Michael Rogers Wins 2010 Tour of California
Team Garmin-Transitions' Ryder Hesjedal wins a very exciting and animated stage 8.
After eight challenging and epic days of cycling that covered more than 800 miles of scenic California roads, and a thrilling fight to the finish at the conclusion of today's final stage, Michael Rogers (USA) of HTC-Columbia was crowned champion of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.
With a week-long total time of 33 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds, Rogers took the highly coveted title of race champion in front of enormous cheering crowds in Thousand Oaks, home to title sponsor Amgen, besting his third place finish in the 2009 race. In an eight-day battle against the best field ever assembled to compete in the United States, which included Tour de France winners, Olympic medalists and World Champions, Ryder Hesjedal of Team Garmin-Transitions claimed the Stage 8 win.
"For our team the only race that's more important than the Amgen Tour of California is the Tour de France," a proud Michael Rogers said after the finish of this year's Tour of California. "This is a huge result for us. We can really walk away from the Amgen Tour of California with smiles on our faces."
"It was a really tough race," Rogers continued and added "I knew the last stage of this race wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but I didn't realize it would be that tough. It was obvious early on that Garmin and Radio Shack were going to attack on the fourth lap so we were ready for it. They really stuck it to us and I'm really happy that we could hold on. It was a really tough course.
David Zabriskie (USA) of Team Garmin-Transitions finished in second place overall for the second consecutive year at 9 seconds behind Rogers, and three-time champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack finished third at 25 seconds behind.
"The Amgen Tour of California finished on a spectacular high today," Leipheimer said. "The stage was phenomenal, the crowds were Tour de France-esque and you could really feel the excitement. I don't think we could ask for anything more for the last day of the Amgen Tour of California. In my opinion the Amgen Tour of California has grown exponentially quicker and bigger than any race in the history of cycling."
The final stage of the 2010 edition of America's largest cycling race consisted of four 21-mile circuits that took the riders through the communities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, and included one challenging King of the Mountains (KOM) climb at about six miles in - Mulholland Hwy, or better known by local cyclists as the "Rock Store Climb" (Cat. 3/4 - 1,824 ft.).
Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California, Mulholland Highway featured steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, which made it the perfect place for spectators, and they turned out in droves. A challenging finish to a difficult race, Stage 8 tested the cyclists until the final stretch to the finish line.
Beginning with a neutral start and a break that was soon caught, the peloton approached the first pass