Tour of California - 2.1
USA, February 19-26, 2006
Results & report
Stage 6 - February 25: Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks, 144km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
Complete live report
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of
Stage 6 of the Tour of California. Again we start in the same town we finished
in yesterday with the start line 50 meters from the beach in Santa Barbara.
Its another sunny day with temperatures in the high 50's so far. There was a
little fog earlier but that has now lifted.
Because this tiny part
of the coastline faces south, the race will be traveling directly east but still
following the coastline for a while. It then heads inland towards Ojai hugging
the Los Padres National Forest, before turning south towards Santa Paula and
down to Thousand Oaks. The course is quite hilly and riders will have four KOM
sprints to contest, the first being 26km into the race and the last being at
89.1km. At 127km they enter the town of Thousand Oaks and complete three 5.2km
Yesterdays stage finished with another
stage win for George Hincapie thanks to a 10km lead from his team. He said after
the race, "I didn't expect to get two wins so early. Last season helped my confidence
a lot and I believe in myself a lot more than I have in the past, and it is
really starting to show. I was a sprinter at one point and I try to work on
them once or twice a week, just to not let that totally go away. In situations
like this if I can make it over climbs why not have a little... it's easy to
do ten second sprints at home and as you saw today it helped a lot -- to keep
those fast-twitch muscles going. With all of the training for the climbs and
time trials it's easy to let that slide away."
Hincapie was able
to take back the sprint jersey after yesterdays stage so we'll be looking for
JJ Haedo and team Toyota United to be looking to get that back. There are two
sprints along the road today and then the finish. Haedo did say that stage wins
are more important to him than the sprint jersey, but...
Another jersey that changed hands
yesterday was the mountain jersey. Levi's attack on San Marcos Pass to take
the KOM points was pretty impressive. Levi was hoping that his breakaway might
also lead to a stage win but that didn't eventuate. He now leads Bernhard Kohl
by five points in the KOM classification. T-Mobile have four opportunities to
get points today, so we'll see some action on the climbs.
Five minutes until the start. The
neutral section is 5.9km today and then the race will start on Foothill Rd/Hwy
192. The first section of the race is slightly undulating. We have just head
that Gilberto Simoni is not starting today.
In yesterdays stage we had four riders
abandon. They were Bastiaan Giling (T-Mobile), Frantisek Rabon (T-Mobile), Martin
Gilbert (Kodakgallery.Com-Sierra Nevada) and Matthew Rice (Jelly Belly).
Riders have now started. Another large
crowd out to watch. No school kids today but plenty of families.
Our reporter Mark Zalewski caught
up with a few of the riders on the start. The first was Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner).
He told us to expect more breakaways from the Gerolsteiner team today and he
is confident that one of his guys will end up in a good break.
The field is climbing up a small climb
and at the very top is the official start. Andy Bajadali also did not start
today. He crashed a couple of days ago so he might still be a bit sore.
A lot of people are out at the edge
of their driveways watching the race as it cruises by at 40km/h 26m/h). We're
also hearing church bells.
The field is all strung out now as
the pace picked up after the official start. Phonak is on the front again setting
tempo. We have an attack. First attack of the day.
We have a break of six riders away.
They already have about 20" on the field.
In the group are Scott Davis (T-Mobile),
Michael Jones (Health Net Maxxis), Dominique Perras (Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada),
Brice Jones (Jelly Belly), Karsten Kroon (CSC), Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) and
Justin England (Toyota United). The gap is 30".
Viktor Rapinski (Colavita
Sutter Home) is trying to bridge.
We have a very nasty, twisty turny
descent now. The break is working well.
The gap is coming down as these roads
There is still a solo rider in between
the group. It is Viatcheslav Ekimov. This guy is amazing. Perhaps he thinks
he didn't do enough yesterday because he's at it again. The gap is still there,
holding at this point.
10:30 PST 12.6km/131.1km to go
Ok, now the gap
has blown out to 45" again, with Ekimov 12" behind the leaders.
Ekimov is a good rider to have in
the break normally because he can really drive it, but because he's only five
minutes down in GC, the GC leaders will not want him to get too much time, so
he could also hamper any chance this group has of staying away if he makes it
The gap is now 1'15" with Ekimov still
Discovery is on the front of the field
right now. Perhaps they realise the Ekimov is not going to make it and they
want to bring it back. The gap is now 2'00".
Ekimov is sitting up and waiting for
This is a pretty good little break.
They're all working well together and making good time, but its missing riders
from a few teams. Discovery won't be happy that they don't have anyone anyone
In the break, they're going down another winding descent
with Brice Jones on the front right now.
The gap is 1'40" now as they reach
5km to the KOM. The first climb is a category 4 climb, the hard thing about
this is that they have the first KOM sprint and only four kilomters later they
have another KOM sprint.
10:46 PST 23km/120.7km to go
We are on the climb
now. Discovery is still on the front of the peloton. The gap is 1'30".
It looks like Michael Barry leading
the way in the peloton at this point. He has the field strung out. The Phonak
team are taking advantage of Discovery doing the work but they're in there just
behind Discovery keep Floyd safe at the front and ready to set tempo when needed.
The gap is falling 1'20".
The leaders are approaching 1km to go to the KOM. Its a longish climb but its
not steep. Very nice and steady.
10:50 PST 25km/118.7km to go
The gap is hovering
at just over a minute. The latest time split is 1'15".
We have a few spectators at the top
of this climb watching the race. Not all that many though. I'd guess that most
people will be watching today from the last climb up Balcolm Canyon or at the
Davis won the first KOM sprint of
the day, followed by Michael Jones and Perras. Not long now until the next KOM.
10:57 PST 29km/114.7km to go
The gap is now 1'10".
The break have finished the descent and are now on the second climb. Brice Jones
has been dropped from this break.
The field seems to be closing in on
the break now. The break have reached the top of the first climb and the peloton
is not far off.
11:00 PST 31km/112.7km to go
Brice Jones has
been caught by the bunch. The gap from the break to the peloton is 1'05". Discovery
is still on the front. We can see Lake Casitas as the descent wraps around.
Sven Krauss won the second KOM, followed
by Perras and Davis.
We have 20km now until the next sprint.
This time its not a mountain sprint. The sprint will be in the town of Ojai
and immediately after this riders will start climbing for the third KOM sprint
of the day.
The gap is still holding. The members
of the break are taking pretty even turns. They're taking short turns at the
moment as they go over some small rollers. The gap is currently at 1'00".
11:18 PST 44km/99.7km to go
The gap has come
down to 45" now. Discovery is still on the front of the peloton chasing this
down slowly. We are entering the outskirts of Ojai. We have about 6km to the
This breakaway is definitely preventing
Bernhard Kohl taking back the KOM jersey and any real competition going on for
the sprint jersey, but these teams are probably more interested in stage wins
11:23 PST 47km/96.7km to go
The break is down
to 20" now. Discovery really want to bring this back. It looks like the break
will be caught before the sprint line.
The sprint is a pretty wide open road
in the town of Ojai. Krauss has attacked the break with 1km to the sprint line.
We have a left turn with 500m to go
before the sprint line and then its wide open.
11:26 PST 50.2km/93.5km to go
The break has been
caught just before the sprint line and it was contested. Now we have counter
attacks coming off the sprint. Its very fast.
Now we only have 5km to the next KOM.
Krauss took the sprint as he was clear
of the bunch before the sprint.
He is still up the road and three
riders are chasing him. They are Hayden Roulston (Health Net Maxxis) Jean Marc
Marino (Credit Agricole) and Caleb Manion (jelly Belly).
They have been caught now and we are
seeing more counter attacks.
We can see a Kodak Sierra Nevada rider
attacking now with one other rider.
The results of the sprint were Sven
Krauss, David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) and Tom Danielson (Discovery).
We are on the climb now. This is more
of a winding climb and it kicks up a bit. We have Sven Krauss off the front
There is a pretty good crowd on the
side of the road. We have a German flag and some Levi supporters. Krauss still
has a gap. Two other riders are trying to bridge to him.
Krauss still has a gap but the other
two riders have been caught. This climb is still winding up. The crowds are
huge on this climb. Theres probably about 400 people up here. Leipheimer is
on the front of the peloton now after Krauss gets caught.
We are about 1km to the KOM.
Fabian Wegmann is on the front for
Gerolsteiner now. They are making sure Levi stays up close to keep his KOM jersey.
11:35 PST 56.5km/87.2km to go
100m to the KOM
now. A group of 14 have a created a small split in the field.
A couple of riders are trying to bridge.
It looks like Fabian Wegmann is slightly off the front of the field as they
go over the top.
The road goes down slightly and then
climbs a bit. This is where the feed zone is. Its quite narrow up here.
Wegmann took the KOM sprint with Levi
just in behind him. Sebastian Portal (Credit Agricole) took third followed by
Floyd Landis (Phonak), Fabian Cancellara (CSC) and Nathan O'Neill (Health Net
We are now in the feed zone and things
are slowing down a bit whilst the guys gran their feed bags. Ten kilometers
from here is another sprint. Its basically all downhill from here to the sprint
in Santa Paula.
While these guys are feeding, I'll
fill you in on some other comments from riders at the start this morning. We
talked to Gord Fraser who said that his team just hasn't been perfect yet. "Two
or three teams here have been perfect so far and we haven't yet. We just have
to work on our execution, but it will come."
With the feed zone been and gone we
have more attacks. Mick Rogers, tried with Henderson, Creed, O'Grady and Marino
but its all back together right now.
The descent is fairly technical. If
riders are going to contest the sprint, they'll need to be thinking about their
position on the way down.
We talked to Mark McCormack this morning
who said his legs are "smoked" after this stint in the break yesterday. "The
racing has ben getting harder everyday," he added. "We are down to five riders
now but I think Kyle Wamsley might be good in a break today. Tomorrow will be
fun because its supposed to rain," he laughed. You can see the New England boy
coming out in that statement.
11:52 PST 68.8km/74.9km to go
We have about seven
riders with a slight advantage on the field right now, but only just. We are
close to coming off the descent, not long until the next sprint.
Michael Jones (Health Net Maxxis)
and Kirk Albers (Jelly Belly) have abandoned the race.
The sprint is wide open and fast.
11:57 PST 75km/68.7km to go
3km to the sprint
now. The break has been caught.
The field is entering the town now.
Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) has attacked.
He has a small gap. Gerolsteiner will
just not give up.
Right after the sprint is a hard turn
which will be interesting. Lang has a 10" gap.
The road gets a bit bumpy leading
up to the sprint. Lang is 1km to the sprint.
At 600m is a left hand bend. At 400
m to the sprint is a railroad crossing followed by a hard left hand turn.
12:01 PST 77km/66.7km to go
Lang still has a
gap as he approaches the sprint line.
Lang took the sprint and still has
an advantage on the field as we leave the town.
Lang is flying and has 30 seconds
on the field now.
His next obstacle is the final KOM
which is in 11km.
Steve Zampieri (Phonak) won the bunch
sprint to take second place. Martin Elminger also from Phonak took third. The
sprint wasn't really contested. Phonak are just setting tempo on the front of
the field again now.
Lang's lead has increased to 50 seconds
now. Lang is well down in points for the KOM, but him going up the road and
taking the KOM points will protect Levi's lead.
The next climb is apparently very
steep. Its not long, perhaps a mile, (1.6km) but its one of those climbs that
people point to when they're riding along and say "imagine going up that." It
is called Balcolm Canyon.
12:11 PST 84.1km/59.6km to go
The gap has increased
again. Its now 1'25". He has 5km to the top of the KOM.
Lang continues to increase his lead.
It now sits at 1'50".
This climb is very steep. The crowds
are huge on the top. You can see the top from the bottom and you can see the
12:20 PST 87km/56.7km to go
Lang is out of the saddle working
hard. Its very steep. At least 12, maybe 14%. At least a couple of thousand
people are here watching.
Its very Touresque here with this
crowd. Lang has 200m to the KOM now and will take the points. This ensures that
nobody else can take the lead of Levi today.
The descent is very twisty and narrow.
Tomorrow there are no KOM sprints
either, so Levi's mountain jersey is safe for the tour.
12:23 PST 89km/54.7km to go
The gap is now 2'45".
After the descent we have rolling
hills and another short climb up to Thousand Oaks.
12:29 PST 93km/50.7km to go
Taking second place
in the KOM was Riccardo Ricco (Prodir-Saunier Duval), followed by Bernhard Kohl
(T-Mobile) and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner).
Jean Marc Marino (Credit Agricole)
has attacked off the front of the field.
Marino has been re-absorbed by the
field and Dominique Perras (Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada) has countered his move.
Perras is another one who has been active today.
12:35 PST 97km/46.7km to go
Phonak is on the
front setting tempo but not hammering. Lang has 2'25" on the field and Perras
is in the middle, 1'50" behind Lang.
12:38 PST 98km/45.7km to go
A few Discovery riders
are also up in the mix with the Phonak boys helping in the chase. Lang is holding
his gap at 2'30". We are going through a small town here. We have just under
30km until we reach Thousand Oaks for the finishing circuits.
The peloton is not moving along that
fast just yet. They are cruising at 32km/h. They still have plenty of time to
bring this back if they want to. Its most likely going to be the sprinters teams
heading up the chase soon. Teams like Toyota United and Health Net.
Lang's gap has increased to just over
three minutes as the race turns on to Los pasos Rd.
Perras is still in no mans land trying
to catch Lang.
Perras is 1'55" behind Lang, so he
doesn't seem to be making any ground on Lang. The field has picked up the pace
and things are moving along faster now!
It looks like the Toyota United team
are setting the pace. They're going to run with their form right now and try
to deliver JJ Haedo to the line for a third stage win.
Lang's gap is still at three minutes.
He is on fire and very strong but its always hard to hold a gap solo when you
have the bunch in chase mode. Perras seems to be slowing down a little. He has
been very aggressive today.
We can see a big crowd at the finish.
They all have their thundersticks ready.
Perras has been absorbed by the field.
Lang's gap has fallen dramatically as he punctured and had a very slow wheel
change. He has lost time. He is back and moving now but he'll struggle to get
his rhythm back.
He is out of the saddle trying to
get his speed up.
They are now bringing the Mavic neutral
support car up here so that Lang has more support. His gap is 1'45".
12:57 PST 112km/31.7km to go
A few riders from
T-Mobile are helping on the front of the peloton now.
Lang is out of the saddle on a false
flat, but he just doesn't look comfortable like he did before.
Only 5km to the finishing circuits
The gap is falling rapidly. Very unlucky
13:01 PST 115km/28.7km to go
Just up ahead the
climb into town is actually quite tough. If Lang gets caught here it will be
a good little spot for some counters. The gap is 25" now.
Lang will get caught but it has been
decided that he will take home the "most aggressive rider jersey" if thats any
consolation to him. Probably not.
A few hundred people are gathered
on the climb heading into town. Its tougher than it looks on the race profile.
Lang has been caught.
Its all together as the crest of the
hill. Things are going to hot up now with the circuits coming.
We have an attack. But it get reeled
in pretty quickly.
25km to the finish now.
Sven Krauss has attacked again. This
guy is on fire today.
Gerolsteiner are really making this
race today. The gap is 8 seconds.
13:12 PST 122km/21.7km to go
Only 5km from the
circuits today. The gap is 15".
Krauss is going over a small rise
and is working hard.
We have one rider trying to bridge.
Its Marco Pinotti (Prodir).
Krauss' heart rate is 170 at the moment.
He's in time trial mode. He has his head down hammering away.
13:15 PST 123.7km/20km to go
Pinotti is 8 seconds
down on Krauss now and the field is another 7 seconds down.
The gaps are increasing. The field
can see Pinotti but he's holding his gap.
Krauss keeps getting out of the saddle.
He looks back to see his gap.
Toyota United is on the front of the
field setting the pace.
They have a slight downhill now. Pinotti
has been caught.
Krauss still has over ten seconds.
13:19 PST 127.5km/16.2km to go
Toyota on the
front and some T-Mobile riders helping out. Krauss is entering the circuits.
He is going past the finish line now.
The crowd is huge!
The field enters the circuit now.
He has 20 seconds.
Health Net has a few riders on the
front now too.
He turns a corner and gets out of
the saddle to keep his speed up. The gap is going down again. Its 15". The field
What an amazing day from Krauss. How
do decide who gets the most aggressive. Both he and Lang were amazing. The whole
Gerolsteiner team have been on fire today.
Still Toyota on the front with Health
Net. The gap is 10".
He starts looking back. He knows he
will get caught soon but he's not giving up. He's out of the saddle driving.
A Phonak rider is moving up in the
field. They will all be around Floyd looking after him. Eight seconds is the
gap. Will be see a counter from another Gerolsteiner rider?
He's in the drops and going down the
downhill, still looking over his shoulder. The field is completely single file.
The field can see him up the road
on this wide open long stretch here. He's going over a small rise. OUt of the
saddle. Five seconds is the gap.
He knows he's just about to get swallowed
up but still drives it.
Krauss has been caught just as they
go through the finish line. CSC is on the front with 6 riders.
CSC are driving the pace. Its single
13:28 PST 134km/9.7km to go
Just under two laps
Its fast and teams are jostling for
position. CSC still dominate the front on the back side of the course.
Toyota United and Health Net have
moved up to the front again.
Health Net on the front leading the
way. They'll be trying to pull of that perfect finish that Gord was talking
about this morning.
They are winding through the back
side of the course, making a right turn back towards the finish. Toyota United
take over but CSC is back up there too.
They are going under the 1km to go
to the finish line where they will see 1 lap to go.
13:34 PST 138km/5.7km to go
They are going through
the finish line now. That lap took 6'20". One lap to go. CSC are back on the
front being led by Lars Bak and Cancellara. They'll be setting up O'Grady for
They are on the downhill section.
Its still single file. CSC are driving this.
Flat road again on the back side of
the course. Slight uphill and the field is bunching up a bit. CSC drive it over
the top though and maintain control.
Left turn now, its fast and strung
out now. They are riding at 51km/h (32m/h). About 2km to go.
13:37 PST 142.7km/1km to go
Winding around the
back they'll be coming up to the 1km to go banner. Its single file and fast!
Flat again now, right turn. Its in
CSC on the front with 4 riders. We
have Davitamon Lotto trying to come up the outside. 1km to go.
Gerolsteiner has attacked. 500m to
He has a gap!
The field is sprinting, he still has
a gap. T-Mobile coming up and they pass him and take the win.
It was Olaf Pollack !!!!!
It looks like Riccardo Ricco (Prodir)
Fred Rodriguez took third.
T-Mobile will be happy with this.
Its the first win for the men's T-Mobile team for the season. The women's team
kicked off the season with the first win in Geelong on Thursday when Ina Yoko
Teutenberg took the final stage.
Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back
for the final stage of the Tour of California tomorrow.
1 Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)
2 Riccardo Ricco (Prodir Saunier Duval)
3 Freddy Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto)
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