Tour of California 2018

May 13-19, 2018, Long Beach, California, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Laura Weislo

Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 profile

  1. 12:23:33 PDT

    Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2018 Tour of California! We are in Morgan Hill, just outside San Jose, where the riders will face a 34.7km time trial. It's going to be a fast, flat, power-rider's course.

  2. 12:26:14 PDT

    It's a pleasant temperature for the time trial, with no breeze yet - though it will pick up though the afternoon, possibly affecting the later riders.

    You can see the start times for the peloton here.

  3. 12:47:07 PDT

    Juraj Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is our first rider to head down the ramp today. He's been working for his world champion brother this week, and is last on the GC.

    In case you didn't know, stage race time trials always start in reverse GC order, with some riders shifted around to keep teammates from starting near each other.

  4. 12:51:49 PDT

    Most of the riders in the first wave are sprinters or their lead-out men - riders like Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step) or Roger Kluge (Mitchelton-Scott). They will be riding for the time cut today.

    The first rider to keep an eye on is Mikkel Bjerg, the U23 ITT world champion who says he wants to show himself here.

  5. 12:57:36 PDT

    Other riders to watch include Taylor Phinney (EF-Drapac) who starts at 1:13PM; Rally's Evan Huffman (1:31PM), although he may be tired from yesterday's breakaway. US champion Joey Rosskopf is off at 2:25pm, Brent Bookwalter at 2:34 (Both BMC) and former junior world champion Brandon McNulty (Rally) at 2:39.

  6. 13:00:39 PDT

    Aside from the GC contenders, Filippo Ganna (UAE) is a dark horse for this test, as is Paddy Bevin (BMC), the former New Zealand champion.

  7. 13:02:15 PDT

    Bevin told Cyclingnews:

    "I'm here to mostly work for the GC guys, but my time trial has been coming along well, and that's obviously going to be a stage where we can have a go. It's not going to influence too much outside of that. So for me, personally, I'd say that's the big day, and the rest is here for the team."

  8. 13:08:05 PDT

    Mark Renshaw - the lead-out man for Cavendish, is out on course. Then it's Kluge, the Madison world champion on the track and Daniel Oss. All powerful riders, but perhaps not targeting the stage.

    Will this be the day for Rally's Danny Pate to show his prowess in the discipline? He's the latest rider off.

  9. 13:12:55 PDT

    The course today heads out from downtown Morgan Hill, a small town midway between San Jose and the garlic capital of Gilroy. It's the home of bike manufacturer Specialized, their HQ is just a block from the first turn.

  10. 13:13:59 PDT

    BMC's Taylor Phinney is off for his race. The former US national ITT champion showed that he's made huge progress in recovering from that devastating leg injury by nabbing a fine top 10 finish in Paris-Roubaix this spring.


  11. 13:17:32 PDT

    The route today favors a rider like Phinney - the length, at 34.7km, is longer than most we see in races like this. It will be the longest test Phinney's done since the 2016 world championships, where he was 15th.

  12. 13:23:36 PDT

    From the start, the riders head toward the hills and turn onto Oak Glen Road - the site of many a hotly contested lunch ride by the locals - past the Chesbro resevoir. The riders then turn onto McKean where they'll have a sharp little climb to the intermediate check.

    After turning back toward town, they'll have a brief respite in the form of a short descent - though care should be taken as there's a couple hairpins. Then it's flat back to the finish.

  13. 13:25:14 PDT

    Currently Iljo Keisse has the fastest time at the check - 23:01, with Ruben Companioni  at 17 seconds. Cavendish didn't do too poorly, he's third best at the moment.

  14. 13:28:50 PDT

    Daniel Oss has put in a brilliant ride in this first half - 22:51 and the quickest time at the check, topping Keisse by 16 seconds.

  15. 13:32:18 PDT

    But Oss' ride is eclipsed by that of our motivated U23 world champion Mikkel Bjerg, who has smoked the first 16km in a time of 21:16.

  16. 13:33:30 PDT

    Bjerg has clocked an average speed of 45.7kmh - that's a good ride. You can read more about him here.

  17. 13:34:26 PDT

    Bjerg's DS Axel Merckx had this to say about him earlier:

    "He's super motivated, that's for sure. He's really excited about it. He just did Bretagne four days and then he came here because he's just recovering from injury [a broken hand -ed], but I think he can do well. How well I have no idea. It's also the first time I really get to see him in a time trial because he was supposed to do the time trial in Tryptique, but he was injured so he couldn't race. It's going to be his first big time trial the year, so there are always question marks for the guys to see how they do."

  18. 13:34:58 PDT

    When asked if a good result would motivate Bjerg for the coming races, Merckx said. "That will give him confidence in the next one coming up, because we have the Baby Giro after this. The main target is to defend his title at the end of the year, but we'll see what happens today."

  19. 13:36:17 PDT

    Phinney has come through the check 29 seconds down on Bjerg.

  20. 13:36:53 PDT

    Bora's Maciej Bodnar is second at 12 seconds, with the rest more than a minute behind Bjerg at the first check.

  21. 13:41:24 PDT

    Bodnar is rocking and rolling on his way toward the finish, passing vineyards on this wide open road.

  22. 13:43:20 PDT

    Out on course is another rider who can put in a decent time trial when he wants to, Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-Scott). He's a former Oceania champion and multi-time world champion in the pursuit and team pursuit on the track.

  23. 13:43:47 PDT

    Companioni beat Juraj Sagan to the finish, and is sitting in the hot seat now.

  24. 13:45:11 PDT

    Phinney has not lost focus - he's got Rick Zabel (Katusha) in his sights. The German started three minutes before him.

  25. 13:46:00 PDT

    Zabel's teammate Kittel came through the line quite slowly - last place 1:53 from Companioni. Six riders have finished so far.

  26. 13:50:46 PDT

    Daniel Oss is our latest man to earn a place in the 'hot seat' - he's quickest at the finish until Bjerg comes across.

    The U23 champion crushed it with a 41:40, over two minutes ahead of Oss! That's going to be a really long spell in the hot seat.

  27. 13:52:15 PDT

    And Bodnar JUST missed it. Three seconds slower than the U23 world champion.

  28. 13:55:18 PDT

    Phinney's at the 1km to go banner. Can he unseat Bjerg?

  29. 13:56:24 PDT

    The answer is no - Phinney comes in nine seconds down, that's good for third at the moment.

  30. 13:58:11 PDT

    We're hearing that the wind has picked up along the course, but the course itself is pretty straightforward. Right now, on that very straight road, is Peter Sagan.

  31. 14:00:21 PDT

    Back at the intermediate check, Filippo Ganna (UAE) has the third best time.

    We asked UAE team Director Philippe Maduit about the rider's chances:

    "You know with Filippo we never know. I think the time trial is little long for him. He's a guy who can go fast over 4km on the track, but here it is 35km. But he will try and then we will see at the end of the day what the classement is. But he's good, and he's feeling good and motivated. The legs will do the talking"

  32. 14:01:57 PDT

    Ruben Campanioni - Holowesko-Citadel (started second)

    "The course for me I think is beautiful. It's a little windy. It has some little climbs, some very nice descents and long flat sections. It's nice course.
    For me TJ [Eisenhart] is always the favourite."

  33. 14:03:56 PDT

    Huffman is putting in a respectable ride, he's 30 seconds down on Bjerg at the first check, good for about sixth overall.

  34. 14:04:39 PDT

    Heppy is actually sixth, Huffman fifth, both within 30 seconds at the check. Lawson Craddock just came through that split with a strong ride - 15 seconds down.

  35. 14:05:54 PDT

    Ian Garrison must have gotten a good warm-up for today in that day-long breakaway: he's fifth best at the finish, but 2:01 behind Bjerg.

  36. 14:09:19 PDT

    Craddock is really moving, his cadence noticeably higher than his teammate Phinney, who was grinding a big gear.

  37. 14:10:12 PDT

    Craddock has caught and passed his minute-man Reto Hollenstein (Katusha-Alpecin).

  38. 14:12:11 PDT

    Coming to the line is Yousif Mirza Al-Hammadi (UAE Team Emirates), the national champion of the UAE was well down, over five minutes, on Bjerg's time.

  39. 14:13:08 PDT

    Next to come in in sprinter John Murphy (Holowesko) 4:45 down.

  40. 14:14:19 PDT

    Woah! The individual pursuit champion Filippo Ganna has taken the fastest time off Bjerg by four seconds!

  41. 14:14:36 PDT

    The UAE rider finished off the cameras, so fast they couldn't capture him.

  42. 14:15:47 PDT

    That's heartbreak for Bjerg, but he's still in a podium position for the stage.

  43. 14:22:13 PDT

    The top 10 after 42 riders

    1 Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:41:36
    2 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:04
    3 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:08
    4 Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac 0:00:13
    5 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:26
    6 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:45
    7 Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:49
    8 Ian Garrison (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:02:05
    9 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:02:06
    10 Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:12

  44. 14:22:46 PDT

    Craddock is now speeding toward the finish, on a very good time.

  45. 14:23:28 PDT

    1km to go for Craddock - it's going to be a long shot if he overtakes Ganna, but he still looks smooth and strong.

  46. 14:23:58 PDT

    Oh we are so wrong! Craddock smoked it.

  47. 14:26:36 PDT

    Craddock was in with a 41:33 - three seconds quicker than Ganna.

  48. 14:27:52 PDT

    Very nice riding by Craddock who has clearly recovered from his overtraining issues. Slipstream were smart to give him another chance this year.

  49. 14:28:39 PDT

    We spoke to Rally DS Eric Wohlberg, who described the course for us:

    "It's great course. it's got some little rolling stuff in it. It's got one technical descent and alit bit of win. So I think it's got little bit of everything. It's a good course for our guy. I think Brandon (McNulty) is going to rock it pretty good out there."

    When asked about the wind he said:

    "On the way out you got a little bit of cover. The wind is coming out of the north, so you have a little bit of headwind on the way out, but there are a lot of turns and a little more tree cover. But on the way back, this final 10km run to the finish, it's a pretty strong cross-tailwind and win open. No cover out there at all. It would be great if it was a headwind coming home, but in a tailwind guys are gonna be able to roll pretty much the same speed when they're on it. I think the race is going to be won more on the way out where you've got a little more headwind conditions."

  50. 14:29:31 PDT

    As strong as Craddock's ride is, we've got Paddy Bevin really moving out there. He was fastest at the check a full 25 seconds quicker than the EF-Drapac rider.

  51. 14:30:59 PDT

    The last wave of riders are now getting underway, TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel) has rolled down the ramp.

  52. 14:32:14 PDT

    20 more riders left to start.

    Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is doing a pretty strong ride.

  53. 14:35:08 PDT

    Although Sagan passed a few riders, he's still over two minutes down at the check, so not a contender.

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC) is getting started on his ride. His team is looking for a title sponsor, but general manager Jim Ochowicz denies there's any stress. You can read the story here.

  54. 14:38:22 PDT

    Sagan comes through to the delight of the crowd, but he's not blazing - he's in almost three minutes down in 19th.

  55. 14:39:22 PDT

    A rider to watch, Brandon McNulty (Rally) is about to get underway.

  56. 14:40:37 PDT

    The Rally team have Acura NSX sportscars as their team cars in the race. Without a back seat, we question how practical a choice this is.

  57. 14:41:53 PDT

    We think that McNulty could give the NSX a run for its money - it's only 500hp.

    Caleb Ewan comes across 5:26 down with the green jersey on his shoulders.

  58. 14:43:22 PDT

    Ewan is tied on points with race leader Egan Bernal (Team Sky), but Bernal of course has to wear the yellow jersey.

    Let's remind ourselves of the overall situation:
    1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 12:09:08
    2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:25
    3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:31
    4 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:40
    5 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates
    6 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF-Drapac
    7 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50
    8 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC 0:01:00
    9 Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:11
    10 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:14

  59. 14:44:03 PDT

    McNulty looks like he's running out of gears he's going so fast - he whips around the turn and quickly back into his very narrow aero bar position.

  60. 14:45:12 PDT

    Alex Howes (EF Drapac) comes across outside the top 10 in 16th, 2:18 behind his teammate.

  61. 14:46:34 PDT

    The style of McNulty is in sharp contrast to that of Bevin, who turns such a big gear, it looks like he's hardly moving at all. But he's moving, for sure. Fastest at the first check by 10 seconds on Bjerg, let's see if he can go faster on the second half or if he runs out of steam.

  62. 14:47:54 PDT

    Woah! Bevin crushed that second half - 40:54, and there goes Craddock out of the hot seat.

  63. 14:50:54 PDT

    Our current situation at the finish is as follows:
    1 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 0:40:54
    2 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 0:00:39
    3 Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:42
    4 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:46
    5 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:50
    6 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:52
    7 Taylor Phinney (USA) EF-Drapac 0:00:55
    8 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:08
    9 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:01:12
    10 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:27

  64. 14:51:43 PDT

    Just six riders still to start, as at the finish we've seen a few notable rides - Nils Politt in sixth at 52 seconds, and Nikias Arndt in the top 10.

  65. 14:52:13 PDT

    Jack Bauer, the current New Zealand champion, is doing a strong ride, 34 seconds behind his compatriot at the check.

  66. 14:54:07 PDT

    McNulty has caught his minute man.

  67. 14:56:28 PDT

    Just Yates, Majka and Bernal left to start.

    At the finish, Lachlan Morton is well down, 6:30 behind the leader. That's not what we'd expect from the Australian.

  68. 14:57:36 PDT

    Morton won't have to worry about missing the time cut, however. The limit is quite generous at 25%. That's 10 minutes.

  69. 14:58:27 PDT

    Majka takes one last swig from his aero bottle and a few deep breathes as the referee counts down.

  70. 15:00:32 PDT

    Bauer slotted into the top 10 in fifth.

    Now it's time for Bernal to have his moment, he smiles as the crowd cheers.

  71. 15:02:44 PDT

    McNulty started fast but is 38 seconds down at the check, while Geoghegan hart is putting in a storming ride, 27 seconds down on Bevin.

  72. 15:04:02 PDT

    Bernal passes a herd of cows. There once was a time when cow sightings was a big thing in the Cyclingnews blimp, but now that there are tractors and inflatables, cows are pretty insignificant.

  73. 15:04:12 PDT

    Now, mountain lions - that would be something.

  74. 15:05:03 PDT

    Pavel Sivakov has snuck into the top 10, pushing Arndt down. 

  75. 15:07:13 PDT

    Tejay van Garderen is powering toward the check, but his rear skewer is pointing down - clearly not very aerodynamic.

    Up the road, McNulty has had to take a bike from the team car. Too bad for the former Junior world champion.

  76. 15:08:11 PDT

    Van Garderen possibly is actually helped by the forward momentum of his skewer because he's only three seconds down on Bevin at the check!

  77. 15:08:30 PDT

    Though skewer position is very much worth three seconds over 16km.

  78. 15:10:53 PDT

    There have been some good rides while we've been obsessed with Tejay's skewer - Neilson Powless slotted into sixth at 49 seconds from Bevin, and Serghei Tvetcov pushed Phinney to 10th, coming in ninth at 53 seconds.

  79. 15:12:20 PDT

    Van Garderen powers around the turns on the descent, just missing the pothole where McNulty punctured.

  80. 15:15:22 PDT

    Tao Geoghegan Hart has passed McNulty, but luckily the wide road allows both riders to keep a fast pace.

  81. 15:16:56 PDT

    Bookwalter slots in with a ninth place finish, 52 seconds down on his teammate Bevin. He passed Sean Bennett in the finish.

  82. 15:17:28 PDT

    Just like Bevin, Van Garderen hardly looks like he's moving. He's churning a big gear, but not quite as big as Bevin's.

  83. 15:22:08 PDT

    Yates is losing big time, already 54 seconds down on Bevin, but compared with the other GC men, it might not be too bad.

  84. 15:22:33 PDT

    Geoghegan Hart crushed it - only 25 seconds down on Bevin, that's a very strong ride. 

  85. 15:24:01 PDT

    Here's the top 10 as we wait for the GC men:
    1 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 0:40:54
    2 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:25
    3 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 0:00:39
    4 Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:42
    5 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:46
    6 Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:48
    7 Neilson Powless (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:49
    8 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:50
    9 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:52
    10 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team

  86. 15:24:53 PDT

    Majka lost 1:10 to Bevin at the check, so Yates will move ahead of him on GC unless he can push harder on the second half.

  87. 15:25:56 PDT

    We're not sure Bernal is going to be holding the yellow jersey. It's going to be a tall order to keep Van Garderen to a minute.

  88. 15:26:27 PDT

    Bernal has already lost 45 seconds to Van Garderen.

  89. 15:27:33 PDT

    Woah! Van Garderen and his magic skewer get the fastest time! 40:47

  90. 15:29:32 PDT

    Van Garderen celebrates after the line, quite effusively - not the Tejay we've seen over the past year.

  91. 15:30:51 PDT

    1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:40:47
    2 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
    3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
    4 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 0:00:46
    5 Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:49
    6 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:53
    7 Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:55
    8 Neilson Powless (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:56
    9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:57
    10 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:59

  92. 15:32:09 PDT

    Majka is not looking great out there. He's given up 1:10 at the check and falling behind.

  93. 15:32:37 PDT

    Bernal is shifting around in his saddle, and we're afraid he'll be giving up the yellow jersey today. He does not look comfortable.

  94. 15:35:26 PDT

    Dani Martinez has put in a strong ride, 57 seconds behind Van Garderen. Relative to the rest of the time trial specialists, that's solid.

  95. 15:38:02 PDT

    The figure of Bernal, so slight and bird-like, is sharp contrast to the lean power of Van Garderen. The punchy litheness of Yates is somewhere in between.

  96. 15:38:22 PDT

    Yates is holding at over 41 minutes with 1km to go.

  97. 15:39:24 PDT

    42:23 for Yates, not too bad, but it won't help his GC position.

  98. 15:39:55 PDT

    Tolhoek was even worse, giving up 3:48 on van Garderen.

  99. 15:40:59 PDT

    The top three on GC now looks like Van Garderen, Martinez and Geoghegan Hart. Let's see what Bernal and Majka can do.

  100. 15:41:29 PDT

    42:51 for Majka as he sprints in.

  101. 15:41:58 PDT

    Bernal is not going to hold off Van Garderen - the American will take the race lead!

  102. 15:42:55 PDT

    42:10 for Bernal, that's a disappointment for the Sky rider.

  103. 15:43:35 PDT

    By our calculations, Bernal does manage to keep second place on GC, at 23 seconds.

  104. 15:45:51 PDT

    Looks like Martinez moves into third, with Geoghegan Hart in fourth

  105. 15:47:04 PDT

    There's still a good chance for Bernal to get back those 23 seconds from Van Garderen in South Lake Tahoe.

  106. 15:50:16 PDT

    Still awaiting confirmation of the GC...

  107. 15:51:16 PDT

    Here are my calculations for the top five, let's see if they're right:

    1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 12:50:55
    2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:23
    3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:37
    4 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:52
    5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:07

  108. 15:53:07 PDT

    General classification after stage 4

    1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 12:50:55
    2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:23
    3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:37
    4 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:52
    5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:07
    6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:29
    7 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:02:08
    8 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:13
    9 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:15
    10 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:34

  109. 15:53:26 PDT

    Math isn't so hard after all.

  110. 15:59:02 PDT

    And the final top 10 for the stage
    1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:40:47
    2 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
    3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
    4 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 0:00:46
    5 Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:49
    6 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:53
    7 Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:55
    8 Neilson Powless (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:56
    9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:57
    10 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF-Drapac

  111. 16:00:40 PDT

    Signing off for today after an unexpectedly exciting time trial, please join us again tomorrow for a sprint-friendly stage from Stockton to Elk Grove.

    Meanwhile, keep up with the full results, report and photos from the stage in our report here!

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