Peter Sagan Sprints to Victory in Stage 5 of 2010 Tour of California
Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers takes overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions) and Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack).
included Paul Mach (USA) of Team BISSELL, Ben Day (AUS) of Fly V Australia, Grischa Nierman (GER) of Rabobank, Mark Renshaw (AUS) of HTC-Columbia, Kurt Hovelynch (BEL) of QuickStep and Will Dicksen (AUS) of Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda.
Continuing on to Bakersfield, the route headed into the Kern River oil field, the fifth largest in the United States, where the riders encountered several short, steep climbs. The route then took the riders further inland to tackle the narrow and twisty Old Stage Rd. climb (Cat. 3 - 3,345 ft.), which was taken by Mach, followed by Nierman and Hovelynch. The breakaway powered on, but an elite chase group led by Team RadioShack was following at about four minutes behind.
As the riders continued on the way to the final climb of the day, Round Mountain Rd. (Cat. 4 - 1,421 ft.), which was just 21 miles from the finish line in Bakersfield, different teams took turns leading the chase group. From the apex of the final climb, the cyclists will be able to look down onto the finish at Bakersfield College. On the ascent, Day took the opportunity to launch an attack and pulled out ahead of the breakaway, followed closely by Renshaw, but they were caught by the remainder of the breakaway on the descent.
The final obstacle of the day was a 10 percent climb up China Grade, which was part of two finishing circuits in Bakersfield. With one lap to go Day pulled away from the group and the rest were caught by the chase, but at the base of the grade on the final circuit, he too was absorbed by the group. In an all out sprint to the finish, Liquigas-Doimo pushed Sagan to the front for the win, followed by Rogers in second and David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Transitions, who started the day as the race's overall leader, in third.
"It was a pretty tough day today with the hard climb, the strong wind and the breakaway that got away. With two laps to go, it was Liquigas-Doimo and Garmin-Transitions who did the work to bring it back," Sagan stated after the stage win and added "Dave Zabriskie took off early in the sprint and with a couple meters to go. It was the right moment and I found a gap."
There were several changes in the jerseys today, with Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey going to Day, the Herbalife Sprint Jersey going to Sagan, and the Amgen Race Leader Jersey changing hands from Zabriskie to Rogers. The other jersey winners remain unchanged with Sagan in the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey and Ryan Anderson (CAN) of Kelly Benefit Strategies in the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey.
"It came down to bonus seconds," Tour of California leader Michael Rogers told Roadcycling.com after the stage. "We still have a lot of racing to go with the mountain stage tomorrow and the Time trial on Sunday but every second counts. I'm expecting teams to throw everything at us tomorrow and