Tour of California – Stage 8 Press Conference

Feature Articles Tour of California

Chris Horner (USA), Amgen Race Leader Jersey Winner
Team RadioShack

On winning the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“It feels fantastic to be the winner of the Amgen Tour of California. I have raced in the Amgen Tour of California since its inception and I helped Levi (Leipheimer) win it many times. As soon as they added the summit finishes, I made it my one of my personal goals to finish high in the race. Team RadioShack came in with a great squad this year. We had some great help. The crowds throughout the race have just been amazing.”

On riding in Southern California
“It was very, very nostalgic riding through these roads. The whole So. Cal. area has been my stomping ground. I had a huge grin from ear to ear the whole time out there today.”

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Second Place Overall
Team RadioShack

On the race overall
“The Amgen Tour of California is unprecedented in its growth and popularity. More people were at the start today than attended the entire Vuelta a Espana. The race keeps getting bigger and better, and I think yesterday’s stage proved that. It was as big and epic as the other Grand Tours, similar to what you would see at the Tour de France or the Giro (d’Italia). Having stages like Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy will continue to improve the Amgen Tour of California and I am proud to be able to say that I am the first winner of the Mt. Baldy climb.”


On taking the race to the next level
“It is pretty big right now. I put my full trust in Medalist and AEG. The race kicked off in its first year as one of the biggest races and it gets bigger and better every year.”

Tom Danielson (USA), Third Place Overall
Team Garmin-Cervelo

On taking third place overall in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“It was an honor standing on the podium with Chris (Horner) and Levi (Leipheimer) today. I have learned a lot from both of these guys and I wouldn’t be the cyclist that I am today without these guys. It was great to be able to celebrate with them.”

On the weather
“I just want to clarify that the weather we had throughout the Amgen Tour of California is not bad weather. The weather that we race in in Europe on a good day is similar to the bad weather that we had here, so it’s all relative.”

Matthew Goss, First Place, Stage 8
HTC-Highroad

On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“I didn’t look at the average speed. It was a fast and furious stage. The shorter stages tend to be faster and the guys I was riding with today were perfect. It was important to do well because this is a home race for the team and it caps of a highly successful week. We couldn’t ask for anything better than to finish with a stage win and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey.”

Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports
On the race overall
“We took another step forward this year. We have been working hard to create what we think is a great race; we have aspirations to make the Amgen Tour of California one of the greatest cycling races in the world. American cycling fans deserve it, the riders deserve it and America deserves it. We want it to be known that not every great cycling race exists in Western Europe.”

On the 2011 route
“We worked hard and took some chances this year. The finishes on Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy worked out well, and the International Women’s Time Trial worked out well; Tahoe, not so much. We are not playing it safe. We are trying to continue to provide to some of the best athletes in the world and we are getting better.”

On the weather
“We were unlucky with weather last Sunday (what was to be the official start of the race), but the rest of the week was fantastic. In reality, one day of bad weather in a stage race isn’t that untypical. We like our position on the calendar. We all warmed up.”

On the 2012 Amgen Tour of California
“The future starts 51 weeks from now in Santa Rosa, where we will start the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. It has been an exceptional home to the race and we look forward to bringing it back there next year.”

Jim Birrell, Race Director, Amgen Tour of California
On the race overall
“It has been a great eight days. We saw things and did things that we have never done before. Our focus throughout the course of the race was always rider safety.”

On cancelling Stage 1 of the race
“We were faced with a challenge and were forced to make a decision that none of us were happy to make.”

On the 2011 route
“Having the opportunity to take the race to two summit finishes was amazing. We created a little village and saw some unbelievable dynamics on the top of Sierra Rd. and Mt. Baldy. The fans up there were unbelievable. Yesterday was such an epic course. It resonated so deep and well with the type of athletes we have. It unveiled some unbelievable strength. It was incredible. Today’s finish is one of the biggest in our history.”

Jan Barta (CZE), Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Jersey Winner
Team NetApp

On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“The beginning of this stage was quite fast. A lot of riders wanted to be in the first group; I had the chance, so I took it. We were with five riders and we were afraid of the peloton coming up from behind. There were two riders from Rabobank and Leopard Trek that joined the break, so that was kind of lucky. With those two guys in the break, I thought we might have a chance of holding off the peloton. The pace we kept was very fast and it made for a difficult day of racing.”

Peter Sagan (SVK), Herbalife Sprint Jersey Winner
Liquigas-Cannondale

On the race overall
“I am very happy to have been able to participate in this race and the team is very satisfied.

On Stage 8 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“The circuit today was dangerous because everyone wanted to be up front and the pace set by HTC-Highroad and Sky Procyling was very fast. I had to re-launch my sprint and just ran out of room towards the end.”

Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains Jersey Winner
Team Spidertech Powered by C10

On the race overall
“The Amgen Tour of California is such a great race. There were so many fans. To get the climbers jersey is a big deal for me and for the team. I am really happy to do this for them.”

Bob Stapleton Team Owner
HTC-Highroad

On the race overall
“This event continues to grow into one of the top international sporting events. Amgen Tour of California race organizers provided a great stage for great American athletes to really showcase their talent. They also showcased the tremendous beauty of the state.”

On professional cycling
“The sport has a strong association with leading a healthy lifestyle and well-being. That’s why you have a growing group of young athletes. This is the only sport that is open and free to everyone. Our focus is delivering that to the public in the best way we can.”

Jonathan Vaughters, General Manager
Team Garmin-Cervelo

On Americans in professional cycling
“The reason there are so many good American riders around the world is because the American developmental teams have a pretty good rivalry. In the past, sometimes American teams were good in the Tour de France, but we have mostly just had one Pro Tour team. Now we have a multitude of riders. We have more Pro Tour teams than any other country in the world.”

On Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“Yesterday’s race was a humdinger and well done. Kudos and hat’s off.”

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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