OPTUM PRO CYCLING
Sebastian Salas and the rest of the Optum Pro Cycling presented by
Kelly Benefit Strategies team took a major step in closing out the fight
for the Nissan King of the Mountains jersey at stage five of the Amgen
Tour of California today, defending the polka dots after launching Salas
into the early breakaway with teammate Andy Bajadali and winning three
of four categorized climbs on the 186 kilometer trip to Big Bear Lake.
and Bajadali's efforts made taking home the KOM jersey a real
possibility for the Optum p/b KBS team heading into the final day of
K.O.M. points tomorrow on Mt. Baldy.
"Sebastian, Baj, and the
rest of the team executed our gameplan perfectly today," said
Performance Director Jonas Carney. "It is rare in a bike race for things
to go as planned, and they really stepped it up today. We made a
full-on investment into taking home the K.O.M. jersey here. The riders
knew what had to be done, and they made it happen. You can't ask for
The stage was set for an epic showdown in the breakaway as
David Boily (Team Spidertech), Salas' closest and most dangerous
competition for the KOM prize, followed the pair in the early move up
the road. The trio was joined by Gregory Rast of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek,
Sylvain Georges of AG2R La Mondiale, Yukihiro Doi of Team
Argos-Shimano, and Jeremy Vennell of Bissell Pro Cycling and began
building a sizable gap. The first climb up Mt. Emma would serve as an
appetizer for the true prize of the day - the category one Angeles Crest
ascent. Emma would play out in similar fashion to Boily and Salas'
skirmishes during stage one, which saw Boily accelerating late and
overcoming the young Canadian near the top of each summit.
the first climb, I followed Boily and waited for him to make a move. I
remember on the first day, I was leading things out and he would jump
past me at the end, so we wanted to try something different today, but
he kind of jumped me at the top on Mt. Emma. David is a great competitor
and I knew it would be a battle today."
The result on Mt. Emma
was a sign that a tactical shift was necessary in order to turn the
tables in the contest. Bajadali knew what needed to be done differently
for the trip to Angeles Crest.
"Sebastian felt like he had the
best shot for maximum points by hitting it from about two kilometers out
on the Angeles climb," said Bajadali. "When a climber of his caliber
says something like that, you have to believe he's got the legs to back
it up. It worked perfectly and he showed his domination by gapping Boily
within 500 meters of the summit. The topper was that I had the legs to
meet him at the top and come in second to put another nail in the
Performance Director Jonas Carney considered Bajadali's presence in the breakaway crucial to a successful jersey defense.
Andy Bajadali pushes the pace up the category one Angeles climb.
Bajadali there to help Sebastian was critical - not only because of his
climbing ability and having strength in numbers, but also because of
his racing experience. You have to remember that Sebastian is a neo-pro.
Bajadali is one of the top climbers in North America, and having him
there to help Sebastian with tactical complexities today was crucial."
Baj's secret weapon? A delicious Thai team dinner the night before the throw down.
went out for Thai food the night before the race - it is the ultimate
pre-race food for me. Every time I eat Thai food, I feel pretty strong
the next morning."
As the race rolled on, the pace proved too
much for Boily, and the lead swung considerably into Salas' favor after
winning the massive push up Angeles Crest. Salas senses that the
weeklong battle with Boily for each and every point was approaching the
"David Boily is a great rider and he gave it maximum
effort today," said Salas. "He is really a great competitor, and a lot
of credit goes to him and the SpiderTech team for battling so hard all
Following the largest summit of the day, AG2R La
Mondiale's Sylvain Georges attacked his breakaway companions hard. Salas
followed readily, with aspirations of a stage win as the rider's lead
on the peloton hovered at 5 minutes with less than 40 kilometers
remaining in the race. Performance Manager Eric Wohlberg, however,
pulled in the reins on the hard charging Salas, asking him to let the
Frenchman go up the road alone.
"Sebastian is a very strong
rider, but if he digs too deep trying to win the stage, you run the risk
of him being completely spent for tomorrow's stage on Mt. Baldy, which
is not an easy race by any stretch of the word. Every chance you get to
save a little bit, you gotta save a little bit."
The Optum p/b
KBS team heads into the brutal final stage with one goal - deliver Salas
home with the polka dot jersey. Sunday's final stage in Hollywood
contains no points for the K.O.M. competition, so the winner will be
decided tomorrow on Mt. Baldy.
AGR2 - A BIG WIN
Sylvain Georges won today the 6th stage of the Amgen Tour of California, his 5th victory since he turned professional. The AG2R LA MONDIALE Pro Cycling Team scores his second victory in the space of 24 hours after the stage won by Sébastien Hinault at the Circuit de Lorraine.
The rider from the “Auvergne” area has managed to get the breakaway early in the stage. Then he rode over 40km solo and he succeeded to stand up to the bunch which was chasing him! A great performance given the important opponents present on this Tour of California.
Tired but happy, Sylvain has confided to us his first feelings, few hours after crossing the finish line:
"It's obviously the biggest victory of my career, I was hoping for such a victory since the beginning. I am a newcomer to the AG2R LA MONDIALE Pro Cycling Team and this success shows, if need be, that I'm in this team to win!
I saw at the outset that some riders were not so much in a good shape while on my side I had good feelings. I was confident but I really started to believe in my chances at km 120. There, I thought that we had to speed up and it could be possible to score the stage win! This victory is also a reward for the team that made a great work since the start of the Tour of California. Every day we tried to attack with the goal of winning a stage and it paid off. "
Stage 6 of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California kicked off on Friday, May 18, in Palmdale and finished with an intense climb to Big Bear Lake, the first of back-to-back summit finishes in store for the peloton this weekend. Sylvain Georges (FRA) of AG2R La Mondiale won the stage in convincing manner, breaking away from the field and cruising through the finish line 28 seconds ahead of runner-up (and four stage winner) Peter Sagan (SVK) from Liquigas-Cannondale and Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Peter Velits (SVK), who took third.
Team UnitedHealthcare’s Rory Sutherland (AUS) entered the day in 8th place in the General Classification and was able to maintain his position in the GC’s top 10 following his finish in the main group along with Teammate Marc de Maar (CUR).
The tempo that was set on the climb to Big Bear Lake was enough to discourage many attacks from the field, making it difficult for chase groups to escape the peloton in their attempts to bridge to the break. And with the Tour’s most difficult stage on the immediate horizon, many riders took a conservative approach to Stage 6, which should make for an exciting penultimate stage tomorrow morning.
Looking ahead to Stage 7, General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “The race is going to be about tomorrow and will probably be won and lost on Mt. Baldy. The boys did what they needed to do today and Rory and Marc were able to finish in the main group. The Team is ready to go tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting.”
Stage 7 begins in Ontario on Saturday morning, May 19, and ends atop Mt. Baldy. Sunday, the Tour concludes in what promises to be a short but electrifying race from Beverly Hills to Downtown Los Angeles at LA Live.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California:
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Jeff Louder (USA)
Philip Deignan (IRE)
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Brad White (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
SPIDERTECH POWERED BY C10
Canada’s only UCI Pro-Continental Team
CLIMBING DAY ON SIXTH STAGE HIGHLIGHTED BY SOLO VICTORY
Now 17 points behind leader, Boily concedes King of the Mountain jersey
(Big Bear Lake, CA – May 18, 2012) The sixth stage of the Tour of California was no easy feat for the peloton, with massive four categorized climbs at high altitude.
In windy conditions to start the first 50 kilometres of racing, riders left the city of Palmdale and embarked on what proved to be a very difficult climbing day in the twisting mountain roads leading up to Big Bear Lake.
David Boily, a contender for the King of the Mountain title entering the stage, was primed before today’s race. Tactically, Boily had to be part of the opening break and stay upfront for the four categorized climbs in order to contend. In a tight competition with Canadian Sebastien Salas of Optum-Kelly Benefit, Boily had very little margin of errors if he wanted to regain the jersey.
The break of the day included a small group of rider, which included both Boily and Salas. Boily went on to launch an attack in the first categorized climb, and took the maximum points, with Salas taking the second spot.
In the second KOM climb called Wrightwood, a massive 69-kilometre climb topping at 2099 m in altitude, Salas launched his attack, unanswered by Boily. Salas took the maximum points for the efforts, while Boily crossed the line third.
Unfortunately, Boily couldn’t hold on, and dropped back to the peloton, leaving Salas to score the maximum points in the category 3 KOM climb, a 122 kilometer ascent at 1400m in altitude. After taking the points, Salas left the two-man lead group and regained the peloton, leaving French rider Sylvain Georges all alone.
Salas is now sitting alone atop the King of the Mountain standings with 65 points, a 17-point lead over second place David Boily, and with only one stage left in the KOM race, it would be surprising to see him lose the jersey.
“Chapeau to Salas. He worked really hard today. He came out strong right from the gun and he certainly deserves it,” congratulated Boily on Salas’ race. “Today was probably the hardest, toughest race of my career.”
The tough stage surprisingly ended with the lead break man as Sylvain Georges of French World Tour Team AG2R La Mondiale took the solo victory after riding 184 of the 186-kilometre stage either in the breakaway or in solo, displaying a remarkable talent and relentless endurance.
Sitting comfortably in the peloton, race leader David Zabriskie of Garmin-Barracuda was happy to see attacks from his teammates and Liquigas-Cannondale trying to bridge the gap, and set-up the race for a sprint finish. Despite unable to catch the lead man, the peloton ended in a sprint for the second position, and four-time stage winner Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale took the sprint for the second position, while Peter Velits of Omega Pharma-QuickStep crossed the finish line in third, 28 seconds behind the winning time.
Every stage of the 2012 Tour of California is broadcast on television in Canada on SportsnetOne. Check your local listings for more information.
Fans from across the world can follow the race live through the RadioShack Tour Tracker, which delivers race coverage across web, mobile and tablet viewing platforms via live video, audio and real-time data streams using the tested Tour Tracker technology.
Follow Team SpiderTech on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teamspidertech for live updates from the caravan. You can also follow your team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamspidertech .