Peter Sagan Strikes Again and Wins Stage 6 of 2010 Tour of California

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05/22/2010| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen

Peter Sagan Strikes Again and Wins Stage 6 of 2010 Tour of California

Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers maintains overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions). Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) moves down to 4th overall before Saturday's decisive Tour of California time trial.

Tour of California- Stage 6

Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers maintains overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions). Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) moves down to 4th overall before Saturday's decisive Tour of California time trial.

In a stage characterized by consistent climbing on the route from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, Peter Sagan (SVK) of Team Liquigas-Doimo once again emerged victorious. In the longest and most challenging day of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, clear blue skies and energetic crowds marked the day that included the race's first-ever mountain finish. Michael Rogers (AUS) of HTC-Columbia came in third place in the stage, securing the Amgen Leader Jersey heading into day seven and the individual time trial in downtown Los Angeles, which will begin at 1 p.m. local time on Saturday.

"When we're riding, I hear the crowds calling out ‘Mick Rogers' or ‘HTC-Columbia' and it is encouraging. We came here to race," race leader Rogers commented.

Palmdale City Hall served as the backdrop for Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, the most difficult stage in the five-year history of the race, a mountainous 135.3-mile leg from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake with more than 12,000 ft. of climbing. After a five-mile neutral section heading south on Sierra Rd., the route made a left turn onto Angeles Forest Highway. Facing the riders next was the imposing San Gabriel mountain range, and within a few miles, the first of seven King of the Mountains (KOM) competitions.

The first real break of the day occurred on the lead into the first KOM at Mill Creek Summit (Cat. 4 - 4,906 ft.), and included Jason McCartney (USA) of Team RadioShack, Carlos Barredo (ESP) of QuickStep, Matthew Wilson (USA) of Garmin-Transitions, George Hincapie (USA) of BMC Racing Team, Stef Clement (NED) of Rabobank, Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) of Team Saxo Bank, Andy Schleck (LUX) of Team Saxo Bank and Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1. Taking the KOM was Wilson, followed by Rabou and Schleck.

Behind the breakaway, Darren Lill (RSA) and Ben Day (AUS) both of Fly V Australia, along with Ryan Anderson (CAN) of Kelly Benefit Systems began to form a chase group, but were quickly pulled back in by the peloton, which was being led by HTC-Columbia. The second of seven KOMs, at Hwy. 2 (Cat. 3 - 5,046 ft.) was taken by Rabou, followed by McCartney and Clement. This KOM was the kick-off to a series of four almost back-to-back climbs that would truly challenge the cyclists. As the break approached Coldburst Summit (Cat. 2 - 6,924 ft.), the KOM was taken by Rabou, followed by Clement and Hincapie, while Barredo fell off the back and rejoined the peloton.

Tour of California- Stage 6

After passing through the feed zone, next up was the Dawson Saddle KOM (Cat. 3 - 7,900 ft.), followed almost immediately by the Blue Ridge Summit KOM (Cat. 3 - 7,302 ft.). The Dawson Saddle climb, which is the highest point the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will reach, was taken by Rabou, with McCartney and Clement following behind. With the peloton

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