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ESCONDIDO, California (VN) — Gavin Mannion came across the finish line in Escondido after a searing stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, salt outlines upon his kit, salt falling from his hair.
Riders trickled in for minutes, some unclipped, suffering from cramps. Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare) says he probably drank 30 bottles on the 100-degree, 165-mile stage around Escondido.
“The weather was the biggest factor today. It’s over 90 degrees, and this is the first time this year that most of us have raced in these conditions. It was just impossible to stay hydrated enough today,” Mannion said. “One of the hardest stages I’ve ever done. There’s salt everywhere; I think my hand was cramping coming into the finish.”
All day the temperatures around Escondido hovered around 100 degrees, and one team had to stop and buy more water at a gas station, having gone through its 150 bottles.
“It was like a blast furnace. It was nice on the climb up Palomar, but as we descended, you could just feel it getting hotter and hotter and hotter. It was like going into hell a bit,” Louder said.
“I think, particularly for everybody — most everybody — this is the first time they’ve felt this. A month ago I was in Belgium, where it didn’t go over 40 degrees. Now it’s 90. There’s a difference.”
The Southern California heat thinned a weary peloton, melting even the current road world champion, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), who eased off the gas late in the stage.
“I think it’s really, really tough,” said Bontrager director Axel Merckx. “You can see them finishing here. Everybody’s dehydrated, overheated. It’s 105 degrees. It’s the first stage; it’s a hard stage. When you see guys like Philippe Gilbert just give up with 10Ks to go because it’s too hot? It’s really tough.”
What’s even worse for the withered peloton is that Monday’s stage into Palm Springs is anticipated to be hotter still — and finishes on a climb. The predicted high in Palm Springs Monday? One hundred and nine degrees.
“It’s going to be brutal,” Merckx said. “Finishing uphill. It’s going to be really tough. But it is what it is. It’s the same for everybody. These young guys, they’re excited to be here, they’ll recover the best they can and make it a really good race.”
Alexander Candelario paused in the shaded finish, and dumped water over his head, letting it run down his face. Asked how hot it felt, he laughed.
“In the overall picture, I think it wasn’t that hot. But I think it’s the first hot day for everyone, so it was really hot,” he said. He lost track of how much water he’d drunk after 15 bottles.
“And I didn’t even take a pee once,” he said. “And tomorrow’s going to be even hotter.”
- 1. Lieuwe WESTRA, Vacansoleil-DCM, in 4:31:33
- 2. Francisco MANCEBO PEREZ, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at :00
- 3. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at :06
- 4. Gianni MEERSMAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :06
- 5. Jasper STUYVEN, USA, at :06
- 6. Jacob RATHE, Garmin-Sharp, at :06
- 7. Alexander CANDELARIO, USA, at :06
- 8. Mitchell DOCKER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :06
- 9. Jeremy VENNELL, USA, at :06
- 10. Tanner PUTT, USA, at :06
- 11. Michael ROGERS, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :06
- 12. Chad BEYER, Champion System, at :06
- 13. Mathias FRANK, BMC Racing, at :06
- 14. Paul VOSS, NetApp-Endura, at :06
- 15. Marc DE MAAR, UnitedHealthcare, at :06
- 16. Christopher BALDWIN, USA, at :06
- 17. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at :06
- 18. Andy SCHLECK, RadioShack-Leopard, at :06
- 19. Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :06
- 20. David DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO, NetApp-Endura, at :06
- 21. Chad HAGA, USA, at :06
- 22. Jeffry LOUDER, UnitedHealthcare, at :06
- 23. Lucas EUSER, UnitedHealthcare, at :06
- 24. Javier Alexis ACEVEDO COLLE, USA, at :06
- 25. Philip DEIGNAN, UnitedHealthcare, at :06
- 26. Max JENKINS, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at :06
- 27. Ryan ROTH, Champion System, at :06
- 28. Nathaniel ENGLISH, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at :06
- 29. Matthew BUSCHE, RadioShack-Leopard, at :06
- 30. Lawson CRADDOCK, USA, at :06
- 31. Laurent DIDIER, RadioShack-Leopard, at :06
- 32. Leopold KONIG, NetApp-Endura, at :06
- 33. Phillip GAIMON, USA, at :06
- 34. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, RadioShack-Leopard, at :06
- 35. Juan Antonio FLECHA GIANNONI, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :06
- 36. Edward KING, Cannondale, at :06
- 37. Gavin MANNION, USA, at :06
- 38. David ZABRISKIE, Garmin-Sharp, at :06
- 39. Chris BUTLER, Champion System, at :06
- 40. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at :06
- 41. Michael TORCKLER, USA, at :06
- 42. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC Racing, at :06
- 43. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at :06
- 44. Brian VANDBORG, Cannondale, at :06
- 45. Jens VOIGT, RadioShack-Leopard, at :06
- 46. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :06
- 47. James STEMPER, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at :06
- 48. Carter JONES, USA, at :06
- 49. Jonathan Patrick MC CARTY, USA, at :06
- 50. Nathan BROWN, USA, at :06
- 51. Lachlan David MORTON, Garmin-Sharp, at :06
- 52. Marco PINOTTI, BMC Racing, at :20
- 53. Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing, at :35
- 54. Ben JACQUES-MAYNES, USA, at 9:09
- 55. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at 9:11
- 56. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at 9:11
- 57. Luis ROMERO AMARAN, USA, at 9:11
- 58. Sylvain CHAVANEL, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 9:11
- 59. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at 9:11
- 60. Gregor GAZVODA, Champion System, at 9:11
- 61. Antoine DUCHESNE, USA, at 10:18
- 62. José Joao PIMENTA COSTA MENDES, NetApp-Endura, at 10:18
- 63. Bertjan LINDEMAN, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 10:18
- 64. Lucas Sebastian HAEDO, Cannondale, at 10:18
- 65. Kevin DE WEERT, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 10:18
- 66. Baden COOKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 10:18
- 67. Tyler FARRAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 10:18
- 68. Carlos VERONA QUINTANILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 10:18
- 69. Timothy DUGGAN, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:18
- 70. Jonathan CANTWELL, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:18
- 71. Matteo TOSATTO, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:18
- 72. Kin San WU, Champion System, at 10:18
- 73. Bob JUNGELS, RadioShack-Leopard, at 10:18
- 74. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at 10:18
- 75. Tyler WREN, USA, at 10:18
- 76. Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU, RadioShack-Leopard, at 10:18
- 77. Jesse ANTHONY, USA, at 10:18
- 78. James ORAM, USA, at 10:18
- 79. Michael MORKOV, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:18
- 80. Oliver ZAUGG, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:18
- 81. Caleb FAIRLY, Garmin-Sharp, at 10:18
- 82. Ryan EASTMAN, USA, at 10:18
- 83. Bert GRABSCH, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 10:18
- 84. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at 10:18
- 85. Ken HANSON, USA, at 10:18
- 86. Rohan DENNIS, Garmin-Sharp, at 10:18
- 87. Thomas SOLADAY, USA, at 10:18
- 88. Marsh COOPER, USA, at 10:18
- 89. Christopher JONES, UnitedHealthcare, at 10:18
- 90. Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCK, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 10:44
- 91. Mauro DA DALTO, Cannondale, at 10:44
- 92. Wesley SULZBERGER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 10:44
- 93. Jonas Aaen JÖRGENSEN, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:44
- 94. Jay MCCARTHY, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 10:44
- 95. Boy VAN POPPEL, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 10:44
- 96. Shawn MILNE, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at 10:44
- 97. Frank Kevin PIPP, USA, at 10:44
- 98. Chun Kai FENG, Champion System, at 10:44
- 99. David WILLIAMS, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at 10:44
- 100. Daniel SCHORN, NetApp-Endura, at 10:44
- 101. Matt BRAMMEIER, Champion System, at 10:44
- 102. Cesare BENEDETTI, NetApp-Endura, at 10:44
- 103. Tom ZIRBEL, USA, at 14:37
- 104. Thomas DE GENDT, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 18:40
- 105. Tomasz MARCZYNSKI, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 18:40
- 106. Guillaume BOIVIN, Cannondale, at 18:40
- 107. Zakkari DEMPSTER, NetApp-Endura, at 18:40
- 108. Kris BOECKMANS, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 18:42
- 109. Scott ZWIZANSKI, USA, at 18:42
- 110. Travis MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 18:42
- 111. James DRISCOLL, USA, at 19:50
- 112. Carson MILLER, USA, at 19:50
- 113. Aldo Ino ILESIC, UnitedHealthcare, at 19:50
- 114. Juan José HAEDO, USA, at 19:50
- 115. Guido Emanuel PALMA, USA, at 19:50
- 116. Jason MCCARTNEY, USA, at 19:50
- 117. Wesley KREDER, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 19:50
- 118. John MURPHY, UnitedHealthcare, at 19:50
- 119. Robert SWEETING, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at 19:50
- 120. Thor HUSHOVD, BMC Racing, at 19:50
- 121. Jacobe KEOUGH, UnitedHealthcare, at 19:50
- 122. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at 19:50
- 123. Bobbie TRAKSEL, Champion System, at 19:50
- OTL: Michael HEPBURN, Orica-GreenEdge, at 36:59
- OTL: Fumiyuki BEPPU, Orica-GreenEdge, at 36:59
- OTL: Taylor SHELDON, 5-hour Energy-Kenda, at 36:59
- DNF Stijn VANDENBERGH, Omega Pharma-Quick Step
A canny Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) used a last-ditch attack to win stage 1 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California on Sunday.
The 2012 Dutch time-trial champion made his move inside the final 5km, just as the race swallowed up the remnants of an earlier breakaway on its way back into Escondido. Francisco Mancebo (5-hour-Energy-Kenda) quickly followed, and the two came into the finishing stretch together, just seconds ahead of the charging main field.
Mancebo took the lead going through the final left-hand turn and onto the long finishing straight, but Westra made short work of him in the sprint, taking an easy victory. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) led a frustrated bunch in for third.
A hot day in the hills
The 165.1km stage started and finished amid blistering heat in Escondido, following a clockwise route that took in three KOM points — Mesa Grande, Palomar Mountain and Cole Grade — before finishing at Broadway and Grande avenues.
Zakkari Dempster (NetApp-Endura), Carter Jones (Bissell), James Stemper (5-hour Energy-Kenda) and Marsh Cooper (Optum-Kelly Benefit Systems) got busy early, building a lead of some 12 minutes at one point.
Dempster led the way over the category-4 Mesa Grande, but lost contact on the first-category Palomar climb, and the other three didn’t wait for him. As the peloton came to the realization that a double-digit lead was a bit extreme, the escapees’ advantage came down to just under eight minutes with 70km to go.
And then there were two
Jones led the trio over the Palomar KOM. Behind, Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) jumped the peloton going over the top and went after the break, quickly catching and passing Dempster.
Ahead, Jones and Stemper likewise shed Cooper, and it was a two-man break.
Jones led over the final KOM, the third-category Cole Grade, and with 32km to race the leaders had a four-minute gap and 32km to race.
Behind, a combination of heat and gravity split the bunch, leaving Sagan in a second group. But he had teammates with him, and soon rejoined the main chase, which swept up Cooper on a rolling section.
World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC), too, was left behind. But he was on his own, and took longer to rejoin, latching back on just as a teammate drifted back to see what was what.
Cannondale then continued its push, lining the bunch out and taking the gap down to 3:25 with 22km to go.
Time continued to run out for the break as the chase continued, and Gilbert was in difficulty once again.
A quick succession of attacks interrupted Cannondale’s rhythm, and then a crash at the back of the bunch saw Luis Amaran (Jamis-Hagens Berman) hit the deck hard. The Cuban stayed down for a while, clearly dazed, but eventually remounted and rode on, accompanied by a teammate.
Back at the race, the gap dropped sharply —a minute with 13km to go, then 30 seconds with 8km to go. Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Cannondale were on the front, the former for Gianni Meersman, the latter for Sagan.
With 5km remaining it was all over — and as the catch came, Westra shot off the front as Sagan went out the back, victim of a mechanical.
No bunch sprint today, thanks
Mancebo bridged to Westra and it was a fresh two-man break with 4km to race.
UnitedHealthcare then tried to organize something at the front, followed by Garmin-Sharp. But Mancebo and Westra were well away with 2km remaining.
As the two hit the red kite BMC Racing had taken over the pursuit, but it was too late — Mancebo led it out and Westra finished it off.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from California.
FIRENZE, Italy (VN) — For the second consecutive stage, defending champion Ryder Hesjedal lost time to the Giro d’Italia’s main GC contenders, this time on the race’s first real day of climbing, ending in the historic city of Firenze (Florence).
On a 170km route that delivered four categorized climbs through the Appennine Mountains and saw the peloton soaked by a major rainstorm, the Garmin-Sharp team leader fell into difficulty late in the race, ultimately losing more than a minute to his rivals and dropping from sixth overall to 11th, 3:11 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali of Astana.
Much of Sunday’s hilly course followed roads that will be used for the world road race championships in Tuscany later this year. After dropping off the back and regaining contact on the day’s penultimate climb, the Cat. 3 Vetta le Croci, it was on the day’s final climb — the Fiesole climb that will be ridden 10 times on a 16.6km circuit at road worlds — that Hesjedal lost contact with the leaders.
With teammate Tom Danielson shepherding him up and over the Fiesole, Hesjedal crossed the finish line 1:06 behind a group containing Nibali, Cadel Evans (BMC), Robert Gesink (Blanco), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida).
That Hesjedal would lose contact with the race leaders came as a shock; an hour earlier he’d asked teammate David Millar to go to the front to help Astana drive the pace after Wiggins had lost contact on the wet descent of the Vetta le Croci. And earlier in this Giro, Hesjedal was on the attack; on the Sella di Catona on stage 3, he twice broke off the front, creating a split in an already diminished front group and causing panic among team leaders and domestiques alike.
On Sunday Hesjedal crossed the finish line pale and gaunt, turning away requests from Italian TV for post-stage interviews. Hours later, following a shower and meal, he spoke with VeloNews by phone from the Garmin team bus.
“It was a tough day, again, one day after a tough time trial,” Hesjedal said. “We’ve been getting hit with these bad conditions, and I just had a few bad moments on those last two short climbs.
“I felt fine on the longer climbs. One the last long climb (the Cat. 1 Vallombrosa) Astana was riding a hard tempo, and you could see the havoc on the descent. Then it came down to a small group, and there was interest there for people to ride, but I couldn’t get any power out of my legs on the short climbs.”
Hesjedal attributed his difficulty to a combination of factors, including the cold, and what he referred to as “TT butt.”
“The day after a time trial, your glutes and piriformis are just destroyed,” he said. “It just kind of shuts down the lower part of your body.
“When the race is on like that, on those short climbs, with the last climb being downhill to finish, it’s not ideal to have a bad patch, and I just couldn’t get that raw power into my legs. I had to do my own tempo.
“It was nice to have Tom (Danielson) there, he did a good job of helping me limit the damage, but it’s tough when you have 40 guys riding to the final, and you’re chasing for seven or eight kilometers. It’s not the end of the world, I just had a bad moment. If it had happened on a 10km climb to the finish, my Giro would be over.”
After Hesjedal lost contact and slipped further down the GC rankings, Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters took to Twitter, writing, “Well, on to plan B in the Giro. Rest on the rest day, then figure out how to liven up the race for the second half.”
Asked what “Plan B” might entail, Hesjedal said he wasn’t aware of a back-up plan for the team.
“You’ll have to ask [Vaughters],” he said. “I’m still less than two minutes off the podium. This is the Giro. It’s been nine brutal days. I’m here to race and give it my best. I hope we’re not forgetting who won the race last year. By no means is it an easy feat to pull that off again, but I’m here. I’m trying.
“I will try to rebound from today, and rely on the fact that I know I have my best performances in the latter part of a three-week race. There are still two weeks to race. There is plenty of opportunity to climb back.
“Certainly Nibali is showing that he has no weakness, he is in the driver’s seat, but that position also comes with responsibility, and work. The podium is not that far off. There is still a lot of racing to be done, and still opportunities for other guys to have bad days. By no means is the race over.”
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) appears more and more capable of winning his national tour, the Giro d’Italia. On Sunday’s rain-lashed ninth leg, he and his team — with an assist from a couple of other interested parties — put pre-race favorite Bradley Wiggins (Sky) into a spot of bother.
“We were pulling on the Vallombrosa descent. … Our team car was at the very back of the line, so we didn’t know what was going on with Wiggins, who was at the back of the group,” Nibali said at the post-race press conference. “I realized it only when BMC Racing and Vini Fantini started to came to the front and began ramping up the pace.”
Once Astana took note, Wiggins found himself down nearly a minute to Nibali and the other GC contenders. But his Sky mates led a mad chase, and he rejoined the shreds of the peloton before the finish. He remains fourth overall at 1:16.
“The Giro is long, we all know that, and any of us can suffer a bad day,” Nibali said. “Wiggins suffered in the stage to Pescara, but yesterday he went strongly and almost won the stage. So he’s still there. Ryder Hesjedal, however, though, looks to be suffering.”
He left the chapel, stepped into the team car and went to meet his team. They transferred to Cordenons in Italy’s northeast for Monday’s rest day via helicopter, while most other teams, including Sky, were to make the four-hour journey by car.
Earlier in the day, team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said that he was proud to have the maglia rosa in-house but remained aware of the work ahead.
“We took the jersey, but we know the race is still long,” he said, leaning against the bus where fans circled three deep. “It’s never too early to take the jersey, but we’re realistic.”
After the rest day, he said, the race only becomes harder with the high-mountain passes that form a natural border in Italy’s north.
The fact that Wiggins is still in the game, he said, however, is a good thing for Astana.
“We are happy Wiggins is still okay, he’s more of an ally for us. If he was further back, I’d be more worried, to tell you the truth,” Martinelli said. “The team might start to play with Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán. Instead, Wiggins is still the leader and there’s more tranquility.
“We have the same goals; we want to make the same race. If Wiggins was at four minutes, the race tactics would change.”
On Monday’s rest day, Martinelli and Nibali will study footage of the Altopiano del Montasio and recon the final pitches.
For the first time the 10.4km Friulano climb will make an appearance in the Giro. It rises above Sella Nevea, which sits at 1143 meters, and continues until 1502 meters, featuring a section of 20 percent. Tuesday’s ride to Serra San Bruno will feel like an aperitivo in comparison.
Wiggins already inspected it after the Giro del Trentino, which may give him an advantage — and a chance to challenge Nibali’s narrow lead.
- I see there are a lot of photos of every category except cat 5. We like to see racing photos too! I sense we're liked as much as tax day. Where's the cat 5 love?