Tony Martin's Teammate Rogers Retains the Amgen Leader Jersey for Third Consecutive Day Heading into Final Stage of 2010 Amgen Tour of California
LOS ANGELES, CA - Enthusiastic fans lined up along the streets of downtown Los Angeles to welcome world-class cyclists from 16 professional teams for Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California, which consisted of two laps around a 10.5-mile course for the individual time trial.
After completing the longest day of the race yesterday, the riders were faced with a course that was filled with several of the city's most recognizable landmarks, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the University of Southern California, the LA Coliseum and STAPLES Center. In a race against the clock, Tony Martin (GBR) of HTC-Columbia emerged victorious with a time of 41 minutes and 41 seconds. Finishing in second place, three-time individual time trial world champion Michael Rogers (AUS) also of HTC-Columbia, will retain the Amgen Leader Jersey heading into the final stage of the race.
"I think taking the Amgen Leader Jersey tomorrow would be the biggest win of my career, in terms of a stage race," said Rogers. "This would be a highlight for me. There's a huge emphasis on this race and I think it would be a dream come true, not only for me, but for the whole team in general."
Moving into second place was five-time and current U.S. National Time Trial Champion David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Transitions. And the most anticipated rider of the day, three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack came in fourth today with a time of 42 minutes and 14 seconds, which put him in third place overall going into tomorrow's stage.
With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, the individual time trial provided fans with an ideal opportunity to watch riders both start and finish the race. In a challenging test for the riders on a decisive day cycling, the second half of the circuit included two short, but steep climbs.
This 'race of truth,' came down to an all out fight for the win between the last five riders, the top-5 in the GC after yesterday's trying mountain stage, which included Rory Sutherland (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, Leipheimer, Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Doimo, Zabriskie and Rogers, but ultimately no one could beat Martin's time.
"I'd never been to Los Angeles before, so to race here in such a big city was really spectacular," said Martin. "It was very good to race here and the road was perfect."
Stage 7 brought only two changes to the jersey leaders. Martin was awarded Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 re-claimed the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Rogers will retain the Amgen Race Leader Jersey, and Sagan the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey.
"With seven days of exhilarating racing behind us, we are looking forward to watching the finale of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California unfold tomorrow," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. "The level of competition shown throughout the race has been very exciting to witness. These riders have put their all into competing for the GC to claim the Amgen Leader Jersey and everyone is looking forward to watching the final battle unfold tomorrow."
The world-class field of riders competing for the overall win will make for a very thrilling conclusion to the most important professional cycling race in the United States."
Continuing its partnership for the fifth year, Amgen utilizes the race to raise awareness for the Breakaway from Cancer® initiative.
"Amgen is proud to be part of this amazingly successful race, which is helping advance the popularity of cycling in America while also helping increase awareness of the resources that are available to those affected by cancer," said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. "The Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partners are a team of problem solvers to help you fight cancer, whether you're interested in prevention, facing a new diagnosis, caring for a loved one or struggling with financial issues."
Founded by Amgen in 2005 as a complementary component to its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, the initiative continues to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer - from prevention to survivorship. Breakaway from Cancer® represents a partnership between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope.
For access to resources or to learn more, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 8 RACE FINALE TOMORROW:
Sunday, May 23 - Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Agoura Hills (83.5 mi/134.3km)
Start Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:40-4:10 p.m. PT
There is nothing easy about the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, and Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, will be the exclamation point for this year's race. Starting at the upscale "The Oaks" shopping complex, the riders will roll neutral to the start of four 21-mile circuits. The cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills host the final 84 miles of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, which finishes in the worldwide headquarter community of title sponsor Amgen. What starts as a beautiful rolling stage gets a bit challenging at Mulholland Highway. Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California, and a favorite haunt of motorcyclists, Mulholland Highway features steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, making it a great place for spectators. As the riders pass the Malibu Family Winery, they will start a twisting and technical descent on Westlake Blvd. In less than an hour, the riders will be back at the finish line and bracing themselves for three more laps. If ever there was a chance to see a change in the leader and sprint jerseys, it will be here.
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
In addition to the website, fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Stage 8 will air on VERSUS tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET.