Tour of California - 2.1
USA, February 19-26, 2006
Results & report
Stage 5 - February 24: San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, 169.5km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
Complete live report
Welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage
of the tour of California. Yesterday the riders finished the stage in the town
of San Luis Obispo after 210 km of riding along the beautiful coastline from
Monterey. Today they start where they left off and head further south along
the coast, this time on flatter terrain until they head inland and head through
wine country and the hills of Santa Ynez Valley. These will be familiar roads
to many of the riders as it is a popular place for team training camps. Discovery
for one, hold their training camp in Solvang each year.
through Santa Ynez, the race hits the Los Padres National Forest and the hardest
climb of the day. San Marcos Pass is a category 1 climb and is 7.5km in length.
You'll see a bit of action here, as the race finishes only 20km from the top
of the climb in Santa Barbara.
Our reporter Mark Zalewski is at the
start and caught up with Tom Danielson. He says he hasn't been quite in form
yet this race but he did feel good yesterday. Discovery will be saving him for
San Marcos Pass today. Danielson has ridden this climb in training camp a few
times. "Its not as steep as the Sierra climb we raced over in Stage 2," he says,
"but it is longer."
The race is underway. Again, riders
will complete 5.5km neutral before the real start of the race. Lots of school
kids line the roads to watch them go by.
Again the crowds are huge. Organisers
of the Tour of California estimate crowd numbers of 680,000 over the first five
days of the tour. The weather is great again. Blue skies and mild temperatures.
It seems that they have picked a good week for this race as weather reports
predict rain in the LA area starting Monday.
JJ Haedo (Toyota United Pro) pulled
through for his new team again yesterday, picking up stage win number two so
far. His win yesterday earned him the green sprint jersey. We talked to him
on the start line as he feels pretty good. He said, "today will be a lot like
yesterday. A lot of climbs to get over and on the last climb there will be a
lot of attacking." But he added that he'll see what happens and if he's there
at the end he'll be going for it. For sure though he'll be looking for a stage
win on Sunday in the circuit race.
We already have eight or so riders
off the back asking for their team cars. Perhaps its already warm enough for
them to take off arm warmers etc.
Yesterdays finish was extremely fast
with speeds up at 70km an hour in the last 3km of racing. Today the finish is
downhill and speeds are estimated to be even faster.
We have just hit the 0km mark and
the race proper is underway.
We're still seeing good crowds as
the race heads out towards Corbett Canyon Rd. The first thing to think about
for the riders will be the two intermediate sprints. The first one is after
only 17km (10miles) and another one comes 20km after that.
There is no time bonus at the finish
Already we have a Gerolsteiner rider
off the front. They did this yesterday. They are not going to sit back and make
this easy for Floyd it seems.
Its Sven Krauss. He has a small gap.
10:23 PST 7.2km/162.2km to go
Krauss has been
caught. Its all together again. Another attack has gone. A group of 12 riders
are up the road.
In the group are Viatcheslav Ekimov
(Discovery), Ben Brooks (Navigators), Craig Lewis (TIAA CREF), Scott Zaizanski
(Kodak Sierra Nevada), Davide Frattini (Colavita Sutter Home), Charles Dionne
(Prodir Saunier Duval) and David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) are all in the group.
The gap stretched out to 18" but is
The peloton are moving in on them
as they descend into a valley and its going to come back together.
10:28 PST 13km/156.4km to go
5km to the sprint
now. We are currently traveling at 51km/h (32miles/h). Its fast already, ahead
10:31 PST 16.2km/153.2km to go
Seven riders are up the road. There's a large crowd at the sprint line. The
break has 1km to the sprint now. Its very twisty and turny now.
Its downhill into the sprint. Its
wide open though as its in the centre of town, Arroyo Grande.
The peloton has caught the break just
after the sprint line so its all back together.
It was Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) who
took the sprint, followed by Gord Fraser (Health Net/Maxxis) and Jens Voigt
Another few attacks but nothing is
getting away right now. Its moving fast with Phonak on the front. We are about
to hit a small climb.
It kicks up a bit now. A split is
happening in the field. About 13 riders have a small advantage, four riders
trying to bridge and Phonak is on the front of the bunch setting tempo. Its
The group has grown to 16 riders.
They have gone over the top of the small climb and are on small rollers. After
these rollers we have a very fast 50m/h descent.
The 16 riders have been caught now.
This descent is straight and fast. Should be fun and fast. Its single file.
A few guys are trying to get away but the pace of the field is so fast right
A small group is trying to form. Four
or five riders have a small advantage.
10:43 PST 25km/144.4km to go
A few riders are
bridging. We have ten riders with a small advantage on the field. The road is
wide open now as they are on HWY 1.
The group has 17" on the field.
In the break are Lars Bak (CSC), Rene
Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), Michael Barry (DIscovery), Mick Rogers (t-Mobile),
Ben Brooks (Navigators), Mike Jones (Health Net/Maxxis), Justin England (Toyota
United), Kyle Wamsley (Colavita Sutter Homes), Dominique Perras (Kodak Sierra
Nevada), and Caleb Manion (Jelly Belly).
Mike Creed (TIAA CREF) is trying to
bridge. He is 20" behind the group and the field is 30" behind him.
The gap has grown to 43", the break
is strung out and working hard together.
Creed is not going to make it alone.
Its too fast up there. He is getting caught by the bunch.
Speaking of TIAA CREF, Thomas Peterson
still holds the young riders jersey and his two teammates Taylor Tolleson and
Craig Lewis are in second and third. Great results for this team.
10:53 PST 33.8km/135.6km to go
They are on a
descent now into wide open farmland. Mike Jones is on the front of the break
as they come up to the second sprint. 4km to the sprint now.
The sprint comes after a kilometer
long bridge crossing. The gap is now 35".
For those locals reading, a great
place to watch today is up on San Marcos Pass. Riders are expected to go through
there at about 1:20pm. According to one reader there is good food and drink
up there at Cold Springs Tavern.
Sprint coming up, there is a slight
right hand bend into town for the sprint.
10:58 PST 37.8km/131.6km to go
A lot of school
kids out here to watch the sprint. They're quite loud! A Harley driver revs
his engine to the riders as they go by.
TIAA CREF is up with Phonak on the
front of the field helping set the pace. Creed didn't make it across so they
don't have anyone up there.
The winner of the sprint was Ben Brooks
(Navigators), followed by Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) and Dominique Perras
(Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada).
Our reporter Mark Zalewski is in a
car with former Chevrolet-L.A. Sheriff and Saturn rider Steve Hegg. Hegg was
also a member of the US team in the 1984 Olympics and won a gold medal in the
pursuit. He's been very informative, giving us details of the roads coming up
11:07 PST 44km/125.4km to go
The gap is 35" seconds
now. Its falling a bit.
Michael Barry is attacking in the
bunch. It looks like he's trying to liven things up a bit and get rid of some
of the slower riders who weren't working.
11:12 PST 46km/123.4km to go
The gap is still
35". Lars Bak is on the front now and actually has a bit of a gap from the rest
of the break. He's looking back to see who's with him. He has Caleb Manion with
him and a few riders bridging.
The break is all over the road again.
They are obviously not happy with this break. They are still holding the gap
at 30" though.
Another attack out of the break and
another rider trying to bridge up to him.
Lars Bak and Haselbacher are off the
front of the break. Bak is wearing the "most aggressive rider" jersey from yesterday,
nothing has changed. He is still making this race.
The rest of the break has been caught.
Mark McCormack is trying to bridge out of the field to the two up the road.
The gap is 20" between Bak and Haselbacher and the field.
McCormack has now reached the break
so we have a lead group of three. Three guys are trying to bridge, followed
by the field at 25".
The chasers have been caught by the
field. The field is flying and the gap is coming down quickly.
11:22 PST 55km/114.4km to go
The gap is only
11 seconds now. The three are still working together as we come up to some more
winding roads and some hills. It looks like the gap is coming up again as they
go through the town of Orcutt.
20" is the latest split.
It looks like Lucas Euser (TIAA CREF)
is trying to bridge now.
Thirty seconds is the gap now. The
break is working hard now.
11:28 PST 59km/110.4km to go
School kids everywhere
along this street. The gap has increased to 45". Lucas Euser is 30" down on
the break but still out there trying.
The race has just crossed over HWY
101. The field is totally strung out and the gap is 45". Euser has been caught
by the bunch.
11:32 PST 61km/108.4km to go
The road narrows
here as they go up a small climb. The gap seems to be coming down. Its now 30".
The climb is just over a kilometer
The riders in the break are on a long
flat road now, wide open. Haselbacher is caling for his team car. They have
their heads down and their powering away.
Bak rolls off and Haselbacher comes
through. McCormack looks over his shoulder to see if the field are coming.
They are all looking back, the field
is on them. Haselbacher is all over the road. Another Gerolsteiner rider has
countered the move just as the break is caught.
The field is still totally strung
out and its all together again.
Gerolsteiner attack again!
One solo rider off the front. The
More riders are bridging. Its CSC
again and another rider.
11:45 PST 72km/97.4km to go
The break is now
four riders on this wide open descent. They are Jens Voigt (CSC), Sebastian
Lang (Gerolsteiner), Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery) and Nick Reistad (Jelly
Belly). They have about 20" on the field.
We are about 5km from the feed zone
here. We are on Foxen Canyon Road. The gap has blown out to 1'05".
Its dead flat farmland here but after
the feed zone riders will hit some more climbing as they continue along Foxen
11:51 PST 75km/94.4km to go
Ekimov is driving
the break at this point. They are doing about 30" turns. Nick Reistad rolls
The peloton is in chase mode. They
are strung out, Phonak on the front with six riders.
11:56 PST 79km/90.4km to go
Mike Sayers and Tim
Johnson tried to bridge to the break. Johnson was caught but Sayers is still
out there. The time gap between the peloton and the break is increasing. Its
sits at 2'10" right now. Sayers is somewhere in the middle.
The bunch has slowed a little to go
through the feed zone. They've all picked up there feed bags and they're getting
The gap is 2'40" with the bunch sitting
up a bit. Sayers is 35" behind the break group.
Its about 67 degrees right now, so
its getting warmer. Phonak is back on the front of the peloton starting to pick
the tempo up again as they go over a small roller. This is where the road continues
to go up for quite some time.
The gap is 3'15". Sayers is still
solo in the middle. The Health Net team car has just been called up to sit behind
Sayers. That might give him a bit of a boost.
The road is still going up gradually
and the Phonak riders are setting a pretty fast tempo on the front of the bunch.
The have the riders strung out around these curvy roads.
We talked to Robert Hunter this morning
who has been working hard for Floyd his week. He said he did not even contest
the sprint yesterday. He was at the back trying to recover from working all
day. He added that keeping the jersey was obviously the most important thing
for the team at the moment, but perhaps if they have it under control, he might
be able to go for a stage win on the last day.
12:10 PST 87.7km/81.7km to go
Sayers is sitting
up now. He can't make it up to the break.
Phonak is at the front and it looks
like Fabian Cancellara is up there with them.
One thing Robert Hunter did say today
was that Floyd will not be alone of San Marcos Pass as I'm sure some of the
other teams are hoping for. He is confident that Floyd will have teammates with
him on the climb.
I was trying to figure out why Cancellara
would be up working with Phonak and couldn't, then I got a better view and realised
it is a T-Mobile rider up there helping in the chase.
The gap is still 3'15". They are on
another climb now. Its about 3km long and steep in parts. Steve Hegg adds that
this climb causes a lot of people to get off and walk in the Solvang Century
ride that comes through these parts. So its pretty steep.
If any of you are fans of the movie
Sideways, They shot some of the film here.
One reader tells us, just after
Zaca Mesa winery is the sting in the tail, a slightly brutal hill known as “heartbreak
hill.” Then they have a fast descent before hitting the next hill, known as
“the wall.” This has an even faster descent.
The gap has started to come down now.
Its 2'45" as they go down a descent.
We've just had our Chris Brewer report.
"I just drove over the final San Marcos Pass climb, and the cowds are starting
to form with many riders heading up to the top. Despite being a 5km Cat 1 effort,
it's not that steep and there are no violent grade changes or switchbacks to
attack from. A rider will really have just crack from a high pace, if Landis
comes to the base with his rivals and is good he should be able to make it over
OK, I think."
12:30 PST 100km/69.4km to go
The race heads through
lots of Vineyards here, its beautiful countryside.
We are going up a sharp climb here.
Looks like about 10%. Its starts off easy but it kicks up. Quite a lot of spectators
line the road here too. The break is working well.
Despite the break working well, the
gap is still coming down slowly. Its now 2'15". Phonak have been really driving
it on the front. The bunch is still climbing and most of the are out of the
saddle at this point.
They just crest the climb leaving
a long trail of riders in their trail.
They are descending now but will have
another couple of pinches soon.
12:39 PST 108km/61.4km to go
here at about 80km/h. They are just turning onto HWY 154. More people on the
side of the road watching the race.
Ekimov is on the front now, they all
seem to be taking equal turns. Great ride by Mick Reistad (Jelly Belly). The
gap has increased again now to 2'45".
They are entering the Los Padres National
Forest here and will go past the Santa Ynez River. The gap is up to 2'50".
12:47 PST 114km/55.4km to go
The road is flat
again, almost downhill.
We have about 30km before we reach
the top of the main climb of the day. Ekimov is on the front now doing another
strong turn. He's going 36.8km/h up a false flat.
12:50 PST 117km/52.4km to go
Reistad has his
team car up here now. The gap is three minutes.
We've just seen a Danish flag cheering
on Lars Bak. We are near Solvang which has a large Danish population.
Danny Van Haute (Jelly Belly DS) just
had a word with us. He says that he can see Ekimov as a threat today. He is
only five minutes down so the bunch won't want him to get too far up the road.
The gap is 3'25" right now so its
gradually increasing still.
The bunch is cruising a little bit
now. Not so strung out. Floyd looks comfortable in there with his team around
Its fast again at the front now. Phonak
the ever present force at the front.
13:04 PST 126km/43.4km to go
The gap is 2'55"
now. They are going over some small rolling climbs now in the lead up to the
Downhill again now. We have about
ten kilometers to the base of the climb now.
UP another roller now. The bunch is
spread across this wide open road. The gap is down to 2'15". Phonak still lead.
Phonak would be happy with this gap
at the moment. They have Ekimov under 3 minutes. He's a good climber, but they
don't have to panic if they can keep the gap steady at around two minutes.
T-Mobile is also still very present
at the front of the bunch. Bernhard Kohl still holds the mountain jersey by
five points from Levi. They'll be wanting to set him up for the climb to retain
They are heading uphill again now.
The field is spread across the road. This is quite steep as well.
The gap is down to two minutes. These
rollers are pretty big out here.
The gap is under two minutes now and
we can see the start of the climb. The field is going down a small descent that
leads down to the start of the climb. They can see the break ahead now.
Mavic are servicing Mick Rogers, giving
him a new front wheel.
13:22 PST 137.7km/31.7km to go
Its 6.5km to the
top front here. The start of the climb is gradual. Wide open and slightly up
hill. It curves a little bit here which is preventing the field from seeing
It basically a very consistent climb.
About 7-8%. Its a really beautiful canyon road.
Phonak still sits at the front of
the field. The new gap is 1'33". The riders are all out of the saddle now as
the field sees 5km to go to the top.
The break riders are all out of the
saddle. Reistad is on the back. Eki is setting the pace.
Reistad is falling off the back..
Voigt and Ekimov are swapping off
setting the place on the climb. Lang is sitting on at this point.
Reistad is about 50m off the back
now. Eki just pulled off and pulls in behind Voigt. Voigt takes over. Lang looks
to be struggling a little.
Leipheimer has attacked out of the bunch
and has 75m on the field.
Leipheimer is closing quickly on the
break. Lang will be waiting for Leipheimer to help him when he makes it up.
Leipheimer has reached Reistad. He
is only 5 points off Kohl for the mountain jersey so he'll be trying to get
He's 1'10" down on Landis in the race.
Kohl is also bridging up to defend his KOM jersey.
Riccardo Ricco (Prodir) has managed
to bridge up to Levi, Kohl is behind and chasing but not making it. He has been
caught by the field.
Ricco and Leipheimer are together
and sit 14" behind the leaders.
Leipheimer and Ricco have reached
the break. So we have five in the break. Lang has hit the front and is setting
I'm pretty sure its 6 points for the
first over the KOM, so if Levi takes the KOM sprint and Kohl doesnt' get any
points, Levi will take the mountain jersey.
13:36 PST 143.8km/25.6km to go
1km to the finish.
The peloton seem to closing in a bit.
A lot of people await at the top of the climb for the riders to come through.
The gap between the break and the
field is 34". They have crested the mountain. Leipheimer and Ricco are away
on their own.
This is a fast descent with a lot
of turns. The original three riders in the break have been caught by the bunch,
which is now 28" down.
13:41 PST 149.9km/19.5km to go
A lot of riders
got dropped on the climb. The main front group is about 40 riders now. The lead
two riders have 20km to the finish. The gap has dropped to 12".
The are now descending at 55m/h (88km/h).
The gap is coming down. Its ten seconds now.
At the bottom of the descent is a
hard turn that heads towards town. The leaders have been caught. The bunch is
all together. Well a field of 40 riders that is at this point. There are chase
13:46 PST 153km/16.4km to go
Its still rolling
as they head into town, its not exactly a flat easy ride into town. The last
few miles are downhill though and the finishing sprint is downhill and will
be very fast.
13:50 PST 155km/14.4km to go
The Discovery riders
are on the front of the front group pushing the pace. A full Discovery team
with Phonak behind them
When they get near the finish, the
road narrows at about 1km which is right on the coast again at Santa Barbara.
Then it just curves along to the finish on one side of the divided Hwy. A straight
shot in, not technical at all.
There's a lot of people at the finish.
JJ Haedo must be in the field because Toyota United are on the front driving
Discovery are sitting in just behind
them. They're flying.
Its single file. Discovery are back
on the front.
13:54 PST 161.9km/7.5km to go
They are making
a hard right turn now. The forty rider group is totally strung out. Discovery
has four riders up front driving. A Phonak rider sits in behind them. Its not
Floyd but Floyd isn't far back either.
8km to go now.
Three more Discovery riders sit behind
the Phonak rider so they basically have their team all up there.
Two Davitamon Lotto riders are up
in this group.
Discovery still driving the pace.
They'll be going for a stage win and possibly trying to get the sprint jersey
back for Hincapie. He is 5 points behind JJ Haedo at this point.
13:59 PST 164.4km/5km to go
There is no time
bonus for this stage so its all for the stage win and the sprint jersey. Discovery
still have the field strung out. Its single file. They are making the last turn,
under 3km to go now.
Michael Barry pulls off, he's done
his turn, another Discovery rider pulls through. Riders from other teams are
trying to move up. Davitmon Lotto has a rider moving up, but Discovery still
dominate this bunch right now.
14:01 PST 166.9 km/2.5km to go
to go. The road curves along the coast under the palm trees. Still single file.
Its slightly downhill and they're flying.
Jostling for position now, we are
at 1km to go.
Discovery still lead. There is another
train trying to start but Discovery still leads. A straight shot from here.
The sprint has started. Discovery
A Health Net rider got pushed out,
Discovery still on the front and its Geroge Hincapie who takes the win!
That probably gives him the sprint
Two more groups are finishing now,
a couple of minutes down.
We think Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
took second place.
Thanks for turning in again. See you
tomorrow for the penultimate stage from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks.
1 George Hincapie (Discovery)
2 Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
3 Chris Horner (Davitamon Lotto)
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