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“I am very happy to win the green jersey for the fifth time. I’m very happy for all of the team; this was a great team effort and tonight we will celebrate together with a hamburger, fries, and beer," Sagan says

Photo: Sirotti




19.05.2014 @ 12:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Since making his debut in the race in 2010, Peter Sagan has been a dominant figure in the Tour of California and holds the record of most stage wins with 11 victories. This year he only managed to take one win but he came away from the race with the points jersey for the fifth year in a row.


The final stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California was not a point-to-point race, but a circuit around Thousand Oaks, California. Many stage races feature a circuit race for the last stage, but this one was more than just an easy132.5km, the first 110km consisted of three large loops around Thousand Oaks, with three ascents of the locally popular Rock Store climb. It’s a tough 6.7km climb that might be as tricky on the way down as it is lung-busting on the way up.   After the three big loops, the racers had three flat 7.4km loops around Thousand Oaks. While the climb could result in a general classification shakeup, it was more likely going to put the fastest sprinters in difficulty and throw the stage in favor of Peter Sagan, Cannondale Pro Cycling’s sprinter


Sagan climbs very well for a sprinter. And he does technical descents even better. And, as yesterday demonstrated, he can pick his way through a crowd easily. Cannondale just wanted to make sure Sagan stayed with the lead group over the Rock Store, and then he could just about take care of the rest.


Not content to wait for the inevitable, seven riders struck out on the suicide move, hoping it would pay off. Cannondale, with help from race leader Bradley Wiggins’ Team Sky, made sure the seven never got far, though their climber, and top general classification rider, George Bennett, crashed on the first descent. And on the last ascent of the Rock Store, caught the final two escapees.


But then Garmin-Sharp’s Janier Acevedo attacked and got a gap before the climb topped out. He’s not only a top climber, but also an ace descender, and if he could force Sky to chase, he could set up his teammate in second-place, Rohan Dennis, for a shot at winning.


The move detonated the lead group. Wiggins was compelled to chase down the Garmin rider, and Sagan stuck to him like glue while most of his teammates, tired from all their work, fell off the pace.


Wiggins brought Acevedo back, but as the descent got tricky, he went again. And Sagan crossed to him on his own. Wiggins, ever vigilant, wasn’t far behind.


With the hills gone, it seemed that the high-speed attacks had blown most of Sagan’s competition out the back. He had one teammate with him, but there was no one in that lead group of 40 who could challenge his sprint superiority.


As a group of four did their best to stay away, Kristijan Koren, Sagan’s sole teammate, kept the pace high in hopes of making sure no one else came up to them. Both Garmin and Sky also helped, the former thinking of a late attack and the latter safety.


But guys started coming back. First, Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb, with some teammates, and then Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s Mark Cavendish, with teammates. Though they also brought along Sagan’s Cannondale teammates.


Into the final kilometers, and the escapes were all wiped out as Cannondale, Omega Pharma and then Giant-Shimano applied pressure. Sagan latched onto a Giant-Shimano wheel in the final kilometer, and Cavendish on him. Out of the last corner, Sagan jumped, took the lead. Cav’ drew even, started to pull away, and then Degenkolb drew even and pipped him on the line. Third place for Sagan.


The win was very much what he wanted, but with Cavendish and Degenkolb, he knew it would be challenging. But he did come away from the Tour of California with one stage win and the green jersey.


“I am very happy to win the green jersey for the fifth time. I’m very happy for all of the team; this was a great team effort and tonight we will celebrate together with a hamburger, fries, and beer.”



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