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Debut production THE HOLY WEEK still available to buy or rent.
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour of California. It's a big day for the overall contenders as the peloton climbs up into the Sierra Nevada to South Lake Tahoe.
Let's take a look at where the GC stands:
1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 16:55:29
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:23
3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:37
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:07
5 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:15
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
Most people think of the Tour de France as the pinnacle of the road season, but this week during the Giro d'Italia and Tour of California, we also have Tour of Norway, Tour de l'Ain, the Women's WorldTour Amgen Tour of California and Emakumeen Bira. Plus! Four 2.2 stage races, the 2.1 U23 Ronde de l'Isard. PLUS the MTB World Cup in Albstadt and so many more races.
The peloton will roll out from Folsom today, blah blah Johnny Cash blah blah prison, blah blah.
There's a lot more to Folsom than all that!
Folsom was originally called Granite City and was a base for gold miners. Joseph Folsom built a railroad to the town and made it prosper, and the town decided to rename itself for him after he died.
The riders have 5km of neutral before the flag drops and racing gets underway. Expect to see attacks from the riders looking for the mountains classification - Ruben Companioni is currently tied with Egan Bernal for that jersey.
KOMs today are at:
km. 41 - Cedar Ravine Rd, Cat. 3
km. 56.5 - Sly Park Rd., Cat. 1
km. 65 - Mormon Emigrant Trail, Cat. 2
km. 117 - Kirkwood, Cat. 2
km. 128.5 - Carson Pass, Cat 2
km. 186 - Daggett, Cat. 1
km. 196.5 - South Lake Tahoe, Cat. 3
Caleb Ewan is in the green points jersey despite being defeated in Elk Grove yesterday. The Mitchelton-Scott rider has 33 points to dual stage winner Fernando Gaviria's 30. Peter Sagan is a distant third with 25.
Egan Bernal, previous race leader and stage winner on Gibraltar Road, is our best young rider by 14 seconds over Dani Martinez. Expect a big battle for both this and the GC today.
Tao Geoghegan Hart lost some time yesterday after being caught behind the crash just outside the 3km to go banner, so he's third at 52 seconds.
- 196km remaining from 196.5km
The flag drops and it's game on!
There are two intermediate sprints today - the first in Placerville 32.5km in, and then in Sheridan, Nevada after 169.5km. Will we see the peloton stay together to contest that sprint?
We've had two non-starters today: Lukasz Wisniowski (Team Sky) and Jasper Philipsen (Hagens Berman Axeon).
The latter was seen holding his arm, but the team confirmed nothing was broken, just a deep laceration.
"I caught a wheel when the pack moved left and I went down hard,” Philipsen said according to the team. "It was very frustrating as I was feeling pretty strong at the time. Nothing is broken so that’s good, but I’ll need to recover a bit."
Wisniowski appeared to spark the crash with a touch of wheels - he was the first rider down, but then it was like dominoes.
- 188.5km remaining from 196.5km
There have been many attacks so far in this fast roll-out, but nothing has gotten very far. We have a solo rider being chased by basically a split in the peloton - about 27 riders.
Like yesterday, AG2R have been active, this time it's Benoit Cosnefroy who's tried his luck. Taylor Phinney has been dropped from the bunch behind.
Evan Huffman (Rally) tried an attack but it's all back together.
There are 37 points on offer for the winner of all the KOMs today - that's enough to seal the mountains classification for anyone in the bunch, and they all want to try their luck.
- 187km remaining from 196.5km
We now have nine riders off the front. BMC will be happy to let something non-threatening to Tejay van Garderen's overall lead get up the road so the can relax and plan for the finale.
Among the nine riders getting a gap are: Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data), Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale), Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon), Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac), Gregory Rast (Trek-Segafredo) plus two more.
We can confirm the group is:
Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo)
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data)
Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale)
Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon)
Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac)
Gregory Rast and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo)
Serghei Tvetcov (UnitedHealthcare)
This doesn't quite fit the definition of 'non-threatening' that BMC might have wanted:
Bennett is 3:43 down, Skujins is at 4:36 and Tvetcov at 5:26.
- 179.5km remaining from 196.5km
This is quite a cheeky move from the Hagens Berman Axeon rider. He was already in a late breakaway on the stage to Laguna Seca and missed out on the win to his now-breakaway companion Toms Skujins. Rast is a super helpful guy to have in this move - the Swiss rider is super strong.
Craddock is also on great form, as he showed in that time trial. The rest of them are certainly no slouches, too. This is a good move. BMC will have to be on their toes.
The problem for BMC is they won't have the sprinters' teams to rely on to chase this down. They'll need Sky, EF-Drapac and Mitchelton-Scott to really pull their weight if they care about the GC.
Jens Voigt was at the start, and Cyclingnews asked him for his predictions:
"The way I look at the stage it is not made for big changes. That last climb before the finish is not hard enough to gain 27 seconds on a rider like Tejay. The climb before is long and hard enough, but it is far from the finish, so I can see Bernal attacking there, but I cannot see him surviving the attack all by himself.
"Tejay just needs to stay cool, get his troops together, stay connected with his team and have them chasing down any attacks toward the finish. We will see some cool racing, but no changes in the GC.
"I’m still hoping for Peter Sagan to do his legendary trip and surprising us and actually winning today. I can see that happening today. I put my money on Sagan to win today and Tejay keeping the jersey."
And Jensie is right - this isn't necessarily a day for the GC contenders, but it depends on how it's raced. Last time the race came up here it was none other than Toms Skujins won won the day.
It could be raced a bit like the 2010 stage to Big Bear Lake, which Sagan won. But more likely it will be like 2016, where the remnants of the breakaway stuck, Skujins won, and there were no big changes in the overall classification.
The weather, by the way, is quite pleasant - sunny, 68°F.
- 171.5km remaining from 196.5km
25km into the stage and the gap has gone out to 3:30. BMC are taking a gamble on this one.
- 167km remaining from 196.5km
As you can see from the photo of the breakaway, Skujins isn't shirking his duties. They've got the gap out to 3:45, nearly putting Bennett in the virtual race lead.
About 3k to go to the intermediate sprint.
Placerville's sent all the schoolkids out to cheer the racers along. Between their shrieks and thundersticks, it'll be pretty deafening in a minute.
Skujins led the breakaway across the line for the sprint in Placerville, getting the three-second time bonus and three points.
- 159.5km remaining from 196.5km
We aren't sure yet of the other results from that sprint. The RadioTour announcer is not fast enough to outrun the static.
But the gap has gone out to almost 4:30 now, so this is going to be an interesting stage.
The dappled sunshine on the base of the first KOM is lulling us into a dream-like state.
1. Toms Skujins
2. Floris de Tier
3. Sean Bennett
We've now wandered out of civilization, beyond the reach of the internet and cellular phones, into the great beyond that is the foothills of the Sierras, the gold rush country. Bear country.
"The softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow east-ward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow." - Henry David Thoreau
We're not sure when we'll get results of the first KOM, or if we will - the race radio is as silent as the dry-grass countryside.
While we wait, let's think about the Giro d'Italia, all the noise of the tifosi gathering on the Monte Zoncolan tomorrow to watch their favourite riders struggle up the infernally steep mountain.
Chris Froome is hoping to get some time back on the stage tomorrow - read what he has to say here.
Before the start today, Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky's DS Ollie Cookson - yes, that Cookson family.
"The whole day is over 4,000 meters of climbing, and quite a lot of that is at altitude over 2,000 meters. We aren’t used to that kind of altitude. We need to be careful with how we use our assets and when.
"Maybe BMC might look for a constant day with less changing of rhythm, but we’ll also look to break that and other teams will look to do that as well. You don’t want to leave it too late, but then you don’t want to go too early, because then Tejay can find a nice rhythm, and that’s something he’s super good at. We’ll just see how the first climbs go and what the race situation was is, and then we’ll find some alliances on the road and try to get that jersey back.”
He's referring to the race leader's jersey of course.
- 146.5km remaining from 196.5km
The leaders have covered 50km already, they're on quite a fast schedule today - a good 20 minutes ahead of the fastest time expected so far.
- 143.5km remaining from 196.5km
As the riders start the second climb, here are the results of KOM 1:
1. Sean Bennett
2. Evan Huffman
3. Benoit Cosnefroy
A message to the riders as they make their way into the hills:
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
― John Muir
Regarding that fast start to the stage, the estimates for the stage speed are averaged over the whole course, so we expect them to get on schedule as the mountains begin to bite harder.
- 140.5km remaining from 196.5km
The leaders are grinding their way up the second KOM on Sly Park Road. It's 4.5km long.
1. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 8pts
2. Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 7
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 6
4. Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo 5
5. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data 3
- 135.5km remaining from 196.5km
It's not long before the next KOM comes, this one's a cat. 2. The riders have some encouragement here from the residents of nearby Sly Park. There's even a man playing guitar while sitting on a tree stump.
The gap is out to 5:25 - it's BMC responsible for all the work at the moment.
Toms Skujins spoke to Cyclingnews before the start about the stage which he knows quite well, having won a similar won in 2016:
“I don’t see the break having an easy day. It’s going to be hard whether you’re at the front or at the back.
"Even if the break has five minutes it can still come back because of the altitude and there being five days that you’ve already done. It’ll be an interesting battle for the stage and GC."
There's something about the lakes in the mountains, they reach so close to the sky they can absorb the blue from above making it seem as if you can, on a calm day, dive into the clouds.
1. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 5
2. Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 4
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 3
4. Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo 1
With those last two climbs, Skujins has taken the virtual lead in the mountains classification, adding to his 13 points another 13.
The gap is coming back down a little bit, thanks to those mountains getting in the way of the breakaway.
Michael Schär (BMC) spoke to Cyclingnews before the start:
“It is definitely a long day in the mountains. It should be a really big day. We did it a few ago, but there are several more climbs added to the parcours. It’s going to be a very long day. Tejay is very motivated. He’s won before and he’s again up for it."
Up around Lake Tahoe, Coryn Rivera has gone on the attack in stage 2 of the Amgen Women's Race with Lily Williams, but it's a long way out, still 80km to race for them.
The men have even more, 123km still to go and many more mountains to climb.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
― Robert Frost,
- 121.5km remaining from 196.5km
The riders will start to feel the tickle of altitude now, as they climb up into the 1500m range. It's not the desperate feeling of suffocation yet, just a little surprise at how out of breath you feel for the effort you're giving.
There are no more KOMs until well after the feed zone, over 40km to the next summit. It's a gradual grind, gradually grinding down our breakaway.
We're told that author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was a fan of Lake Tahoe, although I suspect the quote provided "if you would breathe the air that angels breathe, you must visit Tahoe" might well have been doctored by the visitor's bureau.
But feel free to send your literary quotes of inspiration - you can find me on Twitter at @laura_weislo
The riders are still on Mormon Emigrant Trail, a narrow road that winds between the Ponderosa Pines of the Eldorado National Forest, connecting this year's route from Folsom to 2016's route from Lodi.
Cyclingnews had a chance to catch up with Rally Cycling DS Eric Wohlberg, who's in the team's Acura NSX behind the breakaway.
He says: "It's hard to say if the break can stick, but there are some motivated guys up here with a lot of horsepower. I hope BMC are using up their guys early."
Actually he's not in the NSX, they only used that during the TT. Without a back seat, there's no room for the very important mechanic, wheels and cooler.
We're getting some more quotes for you from literature:
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." Edward Abbey
Mormon Emigrant Pass is interestingly named for a trail that actual Mormons cut when they were heading back home from the Mexican-American war to Utah.
There's not as much hardship for our peloton in the modern day, as they enjoy a nicely paved road through the forest instead of dragging horses and wagons across rivers and over mountains.
BMC continue to set the pace in the peloton holding our nine men to five minutes.
Up in Tahoe, Rivera has dropped back, leaving Lily Williams to go for that most courageous jersey. They've got 60km still to go before they tackle the same nasty climb to the finish as the men.
Interestingly, there are some clouds starting to gather over the mountain peaks ahead, and there's a chance of some rain for the men's finish.
Lawson Craddock was back at the cars following the breakaway, but is now working his way back up to the other eight men ahead.
Some fans of Mark Cavendish parked along the route. The Dimension Data rider probably welcomed the encouragement!
- 101.5km remaining from 196.5km
As the nine leaders continue to grind their way up toward the skies, the temperatures are beginning to drop and the blue skies turn to gray.
But they have lunch to look forward to in a few kilometres.
The temperatures are still nice, but there is a rain shower up near Tragedy Spring. It's still quite scattered but as the afternoon wears on there could be bigger storms.
Again, the town of Tragedy Springs gets its name from those Mormon Emigrants. Three were scouting the route ahead when they were murdered, found dead by their compatriots and buried here, their names carved into a tree.
Well we missed celebrating the halfway point of the stage, but we can enjoy feeding time in the peloton. The riders need a lot of fuel for the mountains to come.
They're just about at the highest point of the stage - almost touching 2400m. The peak of today's stage is Carson Pass, elevation 2637m (8,652 ft)
- 100.5km remaining from 196.5km
Oh the altitude is making the GPS go haywire. The breakaway hasn't made it to the feed zone yet, neither has the peloton. We were doing a little guess work!
And we're not quite halfway - 96km in and nearly there. There's snow on the sides of the road and some rain drops starting to fall - nothing to send riders back for jackets quite yet.
If you want a look at what Lake Tahoe is like right now, check out the UCI's Women's WorldTour twitter feed -there are some ominous clouds.
That's Lily Williams of Hagens Berman Supermint with 2:10 on the bunch and 38km to go.
"For I have had too much
Of apple-picking:I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired."
― Robert Frost
We're feeling the same, Bob. Too much breakaway, we can't wait for that summit finish! But we must be patient.
The riders in front and in the peloton are really starting to feel the altitude now! Luckily the incline isn't too great, but when they hit the next KOM - Kirkwood Summit - those lungs will be screaming. It's 4km long
It's all hands on deck for BMC who have the whole team on the front of the peloton. The gap is 4:20 at feeding time.
Did you all enjoy our first venture into filmmaking - THE HOLY WEEK? Well we've got another one in the works, and you're going to love it!
It's called CRESCENDO, Tales from the last week of the Giro d'Italia. You can find out more here and pre-order your access!
Our intrepid leaders are getting a little bit of a respite, after taking in food in the feedzone, they have a descent down to Silver Lake. Their gap has come down to 4:05 now thanks to BMC.
- 91.5km remaining from 196.5km
Fortunately the rain has let up and the sun has returned. There is little evidence of the snow pack that was around last month. Just some piles here and there along the road side.
Although the sun is back out, the temperatures continue to fall at the high altitude. After the Carson Pass KOM, they'll descend back down to 1500m or so to Sheridan before climbing back up to Lake Tahoe, gaining 800m or so.
- 83.5km remaining from 196.5km
The descending done, the nine leaders have their work cut out for them on this 4km-long Kirkwood climb.
Back in the peloton, Sky have sent a rider forward to help BMC, and the gap is starting to fall below 4 minutes.
Another quote for your inspiration:
"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know."
― René Daumal
- 80.5km remaining from 196.5km
Yowza this is starting to bite now! Luke Rowe is shredding the peloton behind the breakaway, the gap down to 3:10 now. Riders are being spat out the back: Adam Da Vos, the Rally rider who crashed yesterday, Max Richeze - Gaviria's lead-out - they're getting distanced.
Mark Cavendish has been dropped, as has Roger Kluge. Not a surprise, but they will have a chance to either rejoin or limit losses on the long descent to Sheridan.
After Kirkwood, there is no real descent. It just levels off then climbs again to Carson Pass. 2:30 for our leaders! Desperate times!
1. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF-Drapac 5
2. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 4
3. Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 3
4. Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo 1
- 77.5km remaining from 196.5km
The gap is really coming down, 2:20 now and Skujins and Craddock have flown the coop!
That didn't last long, there are some strong riders still in this breakaway.
Skujins and Craddock are back, but their acceleration opened the gap back to 2:40
Some words from Sylvia Plath for our dropped riders: "Perhaps some day I'll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow."
The cat. 1 climb near the finish is shattering the women's race. It's 12.5km long, and we should see some good action there with the men, too.
The KOM is still of interest here - Skujins has 30 points now, 15 more than Bernal. There are maximum 21 points on the road, and the gap is going back out. Skujins just needs to take six more points to rest easy.
Rather, he'll want seven more points so that the tie-breaker doesn't swing the mountains classification into Bernal's favor, since he won the only HC ascent in the race.
- 70.5km remaining from 196.5km
The breakaway is making its way up to Carson Pass now. It's named after Kit Carson, who led an expedition through here in the 1800s, ignoring the advice of Native Americans and nearly killing his whole party through starvation. But he gets to be remembered for this why?
Or maybe that was Fremont, either way - both have stuff named after them for bring reckless/adventurous.
Much like our breakaway riders, who are over the top of Carson Pass now and losing ground on the peloton. 1:30 now.
We aren't quite sure what happened there, whether it was the TV coverage coming on, GPS nonsense or some attacks, but the leaders are now being given a gap of just over one minute.
Team Sky is responsible for that dramatic reduction in the gap. They've split out some 30 riders, but Peter Sagan and Daniel Oss made it in the lead group!
Holowesko's Eisenhart is in there it seems, it looks like his posture. It's not a big peloton.
Skujins meanwhile pushes the pace on the shallow descent, tucking low on his top tube.
We're getting to see how the break was formed, and Skuijns owes Rast a beer - that was some attack.
In the women's race, it's Katie Hall- winner of Tour of the Gila - and Tayler Wiles off the front as they head into the final 4km.
Winder, Niewiadoma, Poidevin, Rodriguez and Magnaldi chasing in the women's race.
- 54km remaining from 196.5km
The nine leaders are still working well together, but Cosnefroy is suffering - the altitude clearly hitting him hard. They're holding steady now at 55s.
Dani Martinez is tucked neatly behind Sky and BMC, with one teammate ahead of him. Of course they've got Craddock up the road, so they don't need to chase.
The sun is out now and the vests are coming off - the action is heating up, the breakaway split as Tvetcov nicely offers Bennett a coke.
Hey! Live video of the finish - Katie Hall (UHC) is soloing to victory. Wiles has lost her wheel, and the chasers are out of view.
Hall's got this by a big margin. She's making no mistakes after that heartbreak last year - losing by one second to Anna Van der Breggen thanks to time bonuses.
Looks like Niewiadoma was third ahead of BePink's Magnaldi.
Back to the men, thanks to the caffeine in the cokes, the leaders have pulled out their advantage to 1:10.
We've got a big battle brewing for the KOM jersey - Skujins has taken the lead with 34 points after coming second on Carson Pass, but we missed the slow burning of Huffman, who's won Carson Pass and come within 1 point of the Trek-Segafredo man.
Whether any of them will survive Daggett Summit to nab those Cat. 1 points remains in the hands of Team Sky.
Bernal can't win the mountains classification anymore.
- 39km remaining from 196.5km
Bernal has bigger fish to fry. Although he's best young rider, he's wearing the KOM jersey, but he and his team want that maillot jaune that Van Garderen currently wears.
Luke Rowe continues to set tempo, but the long descent has allowed more riders to rejoin.
The peloton have a long plateau ahead of them but the mountain peaks are in the distance, some of them still covered in snow.
Are Gaviria or Ewan in the group? Sagan is here and will be looking for points ahead in Sheridan.
We spied a Quick-Step jersey in the back, as well as Narvaez in that Ecuador champion's jersey.
The graphic seems to indicate our green jersey is here. Sagan has his Bora teammates up near the front to prepare for the sprint.
Of course, Sagan is 8 points down on Ewan, but every little bit would help toward tomorrow's sprint stage.
- 32km remaining from 196.5km
5k to the sprint, and the peloton has swelled in numbers. Robin Carpenter made it back.
So far no movement from Bora. The nine leaders still enjoy a 1:15 gap.
A reminder, our leaders are: Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data), Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale), Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon), Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac), Gregory Rast and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Serghei Tvetcov (UnitedHealthcare)
The breakaway is cooperating perfectly, a great example of a rolling paceline.
Just in time for the grand finale, I've scored a delivery of a new keyboard! My spacebar was stuck and it made things VERY difficult. So apologies for any typos!
There are still four Team Sky riders at the head of the field, Rowe still working hard. They lost Wisniowski to that crash yesterday, but aren't suffering too badly from his absence.
- 24.3km remaining from 196.5km
Craddock is starting to get a little cagey, going back to the team car for bottles. He could be preparing for an attack or loading up to deliver to Martinez when this move gets caught. We fear it will be, too - just 1:00 now.
The breakaway has broken - we missed the attack, but Skujins, De Tier, Slagter and Craddock are in sight of the peloton.
Correction, those four are ahead, Tvetcov, Huffman and Bennett are dropped. Rast, too.
The peloton has picked up the five dropped riders from the breakaway, but the road is straight enough that the peloton is visible in the distance behind these four leaders.
Well, they weren't caught before the sprint, and we missed who got the points, but it was insignificant. Sagan let go of the peloton with nothing to gain.
- 20km remaining from 196.5km
There are a lot of champions out the back - Belgian champion, Swiss, World....
They have started up the category 1 Daggett climb, and Skujins continues to drive the pace as de Tier and Slagter sit up.
Drat, not De Tier, he's still up there with Skujins and Craddock.
De Tier has dropped back, Craddock and Skujins persist even tough their gap is just 10 seconds.
That's altitude for you, De Tier accelerated then immediately got dropped.
- 11.7km remaining from 196.5km
The peloton is keeping the duo Skujins/Craddock at arm's reach, Sky's jerseys flapping in the sunshine.
Rob Britton - Rally
“My legs feel pretty good today. Kind of had a day off yesterday. Today should be a good day. I think you’re going to see some massive fireworks on the Daggett climb. It’s at altitude about 6% grade all he way up. Bernal is climbing well and Bernal is kind of on the backfoot now, so it would behoove them to be aggressive."
So far Britton's prediction from the morning hasn't come true, but this is a long climb, cresting with 10.5 to go then dropping down before the tough kicker to the finish.
Morton has attacked.
Lachlan is not a danger on GC, he had a terrible time trial.
- 11.3km remaining from 196.5km
Morton passes Skujins and Craddock, who are then swept up by the bunch.
Morton is over 22 minutes down on GC, so no threat to Van Garderen or any other podium contenders.
Rally stick in an attack
- 17km remaining from 196.5km
The clouds are casting shadows on the mountains in the distance behind Morton as he climbs smoothly out of the saddle on this long, long ascent.
Sorry for the erroneous kilometer markings - we're on track now, there are still 6km to go to the summit.
Bernal has moved up to second wheel as Sky sweep past Morton. All together - or whoever's left.
Sky have a dual-pronged attack - Geoghegan Hart is parked third wheel. Behind, Rob Britton, Peter Stetina and others are being dropped. Now Henao sets the pace up front and it's spitting out more riders.
So far Van Garderen is unflappable.
Dani Martinez is still in the group, Sky are looking around to see what damage they've done.
Oh ouch - Yates is stuck on the back, but there are just eight riders here - three Sky!
- 15km remaining from 196.5km
Henao's done. That leaves Bernal, Geoghegan Hart - who attacks! Yates goes after him.
Van Garderen is steady-stating this climb, but Martinez jumps.
As Van Garderen pulls his trio close, Geoghegan Hart attacks and Yates can't follow.
Bernal goes across to his own teammate!
Van Garderen is forced to chase alone now, and he's hunting them down.
Yates and Martinez are trailing behind.
- 14.4km remaining from 196.5km
Now Bernal goes! They're throwing EVERYTHING at the American.
Geoghegan Hart is stuck to Van Garderen's wheel, and the BMC rider is just not able or wanting to chase this with anything other than a TT effort.
Bernal has to make up 23 seconds and he's got 15 of those now. But there's a little room to breathe after the top here.
Van Garderen isn't panicking, but with another Sky rider on his wheel, if he can salvage the GC there's not going to be a stage win in the cards for him. You can rest assured the Briton will attack.
Now Geoghegan Hart needs 38 seconds to overtake Martinez. He's already climbing over Yates on GC.
GPS thinks it's 10 seconds between Tejay/Tao and the next chase. Meanwhile, Bernal's got 35 seconds over the yellow jersey.
Yates has made it across to the yellow jersey group, making it three.
- 11.9km remaining from 196.5km
1.4km to the crest, Bernal continues to power up the climb while Van Garderen is watching the race get away from him.
- 11.5km remaining from 196.5km
We've heard news that the North Star Grand Prix has been canceled. That's too bad, it's one of the few stage races in the USA for amateurs.
1km to the top for Bernal and he's got 50 seconds now!
Martinez is putting in a dogged fight, chasing back to the race leader trio.
Yates is pulling in the chase now, hoping to keep Martinez at a distance.
30 seconds separate Yates from a podium position, but he's not got that yet.
Geoghegan Hart attacks!
Yates gets up to Geoghegan Hart, and he sits up - four riders are together now as Martinez rejoins to keep his podium spot.
Now Yates goes!
Yates is caught by the SKy and EF-Drapac men but Van Garderen is gone.
Rob Britton catches the BMC man and immediately sprints past.
Van Garderen has Rafal Majka and Rob Britton for company now.
- 8km remaining from 196.5km
Still 8km to go and Yates is now shakes his head, possibly refusing to work with Martinez
Bernal is tucked low on his top tube, speeding down this wide open, smoothly paved descent.
We apologize, that's Brandon McNulty, he's so aerodynamic he hides his height. McNulty, Van Garderen and Majka chasing the Yates trio.
Now thanks to McNulty's power, the six chasers have come together.
The final climb is short, rough and has steep pitches but is only classified as cat. 3.
Majka attacks, Yates covers him. Van Garderen looks more comfortable now.
- 3km remaining from 196.5km
Yates takes a pull on the flat roads in South Lake Tahoe as they see 3km to go.
Bernal is doing a great time trial, but the size of the group behind is not helping Van Garderen. His lead gone, more riders have rejoined them as the pace slows.
De Plus, Durasek are there.
Majka covers the move, now Durasek chases with Yates. They've dropped Van Garderen.
- 1.2km remaining from 196.5km
The gap to Van Garderen's group yawns as Bernal enters the final kilometer.
90 seconds now for Bernal to the first chase, the yellow jersey is still within sight.
Bernal, out of the saddle, looks like he could climb another 10km, no problem. The group behind is snaking across the road, not closing.
Bernal is in the finishing chute - he's got this one, stage, race - check mate!
The fans cheer the Colombian sensation to the line - he celebrates with a punch in the air - and no one else in the picture.
Yates gets away going for second, with McNulty chasing.
Geoghegan Hart jumps out of the next group to overhaul McNulty.
Geoghegan Hart chases after Yates but is running out of road.
Yates keeps second, Geoghegan Hart, McNulty, the Sunweb rider, AG2R and then Van Garderen.
What a stage!
There certainly were fireworks.
Yates missed out on the podium spot as Martinez saved it.
Disappointment for Van Garderen, but he came into this race at the last minute
Correction it was never Durasek but Ravasi who was up there for UAE
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 5:30:58
2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:28
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:30
4 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:33
5 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:38
6 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:45
9 Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:46
10 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:01:50
The GC is as follows
General classification after stage 6
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 22:26:40
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:25
3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:02:14
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:16
5 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:28
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:01
7 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:03:28
8 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:03:50
9 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:59
10 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:01
Bernal in addition to taking the race lead has also taken the points classification. Skujins got the KOM jersey, while Bernal also leads the young riders classification.
Caleb Ewan is still 3 points from Bernal, so we don't expect the Sky rider to win that tomorrow.
Sagan led the gruppetto home.
We're pretty sure there's another autobus out on the road, as only 69 riders have finished so far.
Skujins after accepting the KOM jersey gave tribute to his teammate Rast, confirming our assertions that he owes the Swiss rider a beer.
Lawson Craddock has been given the 'most courageous' jersey - well deserved for the EF-Drapac rider.
Thank you for tuning in to Cyclingnews' live cycling coverage and literary quotes. I can't promise Kirsten Frattini will follow suit for tomorrow's final stage in Sacramento, but do come back again for the stage start to finish!
The laughing pack arrive at last, 25 minutes behind the winners. They made the time cut, which was 15% of the winner's time.
Be sure to click refresh on our race report as we will be adding results, photos and a full report! Until tomorrow!