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Tour of California - 2.1

USA, February 19-26, 2006

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Stage 7 - February 26: Redondo Beach Circuit Race, 123.1km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski

Complete live report

12:54 PST   
Welcome to the final stage of the inaugural Tour of California. We are at the start line here at Redondo Beach and its pumping. There are people everywhere crowding around the teams as they get ready to race, hanging out at the expo and getting autographs. Its a great atmosphere!. The race has really bee quite a success. The riders are all saying good things about it and it looks like it has a promising future.

Todays final stage is 123km in length and consists of ten laps of a 12.3km circuit. Starting and finishing down at the beach, the course then heads up Catalina Avenue and loops up to Palos Verde Blvd and back down Paseo De La Playa back to Catalina to the finish. The roads are wide open suburban roads. There is a short little climb mid way but nothing too challenging. We should see a fast exciting race.

13:01 PST   
No neutral start today, we are straight into racing. We have just heard the US National Anthem and we're off.

13:05 PST   
In the team cars, the race directors are currently doing their daily race radio check to make sure they can head the commissaires.

13:09 PST   
We have a break already. Four riders have a gap of 20" so far.

13:09 PST   
Crash! We have some riders down. T-Mobole, Gerolsteiner and a few others. They're all right back up and all look to be ok.

13:11 PST   
The riders in the break are Aaron Olson (Prodir), Glen Chadwick (Navigators), Davide Frattini (Colavita) and Scott Zwizanski (Kodak Sierra Nevada).

13:12 PST   
The peloton is in neutral mode for a minute or so because of the crash.

13:15 PST   
The lead riders now have 45" on the field, helped by the fact that the main bunch slowed down a little bit for an unofficial neutral to wait for the riders who crashed. About 12 riders were held up by the crash.

13:16 PST   
The gap is now 1'20".

13:18 PST   
Some riders are taking advantage of the fact that the bunch is slowly rolling along to take a nature break. More riders from the crash are making it back to the field now. Preben Van Hecke (Davitamon Lotto), Kilian Pauriol (Credit Agricole), Michael Barry (Discovery) and Andre Greipel (T-Mobile) have all made it back to the field.

13:18 PST   
Greipel is still asking for assistance from the team car. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) was also involved in the crash and has made it back to the bunch.

13:20 PST   
Robert Hunter (Phonak) has abandoned the race after that crash.

The break has increased to 2'20".

13:21 PST   
Phil Zajicek is out of the race too. He is at the medical tent. He's ok but a bit scraped up.

13:22 PST   
Tom Peterson (TIAA CREF) has also just rejoined the bunch. He was involved in the crash too as has a bit of road rash but is on his bike. He wears the young riders jersey so it is appropriate that the field has waited.

13:22 PST   
The break is getting a bit of an unfair advantage because of this crash, but its early days yet.

13:25 PST   
We are just over one lap down. The bunch is still just cruising slowly waiting for all riders caught up in the crash to get sorted.

13:27 PST    16km/107km to go
The leaders are going through the sprint line which is midway through the course. We don't have any sprints until the fourth lap.

13:28 PST   
Koldo Gil (Prodir Saunier Duval) has also abandoned the stage after that crash.

13:30 PST   
The gap is now 3'40".

13:31 PST   
The gap is 5'20".

13:32 PST   
Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) who was so aggressive in yesterdays race has also abandoned.

13:36 PST    20km/103km to go
Tom Peterson has been looked at by the medical team. He has also switched shoes with one of his team members and is really being quite brave in continuing the race. He has the young riders jersey, so everything to gain by finishing, but he may not be all that comfortable after the crash. His shoes must be a little beaten up.

13:37 PST   
The gap is now 6'45".

13:40 PST   
The guys in the break are working well together, taking even turns and by chance have just been able to get this huge gap. We will see the teams co-operating in the bunch soon to gradually bring them back. Only four teams are represented in the bunch so plenty of teams to chase.

13:41 PST   
The main field is coming through the finish line to see eight laps to go.

13:44 PST    25km/98km to go
When they came through the finish line, Chris Horner (Davitamon Lotto) was on the front. They are not chasing at all right now. Mostly just sitting in the bunch and chatting. Taking it easy.

13:45 PST   
We talked to Aaron Olson (Colavita) before the race and he said he's been feeling better every day and was feeling good this morning.

13:47 PST   
One thing interesting in the break is that Davide Frattini and Aaron Olsen used to ride on the same team together last year in Colavita, so they'll be feeling comfortable up front together.

13:50 PST   
Glen Chadwick (Navigators) is only 6'32" down on GC, so he is now the race leader on the road. You can rest assured that Phonak will be watching that gap.

13:52 PST    36.9km/86.1km to go
The break is coming through the finish line for the end of three laps. This lap will see the first sprint of the day.

13:54 PST   
The medical team has already run out of supplies already and have to go back to headquarters and stock up.

13:56 PST   
In addition to points at the sprint line today, each intermediate sprint also carries a $1000 prime. The leaders are getting ready for the first sprint of the day.

13:56 PST   
The field is currently being led by three Davitamon Lotto riders.

13:59 PST   
Davitamon Lotto will be wanting to keep things together for Freddie Rodriguez today. He's just missed out on a stage win and has taken three second places in the tour so far. Davitamon Lotto has finally started the chase. It was single file as they came through the finish line after lap three.

14:01 PST   
The sprint is coming up, we'll definitely see the gap come down this lap with the chase in progress.

14:03 PST    40km/83km to go
The field are 40km into the stage, with the break up ahead. They're all still working hard in the break. Equal turns, nice and smooth. Their gap has come down again to 6'25".

14:04 PST   
This means that Chadwick is no longer the tour leader on the road.

14:06 PST   
You'll all be happy that of all the riders who fell, no-one is seriously injured. Quite a few have nasty road rash, but nothing serious. Navigators is a little worried about Phil Zajicek who had a broken wrist a couple of weeks ago. He'll have to go for X-Rays to make sure he didn't harm it again.

14:06 PST   
His father is actually at the race today with him, so he's in good hands.

14:08 PST   
Scott Zwizanski (Kodakgallery.com Sierra Nevada) took the first sprint of the day, followed by Frattini and Chadwick. He also takes $1000 for winning the sprint.

14:09 PST    43.7km/79.3km to go
The break is now coming through the finish line at the end of lap four. They get a huge cheer from the crowd. They see six laps to go.

14:12 PST   
The gap has come down to 5'30" with Davitamon Lotto still on the front of the bunch setting tempo in the chase.

14:14 PST   
The main field go under the one kilometer banner on the way to finishing four laps. The are 48.8km into the race. They are bringing the gap down. Other teams are also helping out.

14:17 PST   
Davitamon is on the front now with the Phonak team just behind them with Floyd tucked in safely. CSC and Health Net are grouped together just behind them. The leaders are at the sprint line again. There is no sprint this lap.

14:19 PST    56km/67km to go
Five minutes is the current gap.

14:20 PST   
Riders are now allowed to feed in the feed zone. They can feed for the next four laps.

14:22 PST   
The gap keeps coming down. Its now 4'50". Phonak are happy that these other teams want stage wins as it prevents them having to do too much at this stage. They still have their work to do making sure Floyd is safe in the bunch, but right now Davitamon is setting the pace in the chase.

14:23 PST   
The riders in the break are taking about 15 second pulls, keeping things moving pretty steadily. With their gap continuing to fall, their teammates in the bunch will be thinking about the next move and who is going to counter. The gap is 4'40".

14:27 PST    61.6km/61.4km to go
The leaders are coming through the finish at the half way point and see five laps to go. They still have a 4'40" gap with Davitamon Lotto chasing.

14:29 PST   
Another team who will be looking for a stage win today is CSC. They were setting up the sprint yesterday for Stuart O'Grady, "We started prepping the peloton for the last two laps and the team worked together perfectly," Scott Sunderland told Cyclingnews after the race. "Cancellara laid out the sprint nicely for O'Grady, but Stuey was blocked by two riders ahead of him and had to hit the breaks to avoid crashing. It was a shame he didn't have the chance to get in there as it was a tailor-made finish for him."

We'll be looking for them again at today's finish.

14:31 PST   
We also talked to Harm Jansen (DS of Toyota United). He is very excited at the way the race has gone for them this week. Two stage wins in their first big race is "more than we could have hoped for," he said. "The pressure was going to be on for this last stage," added Jansen. "But now we can relax, the pressure's off."

14:32 PST   
The field has also reached the midway point now and are headed out for their sixth lap. The pace is pretty fast for this chase.

14:37 PST   
Back to the feed zone now for the peloton. Its still pretty much Davitamon Lotto on the front followed with a couple of other riders in there helping out a bit. There is one T-Mobile rider up there.

14:38 PST   
The second sprint of the day was taken by Glen Chadwick, taking points and $1000. He was followed by Scott Zwizanski and Davide Frattini.

14:39 PST   
The main field is one kilometer to the sprint line now.

14:43 PST   
The gap is still gradually coming down. Its 4'00" now. Davitamon Lotto still on the front. Freddie Rodgriguez is in the middle of the field saving his legs. Cadel Evans is at the back of the field now getting service.

14:43 PST    73.9km/49.1km to go
The break come through the finish line now at the end of lap six. They have four laps to go.

14:48 PST   
The main field is approaching the start/finish line and will see four laps to go.

14:50 PST   
The T-Mobile rider who is up in the mix with Davitamon Lotto is Bernhard Kohl who was leading the mountain jersey until stage 5. T-Mobile may go for the sprint again with Pollack.

14:52 PST   
our reporter Mark Zalewski has just talked to CSC Director Scott Sunderland from a moto out of the course. Sunderland is just waiting to see what happens here but if this is reeled in they'll be working for O'Grady again.

14:56 PST   
We have finally heard what caused the crash. It was one of those temporary cardboard garbage cans and it blew out on the course. We have just talked to Phil Zajicek who is confident that his wrist will be ok. He is disappointed to have to pull out of the race as he was highly placed on GC. He was in 15th place only 2'32" down on CG and was actually the highest placed non-ProTour American rider.

14:57 PST   
The gap has fallen to 3'45".

14:59 PST   
Greg Henderson (Health Net) is getting neutral service at the moment. He has them re-taping his handelbars whilst riding along at 51km/h (32m/h). He's one of the teams best sprinters and will want some grip on his bars for the sprint later.

15:04 PST   
Or reporter Mark Zalewski is in the car with the Navigators team now. Team Director Ed Beamon is yelling out the car at Chadwick trying to gee him up. He's yelling "Big lap now, you really have to dig deep here."

15:06 PST   
Jonas Carney is in the Kodak Sierra Nevada car and Beamon is talking to him now out the window. They are both encouraging their riders to really hit the gas this lap as its their last chance for this break to work.

15:07 PST   
We are in the eighth lap now and the main field is 5km to the sprint line. The gap is falling ever so slowly and is now at 3'10".

15:08 PST    91km/32km to go
The riders in the break are at the feed zone. Olsen is leading up the small climb.

15:10 PST   
They are on the downhill section now heading for the sprint. Their concern will not be with the sprint but making sure they keep their rhythm to keep this break going.

15:11 PST   
Olsen crossed the sprint line first, but they didn't sprint. They're all working very well together. Frattini takes his turn now. Olsen has a puncture. Rear wheel.

15:12 PST   
His team car is with him and is changing it quickly. He'll have to chase pretty hard now.

15:14 PST   
Olsen is making good progress back into the break. That was a good change.

15:14 PST   
The gap has fallen now though to 2'40".

15:16 PST   
2km to go to the finish line where they will see two laps to go. Olsen is back up doing turns now.

15:19 PST   
Greg Henderson (Health Net) just had a shoe change and is back with the field. Lots of shoe issues today!

15:20 PST    98.5km/24.5km to go
Here some the leaders through the finish line. They only have 2'10" lead now with two laps to go but they are working hard.

15:23 PST   
Radio Tour are reading off numbers for medical control after the race. They will test the stage winner, the overall GC winner and two random riders as they do every day.

15:26 PST   
The gap has fallen again to 1'35". Its looking more and more like a sprint finish, but these guys are showing no sign of giving up.

15:26 PST   
The sprinters teams will be starting to get organised and perhaps we'll see some counterattacking from Gerolsteiner again. It will definitely be another exciting finish.

15:28 PST   
Falling again. Its 1'20" now.

15:30 PST   
The guys in the break are still working well together. They are on the back side of the course with a lap and a half to go. It looks like CSC is on the front of the peloton right now. They are going for another try for O'Grady now.

15:32 PST   
The Davitamon Lotto riders are also up there. There's a lot of activity in the field with the teams getting organised for the finish. Phonak is also present at the front, they seem to be doing the majority of work on the front. This is good to keep Floyd safe, but they may also be going for a stage win with Robert Hunter.

15:33 PST    110km/13km to go
Lars Bak (CSC) is back on the front. The break has 1'10" as they pass the finish line with one lap to go.

15:34 PST   
The gap is 50" and falling.

15:34 PST   
The main field are coming up to the finish line with one lap to go. 13km.

15:36 PST   
The crowd is going wild, the gap is coming down.

15:37 PST   
Phonak still have guys on the front. Horner is also up there too for Davitamon Lotto.

15:38 PST   
The gap is only 35" now. They will probably get caught on this climb but they are still driving it really hard and working well together.

15:38 PST   
The gap is 30 seconds.

15:40 PST   
They can see the break up ahead now. Phonak and CSC both have riders up the front. They can see the break now.
Scott Zwizanski has attacked the break.

15:41 PST   
He has a 5" lead. Meanwhile back in the bunch a Gerolsteiner rider has a lead on the bunch.

15:42 PST   
Chadwick is going after him and has caught him on the climb.

15:42 PST   
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and a Phonak rider have caught and passed the break.

15:43 PST   
With the break caught, we have a three new riders off the front. Wegmann is one of them, one Phonak rider and a Navigator. They''ve all been caught now.

15:44 PST   
They have just passed the sprint line on the back side of the field. Its all together. CSC on the front but there's an attack by Toyota United.

15:45 PST   
Covered by a Phonak rider.

15:45 PST    118km/5km to go
CSC is back on the front driving it like yesterday. About 5km to go now.

15:45 PST   
Four CSC lead the field. Discovery riders are also near the front.

15:46 PST   
Floyd is up close to the front next to a couple of Navigator riders.

15:46 PST   
They are single file again now and flying towards the finish.

15:47 PST   
One CSC rider is still on the front. A Gerolsteiner rider rolls through.

15:47 PST   
The field is now lead by Gerolsteiner. Its single file. Another few riders try to come up the side but its too fast.

15:47 PST   
They Gerolsteiner rider has swung off.

15:48 PST   
They are flying. They are making a hard left turn, its single file.

15:49 PST   
They are on the flat, just over 1km to go. Phonak is on the front, followed by Davitamon.

15:49 PST    122km/1km to go
1km to go!

15:49 PST   
Phonak has swung off, its CSC on the front. Four riders

15:50 PST   
CSC dominate again, all across the road. T-Mobile rider comes up the side.

15:50 PST   
Its T-Mobile again!

15:50 PST   
Olaf Pollack takes his second win!

15:52 PST   
Looks like Haedo took second place followed by another T-Mobile rider.

16:03 PST   
Thank you all for tuning in to Cyclingnews for our live coverage this week. We have a few people to thank. One is John Koslosky from Castro Valley Cyclery who took us up in the helicopter on stage 2, Steve Hegg for being a great driver during the week and the CSC and Navigators teams for having us in their team cars today.

We hope you all enjoyed the tour. We'll be back in the US next time for Tour de Georgia



1 Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) 
2 Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota United Pro)
3 Andre Greipel (T-Mobile)
General Classification

1 Floyd Landis (Phonak)
2 David Zabriskie (Team CSC)                                  
3 Bobby Julich (Team CSC)   


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