Westlake Village, USA - Phil Zajicek finishes 10th overall in Tour of California
As the dust settled at the end of this year's punishing eight stage Amgen Tour of California, Fly V Australia's Phil Zajicek was able to reflect on a successful week of racing which confirmed his place among the world's best riders. Phil was on only two non Pro Tour riders to finish in the top 10 in the overall classification.
The final stage of this year's race was run over a brutal, world championship style course featuring four laps of a 35km circuit with over 500 meters of climbing per lap. Right from the gun, it was obvious that the final stage would be a knock 'em down, go for broke showdown, as this year's leading contenders looked to confirm their positions at the head of the race.
The race quickly whittled down to a lead group of 35 riders by the end of the second lap, as the top teams drove a relentless pace, with the race's top guns looking for any sign of ****** in their respective competitors' armor. Over the final two laps, Phil was involved in a number of moves as he looked to gain any advantage and move up in the overall standings.
On the final lap and up the 6km climb to the top of the Mulholland Highway, the leading contenders, including Zajicek, launched attack after attack in a breathtaking finale to the race. Fly V Australia's presence at the front at the business end of the stage was bolstered by the presence of Charles Dionne who acted as the perfect foil for Zajicek's efforts. The Fly V Australia pair worked well in tandem, with Dionne crossing the line narrowly behind race revelation Peter Sagan (Liquigas) in 11th place for the stage. Zajicek rolled across the line in the same group; his efforts moving him up one place overall to 10th place in the general classification.
Commenting on the team's performance at the end of the week's racing, Fly V Australia team owner Chris White said, "We have had a successful week, and all of our riders should be proud of their accomplishments at this week's race. Coming in, we had two objectives - top 10 overall and a stage win. In what has been one of the toughest races in the world this year, we achieved one of these objectives, and narrowly missing the other with Ben Day going desperately close to taking the stage into Bakersfield after animating the race".
White went on to say, "We have stepped up from where we were last year, and feel that our journey to Pro Tour status is on track. We are encouraged by where we are at, but highly motivated to keep raising the bar and pushing the envelope and moving forward".