Hincapie takes second Amgen Tour of California stage win
Landis (Phonak-iShares) leads overall competition following aggressive day of racing.
Following another day of crowds in the thousands and with the Amgen Tour of California on pace to set records in attendance for any single sporting event in California, as well as for any cycling event in the United States with more than 830,000 attendees to date, George Hincapie (USA) of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team powered down the street to Santa Barbara and his second stage victory.
Thousands of spectators lined the course as the riders blazed out of San Luis Obispo at an average speed of almost
Shortly after the second large group was reabsorbed on the open and flat roads into Orcutt, four riders were able to slide off the front of the field to gain a significant advantage as the course turned toward hilly terrain in Santa Barbara County. The four-man group included German Jens Voigt (GER) of Team CSC, Sebastian Lang (GER) of Gerolsteiner, ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games time trial medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov (RUS) from Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, and American Nick Reistad (USA) from California-based Team Jelly Belly.
With Ekimov 5'20" down to Landis in the overall, Phonak allowed the four a maximum advantage of 3'20" and held the gap steady at approximately 3' to the Category 1 climb of San Marcos Pass Road. At
Halfway up the climb, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Gerolsteiner and Ricardo Ricco (ITA) of Saunier Duval-Prodir joined the front group and established a 22" lead on the field at the summit of the KOM, with Leipheimer leading over the top of the climb. 40 riders regrouped on the descent. With a similar finishing dynamic to Stage Two, George Hincapie showed that he is one of the fastest men out of a select group by winning the sprint and taking his second stage in the Amgen Tour of California.
?We knew all the roads, and we knew the last climb really well. The team was really strong today. We've had a great week and have a lot of fun racing here,? said Hincapie.
After his performance in today?s stage, Hincapie reclaimed the lead in the Clif Bar Sprint Competition and will wear the Clif Bar Sprint Jersey during Stage Six. The points awarded to Leipheimer for being the first rider over the San Marcos Pass puts him in the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey, while Tom Peterson (USA) of Team TIAA-CREF remains in the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey. For his efforts in the day?s longest breakaway, 23-year-old Reistad earned the Adobe Most Aggressive Jersey.
?It?s clear that the race is taking on a momentum of its own; the crowd support on the road today was beyond anything we?ve seen yet,? said Shawn Hunter, president of