Michael Rogers retains the Overall Lead in 2010 Amgen Tour of California

by laliveinsider on Thu., May 20 at 09:00 AM

May 20, 2010

Peter Sagan Takes Stage Win for Second Consecutive Day

BEAR LAKE (May 21, 2010) - In a stage characterized by consistent climbing on the route from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Doimo 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 at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles, which will begin at 1 p.m. 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,\" said Rogers.

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.

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 now split into two chase groups, the break crested Blue Ridge Summit with Rabou in first, Clement in second and Wilson in third. This series of climbs was followed by the first sprint competition of the day, which was taken by Schleck, in Wrightwood where the streets were lined with cheering fans.

At the lowest elevation in the mountain portion of today's stage the leaders held a gap of 6:10 on the peloton, and nearly nine minutes on the gruppetto. On the way to the next climb, Clement lost contact with the break and fell back, eventually rejoining the peloton. Shortly after, as the cyclists made their way through the second feed zone, the first crash of the day occurred, but everyone was able to recover.

The sixth climb of the day came next at Hwy. 138 (Cat. 3 - 4,649 ft.) and was taken, once again, by Rabou. With no time to rest, the cyclists were then faced with the second and final sprint of the day at Crestline, which was taken by Schleck. Then, the cyclists faced the final challenging climb of the day at Hwy. 18 (Cat. 3 - 5,628 ft.), the \"Rim of the World\" Highway, which was won by Rabou, followed by Wilson and Schleck.

Following the climb, the break was taken down to just five riders - Hincapie, Fuglsang, Rabou, Wilson and McCartney - with a gap of only 2:40, but within only a few minutes and an attack, it was taken down to only three - McCartney, Wilson and Hincapie. Entering the Big Bear area, the riders took the northern route around Big Bear Lake to reach the finish line at the Snow Summit ski area for the Amgen Tour of California's first-ever alpine finish. With only about 15 miles of racing to go, the break was caught as they traveled along the final stretch into Big Bear Lake. At this point, Marc De Maar (NED) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis took the opportunity to make a break for it and was eventually caught by Matt Wilson (USA) of Garmin-Transitions. Keeping the break for most of the final stretch into town, they were caught with just about half a mile to go, giving Sagan the opportunity to take the win - his second consecutive stage win in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.

\"I wanted to win a stage and now I've won two. So I'm very happy,\" said Sagan. Moving into second and third overall were U.S. National Time Trial Champion Zabriskie and Sagan, respectively.

Today's stage brought only two changes to the jersey leaders. Hincapie was awarded Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey, and Rabou took the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey from Anderson, who had worn the jersey for the previous two days. Unchanged was Rogers in the Amgen Race Leader Jersey and Sagan in the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey.

\"Today, Stage 6 of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, is one that we were really looking forward to,\" said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. \"This was our very first mountain finish, which presented the riders with a very challenging day of racing, and the fans with the opportunity to witness some of the world's greatest and most accomplished cyclists at their best. The crowds along the route were amazing, which really helps motivate everyone as well. Going into tomorrow's individual time trial at L.A. LIVE, this is still anyone's race.\"

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

\"Amgen has delivered on the promise of biotechnology by discovering and developing innovative and vital medicines that have helped millions of patients fight cancer, kidney disease and other serious illnesses,\" said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. \"Through the Amgen Tour of California sponsorship, we are able to raise awareness of the medical breakthroughs possible through biotechnology while also helping support cancer patients and caregivers through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative.\"

Amgen created the national Breakaway from Cancer® initiative in 2005 as a complementary component to its sponsorship of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California. Breakaway from Cancer represents a partnership between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope. The Breakaway from Cancer partners collectively offer people affected by cancer with a broad range of support services complementing those provided by a patient's team of healthcare professionals.

As part of the today's race activities, breast cancer survivor Marsha Furman fired the official start gun in Palmdale, and in Big Bear, 8-year-old cancer survivor Nigel Holland had the honor of awarding Hincapie Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.

\"I've been affiliated with Breakaway from Cancer for five years and it's a wonderful cause,\" said Hincapie. \"What Amgen does for cycling in America is unprecedented in the history of our sport. To be able to wear Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey on the hardest stage of the Amgen Tour of California makes me feel special.\"

For access to resources or to learn more, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.

Saturday, May 22 - Los Angeles Individual Time Trial (20.9 mi/33.6 km)

Start Time: 1 p.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 4:15 p.m. PT
Satellite Feed Time: 5:20 - 5:30 p.m. PT
(Coordinates can be found at http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/news/media-info.html)

The Amgen Tour of California descends on the City of Angels in Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, with the 21-mile individual time trial. Los Angeles plays host to a course that is filled with several of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Each rider will leave L.A. LIVE and complete two laps of the 10.5-mile circuit around downtown Los Angeles. Heading south for the first half of the circuit, the riders will pass by the Los Angeles Convention Center, the University of Southern California, Exposition Park and the LA Memorial Coliseum. The route will then head back north for the second half of the circuit and will include two short, but steep climbs while passing several downtown Los Angeles icons, including the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and Los Angeles City Hall, before returning to the finish area in front of STAPLES Center at L.A. LIVE.

For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

In addition to the website, fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Stage 7 will air on VERSUS tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET.

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:

Michael Roth
[email protected]

Nicole Okoneski
[email protected]

Michael Rogers (AUS), General Classification Leader

On the difficulty of today's stage:
\"It was pretty tough. The only difference between today's climbs [and other mountainous terrains] is that the actual climbs here weren't that steep. I believe that was why we didn't see two to three riders contest the sprint. It was a tough day.\"

\"Levi [Leipheimer], Dave [Zabriskie] and Rory [Sutherland] had to spend a lot of energy today. Everyone will start with sore legs tomorrow.\"

On effect of today's stage on tomorrow's time trial:
\"It's hard to tell what will happen. You can't base a time trial off a mountain stage. It's like comparing apples to oranges.\"

On his thoughts about feeling overshadowed by other cycling news:
\"When we're riding, I hear the crowds calling out 'Mick Rogers' or 'HTC-Columbia.' We came here to race. We can only control the things we do. We've won a stage with Mark Cavendish, we have the Amgen Leader Jersey. We're not going to let things out of our control effect us.\"

\"Nobody wants to see this happen to any sport. We have to move on. We have to bring out the beautiful things about this sport - the bright achievements, the heroic efforts. There are things that are beautiful about this sport and those are the things on which we should concentrate.\"

On the wind factor:
\"There was a lot of wind but it was at stages where it wouldn't be a factor. It was unpleasant though.\"

Peter Sagan (SVK), First Place, Stage 6; Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey Winner; Herbalife Sprint Jersey Leader

On today's win:
\"I'm very happy. I wanted to win a stage and now I've won two. So I'm very happy.\"

On his feelings going into the time trial:
\"My time trial abilities for a long time trial like this are not quite honed yet. As I always do, I'll take it day by day and we'll see tomorrow.\"

On his future objectives:
\"My objective is to continue to improve upon where I am now. I'm still young. My next tour is the Tour of Switzerland and I have world championships in my hopes.\"

On his team protecting him for a win like today:
\"When I'm able to win a stage, the team knows - I know they'll work for me. That's a good thing.\"

George Hincapie (USA), Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey Winner
BMC Racing Team

On the breakaway:
\"The course was probably the hardest stage of the Amgen Tour of California up until now. And I saw early on from kilometer zero that there were strong guys trying to get away and got away with [Andy] Schleck and some good guys in the break. Unfortunately two guys weren't working too hard because they had team obligations. It was relentless with the wind and the climbs all day. It was slow torture out there.\"

On the wind factor:
\"The wind was coming from all different directions - crosswinds, tailwinds and headwinds. It made the elements that much harder than just the course.\"

On the importance of winning Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey
\"It's important for me because I've been affiliated with Breakaway from Cancer for five years. It's a wonderful cause. What Amgen does for cycling in America is unprecedented in the history of our sport. To be able to wear the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey on the hardest stage of the Amgen Tour of California makes me feel special.\"

On predictions for tomorrow, the overall Amgen Tour of California:
\"I'm not sure about Levi - I haven't talked to him that much because the race has been crazy. Michael [Rogers], in my opinion, has had the best year to date. Dave [Zabriskie] is obviously riding well, so it's going to be an interesting battle.\"

Rory Sutherland (AUS), Second Place, Stage 6
UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis

On the difficulty of today's course:
\"So many guys were tired in this race. All day people were being dropped. It was a super hard stage. When you don't see that many attacks at the finish it means everyone is pretty gassed at the end.\"

On racing domestically and competing in the Amgen Tour of California:
\"Just because you race domestically doesn't mean you can't [be competitive]. If you keep trying and put yourself in the right position, then you can get fantastic opportunities to be on the podium. The Amgen Tour of California is on the world stage of bike racing these days. It's the most important thing for us by far.\"

On changing the date of the Amgen Tour of California from February to May:
\"It's just as hard. I think we're seeing that the U.S. domestic-based teams have been a lot more involved this year than they have been in the past. And that comes from us having raced into the Amgen Tour of California, as opposed to coming into it straight from training camp at the beginning of the year when you're still getting to know new teammates and bikes. I think there were five, maybe six, domestic people at the finish. I don't think that has ever happened before.\"

On predictions for tomorrow's time trial:
\"With a time trial like tomorrow, six days into this tour - with the hard racing that's been going on with myself and the other guys and racing against world-class time trialists - I really have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow. My legs are obviously going pretty well so we'll see what happens with that.\"

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Three-Time Defending Champion
Team RadioShack

On tomorrow's time trial:
\"Dave Zabriskie, Michael Rogers and I are of the same time trial level. It will be tough but I am confident.\"

Johan Bruyneel,
Manager, Team RadioShack

On today's race:
\"The team looked good today. Jason McCartney was in the front. Unfortunately, Garmin-Transitions also had somebody. It was up to HTC-Columbia to chase. In the end, it was our plan to make the race hard and try to attack but unfortunately the climbs were not super hard, not steep enough, so it was difficult to drop people. Garmin-Transitions marked Team RadioShack and Team RadioShack marked Garmin-Transitions. Ultimately we knew that HTC-Columbia wanted to control the race. They did a tremendous job with only two riders left to work in the second part of the stage and still controlling the whole race. I am happy with what I saw from the team. We were aggressive. We couldn't really make the difference, but we rode a hard race.\"

On tomorrow's time trial:
\"For tomorrow's time trial, Levi Leipheimer is 14 seconds behind, but the last three years he's won the time trial. I am hopeful he can pull it off again. I think it is possible to make up that time in 33 kilometers. I'm confident that Levi is up to it and Levi says he feels good. It's going to be an interesting race tomorrow.\"

On Lance Armstrong's condition:
\"I spoke with Lance this morning. He feels stiff. Normally you always feel worse the day after a crash [compared to] the day of the crash, so he doesn't feel great. The elbow hurts a lot, even more than yesterday. His face is swollen, but that is temporary. In a few days he will be able to ride his bike again. It should be okay.\"

\"It is a setback again. On two occasions when his condition was coming up, he got in an accident - first in the Circuit de la Sarthe, now here. He was really feeling good the first days in California. It is another setback but it is not compromising his chances in the Tour de France. He will have to work a little harder, but first we have to see how he recovers. You have to be able to come back from setbacks. Lance knows how to do this. Depending on how he feels after the weekend, he will travel to Europe. We are looking now to other options to change his program. For the moment, we're thinking of doing the Tour of Switzerland and maybe we can add the Tour of Luxemburg but nothing has been decided yet.\"

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