Van Garderen Wins 2013 Tour of California; Sagan Takes Final Stage
Team BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen takes overall victory in Amgen Tour of California 2013 ahead of Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) after eight days of intensive and heatwave-impacted racing in California.
After eight epic days of racing along nearly 750 miles of California’s most iconic roadways, highways and coastlines, BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen of Boulder, Colorado sealed his first major stage race win at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, which concluded today in Santa Rosa, Calif. (Watch video highlights from the Tour of California in our videos section - USA access only)
“It’s a big relief. It’s a weight off my shoulders. I got the monkey off my back and hopefully this gets the ball rolling, and I can start racking up a bit more [wins],” said van Garderen, of ending the race in the Amgen Race Leader Jersey he gained after Stage 5. With his five-week-old daughter Rylan there today to share his victory, he reflected: “Maybe becoming a daddy was the difference [in taking the overall win]… I think I’m just maybe a bit more relaxed, a bit more mature, and I just had to be patient.”
Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan outsprinted the field to win the race’s final stage, a 80.7-mile jaunt that took cyclists from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge for the only the second time in race history, to the overall finish in the cycling mecca of Santa Rosa. The race’s final stage aired live on NBC. It was Sagan’s 10 th career Amgen Tour of California stage win, the most of anyone who has ridden in America’s Greatest Race. A sea of fans turned out for the BMC Racing Team’s homecoming, which included overall team honors in this year’s race. Team leader van Garderen was named the Best Young Rider in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California and placed fourth overall last year, but today marked his first career overall title with a final time of 29:43:00.
“I’m very happy for the win today and I thank all my teammates because we did work hard from the start and then when we [came to the] circuit, we were always in the front. And then Garmin was the last group, but my teammates helped me on the last turn. I was on the front, then I started doing my sprint the last 200 meters, and I won,” said Sagan. “I dedicate this victory to my Cannondale friend, Alex Shephard [an 11-year-old fan fighting brain cancer]. It’s great to win this stage because I get to dedicate this to him.”
In the final five miles, where the racers completed two circuits in downtown Santa Rosa at speeds of up to 40 mph, teams jockeyed for position to lead out their sprinters for a dash to the finish line. After challenges from Team Garmin-Sharp, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies and ORICA GreenEDGE, Cannondale regained control with .7 miles left in the race.
Stage winners were equal parts sprinters and climbers this year, as racers had to contend with several game-changing climbs that totaled a race record of 60,000 feet. Second for the overall finish was 2010 Amgen Tour of California champion Michael Rogers (AUS) of Team Saxo-Tinkoff (1:47), followed by Team