Race is Wide Open Heading into Tomorrow’s Mountainous Queen Stage to Mt. Baldy and Sunday’s L.A. LIVE to Rose Bowl Stadium Conclusion, with Top Contenders Separated by Seconds
U.S. Women Dominate Invitational Time Trial with Two-Time National Champion Evelyn Stevens Taking Top Prize
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 15, 2015) – Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan, the winningest cyclist of the Amgen Tour of California, seized the overall race lead along with the Individual Time Trial at the 10th annual race.
Due to snow at Big Bear Lake on the original time trial course, the Amgen Tour of California Time Trial, presented by Lexus, moved to Santa Clarita and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The blistering fast and flat 6.6-mile course saw a lot of action today, hosting both the Men’s and Women’s Time Trial events.
In the men’s event, the fairly short course with virtually no elevation made the winner difficult to predict – would it be a specialist rider, or someone looking to take over the general classification with the valuable time bonus for placing first today?
The 2010 Dutch Time Trial Champion Jos Van Emden (Team JumboNL-Lotto) laid down a phenomenal time of 12:46 early in the day, which kept him in first place for nearly two hours. Not until (second to last rider) Sagan’s determined ride was Van Emden unseated by 15 seconds, though several other riders came very close: 22-year-old SRAM Best Young Rider Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team placed third (+19); BMC Racing Team’s Joseph Rosskopf (USA) came in fourth (+:20) and Sagan’s teammate Daniele Bennati (ITA) finished fifth (+:22). Other favorites for the day, two-time U.S. National Time Trial Champion Tom Zirbel of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and Team Sky’s Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (COL), finished sixth and seventh respectively (+:26).
“Today, my biggest objective was to take the leader jersey,” said Sagan, who increased his career Amgen Tour of California stage wins to 13 today. “I wanted to do my best for today, and I am very happy for the victory and also for the yellow jersey.”
Today’s time trial result set up a tight leader board for both the overall win and the jersey competitions. Sagan has won the Sprint points competition for five years running and will be battling Sunday to earn the lead back from Mark Cavendish (GBR) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team.
In the general classification, the top-9 cyclists are separated by less than one minute. Sagan’s performance today puts him in the overall lead by 28 seconds. However, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to defend the yellow jersey on tomorrow’s mountainous stage as many are waiting in the wings to strike, including former race champion Robert Gesink (NED) of TeamLottoNL-Jumbo, who remains in the general classification top-10 by placing ninth today. Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team’s 23-year old rider who has led the field since Tuesday, slipped to second place overall (+:28) after today’s time trial. Alaphilippe is nearby in third (+:45).
“Tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes… In the end, it will come down to those last 7k,” said Skujins of his chances of taking back the Amgen Race Leader Jersey tomorrow. “Right now I’m feeling good, but tomorrow’s another day... I’m looking forward to tomorrow and trying to move up in the GC that one spot.”
WOMEN’S INVITATIONAL TIME TRAIL LED THE DAY OFF
Prior to the men’s Individual Time Trial, 22 of the best women time trialists in the world rode one-by-one from the Six Flags Magic Mountain parking lot and back at the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Invitational Time Trial empowered with SRAM. The race was ranked 1.1 by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the highest race classification behind a World Cup.
The strongest assembly of women cyclists in race history, the roster of the fifth annual women’s Invitational Time Trial included past race winners and World, National and Olympic Champions. The podium took shape late in the race with 2013 Amgen Tour of California Champion and two-time National Time Trial Champion (2010, 2011) Evelyn Stevens, also part of the reigning Team Time Trial World Champion team, second to last to leave the starting gate. Racing for Boels Dolmans, she blazed to a time of 14:12, dispatching Team TIBCO-SVB’s Lauren Stephens, who ended up second by four seconds.
“Today was incredible. I live in California, so to race in my home state is really special… And just to go bombing through the gate to Six Flags [Magic Mountain] was really fun,” said Stevens. “It’s really special to be out here and to race on the same day as the men with all these amazing fans… It’s just a sign that women’s cycling is continuing to grow.”
American riders took the top-5 slots today. Two-time Amgen Tour of California Time Trial winner and Olympic Champion Kristin Armstrong’s ride earned her third place (+:7). Amber Neben, who has held multiple national and world titles in road racing and time trial, finished in fourth for Visit Dallas p/b Noise 4 Good (+:8) with Velocio-SRAM’s Tayler Wiles, who placed third in last year's Amgen Tour of California Invitational Time Trial, taking fifth (+:9). Velocio-SRAM’s Lisa Brennauer (GER), reigning Individual and Team Time Trial World Champion, ended the day in eighth place (+:21).
STAGE 6 PODIUM – WOMEN
1. Evelyn Stevens (14:12)
2. Lauren Stephens (+:4)
3. Kristin Armstrong (+:7)
STAGE 6 PODIUM – MEN
1. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
2. Jos Van Emden (NED), Team JumboNL-Lotto
3. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
STAGE 6 JERSEY WINNERS
Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
Visit California Sprint Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Danilo Wyss (SUI), BMC Racing Team
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Celebrating its 10th year, the Amgen Tour of California is the most esteemed stage race in the U.S. Amgen has been the title sponsor of the race since its first year.
In honor of cancer survivors everywhere, Amgen recognized local cancer survivors Rick Bates and Tina Follett as part of the Breakaway from Cancer® activities during Stage 6 at Big Bear Lake. Follett participated in the official start activities and Bates awarded the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey to Wyss. This jersey is awarded each day to the cyclist that best exemplifies the character of those engaged in the fight against cancer – courage, sacrifice, inspiration, determination and perseverance.
Breakaway from Cancer was founded by Amgen in 2005 in conjunction with its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California. The national program raises awareness of important resources available to people impacted by cancer – from prevention to survivorship.
To learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 7 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY LEXUS:
Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy (80 miles)
Start Time: 11:45 a.m. PDT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:25 p.m. PDT
Fans can cheer on the world-class cyclists as they travel across the state or catch the action with the free Amgen Tour of California app for tablets and mobile devices. More information on ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
For further information about the Amgen Tour of California and to experience the race like never before with VIP Access, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
About the Amgen Tour of California
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. Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
This year, the men’s course will traverse more than 700 miles and wind through 12 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena. The women’s three-day stage race traveled more than 150 miles through South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, followed by the 6.6-mile Invitational Time Trial in Santa Clarita.
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 one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
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, StubHub Center, Sprint Center, The O2, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and Best Buy Theater Times Square; sports franchises including the LA Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers; 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.
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Michael Roth, AEG
Eileen Tanner, Golin
Diana Valdez, Golin