Rabobank's Graeme Brown Wins Stage One of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California

News & Results

02/20/2007| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Rabobank's Graeme Brown Wins Stage One of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California

Crowds in Santa Rosa watched local cyclist Levi Leipheimer ride into town wearing the leader jersey and retain overall lead for second straight year.

Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California from Sausalito to Santa Rosa ended in a dramatic photo finish win of two centimeters by Rabobank's Graeme Brown (AUS) following a crash on the second circuit around downtown Santa Rosa.

An earlier crash about 70 miles into the race resulted in one of the race favorites, Team CSC's Dave Zabriskie, being forced to abandon the event. He was taken to a local hospital for tests and has been released in good condition with a mild concussion and no fractures or other injuries.

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) retained the Amgen Leader's Jersey after a determined dash over the final 30 miles, which was spearheaded by his teammate, Italy's Ivan Basso, to catch a breakaway group of four talented climbers.

"Ivan Basso was ripping it up. I am very proud, very honored to have him lead me into my home town? It feels great (to put on the leader's jersey) here in my home town. I did that last year, and I've been looking forward to repeating that," said Leipheimer.

Rabobank's Graeme Brown (AUS) won the bunch sprint to claim the stage win from T - Mobile Team's Greg Henderson (NZL), with Discovery Channel Pro's Allan Hansen (AUS) placing third.

An undulating 97.1-mile ( 156.3 km) course with several stiff climbs, including one category four and one category three climb, combined with unrelenting cross-headwinds of 10- 15 mph to present a formidable challenge for the peloton.

King of the Mountain contenders Quick Step-Innergetic's Juergen Van de Walle (BEL) of Belgium, and Team Slipstream Tom Peterson (USA), of North Bend, Wash., initiated the key attack of the day at 64 miles ( 103 km), taking a group of four away from the peloton on the second King of the Mountain competition climb ? a steep Category 3 ascent that rose 827 feet ( 252 m) in only 1.5 miles ( 2.4 km).

Van de Walle went on to say, "If you look at the field in this race, it is the best field before the ProTour races start. I hope we can build on this."

The race came back together shortly before entering Santa Rosa for three laps of a 2.9-mile ( 4.9 km) circuit. After one lap, a rider's hand slipped off the handlebars, which resulted in a large crash. No one was seriously injured, but the delay resulted in the panel of Commissaires determining that the finishing circuits would be neutralized.

Thomas Peterson (Team Slipstream) moved into the lead of the King of the Mountains classification. Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) took the lead in the Sprint classification. The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team leads the overall team classification. T-Mobile Team's Greg Henderson and Discovery Channel's Allan Davis took second and third in the stage respectively.

"Today is what cycling is all about. It was war out there," said Levi Leipheimer. "The crowd that came out was amazing; it was top-notch. I knew when we came into Santa Rosa that there would be a lot of people, but I didn't know it would be that many. For the crowd to come out like that in the U.S. is special."

Top-three general classification leaders after today are Leipheimer, Team Slipstream?s Jason Donald in second and Priority Health Cycling Team's Benjamin Jacques-Maynes in third.

In addition to the exciting race finish, today's event included a special ride by local cancer survivors who cycled the final mile before the peloton came into the final circuits.

Amgen created the Breakaway from Cancer initiative in 2005 as a complementary component to its title sponsorship of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California. Last year, through the Breakaway from Cancer effort, Amgen raised more than $1 million to support The Wellness Community (TWC), an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people affected by cancer. This year, the initiative expanded and also benefits the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country.

Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment