Amgen Tour of California | New Zealander Takes Amgen Race Lead at Big Bear
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (May 19, 2017) – Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett (NZL) turned in an inspired Amgen Tour of California Time Trial ride in Big Bear Lake today to overtake the race lead, which he’s been chasing from second place since Stage 2 on Monday. He started the day six seconds behind race leader Rafal Majka (POL) of BORA-hansgrohe, and after today, not only overtook the lead but put 35 seconds between himself and the 2016 Olympic Games Road Race bronze medal winner, now in second.
“No one expected this less than I did…After yesterday [losing four seconds on the race lead] I was so disappointed…I just started riding, pushing, pushing, pushing, and at altitude you can never really go over your limit; you can never go really deep, and I just held it…and then the next minute I’m wearing the yellow jersey,” said the new Amgen Race Leader Jersey wearer Bennett, who placed 7th in the last Amgen Tour of California and 6th in last year’s Vuelta a España Individual Time Trial.
Of tomorrow’s racing, Bennett predicts: “I think it’s close enough that it can come down to sprint bonuses. It’s not going to be a parade lap… this is full gas racing. The boys have got a big job.”
Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team’sAndrew Talansky (Napa, Calif.), who yesterday called the time trial the “race of truth,” performed well enough to crack the overall top-three, which had stood since Monday’s Stage 2 from Modesto to San Jose [Majka, Bennett, Boswell]. A stage win yesterday brought him to 4th place overall, having climbed closer to the race leader (+:44). The2015 U.S. National Time Trial Champion’s determined ride today propelled him to 3rd place, 36 seconds behind the new race leader, and just one second behind Majka.
Team Sky’s Jonathan Dibben (GBR), who took 1st place in the Points race at the UCI Track World Championships last year, claimed the stage. At age 23, this is Dibben’s first WorldTour professional victory.
American racer Brent Bookwalter (Albuquerque, NM), who has been with BMC Racing Team since 2008, came in second today, seven seconds behind Dibben. His ride pulled him closer to the race lead (+1.02 to +:45) and from 6th to 4th place overall. Team Sky’s Ian Boswell (Bend, Oregon), who was part of the 2016 Vuelta a España Team Time Trial stage winning team, dropped from 3rd to 5th place, one minute from the lead.
The 14.9-mile course for today’s Stage 6 presented by Lexus in Big Bear Lake was the race’s first time trial at elevation (6,700+ feet above sea level). Fast, fairly flat, and technical with many corners, the course shook up the overall podium, which had been in tact since day two of racing on Monday.
Team Dimension Data’s TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey wearer Lachlan Morton (AUS), who came into the race in fifth place today (+:49) and ended it in ninth (+2:20), lost precious time with mechanical issues that caused him to trade out his bike twice on course. This also caused the covetedTAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey, which Morton has held since Stage 2, to transfer to Team Sky’s Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR). Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink (NED), the 2012 Amgen Tour of California champion, was also plagued by a mechanical, trading to a road bike mid-course and dropping from 8th place to 13th and falling more than two more minutes further from the race lead (+3:53).
With the top-5 race leaders separated by a minute or less, tomorrow’s 77.7-mile Stage 7 presented by Breakaway from Cancer® from Mountain High to Pasadena will be a thrilling conclusion to the 2017 Amgen Tour of California. Overall race winners will be recognized in a special awards ceremony in downtown Pasadena just after the race ends.
Stage 6 Podium
Stage 6 Jersey Winners
Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart Disease™
As part of Amgen’s effort to honor and celebrate cancer survivors and to raise awareness of its Breakaway from Cancer® initiative, a Breakaway Mile walk took place this morning in Modesto before the official race start. Approximately 200 community members walked along the race course to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide.
For more information about Breakaway from Cancer, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions.
The first-ever U.S. UCI WorldTour course will cover more than 575 miles through 12 Host Cities May 14-20, including Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, Big Bear Lake, Mountain High and Pasadena.
The Amgen Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Women’s Race empowered with SRAM May 11-14 covered more than 250 miles through South Lake Tahoe, Elk Grove and Sacramento. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports venue and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.(c)2017 AEG | SCVTV