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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 7 at the Amgen Tour of California.
Good morning. It’s a very nice day for a bike race with temperatures expected to reach a high of 75F, very nice weather today.
There was a bit of a traffic jam on the way to the start of the stage, so hopefully everyone made it on time. There are bigger crowds in Livermore, at the start line, some of the biggest crowds we’ve seen at the race yet. Race organizers are predicting about a million people on Mt. Diablo for the finish of the race.
The penultimate stage starts in Livermore and is 147.1 kms with a finish atop Mt. Diablo.
The stage also includes a KOM on Morgan Territory (16kms), another KOM on Patterson Pass (83 kms), an intermediate sprint back in Livermore (97kms) and lastly the mountaintop finish and final KOM of the day at the Mt. Diablo summit (147kms).
And the riders are rolling out for the neutral start ...
The neutral start this morning is almost 3 kms.
Here are the top five in the overall standings:
1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
2. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), +1:47
3. Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), +2:57
4. Mathias Frank (BMC), +3:21
5. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman), +3:31
And the race has officially started ...
As mentioned earlier, today's stage will finish on Mt. Diablo. The last mountaintop finish was on the Tramway Rd in Palm Spring, the conclusion of stage 2.
Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Janier Acevedo won that stage in a battle between the current race leader from BMC, Tejay van Garderen, who placed second that day. UnitedHealthcare’s Philip Deignan placed third.
Other strong climbers that day, and riders to watch today are RadioShack’s Matthew Busche, BMC’s Mathias Frank, Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), who is now second overall, Chad Haga (Optum Pro Cycling), Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy/Kenda), Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), who is positioned third overall.
There have been several attempts at a breakaway early in the race today. So far, nothing has stuck.
Vacansoleil-DCM's Juan Antonio Flecha told Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo this morning that, "we are going to go full gas today. The entire team will go full gas from the start to get in the breakaway, if we don’t get in the first breakaway, we will ride on the front and bring it back, and try again."
There is a seven-rider breakaway and it has a 10-second gap.
The breakaway riders have now been caught. The riders were Bob Jungels (RadioShack), Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Robert Sweeting (5-hour Energy/Kenda), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) and Michael Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff).
There is a new group of about 10 riders off the front of the main field, with two chasers just behind.
The field is headed toward the first KOM of the day located 16 kms into the stage on Morgan Territory. It's a very narrow road up.
Bob Jungels from RadioShack was the top placed Under 23 rider in the time trial yesterday and seventh on the stage.
He told Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo this morning, "I’m pretty happy with my performance in the time trial yesterday. I had some trouble in the end because I wanted to do a bike change but it wasn’t possible because there was someone behind me. I think I could have done a little better, but I’m satisfied."
Vacansoleil riders Juan Antonio Flecha and Lieuwe Westra are both off the front of the field. Flecha warned that his team would be very aggressive today.
The two Vacansoleil riders are holding a small gap.
BMC is lined up at the front of the main field.
There is now one Vacansoleil rider, Westra, off the front as the race heads toward the KOM on Morgan Territory.
Rohan Dennis, Garmin-Sharp, had a good time trial yesterday. He held the fastest time for a while and ended up third in the stage. Unfortunately, his teammate David Zabriskie crashed on the time trial course while warming up.
Dennis told Cyclingnews' Pat Malach this morning, "It was a tough day for Dave. He was obviously going to go very well in the time trial. Especially with USPro coming up. I’m sure he’ll be back on his bike very quickly."
"I’m not sure what our tactic is for today. There is a climb straight away, so I think it will be hard. We will probably try and get in the early break. Maybe BMC will let one go. A couple of our riders will hold back and wait for the last climb, to get a good result or maybe even a stage win. We are an opportunistic team at the moment. Obviously, we’ll be working for Tyler Farrar tomorrow in Santa Rosa."
There is a new group of riders off the front of the race that still includes the original breakaway rider Lieuwe Westra from Vacansoleil. He was caught by a chase group of eight before the KOM line on Morgan Territory.
Other riders to join the move are Andy Schleck (RadioShack), Chris Butler (Champion System), Melgarejo De la Cruz (NetApp-Endura), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare), Laurent Didier (RadioShack), Quintanilla Verona (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and Kristijan Koren (Cannondale),
Correction, it is the King of the Mountain leader Carter Jones (Bissell) in the breakaway. He also picked up full points at the KOM on Morgan Territory.
The breakaway is now seven riders and it has 50 seconds on the main field.
The main field is now broken into two big groups with Van Garderen and Rogers in the front. It broke apart on the climb due as BMC set a fast tempo.
The seven riders in the breakaway now have a gap of two minutes on the main field.
Those riders are Andy Schleck (RadioShack), Melgarejo De la Cruz (NetApp-Endura), Carter Jones (Bissell), Laurent Didier (RadioShack), Quintanilla Verona (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and Kristijan Koren (Cannondale).
BMC's Mathias Frank is getting a wheel change and Vacansoleil's Wesley Kreder is getting a bike change.
There are three rider chasing the breakaway.
Chasers are Chris Butler (Champion System), who was in the original move, Nathan Brown (Bontrager) ad Nathaniel English (5-hour Energy).
The descent off of Morgan Territory was very fast and technical. Several riders crashed but all are back on their bikes and in the race.
The seven-rider breakaway now has 2:30 minutes on the main field. Three riders are still chasing.
The seven riders in the breakaway are Andy Schleck (RadioShack), Melgarejo De la Cruz (NetApp-Endura), Carter Jones (Bissell), Laurent Didier (RadioShack), Quintanilla Verona (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and Kristijan Koren (Cannondale).
The chasers are Chris Butler (Champion System), who was in the original move, Nathan Brown (Bontrager) ad Nathaniel English (5-hour Energy).
The chasers have caught up to the breakaway. They can now take a short breather and get settled in to the breakaway before starting to take pulls.
Breakaway rider Nathaniel English currently holds the fastest Strava record for climbing Mt. Diablo. If the breakaway sticks to the end, he might be one to watch. Look out Andy Schleck!
The breakaway is working their way around a car-motorcycle accident on course, unrelated to the race.
The breakaway riders are working well together and holding a gap just under three minutes.
Carter jones in group of 10 riders. 2:50 gap to field. #atoc
@BissellCycling Sat, 18th May 2013 20:50:27
Not only does Nathan English hold the Mt. Diablo Strava record, he is also the highest placed rider in the overall in 13th place at 6:57 minutes behind race leader Tejay van Garderen.
Behind the breakaway, the main field is all back together after splintering apart on the descent off of Morgan Territory.
The breakaway riders are slowly increasing their gap, which is now 3:25 minutes.
Westra has just flatted and is getting a very slow wheel change.
Westra is making his way back up to the breakaway and he's in the support vehicle caravan.
And Westra is back in the breakaway.
NetApp-Endura's David de la Cruz is working very well in the breakaway today.
Emory Ball, the other half to Cyclingnews editor Laura Weislo, followed David de la Cruz during the stage 6 time trial yesterday. Check out his video of the rider's bike change before the Metcalf Rd. ascent to the finish line.
Laura Weislo just made it to the finishing area on Mt. Diablo. She said there were lots of local cyclists heading up the climb to watch the racers in action.
Canadian rider Marsh Cooper (Optum Pro Cycling) just had a bike change. We aren't sure what the problem was but he's back in the field.
RadioShack's Haimar Zubeldia just received a wheel change. The roads must be a little on the rough side today. BMC's Mathias Frank and Champion System's Matt Brammeier also needed wheel changes.
The breakaway riders are rolling along and holding a 3:20 gap.
They will be coming up to the next KOM on Patterson Pass in the next 10 kms. KOM leader Carter Jones will be looking to pick up full points again.
The leaders are 5 kms to the top of the second KOM of the day on Patterson Pass. It's a Category 3 climb.
Nate English's Strava KOM from the Athenian School, where Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo is, to the top (18.1 kms) is 45:28 minutes. We'll see how fast the riders get up it today.
The breakaway is holding a 3:10 gap. They are about to crest Patterson Pass.
We spoke with Sebastian Alexandre, Jamis-Hagens Berman DS, this morning. His rider Janier Acevedo won the climb on Tramway Rd at the end of stage 2. He's also a favourite for today's finishing climb on Mt. Diablo. Here is what Alexandre had to say about that,
"Diablo climb is not as steep as stage 2 on Tramway, it’s longer and less steep. Janier does better on steeper climbs. He’s been climbing very well. He set one of the best time splits for the climb in the TT yesterday. He’s very motivated and he thinks he can take 30 or 40 seconds out of Tejay van Garderen and Michael Rogers, and maybe move back on the overall podium. It is a climb that probably better suits guys like Mathias Frank and Rogers. But if Janier has a good day, he can do very well."
The breakaway is 200 metres from the top of the KOM
There are some very steep pitches on Patterson Pass.
Carter Jones just took the first placed KOM points at the top of the climb. Followed by Nathan Brown and Laurent Didier.
BMC is lined up at the front of the main field protecting GC leader Tejay van Garderen.
Westra has just attacked the breakaway.
The breakaway is passing through Livermore, where they started. There was an intermediate sprint won by Koren, followed by Westra and Didier.
Koren's teammate Peter Sagan is leading the sprint classification. He was likely protecting Sagan's lead in that competition.
NetApp-Endura's Zak Dempster has a flat tire.
There are lots of fans lining the course in Livermore and cheering for the cyclists.
Dempster's very slow wheel change is in part due to the new UCI rules disallowing the teams filing off the safety tabs on the fork.
Saxo-Tinkoff is riding just behind the BMC train at the front of the main field. They are about 45 kms from the finish on Mt. Diablo. The climbers will start moving forward and getting into position for the long climb.
It's a very nice day today. The temperatures at the top of Mt. Diablo are 70F and it's very sunny. There are hundreds of cyclists riding up the climb now to see the finish of the race.
Orica-GreenEdge's Sulzberger has a flat tire. RadioShack's Jungels also has a problem with his bike.
Jungels is working his way back into the field after a rear flat tire. BMC is setting a quick pace on the front.
Luis Amaran from Jamis-Hagens Berman is taking a turn on the front. He is working for Janier Acevedo.
Jamis-Hagens Berman are going all in for stage 7, heading into the base of Mt. Diablo. Director, Sebastian Alexandre said he thinks Acevedo can win today and even put 30 or 40 seconds into Van Garderen on the climb.
All of the Jamis-Hagens Berman team is on the front of the main field. BMC riders are lined up right behind them followed by Saxo-Tinkoff.
The breakaway, and the peloton just behind, can now see Mt. Diablo right in front of them.
The fastest riders on the final climb during the TT yesterday were Acevedo and Leopold Konig of NetApp-Endura at 9:43. Van Garderen was 4 seconds slower, and Rogers next best, 7 seconds slower.
They are 7 kms to the turn at Athenian School, it's kind of up and down and the climb really starts with about 16 kms to go.
The breakaway riders are losing time, gap down to one minute.
There's a steep pitch past the school, then a quick descent that has been freshly paved for the race. It used to be broken up. Then it is a steeper start followed by a gradual climb to the park border. The actual gate is at 12.2 kms to go.
The gap is now 50 seconds.
There are three Jamis-Hagens Berman riders at the front of the field for Acevedo, followed by the entire BMC team for Van Garderen.
The breakaway is turning to the right, closer to Mt. Diablo.
Amaran is back on the front, he's really driving the pace for Acevedo. He is also still recovering from a crash during the earlier stages.
Verona has attacked the breakaway on the shallow slopes at the bottom of the climb.
Verona is looking very strong on the climb, despite being in the breakaway all day.
Westra, Schleck and Verona are now leading the race at the start of the climb.
Schleck, Verona, Westra and Didier are together on the climb.
Nathan Brown is about to get caught by the main field.
There are a lot of riders from the main field who have sat up at the base of the climb and will try ride as easy as possible to the top to save their legs for tomorrow.
Didier is pushing the pace on the climb and leading breakaway riders, teammate Schleck and Verona and Westra. Perhaps Schleck will make a move and try and win the stage.
Lachlan Morton of Garmin-Sharp has attacked from the main field.
Antoine Duchesne from Bontrager is with Morton.
Westra is leading the race followed by de la Cruz. Verona, Didier and Schleck are together.
Chad Beyer (Champion System) is climbing well today.
BMC riders are still setting pace about half way up the climb.
Westra and de la Cruz are following one another up the climb. They are both looking strong.
They are hitting some of the steeper sections of the climb. The leaders, Westra and de la Cruz have over a minute.
Schleck is about to get caught by the main field.
Bontrager's Gavin Mannion has crashed on the side of the road.
Nathan English is about to get caught by the field led by BMC.
Schleck's group, which is the chase group, also includes Verona, Dedier, Beyer and Butler.
The main field is very close to catching Schleck's chase group of five riders. But they still have over a minute to go to catch up to Westra and de la Cruz.
There are tons of fans on the climb. They are getting louder and louder as the race climbs further up Mt. Diablo.
Westra and de la Cruz are working very well together.
Schleck has been caught by the main field.
In the main field, Van Garderen is sitting in fourth position behind three of his teammates. He's looking very composed and ready to respond to any attacks.
Jens Voigt has made a big attack out of the main field.
Voigt is going for the stage win. He is working very hard to catch up to the leaders Westra and de la Cruz.
Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy) has bridged across to Voigt.
Mancebo is in 7th place on GC and was not satisfied with that this morning. He wants to make an impression on this race by taking the stage win today. We'll see if he can do it.
Mancebo has dropped Voigt. The Spaniard is closing the gap to the two leaders Westra and de la Cruz.
Mancebo is giving it everything he has to catch the two leaders. He will likely fly straight passed them once he gets there.
BMC is leading what's left of the main field and they are 30 seconds behind the three leaders on the road.
Mancebo has caught and passed de la Cruz and Westra.
Westra and de la Cruz are trying desperately to hang on to Mancebo, but he is not waiting around for them. He wants to win this stage.
There are only 20 seconds separating the three leaders on the climb and the main field led by BMC.
Van Garderen has two teammates left in the field.
Voigt is now off the back of the main field.
Acevedo has attacked BMC and the rest of the field.
It's less than 3 kms to go and Acevedo has made his move.
Acevedo has caught and passed de la Cruz, Westra and now Mancebo.
Mancebo is trying to stay on Acevedo's wheel.
Acevedo is now solo at the front of this race and on his way to the top of Mt. Diablo.
Acevedo is going to want the stage win, but he also wants to move back onto the podium in the GC.
Chad Haga is trying to go with Acevedo.
Leopold Konig (NetApp) is up with Acevedo and they are working together
There is 1 km to go and Acevedo is leading on the climb with Konig on his wheel.
Busche is leading the chase group of climbers .
Craddock, best young rider, has attacked the chase group of climbers.
Konig has attacked Acevedo and is going after the stage win.
Konig is flying up the final few hundred metres of the climb and is taking the win.
Acevedo takes second
Craddock was third and Van Garderen fourth.
The unofficial brief results are:
1. Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura)
2. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
3. Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
4. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff)
5. Lawson Craddock (Bontrager)
The overall classification:
1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
2. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), +1:47
3. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman), +3:26
4. Mathias Frank (BMC), +3:32
Thank you for following our live coverage of stage 7. Please join us for the finale stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California tomorrow!