Well, another Tour of California has come and gone. And it sure was an exciting one.
In case you missed it (and unless you get NBC SportsNet or are an avid cycling fan and found internet coverage, you did miss it), it was definitely one of the more exciting races in recent memory.
Why, you ask?
Let’s start with Liquigas-Cannondale (an Italian team) rider, Peter Sagan, winning the first 4 stages. Yes, that’s right – he was KILLING it. Dominating a major stage race like that isn’t quite unprecedented, but it’s certainly rare, and it’s definitely remarkable to see someone put in 4 incredible days of racing like that. Going into the 5th stage (the individual time trial), he had a 16 second lead on his closest competitor.
Unfortunately for Sagan, he didn’t ride a good time trial, and after Stage 5, he found himself almost 3 minutes back to the new leader, David Zabriskie, an American from the American team, Garmin-Barracuda. Sagan would not recover the yellow leader’s jersey, but he did win the sprinter’s jersey.
Zabriskie held the jersey through Stage 6, which finished on a long climb to Big Bear Lake, but lost it to the AToC’s eventual winner, Robert Gesink from the Dutch team Rabobank, after Stage 7, from Ontario to Mt. Baldy. This stage is called “The Queen” stage of the tour, because it is as challenging as some of the climbing stages from the Grand Tours of Europe.
Heading into the final stage, which started in Beverley Hills, and ended with 5 laps around downtown L.A., Gesink had a 46 second lead over Zabriskie, which meant that to win, he didn’t need to win the stage, he just needed to finish no more than 45 seconds behind Zabriskie. Peter Sagan, winner of the first 4 stages, took the win on the stage, outsprinting Tom Boonen (a Belgian rider for the Belgian team Omega Pharma-Quick Step) for his 5th stage win.
Although the American team Garmin-Barracuda wasn’t able to hold on for the yellow jersey, they did win best team classification, which is determined by the fastest 3 riders for each team.
Did you take in the Race?
Anyone get out and see the race in person? Did you ride any of the course? Take advantage of the closed roads?