Nocentini Wins Stage 7 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California
Levi Leipheimer retains overall race lead heading into tomorrow's final stage.
Pieter Weening (NED) of Team Rabobank, Addy Engels (NED) of Team Quick Step, Martin Elmiger (SUI) of Team AG2R-La Mondiale, Markus Zberg (SUI) of Team BMC, Christian Vande Velde (USA) of Team Garmin-Slipstream, Schleck, Roulston, Hincapie and Nocentini.
After a series of attacks on the final two laps, Weening, Nocentini and Roulston opened up a gap that proved to be the winning move. The trio dueled to the finish with Nocentini beating out Roulston on the line. Leipheimer retained his overall lead with 36 seconds over David Zabriskie (USA) of Team Garmin-Slipstream heading in the final stage of the race tomorrow.
“This was a hard stage in the beginning,” Leipheimer said after the stage. “There were a lot of attacks with riders dangerous for the overall general classification. It took a while before there was a breakaway with which we could agree.”
“Today was the same stage as last year so we knew the stage, but luckily it wasn’t the same weather. It was freezing cold last year, but this year it was beautiful, so we knew it was going to be aggressive. We just wanted to keep someone in the breakaway since we knew it was going to snap at one point,” Christian Vande Velde told Roadcycling.com after the stage.
“It was a super hard race; it took almost 40 miles until the breakaway was established. It wasn’t fun getting into it, but once we got away, it was good. Then, when we came into the circuits, it was warm and the fans were unbelievable,” Vande Velde commented.
Vande Velde added that “Astana is a strong team, and they are doing good at controlling the race, but you saw a lot of aggressive racing today. Everyone is getting tired, but that’s what’s so great about cycling, nobody is just going to roll over and let them have it. It’s going to be a great race.” Remember to check out Roadcycling.com's recent interview with Christian Vande Velde .
Stage 8 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will feature a KOM competition up Mount Palomar, the highest point ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California. Floyd Landis (USA) of Team Ouch Presented by Maxxis trains on the mountain and provided a glimpse into what the riders can expect tomorrow.
“The climb is pretty consistent and it goes from a five or six percent grade to an eight percent grade,” said Landis. “It’s as hard of a climb as you’ll find anywhere, especially at this stage in the race. After a week-long stage race, a lot of guys are tired, so the peloton will probably split up easier.”
Commenting on the state of his hip Landis told Roadcycling.com that “After my surgery, my hip is a lot less affected by temperature. Sometimes the pain would change with the pressure or the weather, but that’s gone now. I’m quite pleased that I can race now without having to think about that.”
Francisco Mancebo (ESP) of Team Rock Racing who was previously the KOM leader crashed late in the stage and had to abandon