Amgen Tour of California | Amgen Stage 6: French Rider Clings to Overall Lead After Time Trials
The name of the game was “fast” in Folsom Friday as the 140 men competing in the 2016 Amgen Tour of California raced the clock in their individual time trial event, with Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) recording the fastest time. Eighteen women’s teams in the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM faced of for the race’s first-ever team time trial, with TWENTY16 – Ridebiker ending the day on top.
BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.), who placed third in the 2014 Folsom time trial, put up the time to beat and held the lead for over an hour until Cannondale Pro Cycling Team’s current U.S. National Time Trial Champion Andrew Talansky (New York, New York) overtook him by three seconds.
The fastest time of the day was yet to come from the current Australian Time Trial Champion and Tour de France time trial speed record-holder Dennis at 24:16”. Talansky finished the stage in second place, 17 seconds back, and Dennis’ teammate Phinney, a two-time U.S. National Time Trial Champion, rounded out the podium in third.
“I was optimistic. Alaphilippe ripped out a very, very good ride…,” said Dennis of his chances to overtake the race lead today. “16 seconds – it’s not over, but it’s not going to be easy to bring back, that’s for sure…Tomorrow’s supposed to be a really tough stage…It’s been a pretty hard Tour as it is, and this Tour has gotten harder and harder every time I’ve done it.”
Etixx – Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), who as the overall race leader was last to take off today and is known for his mountain victories rather than as a time trial speedster, would have to finish the stage within one minute and one second of Dennis to retain the lead. He pulled out all the stops to post a time of 25:01” for an eighth place finish today, well within what was needed to retain the Amgen Race Leader Jersey he claimed after Stage 3 and the Gibraltar Road climb.
After six stages and more than 24 hours on a bike since the Amgen Tour of California began in San Diego Sunday, Alaphilippe leads Dennis by 16 seconds heading into the final weekend of racing. The 23 year-old Frenchmen is well aware that every second counts here in California, having lost the race to World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) by a mere three seconds last year. Dennis has also come close to the overall win, having placed second in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California behind Bradley Wiggins (GBR).
“Of course I’m really happy, and a small surprise for me to stay in yellow today,” commented Alaphilippe. “The time trial is not really my specialty.”
Today’s 12.6-mile course highlighted Folsom’s historic downtown and lake views. Folsom also played host to the men’s and women’s time trial events in 2014, with Wiggins (GBR) taking the day’s top prize on the way to his overall race win that year. The Tour de France champion is back with his development team, Team WIGGINS, this year as he trains for the Olympics though did not plan to be a factor today. Two familiar faces on the awards stage today were on the podium in 2014 as well, with Dennis placing second and Phinney again in third for that time trial stage.
The leader board after today: Alaphilippe keeps the overall lead by 16 seconds over Dennis, who stood in seventh place before today. BMC Racing Team is having a good showing in the overall as well as on today’s stage with Brent Bookwalter (Albuquerque, New Mexico) turning in a strong ride to move up a notch to third place (+:38”) just behind his teammate. Talansky’s ride shot him up the chart from eleventh place to fourth (+:47). Roseville, Calif. native, Neilson Powless (USA) of the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team sits in fifth place (+1:08”) and retains the SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey for the fourth consecutive day.
Trek – Segafredo’s Peter Stetina (USA), who had been in second place overall going into today, fell out of the top-10 and George Bennett (NZL) of Team Lotto NL – Jumbo fell from third to ninth.
No changes to the other jerseys after today: World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK) of Tinkoff still wears the Visit California Sprint Jersey, Rally Cycling’s Evan Huffman (USA) retains the Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey, which he’s worn since Stage 3, and Cannondale Pro Cycling Team’s Toms Skujiņš (LAT) will start tomorrow in the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey earned yesterday.
Stage 6 Podium
Stage 6 Jersey Winners (no change)
Amgen Leader Jersey – Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (BEL)
Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Evan Huffman (USA), Rally Cycling Team (USA)
Visit California Sprint Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff (RUS)
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey – Neilson Powless (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)
Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Toms Skujins (LAT), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA) [carried over from Stage 5]
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