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Amgen Tour of California: T-Mobile’s Pollack takes Thousand Oaks sprint

In a blur of pink, T-Mobile’s Olaf Pollack streaked across the finish line at the Amgen corporate campus in Thousand Oaks, upsetting a hard-charging field to win stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday. It was the first victory of the season for Pollack’s German T-Mobile squad, and a nice present for T-Mobile's bike sponsor, Giant, whose USA headquarters lies just two miles from the finish line.

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Landis one day closer to his biggest win on American soil

By Neal Rogers

Pollack picks one off

Pollack picks one off

Photo: Graham Watson

In a blur of pink, T-Mobile’s Olaf Pollack streaked across the finish line at the Amgen corporate campus in Thousand Oaks, upsetting a hard-charging field to win stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday. It was the first victory of the season for Pollack’s German T-Mobile squad, and a nice present for T-Mobile’s bike sponsor, Giant, whose USA headquarters lies just two miles from the finish line.

After a daring solo attempt by Gerolsteiner’s René Haselbacher was swallowed up in the final 15 meters, Pollack shot across the line ahead of Italian Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto). Race leader Floyd Landis of Phonak-iShares finished safely in the bunch and is now just one day from securing his overall victory.

Pollack, a 32-year-old sprinter, has been a professional since 1997. His most notable season came in 2004 riding for Gerolsteiner, when he wore the maglia rosa of the Giro d’Italia after stage 1 and took a few second places behind Alessandro Petacchi. Still, Pollack, who took second to Haedo on stage 2 in Santa Rosa, said the finishing speeds in the U.S. have been comparable to those in Europe.

“It was very fast,” Pollack said. “In the last 2500 meters, my teammates Michael Rogers and André Korff went up the left side, and we were faster than the other guys. What can I tell you? I won!”

With no change in the general classification and only a flat circuit race in Redondo Beach remaining, Landis was able to taste victory. It will be a win Landis called “the most satisfying win” of his career. Asked if winning a race in his home state of California is especially rewarding, Landis laughed. “It’s extra sweet because I’m going to In & Out Burger after this!”

Krauss takes a dig . . .

Krauss takes a dig . . .

Photo: Graham Watson

Gerolsteiner on the attack
As it has been all week, the weather was perfect and the crowds were thick along the 89.3-mile route from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks. And as it has been since Levi Leipheimer surrendered his leader’s jersey at the time trial in San Jose on Wednesday, Gerolsteiner was again on the attack.

The first Gerolsteiner rider to make a move was Sven Krauss, who joined a move just 2.5 miles into the stage. Also in the group was Karsten Kroon (CSC), 
 
Scott Davis (T-Mobile), 
Mike Jones (Health Net
), Justin England (Toyota United), 
Dominique Perras (KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada), 
Brice Jones (Jelly Belly).

With a category four climb 34 miles from the finish, Discovery Channel clearly had thoughts of setting up double stage winner George Hincapie, who has twice won bunch sprints out of select climbing groups. Discovery’s Viatcheslav Ekimov attempted to bridge across to the leaders, in hopes of giving Hincapie a free ride to the line, but the breakaway got word the Russian was coming and accelerated the pace. Once Ekimov was absorbed by the peloton, Discovery Channel went to work at the front, taking the workload off Phonak.

Jelly Belly’s Jones dropped out of the group on the day’s first category four climb, 16.3 miles in, but the remainder of the breakaways stayed away over another category four climb five kilometers later and remained off the front until mile 31. As the peloton pedaled through orange groves, approaching the first sprint point in Ojai, Krauss, the sole remnant of the break, attacked the break with 1km to the sprint line, but was reeled in soon after.

The next Gerolsteiner rider to attack was Fabian Wegmann, winner of the 2005 San Francisco Grand Prix, who first summited the day’s category three climb at mile 35. Leipheimer crossed the KOM line second, securing his victory in the mountains competition.

Next up to stir the pot was Gerolsteiner’s Sebastian Lang, who initiated the day’s most threatening breakaway at mile 47, just before the day’s second sprint point in Santa Paula. Rising solo, Lang held a two-minute advantage over the category-four climb at mile 55.

. . . followed by Lang

. . . followed by Lang

Photo: Graham Watson

Looking to join Lang, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada’s Dominique Perras and Phonak’s Miguel Angel Perdiguero leapt out of the field, but lacked the horsepower to reach the German. Behind, the sprinters’ teams of Juan José Haedo (Toyota-United), Pollack (T-Mobile) and Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) amassed, eager to end the day’s breakaways and set up their lead-out trains. Conspicuously missing was Health Net-Maxxis, whose sprinters Fraser and Henderson had thus far been shut out of a podium finish.

The chase was assisted by Lang’s untimely puncture and slow wheel change at mile 68, and by mile 72 he sat up and waited for the field. It wasn’t long before Krauss was again on the offensive, just three miles from the day’s three 3.1-mile finishing circuits. Krauss opened a maximum advantage of 18 seconds before the field, driven by Toyota-United and Health Net-Maxxis, made the catch at the start/finish line with two laps remaining. With the field back together, the fight for the stage win was on.

CSC put in a lot of work and came up empty-handed

CSC put in a lot of work and came up empty-handed

Photo: Graham Watson

Pink party
Like a sleeping giant finally awakened, CSC, the top team in the team classification with Dave Zabriskie in second and Bobby Julich in third, came to the front in hopes of setting up Aussie Stuart O’Grady. With crowd favorite Jens Voigt driving the field, CSC controlled the pace until, in the final kilometer, Haselbacher made what looked like the winning move. It was a valiant effort, but Haselbacher couldn’t quite take his advantage all the way to the line, and with CSC’s leadout train fading, the bunch swarmed in the final 15 meters. Blasting across first was Pollack, whose emphatic victory celebration spoke volumes.

“I looked only at the back wheel of André Korff,” Pollack said. “Gord Fraser was behind me, and Rodriguez, Haedo, I think four or five sprinters behind me. It was very difficult to drop [fifth-place finisher] Fabian Wegmann.”

The day was another near miss for Rodriguez, who took second to Haedo in San Luis Obispo. “Today I had some great legs,” Rodriguez said. “I was actually making it over the climbs with the GC guys and with about 50 kilometers to go I started getting a really bad stomach problem so I had to go back to the team car and get some Tums. It was all looking great and I was on J.J.’s wheel with 200 meters to go. Then he sat up, and I wasn’t expecting that, so we hesitated for a second and they came from behind.”

After stage wins by Leipheimer, Haedo, Hincapie and Landis, Pollack’s victory marked the first win of the Amgen Tour of California by a rider unfamiliar to the North American cycling community.

Lang’s solo breakaway earned him the Adobe most aggressive rider jersey. Asked about Gerolsteiner’s non-stop aggressive tactics, Leipheimer said his team has been enjoying its time in California. “Our team is trying to be aggressive, trying to win another stage,” he said. “We’ve been in every single breakaway, most of the time initiating the breakaway. It’s been a great race for us, with Sebastian Lang getting the most aggressive rider jersey today. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Hincapie kept his lead in the sprint competition and will wear the Clif Bar sprint jersey into Redondo Beach. With no KOM points on offer in tomorrow’s race, Leipheimer is the winner of the California Travel and Tourism king of the mountain jersey. Tom Peterson (TIAA-CREF) will wear the Union Bank best young rider jersey into the final stage.

Riders will complete 10 laps of a 7.65-mile circuit race in Redondo Beach on Sunday to fight for the final stage win and determine the jersey competition winners.

Landis flanked by his teammates

Landis flanked by his teammates

Photo: Graham Watson

Results are posted. To see how the race developed, simply CLICK HERE to open our Live Update window. Then check back to VeloNews.com for a race report and more photos.

Click here for access to video featuring interviews with CSC’s David Zabriskie, Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt.

Photo Gallery

Results

Results

1. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, 144km in 3:26:39

2. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval, same time

3. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

4. Gordon Fraser (Can), Health Net-Maxxis

5. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

6. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

7. René Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

8. Greipel André (G), T-Mobile, s.t.

9. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.

10. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

11. Michael Barry (Can), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

12. Alex Candelario (USA), Jelly Belly, s.t.

13. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

14. Mark McCormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.

15. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, s.t.

16. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

17. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

18. Fausto Esparza (Mex), s.t.

19. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

20. Sébastien Portal (F), Credit Agricole, s.t.

21. Charles Dionne (Can), Saunier Duval

22. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, s.t.

23. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, s.t.

24. Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

25. Juan José Haedo (Arg), Toyota-United, s.t.

26. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.

27. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, s.t.v

28. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

29. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

30. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

31. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

32. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, s.t.

33. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

34. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

35. André Korff (G), T-Mobile, s.t.

36. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

37. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

38. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole, s.t.

39. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, s.t.

40. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, s.t.

41. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, s.t.

42. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

43. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

44. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United, s.t.

45. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

46. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile, s.t.

47. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

48. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

49. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

50. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole, s.t.

51. Mark Walters (Can), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

52. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

53. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

54. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

55. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

56. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United, s.t.

57. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, s.t.

58. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole, s.t.

59. Brian Jensen (USA), Jelly Belly, s.t.

60. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval, s.t.

61. Nick Reistad (USA), Jelly Belly, s.t.

62. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole, s.t.

63. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

64. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

65. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

66. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United, s.t.

67. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, s.t.

68. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, s.t.

69. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, s.t.

70. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

71. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

72. Dominique Perras (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, s.t.

73. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

74. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile, s.t.

75. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

76. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval, s.t.

77. José Angel Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, s.t.

78. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

79. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.

80. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United, s.t.

81. José-Manuel Garcia (Mex), Toyota-United, s.t.

82. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

83. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval, s.t.

84. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.

85. Arquimides Lam (Mex) , s.t.

86. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.

87. Jesus Zarate (Mex) , s.t.

88. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF, s.t.

89. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

90. Martin Perdiguero Miguel Angel (Sp), Phonak, at 0:27

91. Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), Phonak, s.t.

92. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly, s.t.

93. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:36

94. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

95. David O'Loughlin (IRL), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

96. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

97. Brice Jones (USA), Jelly Belly, at 0:43

98. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, s.t.

99. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

100. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC, s.t.

101. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United, s.t.

102. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 1:12

103. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC, at 1:17

Overall (after Stage 6)

1. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 19:56:19

2. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, at 0:29

3. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 0:34

4. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 0:45

5. Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Health Net-Maxxis, at 1:08

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, at 1:10

7. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:29

8. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:49

9. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, at 1:55

10. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:58

11. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, at 2:14

12. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile, at 2:15

13. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:17

14. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:20

15. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 2:32

16. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole, at 2:52

17. Michael Barry (Can), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 2:56

18. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole, at 3:11

19. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak, at 3:22

20. José Angel Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, s.t.

21. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval, at 4:10

22. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 4:31

23. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 5:30

24. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United, at 6:13

25. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 6:20

26. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 6:32

27. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance, at 6:49

28. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 6:52

29. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 7:34

30. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 7:36

31. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 7:39

32. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United, at 7:46

33. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 7:52

34. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 8:02

35. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC, at 8:26

36. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 8:56

37. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole, at 9:11

38. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United, at 9:13

39. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval, at 9:23

40. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 9:35

41. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, at 10:17

42. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile, at 11:09

43. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:07

44. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance, at 12:26

45. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, at 12:29

46. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 12:39

47. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 12:48

48. Brian Jensen (USA), Jelly Belly, at 13:01

49. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 13:30

50. Arquimides Lam (Mex), at 14:15

51. Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Phonak, at 14:43

52. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 15:47

53. Dominique Perras (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 16:35

54. André Korff (G), T-Mobile, at 16:50

55. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 17:21

56. André Greipel (G), T-Mobile, at 17:22

57. Sébastien Portal (F), Credit Agricole, at 17:50

58. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, at 18:04

59. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 18:21

60. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 18:47

61. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, at 18:57

62. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, at 19:08

63. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole, at 19:25

64. Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), Phonak, at 19:37

65. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 19:57

66. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole, at 19:58

67. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 20:17

68. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 20:21

69. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United, at 20:24

70. Mark Walters (Can), Navigators Insurance, at 20:30

71. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, at 21:19

72. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 21:20

73. David O'Loughlin (IRL), Navigators Insurance, at 21:33

74. Gordon Fraser (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, at 21:36

75. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 21:56

76. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 23:10

77. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 24:38

78. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United, at 24:41

79. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner, at 24:50

80. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 25:01

81. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 25:07

82. Fausto Esparza (Mex), at 25:18

83. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 25:42

84. Nick Reistad (USA), Jelly Belly, at 25:59

85. René Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, at 26:10

86. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 26:13

87. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 26:39

88. Alex Candelario (USA), Jelly Belly, at 27:01

89. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 27:40

90. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 27:52

91. Charles Dionne (Can), Saunier Duval, at 28:16

92. José-Manuel Garcia (Mex), Toyota-United, at 28:22

93. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval, at 28:55

94. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC, at 28:57

95. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 29:25

96. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, at 29:31

97. Jesus Zarate (Mex), at 30:05

98. Juan José Haedo (Arg), Toyota-United, at 31:04

99. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 31:05

100. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 31:28

101. Mark McCormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 32:05

102. Brice Jones (USA), Jelly Belly, at 32:07

103. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 40:45