By Jim Freibert
Now the BMC rider who first impressed fans at the Tour de France last year, has a one minute plus 47 seconds advantage over Mick Rogers of Saxo Bank –Tinkoff.
Another favorite American who impressed fans when she catapulted her way into cycling stardom, Evelyn Stevens of Specialized-Lululemon, took first prize in the additional women’s time trial that was run just prior to the men’s field.
“I knew that I could win it…. Once I got to the climb, I was like, ‘oh man. I’ve got to open a can of whoop-ass,” said Stevens after the race.
All the same, the San Jose time trial, stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California was highly anticipated by race analysts.
Among the favorites were some of the big time trial champions, among them Michael Rogers of Australia, a three-time winner, and David “DZ” Zabiskie of Los Angeles, the men’s previous silver medalist were among the favorites.
Today’s race also featured the unusual extra twist of offering pro women a chance to compete in a time trial before the men set out. Among them was American Amber Neben, women’s world time trialing champion of 2008.
Current national time trial champions competing today also included Cameron Meyer of Australia, Sylvain Chavanel of France, and Lieuwe Westra, of the Netherlands.
Fifteen women were scheduled to start at one minute intervals, from 12:45 to 12:59 PM.
They were followed by the men, starting with 113th place Carson Miller who was scheduled at 1 PM, followed by 112th place Johan van Summeren.
The last rider scheduled to start was van Garderen, with the advantage of knowing how his rivals performed on the course, but a disadvantage of higher winds which had picked up throughout the afternoon.
Just before the start, one of the favorites, Dave Zabriskie, who holds the record for the fastest time trial stage ever in the Tour de France, crashed while warming up. He hit the ground hard enough to be transported to the hospital: sadly he is out of the Tour.
Though the daily winner in the men’s competition takes away $4,740 each time they win, the Amgen Tour pays out $11,875 dollars a day to male riders down to the 20th place, and the top ten men split $10,000 for the time trial. The winner of the women’s competition time trial is awarded $10,000. Those odds meant winning the women’s competition would be more furious, even if there were fewer competitors.
At 1:11 PM it was looking like Amber Neben of Irvine, CA, one of the world’s fastest pro female cyclists was likely to be their big winner, but five minutes later she overcooked a tight corner on the technical course, and crashed.
At 1:23 PM Timmy Duggan who races around the world for the Danish Team Saxo Bank –Tinkoff started, using a time trial bike, rather than the road bike he’s more comfortable with as America’s national pro cycling champion.
With two highly skilled professionals crashing, and the wind picking up after noon, no doubt some riders changed their minds about using the time trial bikes that move faster in a straight line, but are more difficult to control in a crosswind.
By 1:30 PM it was evident some riders were also changing from disc wheels to deep dish wheels, also less susceptible to buffeting from cross winds.
By 1:35 PM, there were a handful of women and 34 men who had left the start house.
No one could tell who among the women would win, but minutes later it was decided when Evelyn Stevens finished the 31 kilometer course in 55 minutes and 49 seconds.
Allison Powers lost 56 seconds, while Kristin McGrath was third finishing in 57 minutes 13 seconds.
While the women’s race was wrapping up Jason McCartney of Bissel had passed three riders. Riders on the course are your closest rivals, and the one in front of you is your “minute man.” It looked like McCartney would be having a very good day, and after an hour of men’s racing he was the fastest finisher at 53 minutes 11 seconds.
But McCartney’s lead didn’t last long: five minutes later Bontrager’s James Oram posted a new fastest time of 52 minutes 51 seconds. But he would be bettered by 32 men before the day was done!
At 2:37 PM it was Garmin-Sharpe’s Rohan Dennis who was the new fast man, well under 50 minutes, posting a 49’ 20”, and an impressive 24.2 miles-per-hour that would later put him on the podium.
The starts were just a little behind schedule, and at 3 PM, when there should have only been Mick Rogers and Tejay Van Garderen waiting to start, there were still four guys to go, and Rohan Dennis was still on top of the leader board.
Lieuwe Westra, the Dutch time trial champion bettered Dennis’ time by five seconds. Then Mick Rogers posted a time within two seconds of Westra’s, but was only in third place after his finish.
The tension mounted, and the pressure was on van Garderen, who proved he was the strongest rider. If other team attacks don’t succeed in stage 7, the 48 minute 49 second time he won at today’s time trial could be the icing on the cake.
The battle goes back into the hills, to Mt Diablo on Saturday!
2013 Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 Results
|1.||31||USA19880812||VAN GARDEREN, Tejay||BMC||00:48:52.370||00:00:00|
|12.||103||ESP19890506||DE LA CRUZ, David||TNE||00:51:01||00:02:09|
|13.||71||BEL19861106||DE GENDT, Thomas||VCD||00:51:09||00:02:17|
|14.||73||ESP19770917||FLECHA, Juan Antonio||VCD||00:51:15||00:02:23|
|22.||81||AHO19840215||DE MAAR, Marc||UHC||00:52:02||00:03:10|
|31.||26||BEL19910214||VAN KEIRSBULCK, Guillaume||OPQ||00:52:47||00:03:55|
|46.||106||POR19850424||PIMENTA, Jose Joao||TNE||00:53:39||00:04:47|
|48.||22||BEL19820527||DE WEERT, Kevin||OPQ||00:53:41||00:04:49|
|55.||137||CUB19790407||ROMERO AMARAN, Luis||JSH||00:54:17||00:05:25|
|57.||77||NED19880118||VAN POPPEL, Boy||VCD||00:54:23||00:05:31|
|58.||18||BEL19810204||VAN SUMMEREN, Johan||GRS||00:54:23||00:05:31|
|75.||16||AUS19920102||MORTON, Lachlan David||GRS||00:55:41||00:06:49|
|84.||84||SLO19840901||ILESIC, Aldo Ino||UHC||00:56:12||00:07:20|
|97.||55||ARG19830418||HAEDO, Lucas Sebastian||CAN||00:56:58||00:08:06|
|102.||98||HKG19840605||WU, Kin San||CSS||00:57:35||00:08:43|
|106.||64||DEN19860420||JORGENSEN, Jonas Aaen||TST||00:57:59||00:09:07|
|902.||94||TPE19881102||FENG, Chun Kai||CSS||01:13:45||Time Limit|
|904.||11||USA19790112||ZABRISKIE, David||GRS||Did Not Start|