Australian Michael Rogers of California-based HTC-Columbia takes the Overall Win in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California

by laliveinsider on Sun., May 23 at 09:00 AM

Garmin-Transitions' Ryder Hesjedal Takes Stage 8 in Front of Roaring Crowds in Thousand Oaks

THOUSAND OAKS (May 23, 2010) - After eight challenging and epic days of cycling that covered more than 800 miles of scenic California roads, and a thrilling fight to the finish at the conclusion of today's final stage, Michael Rogers (USA) of HTC-Columbia was crowned champion of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. With a week-long total time of 33 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds, Rogers took the highly coveted title of race champion in front of enormous cheering crowds in Thousand Oaks, home to title sponsor Amgen, besting his third place finish in the 2009 race. In an eight-day battle against the best field ever assembled to compete in the United States, which included Tour de France winners, Olympic medalists and World Champions, Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Transitions claimed the Stage 8 win.

\"For our team the only race that's more important than the Amgen Tour of California is the Tour de France,\" said Rogers. \"This is a huge result for us. We can really walk away from the Amgen Tour of California with smiles on our faces.\"

David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Transitions finished in second place overall for the second consecutive year at 9 seconds behind Rogers, and three-time champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack finished third at 25 seconds behind.

\"The Amgen Tour of California finished on a spectacular high today,\" said Leipheimer. \"The stage was phenomenal, the crowds were Tour de France-esque and you could really feel the excitement. I don't think we could ask for anything more for the last day of the Amgen Tour of California. In my opinion the Amgen Tour of California has grown exponentially quicker and bigger than any race in the history of cycling.\"

The final stage of the 2010 edition of America's largest cycling race consisted of four 21-mile circuits that took the riders through the communities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, and included one challenging King of the Mountains (KOM) climb at about six miles in - Mulholland Hwy, or better known by local cyclists as the \"Rock Store Climb\" (Cat. 3/4 - 1,824 ft.).

Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California, Mulholland Highway featured steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, which made it the perfect place for spectators, and they turned out in droves. A challenging finish to a difficult race, Stage 8 tested the cyclists until the final stretch to the finish line.

Beginning with a neutral start and a break that was soon caught, the peloton approached the first pass at the climb, which was swept by the Garmin-Transitions team with Hesjedal first, Tom Danielson (USA) second and Zabriskie third. As a new Los Angeles resident, Zabriskie utilizes the Rock Store climb as part of his standard training rides. Lined with fans, some of which had camped out to secure their spot to watch the cyclists compete in the final day of the race, \"Rock Store\" made the final stage of the race an extremely challenging course. As the riders passed the Malibu Family Winery, they began a twisting and technical descent on Westlake Blvd. headed back into Thousand Oaks.

Split at the end of the first lap, there were 28 riders in the front with 15 chasing behind, but as they neared the second pass at \"Rock Store\" the group joined together to form a pack about 45 riders strong. The next big break occurred on the climb and included Rabou, who took the KOM, Carlos Barredo (ESP) of QuickStep, Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) of Team RadioShack, Sebastian Langeveld (NED) of Rabobank, George Hincapie (USA) of BMC Racing Team, Oscar Pujol (ESP) of Cervélo TestTeam, Jeremy Vennell (NZL) of BISSELL and Bradley White (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis. With each circuit taking approximately 40 minutes, the break held for the next lap, and Rabou once again took the KOM heading into the final circuit of the race.

After some unsuccessful attempts to pull away from the lead group, Hincapie, Barredo and Pujol were able to get off the front and create a gap of about a minute. At the same time, pulling away from the chase group were Leipheimer, Rogers, Horner and Zabriskie, who were soon joined by Hesjedal. The remaining riders from the original break began to fall back to the main group, while Horner and Hesjedal went forward to join the break. Langeveld, the Rabobank rider who was in the original break, fell back to give race leader Rogers a bit of shelter as the attacks came and went. In an all out sprint to the finish, Hesjedal took the win to the cheers of enthusiastic fans lining the streets of Thousand Oaks.

\"Once I made it up to the remainder of the break, I knew I had a shot to win, so I focused and the team was awesome,\" said Hesjedal. \"To win on the last day against a field like this is a big highlight for me.\"

Today's stage brought a close to the competition for the Amgen Tour of California jerseys. The Amgen Race Leader Jersey was awarded to Rogers. Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Doimo retained the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey. Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 held onto the climbing lead to take the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Popovych claimed Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. With a celebratory champagne fight on the awards stage, Garmin-Transitions claimed the overall team classification.

\"The conditions for the final stage of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California in Thousand Oaks were perfect. The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering and the cyclists were fighting for the win,\" said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. \"It felt like we made another step towards accomplishing our goal today, which was to further our reputation as another great race on the international cycling calendar. Another factor that contributed to our success this year was the tremendous support the race and the teams received from each one of our host cities, as well as the fans who came out to witness and appreciate the best cyclists in the world.\"

Continuing its partnership for the fifth year, Amgen utilizes the race to raise awareness for the Breakaway from Cancer® initiative.

Thousand Oaks cancer survivor Steve Bartolucci was honored and celebrated today at the final Breakaway Mile, a special one-mile walk that crossed the finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. Bartolucci was chosen as Breakaway from Cancer® Champion because of his commitment to cycling to counter the effects of his treatment and to raise awareness and funds for those affected by cancer.

During the Breakaway Mile, Bartolucci was joined by approximately 150 community members - cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and advocates - and Joe Miletich, Amgen's senior vice president of Research & Development, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

\"The 17,000 staff members at Amgen come to work every day motivated by the chance to make a dramatic difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer and other life threatening illnesses,\" said Robert Bradway, president and chief operating officer, Amgen. \"As a company dedicated to tapping the power of pioneering science to fight serious illness, Amgen is passionate about helping people who are battling cancer, and Breakaway from Cancer is one of the ways that Amgen is fighting cancer. Amgen is proud of our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California and the opportunity to help increase awareness of the important resources available to people affected by cancer. We are so proud of our Breakaway from Cancer spokesperson George Hincapie, he demonstrated strength and courage, and all of Amgen is behind him.\"

Bradway today presented the final Amgen Leader Jersey to 2010 Amgen Tour of California winner Rogers.

About the Amgen Tour of California

The largest cycling event in America, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race, presented by AEG, that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course through the state from May 16-23.

About Amgen

Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com. To learn more about Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.

About AEG

AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Sprint Center, The O2, NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers, the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG LIVE, the organization's live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com.

Media Contacts:

AEG
Michael Roth
310-308-7684
[email protected]

GolinHarris
Nicole Okoneski
805-441-3900
[email protected]


Michael Rogers (AUS), Overall Winner, 2010 Amgen Tour of California
HTC-Columbia

On winning the Amgen Tour of California:
\"For our team, there's only one race more important to us, and that's the Tour de France. This is a huge result for us. We can really walk away from the 2010 Amgen Tour of California with big smiles on our faces.\"

\"It was certainly a very tough day. We saw from lap one that it was very hard. Garmin-Transitions attacked very hard. I was lucky enough to have two strong riders in Tejay [Van Garderen] and Tony [Martin] that controlled the race into the last lap, and obviously Team RadioShack threw everything at me on the last lap. It's been exciting to win the Amgen Leader Jersey and win the Amgen Tour of California.\"

\"This goes to show you that when you have the Amgen Leader Jersey, the team really steps up.\"

On the key stage of the Amgen Tour of California:
\"The key stage was the mountain stage at Big Bear Lake. I really didn't think the stage would be that hard. I don't think anyone did, especially on the last days. It was tough and it made me sweat to the end.\"

On his chances for the Tour de France:
\"This is a different race than the Tour de France. The Amgen Tour of California has been a tough race, especially this year. But I've really improved this year in a lot of areas. My goal is to run in the top five in the Tour de France and I think I've made a big, positive step here at the Amgen Tour of California. I'm not saying I can win the Tour of France. There aren't very many riders who can say they can win. But at the same time, I made one big step today.\"

On issue of doping:
\"I'm getting a little bit sick of all this stuff. There are so many great performances and I just hope that the people see them. The sport has got to get away from this negativity. We all have to do everything we can to get away from the negativity because it's killing the sport. I'd really like to see some of the positive things about cycling. And I think the fans do, too. You saw the amount of people on the climb today-the people still love [the sport].\"

Ryder Hesjedal (CAN), Winner, Stage 8
Garmin-Transitions

On today's race:
\"Once I made it up to the remainder of the break, I knew I had a shot to win so I was just focused and the team was awesome. To win on the last day against a field like this is a big highlight for me.\"

On the attacks:
\"It was my turn to put in the effort and I was scared to take it all the way. We wanted to ride aggressively today. To win on our last stage [our effort] went well. That was kind of the focus near the end. For Dave [Zabriskie] to get away from Mick [Rogers] and overcome that deficit was a tall order. We came out the best we could.\"

On winning the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California:
\"This is the nicest, because it's the most recent. Since I started with the team in 2008, I've really gotten to a lot of places that I wanted to be in my cycling career. I think I'm doing well and I just want to keep the momentum going. Today's just a really nice confirmation of that.\"

Thomas Rabou (NED), California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey Winner
Team Type 1

On winning the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey:
\"I woke up this morning thinking it would be really good to be in the breakaway with the KOM jersey. I went for it and apparently, I was in the breakaway. So my goal was achieved for today.\"

\"The goal of our team is to inspire people with diabetes and I think we reached our goal.\"

\"I was hoping to get myself in the right position. The team was awesome right from the beginning and all week. To win on the last day is really a big highlight for me.\"

On dedicating his KOM jersey:
\"My mother, who is suffering from cancer, is doing fine, relatively speaking. I'm so proud to dedicate the KOM jersey to my mother, as well as my family and my girlfriend in the Netherlands.\"

Peter Sagan (SVK), Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey Winner; Herbalife Sprint Jersey Winner
Liquigas-Doimo

On his wins:
\"I didn't know I could win two jerseys like this in a race as important as the Amgen Tour of California. I'm really happy for everything that's happened this week. As they say, we'll see you next year.\"

George Hincapie (USA), Second Place, Stage 8
BMC Racing Team

On the Amgen Tour of California overall:
\"The crowds were awesome. They were definitely Tour de France-ish crowds along the race routes and many people were cheering for me and the BMC Racing Team. I had the Amgen Tour of California on my radar and I came out wanting to win a stage. That didn't happen, but I gave it everything I had today.\"

\"The Amgen Tour of California ranks right up there just behind the grand tours. It is one of the most popular races and, because I'm American, it's definitely the most important race we do in the year. It's become a world-class race in a very short time span.\"

\"The Amgen Tour of California has been progressing every year. There are more and more fans and media attention. If it just keeps the momentum it already has, it will continue to be a success.\"

On today's race:
\"This stage was brutal. I knew the race was going to be hard. I did everything right. I just didn't have the legs today.\"

On today's descent:
\"I knew the descent quite well. It's very technical and thankfully it wasn't raining because it would have been even more difficult.\"

On the issue of doping:
\"I give everything for this sport so there isn't anybody out there, whether it's the press, the fans, or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, that wants to clean up cycling more than me. I believe that cycling should be an example for all sports. There's always going to be people who cheat in life, but I think that cycling checks and tests more than any other sport. We're just out there suffering for the love of the sport and the love of our family and I want people to respect that. I want to talk about the future of the sport and what we can do to make this sport clean. I hope that people can support that.\"

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Third Place, General Classification
Team RadioShack

On the Amgen Tour of California
\"The Amgen Tour of California finished on a spectacular high today. Today's stage was phenomenal and the crowds were Tour de France-esque. You could really feel the excitement as you were climbing up the circuit every time. The race was exciting and it opened up at the end. I don't think we could have asked for anything more from the last day of the tour. I was happy to take part in it and I'm looking forward to next year.\"

\"The Amgen Tour of California has grown exponentially, faster than any other race in the history of cycling. The Tour de France and Giro d'Italia have 100 years ahead of the Amgen Tour of California. Everything about those races is bigger, mainly because of their histories. The Amgen Tour of California organizers have grown this race at a record-setting pace and have done everything they can to make it the 3rd or 4th biggest race in the world.\"

On the competition this year:
\"I was in as good of shape the past three years [when I won the Amgen Tour of California] as I am now. In February, I was very focused on the race and the past three months, I whipped myself into shape. The difference this year is that you see a couple of riders on the same level. The competition has definitely risen.\"

On today's circuit:
\"It's a circuit, so everyone knows the race and it makes it more competitive. Everybody knows where to be in the peloton. Circuit races seem to be faster than a normal stage and this one seemed to be even more spectacular than a normal circuit.\"

\"At this point in the tour, the race was down to the real favorites. It's was up to Michael [Rogers] - he had the Amgen Leader Jersey and he had to defend it. There was a moment when I jumped and Michael wasn't making up the ground. We each had a teammate just 10 seconds up the road. I said, 'Here's our real opportunity.' But Michael clawed his way back and showed why he's the winner of the Amgen Tour of California.\"

On placing third in the General Classification:
\"There was a lot of expectation from me. I've won three in a row. There was a lot of pressure on me, mostly from myself, to win. But am I disappointed? Not at all. I rode well and gave it everything I had. I was the main animator in the race and I have to take pride in that. I'm looking forward to next year. I'm looking forward to the first mountain finish Amgen Tour of California.\"

On future goals:
\"The goal is to win, always. I'm just starting to come into fitness and I'm looking forward to the Tour of Switzerland and the Tour de France. I'm very motivated for the next two races.\"

On his optimism for the sport of cycling:
\"It's very ironic, the headlines we read against the reality of the sport. Despite what we've seen this week, I really believe in cycling. I think it's fair and clean. I believe in the winner of this race and everybody who participated in this race.\"

On losing Lance, how that factored:
\"The last three to four days hurt our team. At the beginning, we had great control of the race. Having lost Lance, that weakened our team a lot.\"

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports

On today's race:
\"Today was the day we'd hoped for. When we started the planning of this route and started talking to the communities of the Conejo Valley, we believed that there would be tremendous reception from the cycling community. It felt like we made another step towards accomplishing our goal today, which was to further our reputation as another great race on the international cycling calendar.\"

\"I don't think anyone viewed that [final] stage as easy. I don't think anyone felt shortchanged of drama [in this race].\"

Jim Birrell, Race Director, Managing Partner, Medalist Sports

On this year's Amgen Tour of California:
\"It's been a great week, especially with only one day of rain. This was a huge accomplishment for all of us. It was the highest contested Amgen Tour of California that we've had in the five years. We look forward to building another one for 2011.\"

On the Amgen Tour of California vs. Tour of Missouri
\"I think by evidence of what we saw out on the road this week, [this event] is like a postcard. The Department of Tourism of those respective states see the value [in an event like this]. There are several states that have been looking at this tour and I think we showed them what an economic impact an event like this can make.\"

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