Mark Cavendish Takes Second Consecutive Stage Win in 2009 Tour of California
Leipheimer retains overall lead heading into Friday's crucial individual time trial.
The breakaway splintered under the pressure, with Chadwick being the last one reeled in with less than three miles to go, when Team Columbia-Highroad led Cavendish to take over.
With the sun hanging high in a flawless baby blue sky in Paso Robles, all of the top riders finished in the main group, completing a long, flat stage leading into the critical Individual Time Trial in Solvang tomorrow.
It’s going to be a big showdown tomorrow,” two-time defending champion and overall race leader Leipheimer told Roadcycling.com when asked to comment on tomorrow's decisive time trial. “You have the three-time World Champion Michael Rogers and Dave Zabriskie, the National Champion, so it will be special. I’m actually really looking forward to it. I feel good; I’ve felt great throughout the whole race. I feel pretty awesome about keeping the lead.”
There were only two changes in the jerseys today, with Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey going to Matthew Crane (USA) of Team Jelly Belly Pro Cycling and the Herbalife Sprint Jersey going to Cavendish. The other jersey winners remain unchanged with Leipheimer in the Amgen Leader Jersey, Robert Gesink (NED) of Rabobank in the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey and Francisco Mancebo (ESP) of Team Rock Racing in the California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey.
After suffering a crash in Wednesday's stage of Tour of California, Kim Kirchen of Team Columbia-Highroad has a broken clavicle and scapula. He will undergo surgery on Friday in California and will head back to Europe next week.