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Rory Sutherland never backed off on the steep climb.
UnitedHealthcare's GC man talks about first climbing stage
The Amgen Tour of California will put the sprinters into the background for a day and focus instead on the climbing specialists who will battle for the stage victory atop Sierra Road and the riders for the general classification hoping to take time on their rivals.
UnitedHealthcare's Rory Sutherland is one rider who will be under pressure to perform on the two sizeable climbs: first to Mount Hamilton - the first significant climb of the race and a true test for the legs - and second to first summit finish in the history of the race on Sierra Road.
"It's been a strange race: yesterday was an interesting feeling in the group, I think everyone is a bit out of whack with not being prepared properly due to being in the snow. It was good to get some racing done and open the legs up."
Tomorrow's climbing stage, he said, is all for the GC men. "It's the moment to see where everyone's at. Everybody's worried about it of course. You come into the bottom and if you have good legs on a climb like that then you're good, but if you don't you can lose a lot of time."