SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 14, 2015) – Huge crowds turned out in a downpour to witness another sprinter showcase at the Santa Clarita finish line for the 10th anniversary Amgen Tour of California, with Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish (GBR) taking his third stage win in five days of racing, making him the winningest professional cyclist so far this season.
Within the first mile of leaving Santa Barbara, a breakaway of five jetted off, including Danilo Wyss (SUI) of BMC Racing Team, Alex Howes (USA) of Team Cannondale-Garmin and, the youngest rider in the peloton of 128 riding today, 19-year-old Geoffrey Curran (USA) of Axeon Cycling Team. Hailing from Hilton Head, S.C., Team SmartStop’s Chris Butler bridged to the group on the final KOM of the day at Balcom Canyon.
Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team and Hincapie Racing Team again did much of the work on the road at the front of the group weathering wind, rain and chill, with Hincapie successfully protecting the yellow jersey their young Latvian rider Toms Skujins won Tuesday. Veteran Amgen Tour of California riders have seen this course before from the 2007 and 2008 race editions, but not in such inclement conditions.
“… freezing to absolute bone…,” said Cavendish, who had crossed the line on the same course first in 2008 only to be counted out after a disqualification. “It was good all around… It’s nice to see so many people out here despite the weather.”
The field steadily caught up to the breakaway in the final miles of the race. Wyss, the last rider standing, remained out front for about 92 of the 95.7 miles of Stage 5, presented by Visit California, but was reigned in over the final couple miles as the sprinters queued up for an explosive finish. In the last meters, several sprinters could taste the stage win, including UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s John Murphy (USA), Drapac Professional Cycling’s Wouter Wippert (NED), and Trek Factory Racing’s Danny Van Poppel (NED).
Nearing the line, Cavendish answered Sagan’s stage win yesterday with a powerful burst to the finish, gaining points in the Sprint competition over the Slovakian, who has taken the green jersey home for five years running and finished third today. Cavendish now has eight career Amgen Tour of California stage wins to Sagan’s 12. Zico Waeytens (BEL) of Team Giant-Alpecin claimed second place with BMC Racing Team’s Jean-Pierre Drucker (LUX) in fourth and Van Poppel in fifth.
Sagan shaved several more seconds off his overall distance from the race leader, now back only :18. The stage shook things up elsewhere among the leader board with Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team sliding up to third place (+:44); 2012 race champion Robert Gesink (NED) of TeamLottoNL-Jumbo moving into fourth (+:47) and in position to pose a serious threat; and Hincapie Racing Team’s Dion Smith (NZL) rounding out the top five (+:47).
STAGE 5 PODIUM
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
2. Zico Waeytens (BEL), Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
STAGE 5 JERSEY WINNERS
Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
Visit California Sprint Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Danilo Wyss (SUI), BMC Racing Team
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Celebrating its 10th year, the Amgen Tour of California is the most esteemed stage race in the U.S. Amgen has been the title sponsor of the race since its first year.
Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® program is a national initiative to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention through survivorship.
For the past ten years of the Amgen Tour of California, Amgen has honored and celebrated cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates at every stage along the race course.
“Nearly everyone has been touched by cancer,” said Raymond C. Jordan, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Amgen. “At Amgen, we are passionate about helping people impacted by the disease. Through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative, Amgen is able to connect patients with important resources, whether they are interested in prevention, facing a new diagnosis, caring for a loved one or dealing with financial issues.”
Breakaway from Cancer celebrates cancer survivors at each stage of the Amgen Tour of California. During Stage Five activities, cancer survivor Jack Bianchi fired the gun at the start of the race and awarded Wyss with the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
For access to resources or to learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 6 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY LEXUS:
Friday, May 14 – Santa Clarita (6.6 miles)
Women’s Invitational Time Trial Start Time: 12:30 p.m. PDT
Estimated Women’s Finish Time: 1:06 p.m. PDT
Men’s Individual Time Trial Start Time: 1 p.m. PDT
Estimated Men’s Finish Time: 3:42 p.m. PDT
Fans can cheer on the world-class cyclists as they travel across the state or catch the action with the free Amgen Tour of California app for tablets and mobile devices. More information on ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
For further information about the Amgen Tour of California and to experience the race like never before with VIP Access, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.