LOS ANGLES -- Eight months after breaking his leg in a trainingaccident, Dutchman Robert Gesink sealed his overall race titleSunday with a main field finish in the eighth stage of the AmgenTour of California. Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the final leg. The 22-year-old Saganclaimed the 42.6-mile road race from Beverly Hills to downtown LosAngeles with a late burst to take his fifth win of the eight-stageevent. The 25-year-old Gesink, who rides for Rabobank, was victorious overAmerican rider Dave Zabriskie by 46 seconds after claiming themountainous and decisive seventh stage. It's moments like this, when you have your good times and yourwins, that's what you do it for, said Gesink, the fifth-placefinisher in the 2010 Tour de France who broke his leg in fourplaces last September, and whose father died in cycling accident in2010. |
Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) finished second in the event for thefourth time. Fellow American Tom Danielson finished third overall for the secondstraight year, 54 seconds behind. Sagan, who rides for Liquigas-Canondale, claimed his seventhvictory of the season and 31st of his career. He swung to the rightand bolted to the front seconds before the finish line. Sagan will compete in the Tour de France for the first time in Juneand July.
Tom Boonen of Belgium, the current No. 1-ranked cyclist, finishedsecond in the final stage, trailing by a half-length. Gerald Ciolekof Germany placed third. The last kilometer was very fast and the last turn wasdangerous, said Sagan.
It's good we went by it six times. Iwent from 150 meters back and just finished first. The seventh annual event began May 13 in Santa Rosa with a field of128 representing 16 teams. The 735-mile race, which had 110finishers, progressed to the San Francisco Bay Area before taking alargely inland route to Southern California.
The race had three leaders, with Sagan winning the first fourstages and taking a 40-second margin into the stage 5 individualtime trial won convincingly by Zabriskie, a six-time national timetitlist. Gesink, who claimed his only other Tour of California stage in his2008 debut, assumed the overall lead after winning the seventh andmost difficult stage to Mt. Baldy, elevation 6,445 feet. Defending titlist Chris Horner of Bend, Oregon, and theRadioShack-Nissan team, placed eighth overall, trailing Gesink by2:49. Horner finished sixth in the decisive seventh stage followinga long breakaway.
Horner also faltered in the individual timetrial. The race also marked the retirement of 39-year-old Robbie McEwen.The Australian sprinting specialist had more than 200 careervictories in a 17-year pro career, including 12 stage wins in boththe Tour of Italy and Tour de France.
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