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Wiggins crushes the opposition in California time trial

Wiggins proves that he is fully ready to win the Tour of California by beating Dennis and Phinny by more than 40 seconds in short 20.1km time trial to take the overall lead

BRADLEY WIGGINS

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ROHAN DENNIS

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TAYLOR PHINNEY

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

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13.05.2014 @ 01:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) proved that he means serious business at the Tour of California when he crushed the opposition in today's 20.1km time trial in Folsom. The Brit beat Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) by a massive 44 seconds while Taylor Phinney (BMC) was the only other rider to finish within a minute of the Olympic champion, and so the Brit takes the leader's jersey off the shoulders off his compatriot Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

 

After a successful classics campaign, Bradley Wiggins has made the Tour of California his next big target and when he arrived in America, he made it clear that he was fully ready for the challenge and back to the weight he had when he won the 2012 Tour de France. Already yesterday he proved his words right when he attacked his rivals in the crosswinds and even though the move was ultimately unsuccessful, he had sent a signal to his rivals.

 

Today he put himself in a very comfortable position for the upcoming mountain stages when he took a very comfortable victory in the stage 2 time trial. He stormed around the the flat 20.1km in Folsom in a time that was far better than all his rivals and the anticipated duel between the Brit and Taylor Phinney never really materialized.

 

Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) had been an early starter and had showed his intention of challenging for the overall win by posting a very good time that proved to be unbeatable for several of the pre-race favourites. Jesse Sergent (Trek), Tom Zirbel (Optum), Sergei Tvetchov (Jelly Belly) and Eloy Teruel (Jamis) all made it into the provisional top 10 but none of them were a real threat to the strong Australian.

 

However, Dennis' hopes of a stage win faded away as soon as Wiggins had hit the course. Already a few minutes of racing, he passed his one-minute man Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale) and from there he was just a well-oiled machine that powered along the long, flat roads in California. When he passed the intermediate time check at the turning point after 10km of racing, he had already put 19 seconds into Dennis and he only went even faster from there.

 

When he crossed the line, he stopped the clock in a time of 23.18 that was a massive 44 seconds faster than Dennis and the Brit had set a mark for Taylor Phinney who was the only of the late starters that was expected to potentially challenge Wiggins. The BMC rider had made the time trial his big target of the race and had set his sights on a stint in the leader's jersey.

 

However, it was not to be for Phinney. Already at the intermediate check he had 32 seconds and he just continued to lose ground in the second half. When he crossed the line, his time of 24.10 was only good enough for third and even though he had been faster than Dennis on the way back, the disappointment was palpable.

 

With the win, Wiggins also takes over the leader's jersey from Mark Cavendish who did well to finish 27th but never had a real chance of defending his tunic. Ahead of the two decisive summit finishes, Wiggins now finds himself in a comfortable position as he put more than a minute into all of his GC rivals except for Dennis.

 

Tiago Machado (NetApp) did well to finish 7th while young Chad Haga (Giant-Shimano) was a promising 10th. Lawon Craddock (Giant-Shimano) and David de la Cruz (NetApp) were the only other GC riders to finish in the top 20 while pre-race favourites like Peter Stetina (BMC), Matthew Busche (Trek), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), Janier Acevedo (Garmin), Tom Danielson (Garmin), Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin) and Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis) all took a serious beating.

 

Wiggins faces his first jersey defence in tomorrow's third stage of the race that brings the riders over 175.2km from San Jose to the top of Mount Diablo. In the early part of the stage, the riders go up the bigg Mount Hamilton before they head onto a long undulating and flat section. It all comes to an exciting close on the final climb to the finish on Mount Diablo which is a typically American climb, very long but not very steep.

 

A flat course

After yesterday's windy opening stage, the riders continued on the flat terrain when they tackled today's 20.1km time trial starting and finishing in Folsom. Without any significant undulations, it was an out-and-back course that was expected to suit the big specialists.

 

Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly) was the first rider down the ramp and he set the first mark of 27.16. However, he was quickly pushed into second by Robert Squire (Jamis) who was 46 seconds faster.

 

Great ride by Bobridge

The young American kept the lead for some time until Jose Mendes (NetApp) became the first rider to go below 26 minutes, stopping the clock in 25.49. However, he already knew that TT specialist Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE) had beaten him at the intermediate check and it was no surprise to see the Dutchman go 54 seconds faster.

 

Christian Knees (Sky), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (OPQS), Macieh Bodnar (Cannondale) all got close to Mouris but the rider to push him out of the hot seat was Jack Bobridge (Belkin) who set a time of 24.33. the Australian would enjoy a long stint as provisional leader but saw his dreams of stage victory get crushed when Dennis hit the course.

 

Best time for Dennis

The Garmin rider as 31 seconds faster than his compatriot and it became clear that his time was a good one when Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE), Jens Voigt (Trek) and Nathan Brown (Garmin) were all far behind despite making it into the provisional top 10. Jaramillo had a bad ride to stop the clock in 26.49 while Acevedo didn't do much better with 25.59.

 

Benjamin King (Garmin) cracked the top 10 when he set the 6th fastest time but all eyes were now on Sergent who was expected to be in contention for the win. However, the Kiwi was only 4th at the intermediate check and even though he improved in the second half, he could only manage 2nd at the finish.

 

Zirbel in the top 5

American champion Zirbel set the 5th best rime while recent Tour of the Gila TT winner was a bit slower in 6th. Matthew Busche lost a lot of time as he could only manage 25.34 while Lars Boom (Belkin) had a disastrous ride to set a time of 26.14.

 

De la Cruz did surprisingly well to finish in the provisional 7th while his teammate Iker Camoon also cracked the provisional top 190. As TT specialist Kristijan Koren (Cannondale) had a bad day and Stetina could only manage 25.48, the attention started to shift towards Wiggins.

 

Wiggins crushes the opposition

Before the Brit finished his ride, however, Teruel did a great ride to make it into 2nd but at that point it was already clear that Wiggins was on a role. Having crushed the opposition at the intermediate check, he kept his speed all the way to the finish to set the fastest time.

 

Ten Dam was unfortunate to crash after he had crossed the finish line in a time of 25.38 while Markel Irizar (Trek) did really well to make it into 6th. Less than a minute later, Machado went two seconds faster while Craddock crossed the line in 11th.

 

Good ride by Sagan

His teammate Haga did even better to set the 9th best time but as it was now mostly sprinters on the course, it was clear that the only real threat was Phinney. However, the American didn't live up to his own expectations and could only manage a disappointing 3rd.

 

It was now only left to the sprinters to finish their rides and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) showed some form by taking 15th. Cavendish also had a decent ride to take 27th but none of them were even close to Wiggins who could step onto the podium to receive the coveted yellow leader's jersey.

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