Santa Barbara, CA.–May 16, 2014– Amgen Tour of California, 2014 Peter Sagan Takes Sprint Competition Lead; Bradley Wiggins Wears Yellow Again on Friday.
It was a surprise ending for some of the world’s strongest sprinters as BMC Racing Team’s Taylor
Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) cycled off the front of the field by 12 seconds to a solo victory, and captured his first Amgen Tour of California stage win.
“Sometimes you just have a voice inside you that says go,” said Phinney. “It just got more and more painful as I went on but I knew that if I made it, it would be worth it, and it definitely, definitely was. It’s the best way to win, to win like that.”
At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 185 pounds, Phinney is one of the tallest and biggest cyclists in the field, and he used his weight and his time-trialing skills on the descent off San Marcos Pass, about 15 miles from the finish on Thursday’s 107.4 mile ride from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara.
“I was able to tuck and pull away and accelerate up to speed and then tuck and keep pulling away,” said Phinney after the stage.
Riding for Cannondale Pro Cycling, Peter Sagan’s (SVK) sprint gave him a second-place finish which was good enough to put him in the ‘Visit California Sprint Leader Jersey’ for the first time this week. Sagan has won the Points competition at the Amgen Tour of California for four years running, and at the Tour de France for two years running.
Sagan, who also holds the record for Amgen Tour of California stage wins (10), was gunning for the stage win today, with his teammates protecting him to the end and setting the tempo at the front of the peloton for much of the stage.
Cannondale was joined by ORICA-GreenEDGE to chase Phinney when he jumped ahead of the peloton with about 15 miles to the finish. The team was setting up to launch their lead sprinter Matthew Goss (AUS) to the finish. Approaching the line together with the main group, Goss went head-to-head with Sagan in the final meters and retained third place.
A breakaway of six took the lead around mile 10 soon after leaving Pismo Beach. However, the peloton was determined to keep the gap to well under three minutes today and the riders within reach. Spurred to quicker speeds when Trek Factory Racing’s Jens Voigt (GER) launched an uphill attack on San Marcos Pass, the peloton easily reeled back all six during the 5.3-mile ascent.
Once at the top of the categorized climb, with a 5.1 average grade, Phinney launched a solo attack during the fast descent into Santa Barbara. His unique style of riding downhill on his crossbar, along with his heavy frame helped him pull away from the main group as he reached speeds of 60 mph. His lead grew to 40 seconds with four miles left to ride, and there was nothing the peloton could do to catch him before they reached the finish in Santa Barbara.
Known as one of the world’s top time trialists, this is Phinney’s seventh career stage win, though only the second in a road race (2013 Tour de Poland.) Phinney’s impressive victory also earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey today.
Will Routley (CAN) of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies who won yesterday’s stage 4 spent the day in the peloton rather than the breakaway, but sprung ahead on San Marcos Pass to once again claim the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey.
Today’s result left the leader board unaltered with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins (GBR) retaining the Amgen Race Leader Jersey for the fourth day, trailed by Team Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis (AUS) with +:28 and Team NetApp-Endura’s Tiago Machado (POR) with +1:09. Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas) of Team Giant-Shimano remains in the Crunchies Best Young Rider jersey and fourth place overall.