Tony Martin takes the Individual Time Trial in Downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE

by laliveinsider on Sat., May 22 at 09:00 AM

May 22, 2010

Rogers Retains the Amgen Leader Jersey for Third Consecutive Day Heading into Final Stage of 2010 Amgen Tour of California

LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2010) - Enthusiastic fans lined up along the streets of downtown Los Angeles to welcome world-class cyclists from 16 professional teams for Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California, which consisted of two laps around a 10.5-mile course for the individual time trial.

After completing the longest day of the race yesterday, the riders were faced with a course that was filled with several of the city's most recognizable landmarks, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the University of Southern California, the LA Coliseum and STAPLES Center. In a race against the clock, Tony Martin (GBR) of HTC-Columbia emerged victorious with a time of 41 minutes and 41 seconds. Finishing in second place, three-time individual time trial world champion Michael Rogers (AUS) also of HTC-Columbia, will retain the Amgen Leader Jersey heading into the final stage of the race.

\"I think taking the Amgen Leader Jersey tomorrow would be the biggest win of my career, in terms of a stage race,\" said Rogers. \"This would be a highlight for me. There's a huge emphasis on this race and I think it would be a dream come true, not only for me, but for the whole team in general.\"

Moving into second place was five-time and current U.S. National Time Trial Champion David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Transitions. And the most anticipated rider of the day, three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack came in fourth today with a time of 42 minutes and 14 seconds, which put him in third place overall going into tomorrow's stage.

With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, the individual time trial provided fans with an ideal opportunity to watch riders both start and finish the race. In a challenging test for the riders on a decisive day cycling, the second half of the circuit included two short, but steep climbs.

This 'race of truth,' came down to an all out fight for the win between the last five riders, the top-5 in the GC after yesterday's trying mountain stage, which included Rory Sutherland (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, Leipheimer, Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Doimo, Zabriskie and Rogers, but ultimately no one could beat Martin's time.

\"I'd never been to Los Angeles before, so to race here in such a big city was really spectacular,\" said Martin. \"It was very good to race here and the road was perfect.\"

Stage 7 brought only two changes to the jersey leaders. Martin was awarded Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 re-claimed the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Rogers will retain the Amgen Race Leader Jersey, and Sagan the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey.

\"With seven days of exhilarating racing behind us, we are looking forward to watching the finale of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California unfold tomorrow,\" said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. \"The level of competition shown throughout the race has been very exciting to witness. These riders have put their all into competing for the GC to claim the Amgen Leader Jersey and everyone is looking forward to watching the final battle unfold tomorrow.\"

The world-class field of riders competing for the overall win will make for a very thrilling conclusion to the most important professional cycling race in the United States.\"

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

\"Amgen is proud to be part of this amazingly successful race, which is helping advance the popularity of cycling in America while also helping increase awareness of the resources that are available to those affected by cancer,\" said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. \"The Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partners are a team of problem solvers to help you fight cancer, whether you're interested in prevention, facing a new diagnosis, caring for a loved one or struggling with financial issues.\"

Founded by Amgen in 2005 as a complementary component to its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, the initiative continues to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer - from prevention to survivorship. Breakaway from Cancer® represents a partnership between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope.

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

STAGE 8 RACE FINALE TOMORROW:
Sunday, May 23 - Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Agoura Hills (83.5 mi/134.3km)

Start Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:40-4:10 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)

There is nothing easy about the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, and Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, will be the exclamation point for this year's race. Starting at the upscale \"The Oaks\" shopping complex, the riders will roll neutral to the start of four 21-mile circuits. The cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills host the final 84 miles of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, which finishes in the worldwide headquarter community of title sponsor Amgen. What starts as a beautiful rolling stage gets a bit challenging at Mulholland Highway. Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California, and a favorite haunt of motorcyclists, Mulholland Highway features steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, making it a great place for spectators. As the riders pass the Malibu Family Winery, they will start a twisting and technical descent on Westlake Blvd. In less than an hour, the riders will be back at the finish line and bracing themselves for three more laps. If ever there was a chance to see a change in the leader and sprint jerseys, it will be here.

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 8 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:

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

GolinHarris
Nicole Okoneski
805-441-390
[email protected]


Michael Rogers (AUS), General Classification Leader; Second Place, Individual Time Trial
HTC-Columbia

On potentially winning the Amgen Tour of California:
\"I think taking the Amgen Leader Jersey tomorrow would be the biggest win of my career, in terms of a stage race. This would be a highlight for me. There's a huge emphasis on this race and I think it would be a dream come true, not only for me, but for the whole team in general.\"

On team's strategy to keep the Amgen Leader Jersey tomorrow:
\"We haven't seen the course. We can only go with what the [technical guide] booklet says. We'll send management around the course to see. With regards to our tactics for the race, first and foremost, I want to protect the Amgen Leader Jersey. I'm very confident with Tony [Martin], Tejay [Van Garderen]we have a strong team. From what I hear, tomorrow is a very tough circuit with a tough climb. It's not over. It's far from over.\"

\"Obviously it isn't a huge lead. It's still nine seconds. My job tomorrow is to mark the top GC guys. If they move, I'll move, too. We can expect a lot of the attacks from guys a bit further down on the GC. We're really excited. We think we can do it. A lot of people doubted us before, at the start of this stage, but we came one step closer today.\"

On losing two teammates (Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw):
\"When you analyze the stage yesterday, we were able to protect the lead without the two men. We will have to have our wits about us. The whole race is going to throw everything at us. We have a lot of experience - not only the riders but our sports directors have got years and years of experience. We can use all that to our advantage.\"

On his thoughts on Team RadioShack's potential offense tomorrow:
\"They'll attack. They'll attack hard. The logical place to attack is on the climb. I'd do the same if I were in that position.\"

On racing in downtown Los Angeles:
\"It's obviously a spectacular place for a time trial. It was a beautiful race - certainly something I'll remember for a long time.\"

On his condition:
\"Beating both Dave [Zabriskie] and Levi [Leipheimer] was obviously a great ride. We're all very experienced time trialists. I took a little step away from time trialing and I lost my time trial abilities a little bit. I worked really hard to get it back this year. It's nice that that hard work is paying off.\"

\"I kind of realized last year that I wasn't getting out of cycling what I wanted to. I wasn't getting the satisfaction. I asked myself, 'How can I improve?' After talking with people I've been close to in my career, they thought I had to change the way I train and be more efficient. I needed to change the way I go through my season. So I started treating every training day as a race. And things are paying off.\"

On today's time trial:
\"I was in contact with my sports director [during the time trial]. He was relaying split times and let me know, first and foremost, that I was a bit faster than the main GC contenders. I knew that through the first time check, I was just behind Tony [Martin]. I'm usually a slower starter. I knew I had a little bit of a time buffer on the first lap. On the last lap, I just concentrated on keeping it together and maintaining the small time buffer I had.\"

\"The wind made it kind of tough. It just seemed to be swirling through the buildings. It was a tough time trial after six days of tough racing and especially after yesterday's tough mountain stage.\"

On where he is as a cyclist today:
\"I think I've matured a lot as a person. I definitely have more experience and I'm calmer on the bike. I've been in a lot of 'winning possibility' situations. In the past, as most young guys do, I've made some mistakes. I feel all the more wiser for it.\"

Tony Martin (GER), First Place, Stage 7; Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey Winner
HTC-Columbia

On racing in downtown Los Angeles:
\"I've never been to Los Angeles before, so to race here in such a big city was really spectacular.\"

On getting his first win this season:
\"The year was, so far, not good for me. I had a bad injury [early in the season] and I lost a little bit of my morale. Now with my first win of the year, I'm really motivated for the Tour de France. I'm really happy now.\"

On today's time trial:
\"I heard at the beginning that I had 30 seconds I knew it was a really good time. That motivates me to go really deep. At the beginning of the race, I didn't know I'd have the legs because I had to work really hard yesterday. I knew I had a really good time and I had to finish really hard.

\"I did everything I could to protect the Amgen Leader Jersey for Mick [Rogers]. I did everything I could, I was pulling everything.\"

David Zabriskie (USA), Third Place, Stage 7
Garmin-Transitions

On today's time trial:
\"I'm disappointed, of course. I was a little bit off but it went pretty well. I don't think the race is over yet. I'd say that, even if I were in the Amgen Leader's Jersey. It's not over till it's over. Tomorrow's a very hard course. Having surveyed the course, it can be windy and there are a couple of big climbs. Not all that much fun.\"

Levi Leipheimer (USA)
Team RadioShack

On today's time trial:
\"This is not the best I've ever done. I think that Dave [Zabriskie] and Mick [Rogers] just were a fraction better than me all week, and they proved it to me today. It was really windy and tough out there, and you can argue that it's maybe not the best course for me, personally. But I can be happy. Of course, when I come to the Amgen Tour of California, if I don't win, I lose. And that's a lot of expectation. But I can be happy with this time trial.

On tomorrow's race:
Considering tomorrow, it's not over. The tour has been very hard. Unfortunately, among the top three [riders], it's been very tight all week. As a peloton as a whole, it's been extremely hard. Tomorrow won't be any different.\"

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