Robert Gesink Wins 2012 Amgen Tour of California
After eight exciting days of racing along some of California's most iconic roadways, highways and coastlines, the 2012 Amgen Tour of California earlier today concluded in downtown Los Angeles.
After eight exciting days of racing along some of California's most iconic roadways, highways and coastlines, the 2012 Amgen Tour of California earlier today concluded in downtown Los Angeles. Team Rabobank's Robert Gesink of the Netherlands took the overall race victory finishing ahead of David Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Barracuda) and Tom Danielson (Team Garmin-Barracuda).
Today's stage 8 route took the peloton from Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles where large encouraging crowds lined the streets. Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan sprinted to victory in the stage and thereby claimed his fifth win of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, a historic first for an American race. Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tom Boonen and Gerald Ciolek finished the stage in second and third position.
For Gesink, the win marked a both a remarkable comeback and bittersweet win in remembrance of his father, who tragically passed away after a bike accident in October 2010.
"I dedicate this win to my father," a deeply moved Gesink said after the stage and continued "For me emotionally it is something really big to be back at this high level and to win a stage here, the toughest stage of them all. It's a good thing to be back in California and to be winning again."
Gesink said his father attended the 2009 Amgen Tour of California to see his son finish 8th overall and win the race's best young rider jersey that year.
Zabriskie ended the race securing his fourth second-place finish, previously having finished second in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
"Sure, I'd like to win, doesn't everyone?," Zabriskie commented after being celebrated on the podium and added "But it was a good tour for the Garmin-Barracuda team."
"Emotionally, the time trial was the high point for me," Zabriskie continued. "I came through with a win there and it was really, really good. Really strong. I knew what I had to do yesterday at Mt. Baldy. I didn't quite have it because this guy [Sagan] is really, really strong."
Team RadioShack-Nissan took the victory in the overall team competition. Sagan won the Visit California sprint competition. Canada's Sebastian Salas of Team Optum - powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies won the Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey. Wilco Kelderman of Team Rabobank suitably won the Rabobank best young rider classification. Jeremy Vennell of Bissell Pro Cycling won the Exergy Most Aggressive Jersey. Robbie McEwen, who announced earlier this year that the 2012 Amgen Tour of California would be his last professional race, won the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
"I've had a fantastic run; pain and suffering too," McEwen commented and added "I've had a terrific send-off in Australia and a fantastic send-off here in California, so I really appreciate it. This was a good race to pick as my last because I suffered so much this week I won't miss it. I was really pleased to be included in the final presentation on the podium and to receive the beautiful work of art that signifies my career. To have so many people