Peter Sagan Takes Sprint Competition Lead; Bradley Wiggins Will Wear Yellow Again Tomorrow
Cyclists Will Ride Stage 6 Tomorrow from Santa Clarita to Second Summit Finish at Mountain High
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In what was another surprise ending for some of the world's strongest sprinters, BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) whizzed to a solo victory 12 seconds ahead of the peloton to capture his first Amgen Tour of California stage win in today's 107.4-mile ride from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara.
Phinney, one of the biggest cyclists in this year's Amgen Tour of California, at 6 feet 5 inches tall and 185 pounds, used his weight on the descent off San Marcos Pass, about 15 miles from the finish. Utilizing his time trial skills, Phinney, held off the pack into Santa Barbara.
"If you're heavy and have speed, you can go faster than everybody else," said Phinney. "I was able to tuck and pull away and accelerate up to speed and then tuck and keep pulling away."
Riding for Cannondale Pro Cycling, Peter Sagan's (SVK) second-place finish was enough to put him in the Visit California Sprint Leader Jersey for the first time this week. Sagan has won the Points competition at the Amgen Tour of California for four years running, and at the Tour de France for two years running.
Sagan, who also holds the record for Amgen Tour of California stage wins (10), was gunning for the stage win today, with his teammates doing the heavy lifting and setting the tempo at the front of the peloton for much of the stage. Cannondale was joined by ORICA-GreenEDGE to chase Phinney when he leapt out of the pack with about 15 miles to ride, as they vied to launch their lead sprinter Matthew Goss (AUS) to the finish. Approaching the line together with the main group, Goss went head to head with Sagan in the final meters to finish the day's stage in third place.
Stage 5 of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California, presented by Breakaway from Cancer®, began in a uniquely California fashion - on the pier, a first for the race, in first-time host city Pismo Beach. The peloton may have felt déjà vu as a breakaway of six took the lead around mile 10, as happened yesterday. However, the peloton was determined to keep the gap to well under three minutes today and the riders within reach. Spurred to quicker speeds when Trek Factory Racing's Jens Voigt (GER) launched an uphill attack on San Marcos Pass, the peloton easily reeled back all six during the 5.3-mile ascent.
Once at the top of the categorized climb, which has a 5.1 average grade, Phinney spotted an opportunity and launched a solo attack during the fast descent into Santa Barbara. Phinney's unique style of riding downhill on his crossbar, along with his heavy frame relative to most of the cyclists, saw him pulling away further and further from the main group as he rocketed toward Santa Barbara at speeds approaching 60 mph. His lead grew to 40 seconds with four miles left to ride, and there was nothing the peloton could do to catch him before the oceanfront finish.
Known as one of the world's top time trialists, this is Phinney's seventh career stage win, though only the second in a road race (2013 Tour de Poland . Phinney's impressive victory also earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey today.
"Sometimes you just have a voice inside you that says go," said Phinney. "It just got more and more painful as I went on but I knew that if I made it, it would be worth it, and it definitely, definitely was. It's the best way to win, to win like that."
Will Routley (CAN) of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies spent his first road race day in the peloton rather than the breakaway, but sprung ahead on San Marcos Pass to once again claim the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey.
Today's result left the leader board unaltered with Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins (GBR) retaining the Amgen Race Leader Jersey for the fourth day, trailed by Team Garmin-Sharp's Rohan Dennis (AUS) with +:28 and Team NetApp-Endura's Tiago Machado (POR) with +1:09. Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas) of Team Giant-Shimano remains in the Crunchies Best Young Rider jersey and fourth place overall.
As part of Amgen's effort to honor and celebrate cancer survivors and to raise awareness about its Breakaway from Cancer® initiative, the Santa Barbara finish featured a Breakaway Mile, a special walk along the race course that crosses the race finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide.
Santa Barbara cancer survivor Jack Bianchi was recognized as the local Breakaway from Cancer Champion. He has been in remission 22 years and, in that time, has helped raise more than $1.5 million for cancer programs in the Santa Barbara area. Jack dedicates his time to organizing events to raise money for the Santa Barbara Cancer Center and other cancer organizations.
Bianchi was joined by approximately 150 community members impacted by cancer and cancer survivor Mike Moxness, scientific director at Amgen, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.
Today's Breakaway from Cancer activities also featured Pismo Beach resident Sharon Rude who fired the official start gun to begin the stage, and Bianchi awarded the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey to BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney.
For access to resources or to learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
From iconic ocean vistas to mountaintop finishes to desert scapes, the cyclists will cover more than 720 miles of beautiful and varying California terrain this week as they ride from the north to the south of the state in the ninth annual Tour de France-style competition.
Friday, May 16 - Santa Clarita to Mountain High (94.4 mi)
Start Time: 11:35 a.m. PDT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:45 p.m. PDT
Satellite Feed Time: 4:50 - 5 p.m. PT
Coordinates can be found at http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/uploads/images/news/2014-stage6-tipsheet.pdf
Stage 6 will start in the Newhall section of Santa Clarita. For those racers who came screaming down Bouquet Canyon to finish Stage 3 in 2013, they will know that they have a long and steep climb up Bouquet Canyon. A left turn onto Spunky Canyon will see the route pass through the small town of Green Valley. The race will continue through the familiar past host city of Palmdale and onto the route used in 2010 to reach Big Bear. The climb of Big Pine Road was the first of many on the 2010 route. It will be the final climb of Stage 6. As the riders reach the top of the climb and have Mountain High ski resort in their sights, the leaders will find that the route makes a 180 degree turn up Table Mountain Road and another steep 1.2-mile climb to the remote finish at Mountain High North. This will be the second true mountaintop finish of 2014.
There are plenty of ways to take in the pro action, whether in person on the race course through May 18, via daily broadcasts on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports (final Sunday), or by downloading the free Tour Tracker app, which features live race updates, rider background and full race results. More information on all of the ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
The 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 traverses 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. More information is available at 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. For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.
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Michael Roth, AEG
Eileen Tanner, GolinHarris
Diana Valdez, GolinHarris