Tour of California: Final stage to Hincapie - Leipheimer defends overall title

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25.02.2008/After eight challenging days of cycling through 650-miles of scenic California highways, roadways and coastline drives, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana yesterday was crowned as champion of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California for the second consecutive year, with a weeklong total time of 29 hours, 24 minutes and 32 seconds of cycling across California. A resident of Santa Rosa, Calif., Leipheimer battled against the best field ever assembled to compete in the United States, which included Olympic medalists and World Champions, among others. George Hincapie (USA) of High Road claimed the final stage win.

© Amgen Tour of California
George Hincapie took the final stage (© Amgen Tour of California)

Despite rainy weather on the race’s final day, fans turned out in record numbers to cheer on the cyclists throughout the week, bringing the overall total attendance for the duration of the race to more than 1.6 million.

“I think this win is more special now because of the caliber of the field,” said Leipheimer. “For me, this win is unbelievable because of the amount of cycling stars that we had here in California. Winning the Amgen Tour of California has been a goal of mine from the beginning. This has always been a top priority for me.”

Tens of thousands of spectators awaited the arrival of the cyclists in Pasadena to see the final 30 miles of the 650-mile stage race. The race’s final day, which included the highest elevation ever reached by the Amgen Tour of California on the towering Millcreek Summit (4,906 feet), would prove to be full of excitement for the fans and cyclists alike, with Hincapie winning an all-out sprint tot the finish.

The third annual Amgen tour of California featured a new generation of American cyclists. Although still in the shadows of their Armstrong-era veterans, this crop showcased young, hungry new talent.

This became evident during the final stage, as right from the gun, a wet squall of attacks broke out with Michael Creed (USA) and Doug Ollerenshaw (USA), both of Rock Racing, at the front. This battle drew the attention of Hincapie. Having crashed at nearly 40 mph on Stage 1; attacking both climbs on Stage 3, the most difficult stage of the race; and then riding a 90-mile breakaway in the epic rain and wind of the race’s longest stage, only to finish second to Dominique Rollin (CAN) of Toyota-United Pro Cycling, Hincapie roared across the gap and hit the break.

They drove hard for 50 miles as a break, but as they closed in on Pasadena, Tom Zirbel (USA) of Bissell Pro Cycling launched a solo break. In just his second year as a professional cyclist, Zirbel, known as a powerful time trialist, broke loose and carried a 15-second lead into the final six circuits on the five-mile loop around the Rose Bowl.

“You could see on the hills we would get close, but he kept going,” said Hincapie. “He was really tough. He had a very aggressive ride.”

As the end of the race drew near, Hincapie powered across the gap and caught Zirbel. Rory Sutherland (AUS) of HealthNet Presented by Maxxis soon followed. Others would join the breakaway as well, including Jason McCartney (USA) of Team CSC and Creed, but it would prove to be Hincapie’s stage. He blasted out of the sprint to score a huge win for Team High Road.

“As soon as we came into the circuits, everyone was attacking; the majority of the work that the breakaway did fell to me,” said Hincapie. “The last 30 kilometers was really difficult; I’m glad it worked out for me. As soon as we hit the circuit laps, the race was on and things got aggressive, so we warmed up pretty quick.”

“This has been a tremendous experience for all of us,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “The support from the 12 host cities, the record number of fans, local organizing committees and the athletes has been extraordinary. We feel like we’ve been embraced by the people that care about cycling, and it seems like more and more people discover cycling each year. From the athlete performance perspective, we’ve seen some outstanding performances.”

Today’s stage brought a close to the competition for the Amgen Tour of California jerseys. The Tachyon Most Aggressive Rider Jersey was awarded to the entire BMC Racing Team. Scott Nydam (USA) from Team BMC claimed the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains Jersey. Dominique Rollin of Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team retained the Herbalife Sprint Leader Jersey. Robert Gesink (NED) of Rabobank held onto the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey. Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 took the team classification.

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Picture gallery: Tour of California, Stage 7, February 24, 2008

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Special Coverage Tour of California 2008

Results Tour of California 2008
Stage 7
1 George Hincapie (USA) High Road                              3.50.57 (38,969 km/h)
2 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net presented by Maxxis
3 Jason Mccartney (USA) Team CSC
4 Michael Creed (USA) Rock Racing
5 Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
6 Mark Cavendish (GBr) High Road                                  0.12
7 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC
8 Dominique Rollin (Can) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team
9 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
10 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Rock Racing
11 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
12 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
13 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank
14 Frank K Pipp (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis
15 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
16 Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing
17 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana
18 Jeff Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team
19 Nicholas Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team
20 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
21 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
22 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
23 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) High Road
24 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
25 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole
26 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team CSC
27 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
28 Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step
29 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step
30 David Millar (GBr) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
31 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner
32 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Rock Racing
33 Julien Simon (Fra) Credit Agricole
34 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team CSC
35 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) High Road
36 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
37 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC
38 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
39 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
40 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Rock Racing
41 Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team
42 Michael Lange (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team
43 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
44 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval-Scott
45 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
46 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott
47 Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Astana
48 Thomas Peterson (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
49 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Credit Agricole
50 Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott
51 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
52 Angel Gomez Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott
53 Jonathan Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast
54 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
55 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Scott
56 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
57 David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
58 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank
59 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
60 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC
61 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
62 Garrett Peltonen (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
63 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
64 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quick Step
65 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
66 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step
67 Aaron Olson (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
68 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
69 Taylor Tolleson (USA) BMC Racing Team                          1.00
70 Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Astana
71 Justin Spinelli (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast
72 Scott Nydam (USA) BMC Racing Team
73 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana                           2.16
74 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
75 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Credit Agricole                       2.17
76 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30          3.03
77 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                       10.03
DNS Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Bra) Saunier Duval-Scott
DNS Bradley Wiggins (GBr) High Road
DNS Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
DNS Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
DNS Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast
DNS Alexander Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast
DNS Nicholas Waite (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast
DNS Timothy Johnson (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis
DNS John Murphy (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis
DNS Hendricus Vogels (Aus) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team
DNS Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team
DNS Edward King (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
DNS Nicholas Sanderson (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team
DNS Aaron Barry Tuckerman (NZl) Jelly Belly Cycling Team

Final General Classification
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                                   29.24.32
2 David Millar (GBr) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30            0.49
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30   1.08
4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC                                   1.18
5 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team CSC                                      1.19
6 David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30         1.36
7 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana                                    2.07
8 Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step                                 2.11
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                                       2.18
10 Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team                              2.27
11 Thomas Peterson (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30        2.58
12 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Rock Racing                       3.17
13 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                  3.34
14 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step                               3.40
15 Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                     5.06
16 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling                 5.48
17 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step                                   6.49
18 George Hincapie (USA) High Road                                   7.08
19 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank                       7.48
20 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                                 8.08
21 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Credit Agricole                         8.50
22 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                   9.23
23 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                    10.05
24 Jeff Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team                                10.46
25 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                        11.11
26 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                      11.49
27 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana                                     12.02
28 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Scott
29 Jason Mccartney (USA) Team CSC                                   15.31
30 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC                                     15.41
31 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole                        15.47
32 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Credit Agricole                         17.00
33 Aaron Olson (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling                            18.45
34 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net presented by Maxxis             19.14
35 Michael Lange (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                     19.22
36 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) High Road                                  20.05
37 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Rock Racing                               20.16
38 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana                             20.25
39 Angel Gomez Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                      20.46
40 Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling                             22.22
41 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step                                   24.14
42 Dominique Rollin (Can) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team          26.10
43 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) High Road                                    26.57
44 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank                              28.34
45 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC                                   28.47
46 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank                                     29.08
47 Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Astana                                      29.17
48 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                     32.06
49 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team CSC                                    32.10
50 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                                      32.11
51 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana                                         32.44
52 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step                                  32.52
53 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          33.28
54 Julien Simon (Fra) Credit Agricole                               33.30
55 Mark Cavendish (GBr) High Road                                   33.37
56 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          34.22
57 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30            34.41
58 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Rock Racing                                35.05
59 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          35.23
60 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval-Scott                    35.53
61 Garrett Peltonen (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling                       36.14
62 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott                        38.06
63 Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Astana                                       38.17
64 Pipp K Frank (USA) Health Net presented by Maxxis                38.26
65 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30          38.52
66 Nicholas Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team
67 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quick Step                                    39.45
68 Taylor Tolleson (USA) BMC Racing Team                            39.59
69 Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing                              40.06
70 Justin Spinelli (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast        40.07
71 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                           41.04
72 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          41.34
73 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling                        41.58
74 Jonathan Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast       42.27
75 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team                                44.08
76 Scott Nydam (USA) BMC Racing Team                                46.42
77 Michael Creed (USA) Rock Racing                                  52.12

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