Peter Sagan Strikes Again and Wins Stage 6 of 2010 Tour of California
Team HTC-Columbia's Michael Rogers maintains overall Amgen Tour of California lead ahead of Dave Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Transitions). Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) moves down to 4th overall before Saturday's decisive Tour of California time trial.
now split into two chase groups, the break crested Blue Ridge Summit with Rabou in first, Clement in second and Wilson in third. This series of climbs was followed by the first sprint competition of the day, which was taken by Schleck, in Wrightwood where the streets were lined with cheering fans.
At the lowest elevation in the mountain portion of today's stage the leaders held a gap of 6:10 on the peloton, and nearly nine minutes on the gruppetto. On the way to the next climb, Clement lost contact with the break and fell back, eventually rejoining the peloton. Shortly after, as the cyclists made their way through the second feed zone, the first crash of the day occurred, but everyone was able to recover.
The sixth climb of the day came next at Hwy. 138 (Cat. 3 - 4,649 ft.) and was taken, once again, by Rabou. With no time to rest, the cyclists were then faced with the second and final sprint of the day at Crestline, which was taken by Schleck. Then, the cyclists faced the final challenging climb of the day at Hwy. 18 (Cat. 3 - 5,628 ft.), the "Rim of the World" Highway, which was won by Rabou, followed by Wilson and Schleck.
Following the climb, the break was taken down to just five riders - Hincapie, Fuglsang, Rabou, Wilson and McCartney - with a gap of only 2:40, but within only a few minutes and an attack, it was taken down to only three - McCartney, Wilson and Hincapie. Entering the Big Bear area, the riders took the northern route around Big Bear Lake to reach the finish line at the Snow Summit ski area for the Amgen Tour of California's first-ever alpine finish.
With only about 15 miles of racing to go, the break was caught as they traveled along the final stretch into Big Bear Lake. At this point, Marc De Maar (NED) of Team UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis took the opportunity to make a break for it and was eventually caught by Matt Wilson (USA) of Garmin-Transitions. Keeping the break for most of the final stretch into town, they were caught with just about half a mile to go, giving Sagan the opportunity to take the win - his second consecutive stage win in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.
"I wanted to win a stage and now I've won two. So I'm very happy," Sagan yelled with joy after the finish.
Cervelo TestTeam's talented and humorous rider Oscar Pujol (Esp) came close to giving his team a second stage win in today's sixth stage. Pujol made a very powerful and explosive sprinting burst with about 150 meters to go and quickly gained a major advantage over the other riders in today's successful breakaway.
"I saw the moment and thought it was better to fight for the win," Oscar Pujol analyzed after the finish and added "I started to make my move 150 meters from the finish but I think it was a little too early and they got to me.