Peter Sagan Sprints to Victory in Stage 5 of 2010 Tour of California

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05/21/2010| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen

Peter Sagan Sprints to Victory in Stage 5 of 2010 Tour of California

Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers takes overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions) and Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack).

Tour of California- Stage 5

Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers takes overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions) and Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack).

With the sun hanging high in a flawless blue sky, enthusiastic crowds turned out in Visalia for at the start of today's race to watch the peloton of world-famous cyclists, including defending champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong (USA) of Team RadioShack, lined up at the start line. Equally impressive crowds lined the streets in Bakersfield to witness the incredible sprint to the finish line that saw Peter Sagan (ITA) of Team Liquigas take his first stage win in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.

The 197 kilometer stage 5 brought the riders through the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After the neutral start in Visalia, the cyclists headed due south through Exeter and Lindsey and up the narrow and twisty Old Stage Road; the day's first of two KOMs. The race got to a rough start, with a big crash less than thirty minutes after the start in Visalia as the road narrowed heading out of town, that included Leipheimer and Armstrong, along with several other riders.

US cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Proving to be a devastating crash to the group, Stuart O'Grady (AUS) of Team Saxo Bank and Armstrong abandoned the race to secure medical attention (both are being treated for their injuries and will not be returning to the race). Heinrich Haussler (GER) of Cervélo TestTeam abandoned the race shortly after as well because of knee problems, but had not been involved in the crash.

"I fell twice so far during the Tour of California and now my knee hurts but not at the same place as my previous injury," Heinrich Haussler explained. "My form is good and I have to listen to my body, get a few days rest, do some physio and look at the big picture in order to be fully prepared for the 2010 Tour de France."

With incredible crowds lining the street, the first sprint of the day took place in Lindsay and was taken by Robbie Hunter (RSA) of Garmin-Transitions, followed by Michael Rogers (AUS) and Mark Cavendish (GBR) both of HTC-Columbia. About 20 miles into the stage, Thomas Leezer (NED) of Rabobank and Davide Cimolai of Liquigas-Doimo broke away from the pack, creating a small gap, but were quickly swallowed back up. Shortly after, another breakaway formed that included Marcus Berghardt (GER) of BMC Racing Team, Tony Martin (GER) of HTC-Columbia and Jeremy Hunt (GBR) of Cervélo TestTeam and as the group neared the second sprint of the day additional riders joined to form a break of 15.

Tour of California- Stage 5

The second and final sprint of the day in Porterville was nabbed by Karl Menzies (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, followed by Jeremy Powers (USA) of Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda and Martin. In a chase led by HTC-Columbia, the break of 15 was brought back in, which was promptly followed by several counter attacks until one finally took, which

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