Replay: Live coverage of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California stage 1
Mark Cavendish starts off his 2010 Amgen Tour of California with a stage win in Sacramento
A look at the Manx Missile's Scott Addict
After all the pre-race pomp and circumstance, the fifth edition of the Amgen Tour of California rolls out of gold-mining town Nevada City at 11:45 a.m. Sunday morning, finishing in Sacramento roughly four hours later. Here is a look at the course.
Kiel Reijnen will make an emotional return to Nevada City for the start of stage 1 at the Amgen Tour of California Sunday. The second-year pro and his Jelly Belly-Kenda teammates will don purple wristbands and raise funds in remembrance of Reijnen’s aunt, who was murdered in neighboring Grass Valley in 2005.
Seven-time Tour champ admits nothing is guaranteed, but adds that he believes he can win in July
Flanked by compatriots Lance Armstrong and Dave Zabriskie, RadioShack’s three-time Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer sat front and center at a pre-race press conference Friday afternoon in Sacramento, stating that he was prepared to defend his title against a world-class field competing in America’s biggest race.
The Amgen Tour of California is two days from its start in Nevada City, Calif. and race organizers have pleaded for cooperation from fans in keeping the roads paint-free. According to technical director Chuck Hodge, the tour risks permit losses going forward if the traditional practice of road painting continues.
It's all California
Fly V australia releases daily Tour of California power files
On the eve of the fifth Amgen Tour of California, a pair of American overall favorites — three-time winner Levi Leipheimer and two-time runner-up Dave Zabriskie — spoke with VeloNews, assessing the riders most likely to win America’s biggest race, including each other.
American-based BMC Racing is aiming to bring world champion Cadel Evans overall victory at the Giro d’Italia this month, but the country’s only Pro Continental team will also be sending a powerful squad to the Amgen Tour of California in search of stage wins. Leading that team will be U.S. national champion George Hincapie.
Race organizer AEG Sports announced the starting rosters Friday for the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The 16-team competition will include seven ProTour squads.
While they dominated U.S. racing for much of the last decade, UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis (known under variatious sponsors' names) has, since 2005, struggled to find a stage win in one of the country’s major stage races. The team will get another shot when they take the start of stage 1 at the Amgen Tour of California.
Increased anti-doping protocols planned for Amgen Tour
Readers weigh in on the Tour of California, April Fools and doping penalties
Book the Sacramento hotel rooms for Danny Van Haute and Jelly Belly-Kenda in May — they will be at the start line for the Amgen Tour of California. The team will have its fifth opportunity to improve on Alex Candelario’s two fifth-place stage finishes at California in 2006, their best showing in the United States’ premiere stage race.
The road is only so wide and there are only so many hotel beds in the Central Valley of California. Five U.S. Continental teams got the good news that they’ll have beds for their riders when the Amgen Tour of California leaves Nevada City on May 16. Six others did not make the cut.
When Saxo Bank’s Olympic and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara won the Sacramento prologue in last year’s Amgen Tour of California, he looked capable of going on to defend the leader’s yellow jersey all the way through to the finish. That’s because the once burly Swiss star had shed several kilos over the 2008-09 winter and was making great improvements as a climber and GC contender.
Sprinter Ivan Dominguez, the Cuban Missile turned American citizen, has won a stage in each of the major American tours — California, Georgia and Missouri — but will not have the opportunity to add to that tally at this year’s Amgen Tour of California, as his Jamis-Sutter Home team has not received an invitation to the race.
Johan Bruyneel says the Giro d'Italia didn't fit Team RadioShack's plans for 2010 — instead, the team will focus on defending Levi Leipheimer's streak at the Amgen Tour of California.
A women's criterium will be held in Sacramento on May 16, just prior to the arrival of the men's Amgen Tour of California peloton in the city. The Sacramento Grand Prix at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will begin at 10 a.m. and will circle the Capitol building duplicating part of the finishing circuits that will be used in the men's race.
Despite being in only its fifth year and lasting just eight days, the Amgen Tour of California is fast approaching the status of a three-week grand tour — in terms of the publicity it generates. That was shown by last week’s online release, over four days, of the 2010 stage details, and by the number of Tour de France contenders choosing to compete in the U.S. when the Giro d’Italia is under way in Europe.
Defending Amgen Tour of California champ Levi Leipheimer hasn't yet seen or ridden what could be the most critical stage of the 2010 edition: the stage 7 individual time trial in Los Angeles.
As the Amgen Tour of California reaches its halfway point, first come the hills, then the mountains and the toughest stage in race history, as Tour officials unveil details of the 2010 stages this week, two stages each day. On Thursday they released maps and profiles of stages 5 and 6.
On the third day of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, the peloton will return to the scene of one of 2009's most dramatic moments: the climb up Bonny Doon Road.
Defending Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer said the first two stages of this year's race offer "opportunities for the sprinters," although the second stage might just shed a few of the peloton’s non-climbers.
The Amgen Tour of California has been a great early season race since its inception in 2006. Its organizers want it to be a great race, period. “We aspire to be an important part of the cycling calendar,” said Andrew Messick, AEG Sports president. “We felt as though being a February race we were, I don’t want to say pre-season, but we weren’t a race that most riders were really targeting.” To be a bigger race, the Tour of California needed two things, Messick said: a mid-season date and access to more climbing.
The 2010 Amgen Tour of California will venture high up into the Sierra Nevada, dispense with the traditional prologue, include a time trial in Los Angeles and feature the first mountaintop finish in the race’s history at Big Bear. The biggest change for the eight-day event remains the move from February to May (16-23), pitting it against the Giro d’Italia. Still, race organizers expect a field of comparable strength to 2009, when world champions and former winners of the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix lined up alongside America’s best riders.
Salt Lake City Police officials have released the name and a description of a suspect in the burglary of David Zabriskie’s home. Thieves struck the home of the Garmin-Slipstream rider approximately two weeks ago, while he was competing at the Amgen Tour of California. The home was cleared of nearly everything as thieves took bicycles, personal mementos and even automobiles.
The Astana Cycling team announced Saturday that Levi Leipheimer suffered an undisplaced fracture of the sacrum in a crash during the third stage of the Amgen Tour of California. As a result of the diagnosis, Leipheimer will not compete in next month’s edition of Paris-Nice (March 6-15) and will delay his return to cycling until March 23, when he competes in the five-day Vuelta a Castilla y León.
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Salt Lake City’s Deseret News has reported that police got a break in the case of David Zabriskie’s burglarized home late Tuesday. The paper reported that Salt Lake City’s Joint Criminal Apprehension Team along with the police department’s Lake Metro Gang Unit recovered one of the vehicles stolen from the house of Salt Lake resident David Zabriskie.
One of the lingering tech questions from the Amgen Tour of California has finally been answered, at least partially. As early as the prologue, a reader wrote to inquire about Jelly Belly’s time trial bikes, which are GT-branded but not shown on the GT Bicycles Web site. The GT-sponsored team also used these frames (with a different paint scheme) last season. We finally tracked down Michael De Leon, PR and advocacy manager for the Cannondale Sports Group, to get some of the story.
The women of ValueAct Capital are on a mission. Of course, winning races is primary. “My goal is to be one of the top three teams,” team director Lisa Hunt said at their February 10-18 training camp in Healdsburg, California. “We were top five last year. I’m confident we can be one of the top three this year.” Now in their fourth year, though, their mission has expanded. “We’re really out there to promote women’s cycling,” said Sharon Allpress, a racer on the team since 2007. “Not just to promote it, but to help it grow.”
While the Web-based cycling community was all a-Twitter over the recent theft and return of Lance Armstrong's time trial bike, another cyclist has suffered a bigger loss of personal property, but did not discover it until he returned from the recent Amgen Tour of California. Salt Lake City Police have issued an appeal for the public's help in recovering items stolen in a burglary at the home of Garmin-Slipstream’s David Zabriskie. According to police, the break-in occurred while Zabriskie was in California for the recent Amgen Tour.
The Amgen Tour of California wrapped up successfully with another win for Astana’s Levi Leipheimer. Also "winning" were the spectators who were treated to both great racing and an impressive consumer expo at every stage finish. Despite nasty weather for the first three days, traffic at stage finishes was heavy, and downright crowded whenever the sun came out.
With two laps of the finishing circuit remaining in the penultimate stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, Fränk Schleck attacked on his Specialized Tarmac SL2 — but victory eluded him. Undaunted, Schleck again took the initiative during the final stage on Palomar Mountain and then out-sprinted his lone breakaway partner, Liquigas’ Vincenzo Nibali, in a short kick to the line.
Rory Sutherland, as usual, closed out the Tour of California with a top result. Just like in the 2008 edition, Rory finished the final stage a wheel length behind George Hincapie. But this time instead of coming for the win, George and Rory were sprinting for third place just 40 seconds behind the winning duo of Frank Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali.
- 11:52 AM: Good day and welcome
to VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the eighth and final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, a challenging 96.8-mile race from Ranch Bernardo to Escondido, punctuated by the hors- categorie climb up Palomar Mountain.
Many riders are saying that the most decisive climb, however, may come on the Category 4 Cole Grade.
Looking over at the GC and one can only conclude that this race is far from decided.
To win his third consecutive Amgen Tour of California, Levi Leipheimer needed every bit of help he received from his seven Astana teammates. That was emphasized on Sunday when 10 riders broke clear on the upper reaches of Palomar Mountain, and Leipheimer was the only Astana man who could follow the attacks. “But even though he was alone on Palomar,” said Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel, “I could see Levi was comfortable.”
Mavic France placed a voluntary recall on all of its front R-SYS wheels this winter and a domestic recall followed suit two weeks later. The reason for the domestic delay was the CPSC’s approval of Mavic USA’s action plan for the recall. That plan was considered voluntary, but Mavic used verbiage and took action that made is seem more serious. Mavic stated consumers should “immediately cease use” and took the added measure of shipping R-SYS owners its Aksium model, which relies on steel spokes, until the situation can be rectified.
Ever since the Amgen Tour of California organizer Medalist Sports began mapping out the 2009 course about a year ago, rumors started circulating about their plan to include a climb up 5,123-foot Palomar Mountain near San Diego. The rumors about its inclusion turned to speculation about its effect when the plan was confirmed: the peloton would indeed tackle the 13-mile-long climb midway though stage 8’s 97-mile course between Rancho Bernardo and Escondido.
Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Rinaldo Nocentini scored a tough win in stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California aboard BH’s G4 Global Concept team bike on Saturday. While we don’t have the winner’s bike to profile, we did catch up with the team earlier in the week and managed to grab some shots and details about the team’s bikes, produced by Spain's Fabricante de bicicletas de Álava.
Gustav Larsson survived another fast-paced stage and finished safely ensconced in the peloton, which finished about two minutes behind the day’s winning break. Saxo Bank was represented in the break by Frank Schleck who put in a very strong attack with two laps to go on the Rose Bowl circuit in Pasadena, but came up short, taking eighth place. The action among the leading group of ten was similar to a Belgian kermesse: one attack after another.
Nine days after missing an Amgen Tour of California pre-race press conference due to a training crash, OUCH-Maxxis rider Floyd Landis met with a packed pressroom inside the Rose Bowl on Saturday. After comments by stage winner Rinaldo Nocentini and the day’s most courageous rider Christian Vande Velde, Landis filed into the cavernous pressroom. His appearance represented the first real chance most journalists in the room had to speak with the former AToC winner, since access to him before and after each stage this week has been very limited.
- 11:29 AM: Good day and welcome
to VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the seventh stage of the Amgen Tour of California, a 143km (88.9 mile) ride from Santa Clarita to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Today's stage, scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m., begins with 40km (25 miles) of gradual climbing before the route takes a significant hop up Millcreek Summit in the San Gabriel Mountains, a Category three climb that crests at the 60.7km mark (37.7 miles).
While the Liquigas team hasn’t had the race it might have wished for at this year’s Amgen Tour of California, it does appear to have a new bike. When questioned, Cannondale reps only acknowledged that the team has been testing prototype frames. The prototypes were created using the feedback Daniele Bennati provided after racing on a Super Six frame with custom geometry last year. That frame also served as a proving ground for Cannondale to test the use of high modulus carbon fiber, which is now found in the 2009 production model.
It can be difficult to judge just how difficult a race is until you can make a direct comparison with a previous result. That was the case Saturday, when enormous crowds, probably the biggest of the week, showed up at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to see the finale to stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. This stage from Santa Clarita was identical to the one that George Hincapie won 12 months ago, when he covered the 89-mile course in a time of 3:50:57. This year, the time of stage winner Rinaldo Nocentini of AG2R-La Mondiale was 26 minutes faster!
- 11:39 AM: Good day and welcome
to VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the sixth stage of the Amgen Tour of California, a 15-mile (24 kilometers in the more advanced parts of the world) individual time trial around one of our favorite communities in California, the Danish-themed village of Solvang.
With just two days left in the nine-day Amgen Tour of California, only six of the 17 teams have won a stage. That means that 11 others are still eager to taste victory, especially those teams that have major American sponsors. Top of this list of teams is Rabobank, followed by Liquigas and Quick Step.
Giant Bicycles had something special at the Amgen Tour of California: Two teams riding a time trial bike it’s developing. This isn’t out of the ordinary, except for the fact that one of the teams has a different bike sponsor. You’ll notice that Rabobank and Columbia are on quite similarly designed bikes, but one says “Giant” on its downtube, while the other sports a “Highroad techdev” label.
Levi Leipheimer is an undemonstrative guy. So when the Astana team leader thrust up his arms and raised three fingers 10 meters before he crossed the finish line on Friday’s stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, that was big. The three fingers signaled his third consecutive victory in the 15-mile Solvang time trial, and it may well signal his third overall victory come Sunday night in Escondido.
- 10:41 AM: Good day!
And welcome to VeloNews.com's live coverage of the fifth stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
This is the longest day of this year's edition of America's largest stage race, and will take us 134.3 miles from Visalia to Paso Robles — that's 216km for those of you living in modernized countries.
1. Francesco Chicchi Liquigas 12:00 p.m.
2. Andy Guptill Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light 12:01 p.m.
3. Jacopo Guarnieri Liquigas 12:02 p.m.
4. Freddy Rodriguez Rock Racing 12:03 p.m.
5. Alessandro Vanotti Liquigas 12:04 p.m.
6. Karl Menzies Ouch Presented By Maxxis 12:05 p.m.
7. Daniel Oss Liquigas 12:06 p.m.
8. Adam Hansen Team Columbia-High Road 12:07 p.m.
9. Carlos Sastre Candil Cervelo Test Team 12:08 p.m.
10. Jeffry Louder Bmc Racing Team 12:09 p.m.
11. Curtis Gunn Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation 12:10 p.m.
No time trial is a shoo-in. Just ask Cadel Evans, who was the overwhelming favorite to depose Carlos Sastre at the Tour de France last July in the final TT at St. Amand-Montrond. The Aussie could never get his momentum going and Sastre, a modest time trialist, comfortably held on to the overall lead. Astana’s Levi Leipheimer, who’s now a superb time trialist, so he should have no problems defending his yellow jersey in Friday’s 15-mile time trial at the Amgen Tour of California. But nothing is guaranteed.
Recent word that the UCI was poised to impose an immediate change to its equipment regulations regarding aerodynamic tubing caused a small panic at this week’s Amgen Tour of California. Rumor had it that cycling’s international governing body was ready to apply rules that would have kept a significant number of time trial bikes off the starting line in Friday’s stage 6 time trial at Solvang.
There are two bikes in the Cervélo TestTeam stable here at the Amgen Tour of California. The S2 and S3 are new aero road models and are available to consumers in 2009 and what the team is currently racing. Interestingly, none of the riders are using Cervélo’s R3 frame. Even Carlos Sastre, a R3 holdout, is competing on an aerodynamic road bike.
Moments before the start of stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California on Thursday morning, Lance Armstrong was waiting to be called to the line in Visalia. He had a moment for a quick conversation about Friday’s upcoming time trial in Solvang. “So, Lance, you’ve got your stolen TT bike back. Will you be using it tomorrow?” “No, that’s too risky. We don’t know what happened to it. So I’ll be riding the replacement.” “Have you tested the new bike yet?”