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 thank me for riding my bike was really amazing."
Founded by Amgen in 2005 as a complementary component to its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, Breakaway from Cancer continues to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer - from prevention to survivorship.
Before the start of yesterday's stage, which routed the peloton from Ontario to the top of Mt. Baldy, the race was anyone's game. After a climactic finish atop Mt. Baldy, in which Gesink outclimbed Colombian Jhon Atapuma of Colombia-Coldeportes with less than one kilometer to the finish, Gesink had all but wrapped up his place as overall race leader.
Michael Creed of Team Optum Powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies attacked off the front early in the stage. But it was a break including the following seven riders that stuck and gained a 45-second lead American Ben Jacques-Maynes of Bissell Cycling, Rory Sutherland of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Team Argos-Shimano's Thomas Dumoulin, Scott Zwizanski of Optum Powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies, Morgan Schmitt of Team Exergy, Jasper Stuyven of Bontrager-Livestrong, and Team Garmin-Barracuda's Nathan Haas.
Gesink's Rabobank Cycling Team worked hard at the front of the peloton to keep the breakaway group within a reasonable distance.
With the gap kept at 35 seconds, the riders entered the finishing circuits in downtown Los Angeles. Sutherland, Schmitt and Jacques-Maynes swept the intermediate sprint points as the gap was reduced to 25 seconds. With four laps to go, GreenEdge moved to the front of the peloton. The breakaway group stayed steady with the seven initial riders, but the gap was minimized to just 15 seconds.
With two laps to go, Garmin-Barracuda worked up to the front, and Omega Pharma-QuickStep began working for Boonen at the front of the peloton as well. As the riders neared the finish, the attacks started flying, but it was only Haas' that stuck. Haas gained a 17-second advantage on the pack. However, Team Liquigas-Cannondale and Team Rabobank moved to the front the peloton, and Hass was eventually caught.
Sagan's team began pushing him to the front, and although Boonen had a great lead near the finish line, it was Sagan who, once again, outsprinted everyone to capture the stage 8 win, thereby extinguishing any remaining hope for all the teams who will leave California empty handed.
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2012 Tour of California stage 8 results:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 01:27:36
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4 Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - Shimano
5 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
8 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
10 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
11 Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling
12 Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
13 Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
14 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
15 Leigh Howard (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
16 Robbie McEwen (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
17 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:04
18 Luke Durbridge (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
19 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
20 Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team Exergy
21 Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling
22 Pieter Weening (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team
23 Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
24 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
25 Ted Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale
Final 2012 Tour of California overall rankings:
1 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 30:42:32
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:46
3 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:54
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team BMC Racing 0:01:17
5 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 0:01:36
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:02:13
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:30
8 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:02:49
9 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 0:02:54
10 Pieter Weening (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:03:05
11 Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:03:15
12 Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 0:03:38
13 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:03:44
14 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:04:19
15 George Hincapie (USA) Team BMC Racing 0:04:21
16 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 0:04:28
17 Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
18 Luke Durbridge (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:05:03
19 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:52
20 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:06:02
21 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:06:57
22 Brian Vandborg (Den) Spidertech Powered By C10 0:07:21
23 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano 0:07:29
24 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:07:49
25 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:28
26 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 0:08:34
27 Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BMC Racing 0:09:53
28 Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:10:44
29 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:12:05
30 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:12:49
31 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:57
32 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:16:02
33 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:16:04
34 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos - Shimano 0:16:54
35 Matt Cooke (USA) Team Exergy 0:18:31