After a week of aggressive riding Thomas Rabou (Team Type 1) won the prestigious King of the Mountains jersey at the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday. Despite securing the jersey on the event's 'queen' stage six, the Dutchman rode into this third lengthy breakaway of the race during the eighth and final stage.
Although Rabou only needed to finish the stage inside the time limit to retain the KOM jersey, he took the opportunity to ride in one final breakaway during the last day. The finale was a 134km circuit race that included four laps of a 33km course and a 1,000 foot climb up the Mulholland Highway, located 10km from the finish line in Agoura Hills.
This time his breakaway companions were Yaroslav Popovych (Team RadioShack), Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank), George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), Oscar Pujol Muñoz (Cervelo Test Team), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step).
"I woke up this morning and I was thinking that it would be really cool to be in the breakaway with the KOM jersey, so I tried to do it and apparently I was in the break so my goal was achieved for today." said Rabou.
"My goals for this Tour were to show myself to all the teams and to my team and to the public. One of the main goals with Team Type 1 was to win the KOM jersey and we did that. I think I can say that I completed my goals and I am very happy about it.
Rabou dedicated the jersey to his mother, who is recovering from cancer back in his The Netherlands. "My mother is recovering now from a cancer, Hodgkin's," Rabou explained. "She is doing really great now, relatively, and she just passed her second chemo therapy and is doing good. She will be fine. But I am really happy that I could get this KOM jersey and give it to my mother.
Rabou earned some preliminary points as the leader towards the King of the Mountain classification following his rainy stage two breakaway. He entered into the early move with companions Karl Menzies (Unitedhealthcare-Maxxis), Jay Robert Thomson (Fly V Australia), Michael Friedman (Jelly Belly-Kenda) and Andrew Randell (SpiderTech-Planet Energy).
His teammate Davide Frattini used his position in the stage three breakaway and swallowed up three of the four KOM points on offer, protecting Rabou's lead. The jersey was contested during stage four by Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies), who briefly took over the lead.
Rabou consolidated the red jersey after his second lengthy breakaway during the 'queen' stage six where he joined six ProTour riders off the front for 200km. His companions on that occasion included George Hincapie (BMC), Jakob Fuglsang and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Jason McCartney (RadioShack), Matthew Wilson (Garmin-Transitions), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) and Stef Clement (Rabobank).
He picked up full points atop six of the seven KOM ascents before the eight strongmen were caught on the final climb up to Big Bear Lake.
"At the beginning of stage six I was second in the KOM jersey so I had to be in the break to earn points. My goal for stage six was to be in the break," said Rabou.
"It was a really hard stage from the beginning with the big hills and I was in the break with seven ProTour riders so I was really happy about that and really excited. I enjoyed every minute of being in the break for five hours. It was a really good day for me and Team Type 1."