Big Bear Lake, California - For the second time in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, Team Type 1 rider Thomas Rabou showed that he is one of the premiere climbers in the peloton, regaining the King of the Mountains jersey that he had lost one day prior. Rabou's efforts on stage six assured that the man from Schijndel, Netherlands will wear the King of the Mountains leaders jersey on Sunday, when the curtain is drawn in Thousand Oaks. The good news didn't end there, as Team Type 1's general classification riders Valeriy Kobzarenko and Chris Jones were both able to make moves up the overall leader board.
[youtube width="640" height="385"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og_aLQbrVMU
A fearsome profile awaited Team Type 1's six remaining riders as they rolled out of Palmdale, California. 135 miles of road that climbed over 12,000 vertical feet lay in their path as they made their way to Big Bear Lake, which towered above them at an altitude of over 7,000 feet. It took a couple of tries, but after a five mile neutral start and some frantic early racing, Rabou found himself as the only member of a Continental team in an eight-man breakaway. The breakaway contained such superstar names as American National Road Champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing), Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and a handful of other Pro-Tour riders.
Reigning King of the Mountains leader Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies) made an attempt to get across the gap to Rabou, who would overtake Anderson with four points on any rated climb. Anderson's attempt was short lived, however, which left Rabou was free to collect as many points as possible and firmly distance his only real competition in the competition. The day's route was made up of two sets of climbs, as Rabou and his breakaway companions would descend to the base of the climb to Big Bear Lake after crossing five King of the Mountain points. Rabou had a clear shot at the first set of climbs, but few expected to see Rabou's day unfold as it did once they headed for the finish line.
Rabou was only able to take second at the day's first King of the Mountain climb, the category four Millcreek Summit, but that would be the only blemish on Rabou's stage six record. Rabou took top points on the category three climb up California Route Two, the category two summit, aptly named "Cloudburst", and the category three ascent up to Dawson Saddle. Rabou's success at Dawson Saddle was significant, as he was the first man to the highest point in this year's Tour of California, which peaked at just under 8,000 feet above sea level.
After a quick descent, Rabou easily took out the category three Blue Ridge King of the Mountain Point, and turned his nose downhill for the final climb to the finish. Few expected Rabou to hang with the leaders as they turned upwards towards Big Bear Lake, but hang he did, and then some, setting the pace at the front of the breakaway for a large portion of the climb. Rabou was able to take his fifth King of the Mountain victory of the day at the category three climb up California Route 138 and his sixth at the top of California Route 18. From there, Rabou lent a hand to the break as long as he could, at one point dispatching Schleck with one strong turn on the front.
Behind, however, an elite chase group was bearing down on the Dutchman. Among these nearly twenty-five riders were Valeriy Kobzarenko, who started the day in 15th place overall, and Chris Jones, who started in 19th. Both have been having exceptional weeks in California, never far from the Tour's main general classification contenders. Nothing could be done to dislodge the two Team Type 1 climbers, and as the peloton rolled into Big Bear Lake, Jones and Kobzarenko were ready to battle it out with the big guns. As the sprint wound up, Jones' help allowed Kobzarenko to lead the way home for Team Type 1 with a 14th place finish. Jones was just behind in 19th.
Kobzarenko and Jones' hard work moved each up the general classification, with Kobzarenko moving up one position to 15th overall, with Jones only 13 seconds back in 17th. As a team, Team Type 1 jumped up to fifth on the team overall classification. More importantly, however, was the work of Rabou, who amassed 41 points on the climbs, to finish the day with 67 points. Second place in the classification has 29 points, and with no points available in tomorrow's stage seven and only 20 points on the line in Sunday's stage eight, Rabou will have to do no more than finish on Sunday for the King of the Mountain victory.
With the performances of Team Type 1 in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California's queen stage, Team Type 1 has announced itself as one of the most capable teams in the American domestic peloton. Rabou's headline worthy riding and the selfless work of his teammates has earned Team Type 1 one of the most coveted prizes in the American cycling calendar, and is surely a sign of things to come for Team Type 1.