Amgen Tour of California general classification set for shake up

Sagan tipping he will lose overall lead

The Amgen Tour of California has so far been a stalemate between the top contenders, but that should change on Thursday when the race hits Bakersfield for the 29.7km time trial on stage 5. The stage will finally shake out the general classification, where all the names are clustered at 40 seconds from race leader and winner of all four previous stages, Peter Sagan.

Sagan has stated definitively that he will be giving up his jersey in the test.

"Tomorrow I think I will lose this jersey. I will do bye bye. I don't time trial well," he said.

But which riders will come out with that yellow jersey?

Chris Horner, the race's defending champion, admits that the time trial isn't his kind of day and that he will lose some time not only on his main opponents but the stage winner as well.

"Tomorrow we'll find out who's good and who's not," he said. "It's still not a day for me in general, I'll lose some time, but hopefully not much. We'll definitely figure out where Levi's form is, and after that we'll find out the other GC guys too: Tejay [van Garderen], [Andrew] Talansky, [Tom] Danielson, all those guys. We'll see how the race has evolved, who's tired and who's not tomorrow."

Horner said he expects on this flatter course to lose 20 to 50 seconds depending on which rider you look at.

"Maybe 20 seconds on Tejay, if Levi [Leipheimer]'s on really good form maybe he can get 50 seconds on me, I'd imagine," he suggested. "Of course we don't know where his form is and we'll have to wait and see."

Van Garderen knows that Thursday is an important day if he is to gouge as much time out of GC rival Horner ahead of some big climbing days on Friday and Saturday.

"If I can see him on the line and pull back time, that'll be a good motivator," the BMC rider explained. "But as far as how I'm going to ride, it doesn't change a thing that he's the guy in front of me. The most important people to take time out of would be Nibali and Horner because those guys are the best climbers. I'll take as much time as I can. If I have 40 seconds on Horner going into the base of Mt. Baldy, then I think I have a chance."

With the temperature rising as the tour goes on, van Garderen said he was coping well with the sometimes challenging conditions.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he admitted. "The heat [on Wednesday] kind of took it out of a lot of people. Right now it's about cooling down, recovering and getting rehydrated.

"We'll have the AC [air conditioning] on full blast in the bus [on Thursday] and we're going to wear special ice vests beforehand, as well as put some socks filled with ice on the back of our necks – really anything to keep cool."

Garmin-Barracuda's David Zabriskie, the winner of last year's test in Solvang and five-time winner of the national title is a prime candidate to claim the stage win, and clustered in the 40 second group, he could well take the race lead. "That'd be amazing," he told Cyclingnews in Clovis, "but you gotta make it happen first, so I don't think about that until tomorrow."

Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) placed fourth in Solvang last year, and could well come out of the stage as the best placed rider who also can hold his own on Mt. Baldy. He and van Garderen are well matched in both disciplines but all of the climbing favorites must face Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) who has had an armchair ride throughout the week.

Nibali excels in time trials which feature hills, but even on the flat parcours of Bakersfield will be a formidable presence.

UnitedHealthcare's GC hopeful Rory Sutherland is also looking to gain some time on the climbers tomorrow.

"That's the idea," he said. "The real time trial specialists are probably pretty big guys, so they probably won't get up on Baldy, whereas I'm kind of in between. So it's more trying to put time into the climbers or stay as close as possible and then maybe look to make some time bonuses later on."

Fight for the stage win

The battle between the GC riders will likely take place behind the overall stage winner. With Liquigas-Cannondale the only team above zero in the Tour's win column, all of the other squads will be putting in a big effort to try for the time trial.

Australian Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), the current U23 world time trial champion is the center of his team's aspirations here in California. His director Neil Stephens has had to make sure 'Turbo Durbo' saves his legs for the stage win.

"Luke is in great shape at the moment. It's funny, we have to hold him back because he's really eager to help his teammates. We have to say hang on, we're here to try and get a stage result in the time trial. He's a very generous, very eager worker," Stephens said. "If he can beat the rest by a thousandth of a second that will be enough."

Optum Pro Cycling has had a few days in the mountains classification jersey, but have primed Tom Zirbel to deliver the goods in Bakersfield.

"I'm feeling confident and getting better every day here," Zirbel said. "I've ridden [the course] a couple of times, so I know how to approach it. It just comes down to legs and just a little bit of tactics, but it's a time trial - there's not much more you can do."

Rabobank has been knocking at the door of a sprint win, and don't have a pure time trial specialist although Luis Leon Sanchez can do well. Director Eric Breukink is hoping to limit his riders losses to the best climbers.

"The level of the team is quite good, Sanchez is OK. I think we can do a good result there. Then for the mountains we have a really good team. We're looking forward to the harder stages. The specialists like Zabriskie can win by one and a half minutes over 30km. If we can keep Horner within 30 seconds it should be good."

Of the outside contenders, Bontrager-Livestrong's Lawson Craddock and Nathan Brown are looking to test themselves against some of the world's top riders, and according to director Axel Merckx, they will put it all out there.

"We will see how they feel, but Nathan and Lawson should go full gas and test themselves against the WorldTour riders."

Bakersfeld Individual Time Trial Stage 5 start order

# Rider Name (Country) Team
1 Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 13:00:00  
2 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos - Shimano 13:01:00  
3 Logan Loader (USA) Team Exergy 13:02:00  
4 Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 13:03:00  
5 Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 13:04:00  
6 Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:05:00  
7 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 13:06:00  
8 Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Cycling 13:07:00  
9 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 13:08:00  
10 Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 13:09:00  
11 Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team Exergy 13:10:00  
12 Jason McCartney (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 13:11:00  
13 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 13:12:00  
14 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:13:00  
15 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 13:14:00  
16 Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:15:00  
17 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 13:16:00  
18 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 13:17:00  
19 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Argos - Shimano 13:18:00  
20 Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 13:19:00  
21 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:20:00  
22 Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 13:21:00  
23 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:22:00  
24 Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:23:00  
25 Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling 13:24:00  
26 David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:25:00  
27 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:26:00  
28 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale 13:27:00  
29 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:28:00  
30 Morgan Schmitt (USA) Team Exergy 13:29:00  
31 Michael Creed (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:30:00  
32 Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 13:31:00  
33 Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:32:00  
34 Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - Shimano 13:33:00  
35 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 13:34:00  
36 Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 13:35:00  
37 Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 13:36:00  
38 Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 13:37:00  
39 Thomas Zirbel (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:38:00  
40 Ryan Eastman (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 13:39:00  
41 Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 13:40:00  
42 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 13:41:00  
43 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:42:00  
44 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 13:43:00  
45 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:44:00  
46 Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale 13:45:00  
47 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 13:46:00  
48 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 13:47:00  
49 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - Shimano 13:48:00  
50 Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling 13:49:00  
51 Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 13:50:00  
52 Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:51:00  
53 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 13:52:00  
54 Hugo Houle (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 13:53:00  
55 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos - Shimano 13:54:00  
56 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 13:55:00  
57 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - Shimano 13:56:00  
58 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Livestrong Team 13:57:00  
59 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano 13:58:00  
60 Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 13:59:00  
61 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 14:00:00  
62 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 14:01:00  
63 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 14:02:00  
64 Andrew Bajadali (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 14:03:00  
65 Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale 14:04:00  
66 Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 14:05:00  
67 George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 14:06:00  
68 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 14:07:00  
69 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:08:00  
70 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Bissell Cycling 14:09:00  
71 Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 14:10:00  
72 Andrés Díaz Corrales (Col) Team Exergy 14:11:00  
73 Ian Boswell (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 14:12:00  
74 Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14:13:00  
75 Matt Cooke (USA) Team Exergy 14:14:00  
76 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 14:15:00  
77 Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 14:16:00  
78 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 14:17:00  
79 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 14:18:00  
80 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team 14:19:00  
81 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 14:20:00  
82 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 14:21:00  
83 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 14:22:00  
84 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 14:23:00  
85 Raymond Kunzli (Swi) Spidertech Powered By C10 14:24:00  
86 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:25:00  
87 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 14:26:00  
88 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 14:27:00  
89 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 14:28:00  
90 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 14:29:00  
91 Brian Vandborg (Den) Spidertech Powered By C10 14:30:00  
92 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 14:31:00  
93 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:32:00  
94 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 14:33:00  
95 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:34:00  
96 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 14:35:00  
97 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 14:36:00  
98 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 14:37:00  
99 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 14:38:00  
100 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 14:39:00  
101 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 14:40:00  
102 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 14:41:00  
103 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano 14:42:00  
104 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 14:44:00  
105 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 14:46:00  
106 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team 14:48:00  
107 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 14:50:00  
108 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:52:00  
109 Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team 14:54:00  
110 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:56:00  
111 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 14:58:00  
112 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 15:00:00  
113 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling 15:02:00  
114 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 15:04:00  
115 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 15:06:00  
116 Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 15:08:00  
117 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 15:10:00  
118 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 15:12:00  

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