Matches Team CSC with most stage wins of any team with (4) in all three previous
Tour of California’s
Stage 7, Pasadena, California – The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team came and battled against the best pro cycling teams in the world and came away the victor in the coveted sprint jersey competition in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. The team struggled into the day with 3 riders remaining but gathered some pre race inspiration from the Wounded Warriors (www.woundedwarriors.org) who came to visit the team with 15 Gulf War and Afghanistan veterans. The boys then gathered a quick game plan and Heath Blackgrove, Henk Vogels and Dominique Rollin saddled up and rode the final leg from Santa Clarita into the famed football grounds at the finish of the Rose Bowl.
There was nothing flowery about the day as the rains came early on the climb to 4800 feet and Henk Vogels couldn’t muster up the leg strength to finish the race and abandoned at about the 52 mile mark. Only 77 racers finished this race in a peloton that was decimated by stomach virus’ all week and worn down bodies fell all over from the original 135 riders. After the race, Vogels said about Rollin, “We knew the kid had serious talent, but he proved all week that he will be one of the major talents in the racing world for years to come.”
During the major descent into Pasadena, Dominique Rollin had a puncture as he descended at speeds up to 60 mph. The Mavic team quickly changed the tire and at a good stopping point, Eric Greene the head mechanic for Toyota-United made a brilliant change of the rear tire wheel that Rollin was more comfortable with. Greene could have been working at the Southern California Nascar race today the way he moved Dominique back to the race. Rollin lost very little time, grabbed some warm weather gear as the temperatures dipped into the high 30’s today at the peaks of the climbs. The main peloton stayed 2-3 minutes back from the leading break of 5 riders until the closing kilometer where the peloton came within 12 seconds of catching the winner, but left the chase too late.
Len Pettyjohn called the game plan from the team chase car all day. He said, “There are as many world class sprinters, as you will see in the Tour de France, and to be able to win a stage against the best in the world, then finish with the overall sprinters jersey is bonus for this Toyota-United team to start the 2008 season”.
Pettyjohn told Rollin with two laps to go and the race seemingly won by one of the riders in the break away, to just “stay on the wheel of Haedo and secure the sprint victory.” The team knew as long as Dominique stayed one back of Haedo he would secure the victory for Toyota-United. Dominique being the consummate team player all week, did just that and finished in 8th place, one behind JJ Haedo who finished 7th, and won the sprinters jersey competition. Dominique Rollin in the charming fashion we have grown used to said, “It was great to see our team stick together as a unit even as we had our troubles with sickness and weather all week, the spirits were always positive with this team and the work they did allowed this domestic team to compete with the best in the world.” Toyota-United was the only domestic team to win a stage again in the Tour of California continuing the teams’ winning ways and securing their place as the best domestic squad. In addition, Toyota-United is tied with team CSC with the most stage wins of any team the last three Tours of California with four stage wins each. CSC has been officially ranked the number one team in the world the past three years by the UCI, cycling’s governing body. Rollin ends the week with five top eight placings.