The Queen Stage of the Tour of California turned into the King Stage, as Leopold König (Team NetApp-Endura) claimed his first win of the season. It was the team's first win in two participations at the US race.
König won the seventh stage not far from the headquarters of main sponsor NetApp, after 147 kilometers atop Mount Diablo.
“I felt so strong today and only had the picture in my head crossing the finish line first,” König said in the team's press release. “With this goal in mind I attacked and went step by step, faster and faster.
“Fighting my way up I remembered an advertisement I just saw here which stated: the only limit that exists is the one in your head. I stopped thinking and just went for the victory.”
The team first sent Spanish climber David de la Cruz in the day's break group, and he was one of the final two to survive to partway up the final climb. When he was finally caught with only three km to go, König immediately attacked. Riding together to the final kilometer with Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Habens Berman), the Czech attacked again with 500 meters to go and took the win.
“This was an extraordinary performance of the whole team today. As unhappy I was a couple days ago, the more happy I am now. If we put on a teamwork just like today we can ride with the big teams and even win,” said sport director Alex Sans Vega. “All guys implemented our strategy from this morning one-to-one. We completely focused on the stage win and concentrated everyone’s effort on this goal. We are very happy about the victory.”