Zabriskie, doing what he does best. | Casey B. Gibson photo

Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo) won stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack) and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) rounded out the podium, with Chris Horner putting in a fast enough time to hold onto the race lead.

Under blue skies and gentle breezes the peloton of the Amgen Tour of California set out one at a time on the Solvang course.

Ian Stannard (Sky) set the early best time of 32:07. Riding in the U.S. national champion skinsuit, BMC’s Taylor Phinney came through for second at the time, posting a 32:12.

The 15-mile course featured about 500 feet of elevation gain. The course climbed gradually through the halfway point, finally peaking at the 8.7-mile mark, before descending back down to the finish.

Domestic rider Tom Zirbel (Jamis), who finished seventh in the 2009 Solvang time trial, set out on a good pace in the last half of the starters. But then, he suddenly pulled over — his seatpost had slipped. It took his mechanic at least 10 seconds to get to him, and then at least another 10 seconds to adjust the seatpost with a multi-tool. When he climbed back on, his motivation was clearly shot. He slowly clipped into his pedals and resumed riding, knowing his chances at a good time had slipped away with the seatpost.

Nothing was slipping for Zabriskie, however, except the wind past his narrow frame. He stopped the clock with a time of 30:35.

Van Garderen also put in an excellent ride with a time of 31:15.

Leipheimer and Horner were the last two men to take the start. Leipheimer worked his bike and the course as hard as he could, making use of the full width of the road through corners. He came in at 30:49.

Quick results
Stage 5

  • 1. David Zabriskie (USA/Garmin) in 30:36
  • 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) at 14
  • 3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) 40
  • 4. Peter Velits (SVK) 48
  • 5. Maarten Tjallingii (NED) 49
  • Overall

  • 1. Christopher Horner (USA/RadioShack) in 17hr 17:01
  • 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) at 38
  • 3. Rory Sutherland (AUS) 01:38
  • 4. Christian Vandevelde (USA) 01:39
  • 5. Thomas Danielson (USA) 01:44

Complete results