading me out to the final climb and supporting me all the ways that they could. I just did my best the last 5 or 6km, and I was climbing really well today,” said Pogacar.
The penultimate race day began with just 36 seconds separating the top-10 riders on the overall race leader board, which shattered on the steep ascent up Mt. Baldy.
Pogacar, who began the day in fourth place 16 seconds off the race lead and in the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider jersey he has worn for four consecutive days, now holds the overall race lead +:16” ahead of Higuita. Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Kasper Asgreen (DEN) and Team Jumbo-Visma’s 2017 race champion George Bennett (NZL) kept the lead group within their sights up the final mountainous stretch to keep their overall contention hopes alive, ending the day in third (+:20”) and fourth (+:29”) overall respectively. Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.) of EF Education First Pro Cycling, who has held the overall race lead since day two, lost time on the final uphill section, falling to ninth place in the overall (+1:22”).
The Queen Stage from Ontario to Mt. Baldy, presented by Visit California, was the shortest but toughest of the week with 12,000 feet of climbing – more than half of that in the last 27 miles. Through the village of Mt. Baldy itself, through Icehouse Canyon, and up the ten switchbacks, the brutal ascent averages 9.4% with a max incline of almost 16%. In fact, the last half mile alone averages 12.8%.
Two thirds of the way into the stage, today’s breakaway held a three-minute advantage before things turned upward near the Glendora Sprint, and contained Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team’s Mikkel Bjerg (DEN), who was awarded today’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
BORA-hansgrohe’s 25-year-old German rider Max Schachmann, who began the day in fifth place and within reach of the overall win, attacked the peloton with less than eight miles left to ride and quickly caught then passed the lead group, the day’s first threat to the leader board. He nurtured his lead to 45 seconds, becoming the virtual race leader, as Trek-Segafredo and EF Education First worked together to close the gap in defense of their GC riders.
Pogacar and Asgreen rode near the front as the peloton gave chase. Van Garderen dropped off the back of the peloton with about 2.5 miles left to ride as it drove up the pace and bore down on Schachmann, a Giro d’Italia stage winner in 2018. Bennett and Pogacar were at the front of the chase group who caught him with two miles to ride.
Higuita soon attacked with Pogacar and Bennett responding, and Trek-Segafredo’s Richie Porte (AUS) following the trio, then leaped out to a solo lead with 1.7 miles left before Pogacar caught up to him in the final half-mile and sailed past on the final corner to victory.
“I think for sure my form is better now than what it was when we started. We’ve done some big days and I feel that I’ve gotten better but today is a really hard day… there’s no easy day in these races but today is a proper climb,” said Porte earlier today.
“We have a plan, we had a good team meeting, and the most important thing is there’s going to be pink on the top step of the podium tomorrow,” said van Garderen before the stage. “We expect an aggressive race out there but the fact that we have such a strong, deep team, I think that’s obvious to our advantage.”
AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S RACE EMPOWERED WITH SRAM
The Boels Dolmans Cycling Team staked their claim of Mt. Baldy at the midpoint of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM, with the powerhouse duo of Katie Hall (Oakland, Calif.) and Anna van der Breggen (NED) coming over the summit finish together. Hall, the reigning race champion, picked up her first stage win this year, with van der Breggen putting more time into her overall race lead established yesterday when she rode solo to a Stage 1 win. The World Champion will ride into tomorrow’s race conclusion in Pasadena +29” ahead of Hall, who moved up to second place in the overall, and +1:06” up on CCC-Liv’s Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) in third.
Hall’s epic climb catapulted her to the top of the QOM competition, which she has won twice before in this race, with Astana’s Blanca Liliana Moreno Canchon (COL), and van der Breggen still leading the Sprint competition by a large margin.
The Boels Dolmans duo took the lead on the steepest part of the climb up the mountain and was followed by Moolman-Pasio (RSA) in third for the stage. Before Boels Dolmans attacked, WNT ROTOR Pro Cycling Team’s Kathrin Hammes (GER) and CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Omer Shapira (ISR), who earned the Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Most Courageous Rider Jersey for time spent in a solo lead up the steep gradient, were out front as the last standing from the three-woman breakaway, with Team Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.) having fallen back to the chase group. Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team’s Olga Zabelinskaya (UZB) then made an appearance in the lead group along with Moolman-Pasio.
Before the climbing began, speeds were high (nearly 30mph), as the peloton pushed off for Stage 2 presented by Visit California from Ontario and Valcar Cylance Cycling kept up the pace trying to thin out the lead group. Their rider Elisa Balsamo (ITA) placed second for yesterday’s stage and went into today leading the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider competition, however, Team Sunweb’s Juliette Labous (FRA) overtook that lead today.
LOOKING AHEAD – RACE CONCLUSION
Tomorrow’s Amgen Tour of California will see the women’s and men’s teams ride from veteran Host City Santa Clarita to Pasadena’s famed Rose Bowl, where the winners will be decided.
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, 14,605,083 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.
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.
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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Michael Roth, AEG
Josh Levitt, Canvas Blue