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Haedo wins stage 1 at Tour of California

It didn’t take long for the upstart Toyota-United team to make an impact on the American road-racing scene. Just a couple of weeks after announcing its team name and roster, Toyota-United’s four-time Argentinean champion, Juan Jose Haedo, scored the biggest win of his career in Monday’s opening road stage at the Amgen Tour of California, an 81.5-mile jaunt north from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.

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By Kip Mikler, VeloNews editor

Haedo scores a big win for the brand-new Toyota-United Pro team

Haedo scores a big win for the brand-new Toyota-United Pro team

Photo: Graham Watson

It didn’t take long for the upstart Toyota-United team to make an impact on the American road-racing scene. Just a couple of weeks after announcing its team name and roster, Toyota-United’s four-time Argentinean champion, Juan Jose Haedo, scored the biggest win of his career in Monday’s opening road stage at the Amgen Tour of California, an 81.5-mile jaunt north from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.

“This was the first win for my Toyota-United team, and that is special,” said the 25-year-old Haedo, who surprised some big-time sprinters with his powerful finishing kick. Launching his sprint from about 300 meters, Haedo beat Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) and Stuart O’Grady (CSC), who finished second and third, respectively.

In the battle for the overall of the eight-day, 600-mile race between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Gerolsteiner’s Levi Leipheimer delighted his hometown fans in Santa Rosa by finishing in the main bunch and holding onto the leader’s jersey.

“There are no words to sum up the way I feel,” said Leipheimer, who had to choke back tears during the podium presentation. “I got reports last night that they were expecting maybe 50,000 people today on the course, and I thought that was maybe a bit much, but we saw today there were at least that many people. I’m overwhelmed and very grateful. It’s a very special day for me.”

Rolling along the coast

Rolling along the coast

Photo: Graham Watson

Starting in Sausalito, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the race’s first road stage took riders on a scenic jaunt up the California coast, and into Sonoma County. From the start, the day was expected to come down to a sprinter’s battle in Santa Rosa, where the large President’s Day crowd gathered for the finish on a picture-perfect afternoon.

After departing Sausalito, the field of 127 riders rolled up Highway 101 through the spectacular scenery of Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Leipheimer’s Gerolsteiner team controlled the pace early on until the day’s first action came just after the 20-mile marker. American Jackson Stewart (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) and French rider Jean Marc Marino (Crédit Agricole) set off on a two-man break in the approach to the first sprint spot at Point Reyes.

Leipheimer salutes the hometown crowd

Leipheimer salutes the hometown crowd

Photo: Graham Watson

Leipheimer began the day with a five-second lead over CSC’s Bobby Julich and a six-second lead over Discovery Channel’s George Hincapie. His objectives on Monday were clear: stay with those GC threats, please the crowds, and cash in on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take an international race leader’s jersey home to his own bed for the night.

Pre-race predictions for the short, rolling stage centered on teams harboring stage-win aspirations. Davitamon-Lotto had Fred Rodriguez as its top speedster, and CSC had a hungry Stuart O’Grady. Domestic teams that would be in the mix included Health Net-Maxxis (with sprinters Gord Fraser and Greg Henderson) and Haedo’s Toyota-United team.

Those two domestic teams are destined to develop into rivals on the National Racing Calendar, and the fact that Haedo struck first at a major U.S. race was a moment for the Toyota team to relish. “Tour of California, all the big teams, that’s the only way to do it,” said Toyota-United rider Tony Cruz. “All the skeptics can become supporters now.”

With Gerolsteiner content to let Stewart and Marino dangle off the front as the race headed north, the break built a maximum lead of 3:20 before the chase heated up behind them. Once they hit the day’s biggest climb, with about 30 miles to go, Stewart and Marino started to falter. Discovery Channel riders Vladimir Gusev and Jason McCartney lit a fire in the chase when they went to the front of the field on the Valley Ford road climb, and the gap started coming down quickly. The uncategorized climb was neither steep nor long, but the field began to splinter under pressure. That’s when Health Toyota-United took a hit as Ivan Dominguez, one of its sprinters, was dropped.

After that last climb, it was a flat 20-mile stretch to the finish. Stewart and Marino’s lead dwindled to less than a minute. The two were finally caught with 13 miles to go, and the jostling for position began. Gerolsteiner went to the front of the field as it charged into the first of three 3.5-mile finishing laps. That’s when Health Net took its own hit, a front flat by top finishing threat Fraser.

On the second of the three laps, Davitamon-Lotto riders took control, and it looked like Rodriguez, also a Bay Area resident, might have his shot at the win. It wouldn’t come quite so easily, though. T-Mobile took its shot at the front, and by the time the final lap began it was anybody’s guess.

“The finish was a little bit chaotic,” said Haedo. “Gerolsteiner was trying to keep [Leipheimer] safe. All the sprinters were trying to get to the front. My teammates did a good job protecting me until the last lap, and I kind of went on my own. Lotto was at the front and I followed them.”

Jelly Belly sprinter Alex Candelario said Haedo simply stepped up and stole the show. “It was really hectic the last three laps,” Candelario said. “It was mano a mano. No one really had that good of a leadout except T-Mobile. Lotto was pretty organized, they had about three guys up there. Then Haedo popped it at 300 meters to go and he just smoked everyone. He was probably going three miles an hour faster than anyone else.”

Showing mid-season form, Haedo blew past T-Mobile’s Olaf Pollack and CSC’s O’Grady to take the win by three bike lengths. “I work hard all winter, which is my summer in Argentina, to compete,” Haedo said. “But I never expected to win with a gap like that.”

The humble Haedo might not have expected to cruise past international speedsters like O’Grady, Pollack and Hincapie, but Leipheimer provided this last bit of insight from the man who finished third. “Stuey [O’Grady] told me Haedo just flat out dusted them.”

The hometown hero

The hometown hero

Photo: Graham Watson

Race notes
Asked if he is concerned about the fact that CSC has three riders in the top 10, while Discovery has five riders in the top 11, Leipheimer answered that even with only one GC card to play, the race lead is where Gerolsteiner would prefer to sit. “It doesn’t worry me. It’s the situation we’re in, we can’t change it, so we’re going to do the best with what we’ve got,” Leipheimer said. “I’m the one leading the race, so they have to attack us. They have to go on the offensive. They have the more difficult job. Both teams have two or three guys who can win the overall. One of them is going to have to take a big chance. Tomorrow we’re going to have to take it kilometer by kilometer.” Addressing Tuesday’s difficult final climb up Sierra Road, Leipheimer said it wasn’t the climb that would prove decisive, but what happens before the climb that could change the GC. “What teams are attacking, who gets away and how hard is it for my team to control?” Leipheimer said. “If we come to the climb and everything is within reach, I feel confident that no one is going to drop me. But it is going to be tricky because it is a long ways from the finish. You can’t go it alone. No one can go it alone. It wouldn’t be smart. Hopefully it will come down to a small group, we’ll get rid of a few guys, and then it will come down to [Wednesday’s] time trial.” Race organizers’ error resulted in TIAA-CREF rider Taylor Tolleson being awarded the best-young-rider jersey instead of Sunday’s best young rider in the prologue, Zach Grabowski of Colavita Olive Oil. Both riders finished in the pack in Santa Rosa — however, Tolleson finished ahead of Grabowski on the stage, which may have contributed to the officials’ error. Brought onstage to receive the jersey, a reticent Tolleson clearly appeared confused. In what is perhaps a sign of things to come, TIAA-CREF’s Brad Huff, winner of the elite national criterium championship last year, finished fourth, ahead of fast finishers like George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Viktor Rapinski (Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home), René Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), Alex Candelario (Jelly Belly) and Charles Dionne (Saunier Duval-Prodir).

The jerseys
Race leader: Leipheimer
Points leader: Haedo
Climber: Bernard Kohl (T-Mobile)
Best young rider: Grabowski

VeloNews senior writer Neal Rogers contributed to this report.

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage 1 Results

1. Juan José Haedo (Arg), Toyota-United Pro, 3:14:13

2. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile

3. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC

4. Charles Bradley Huff (USA), TIAA-CREF

5. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

6. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

7. René Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner

8. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak

9. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United Pro

10. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC

11. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net Maxxis

12. Alex Candelario (USA), JBC

13. Charles Dionne (CAN), Saunier Duval

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

15. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

16. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

17. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak

18. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile

19. Greipel André (G), T-Mobile

20. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net Maxxis

21. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance

22. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner

23. Matthew Rice (Aus), JBC

24. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto

25. Michael Barry (Can), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

26. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF

27. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

28. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC

29. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto

30. Bastiaan Giling (Nl), T-Mobile

31. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak

32. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF

33. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

34. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner

35. Portal Sébastien (F), Credit Agricole

36. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

37. Fausto Esparza (MEX), MEX

38. Jens Voigt (G), CSC

39. Korff André (G), T-Mobile

40. Christian Vandevelde (USA), CSC

41. Janez Brajkovic (SLO), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

42. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

43. Dominique Perras (CAN), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

44. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile

45. Gordon Fraser (CAN), Health Net Maxxis

46. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval

47. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole

48. Brice Jones (USA), JBC

49. Martin Perdiguero Miguel Angel (Sp), Phonak

50. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak

51. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF

52. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole

53. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole

54. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

55. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole

56. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC

57. Jason Mccartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

58. Andrew Bajadali (USA), JBC

59. Pieter Mertens (B), Davitamon-Lotto

60. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile

61. Mark Walters (CAN), Navigators Insurance

62. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak

63. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner

64. Martin Gilbert (CAN), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

65. Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick (USA), Phonak

66. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net Maxxis

67. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United

68. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United

69. Nick Reistad (USA), JBC

70. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile

71. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance

72. Zachary Grabowski (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

73. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC

74. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto

75. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance

76. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval

77. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United

78. Todd Herriot (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

79. Brian Jensen (USA), JBC

80. Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Health Net Maxxis

81. Garcia José-Manuel (MEX), Toyota-United

82. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner

83. Peter Lopinto (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

84. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval

85. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net Maxxis

86. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak

87. Benitez Roman Jose Alberto (Sp), Saunier Duval

88. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United

89. Arquimides Lam (MEX), MEX

90. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto

91. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval

92. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner

93. Gomez Marchante José Angel (Sp), Saunier Duval

94. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF

95. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF

96. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF

97. Gustavo Artacho (ARG), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

98. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance

99. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto

100. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF

101. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner

102. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto

103. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

104. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net Maxxis

105. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole

106. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval

107. Kirk Albers (USA), JBC

108. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole

109. Caleb Manion (Aus), JBC

110. Michael Dietrich (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

111. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance

112. Ivan Dominguez (CUB), Toyota-United, 3:14:42

113. David O'Loughlin (IRL), Navigators Insurance, 3:14:55

114. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, 3:15:09

115. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC

116. Michael Jones (USA), Health Net Maxxis, 3:15:48

117. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 3:17:07

118. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, 3:17:07

119. David Robinson (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 3:17:29

120. Domingo Gonzalez (MEX), MEX, 3:21:10

121. Florencio Ramos (MEX), MEX, 3:21:10

122. Jesus Zarate (MEX), MEX, 3:21:10

123. Antonio Aldape (MEX), MEX, 3:21:10

124. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, 3:21:16

125. Olivier Kaisen (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 3:22:24

126. Manuel Hernandez (MEX), MEX, 3:25:58

127. Miguel Mesa (MEX), MEX, 3:25:58

Overall after Stage 1

1. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, 3:19:06

2. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, 00:05

3. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 00:06

4. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak

5. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 00:09

6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, 00:10

7. Jason Mccartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

8. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net Maxxis, 00:11

9. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

10. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

11. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 00:12

12. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto

13. O:grady Stuart (Aus), CSC

14. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, 00:14

15. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United

16. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto

17. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 00:15

18. Gordon Fraser (CAN), Health Net Maxxis, 00:16

19. Haselbacher René (A), Gerolsteiner, 00:17

20. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole

21. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval

22. Christian Vandevelde (USA), CSC

23. Martin Perdiguero Miguel Angel (Sp), Phonak

24. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United

25. O:neill Nathan (Aus), Health Net Maxxis

26. Michael Barry (CAN), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 00:18

27. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC

28. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance, 00:19

29. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, 00:20

30. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner

31. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval

32. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 00:21

33. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto

34. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

35. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, 00:22

36. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval

37. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole

38. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto

39. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF

40. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole, 00:23

41. Zachary Grabowski (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

42. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole

43. Janez Brajkovic (SLO), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

44. Mark Walters (CAN), Navigators Insurance, 00:24

45. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

46. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net Maxxis

47. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, 00:25

48. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak

49. Mark Mccormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

50. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval

51. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance

52. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval

53. Charles Bradley Huff (USA), TIAA-CREF, 00:26

54. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF

55. Greipel André (G), T-Mobile

56. Pieter Mertens (B), Davitamon-Lotto

57. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, 00:27

58. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak

59. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net Maxxis

60. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner

61. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance

62. Gomez Marchante José Angel (Sp), Saunier Duval

63. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United, 00:28

64. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF

65. Todd Herriot (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

66. Brian Jensen (USA), JBC

67. Andrew Bajadali (USA), JBC, 00:29

68. Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick (USA), Phonak, 00:30

69. Haedo Juan José (ARG), Toyota-United

70. Korff André (G), T-Mobile

71. Garcia José-Manuel (MEX), Toyota-United, 00:31

72. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net Maxxis

73. Bastiaan Giling (Nl), T-Mobile, 00:32

74. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF

75. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto

76. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole

77. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, 00:33

78. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance

79. Portal Sébastien (F), Credit Agricole

80. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile

81. Matthew Rice (Aus), JBC, 00:34

82. Caleb Manion (Aus), JBC

83. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, 00:35

84. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF, 00:36

85. Michael Dietrich (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

86. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner

87. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United

88. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak

89. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, 00:37

90. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto

91. Gustavo Artacho (ARG), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, 00:38

92. Dominique Perras (CAN), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada

93. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC

94. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 00:41

95. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF, 00:42

96. Nick Reistad (USA), JBC, 00:44

97. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole

98. Fausto Esparza (MEX), MEX, 00:45

99. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net Maxxis

100. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance

101. Alex Candelario (USA), JBC

102. Benitez Roman Jose Alberto (Sp), Saunier Duval

103. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF, 00:50

104. Martin Gilbert (CAN), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 00:51

105. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United

106. Kirk Albers (USA), JBC

107. Brice Jones (USA), JBC, 00:52

108. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile

109. Peter Lopinto (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 00:54

110. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile

111. Arquimides Lam (MEX), MEX, 00:59

112. Charles Dionne (CAN), Saunier Duval, 1:01

113. O'loughlin David (IRL), Navigators Insurance, 1:03

114. Ivan Dominguez (CUB), Toyota-United, 1:28

115. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, 1:29

116. Michael Jones (USA), Health Net Maxxis, 1:58

117. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, 3:28

118. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 3:39

119. David Robinson (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, 4:15

120. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, 7:36

121. Domingo Gonzalez (MEX), MEX, 7:45

122. Antonio Aldape (MEX), MEX, 7:51

123. Florencio Ramos (MEX), MEX, 8:06

124. Jesus Zarate (MEX), MEX, 8:24

125. Olivier Kaisen (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 9:24

126. Manuel Hernandez (MEX), MEX, 12:50

127. Miguel Mesa (MEX), MEX, 13:01