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Photo gallery: Highlights from the 2011 Amgen Tour of California

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Chris Horner (RadioShack) celebrates his GC win across the line.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) celebrates his GC win across the line.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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A snowman holds a sign along the race route on Highway 89 after stage one of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California from South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe was cancelled

A snowman holds a sign along the race route on Highway 89 after stage one of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California from South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe was cancelled
(Image credit: AFP)
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There is a Leopard Trek rider under there somewhere

There is a Leopard Trek rider under there somewhere
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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Riders get in on the discussion about whether or not to race today

Riders get in on the discussion about whether or not to race today
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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The riders never saw this climb above spectacular Lake Tahoe.

The riders never saw this climb above spectacular Lake Tahoe.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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There are BMC team bike racks somewhere under here.

There are BMC team bike racks somewhere under here.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Andy Schleck was bundled up, but ready to race.

Andy Schleck was bundled up, but ready to race.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Things start to deteriorate just a little

Things start to deteriorate just a little
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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As the elevation got higher so did the amount of snow

As the elevation got higher so did the amount of snow
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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The new startline at Nevada City

The new startline at Nevada City
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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Californian Chris Horner drew the biggest cheers in Nevada City.

Californian Chris Horner drew the biggest cheers in Nevada City.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Liquigas riders getting ready for the start.

Liquigas riders getting ready for the start.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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The peloton rolls through the acres of rice fields along today's route

The peloton rolls through the acres of rice fields along today's route
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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The race leaves the back side of the Beale Air Force base.

The race leaves the back side of the Beale Air Force base.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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A brief rain squall hit the field during its finishing laps in Sacramento.

A brief rain squall hit the field during its finishing laps in Sacramento.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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The race enters the finishing circuits near the state capitol in Sacramento

The race enters the finishing circuits near the state capitol in Sacramento
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Teams gather at the front with one lap to go

Teams gather at the front with one lap to go
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) was swiftest in Sacramento.

Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) was swiftest in Sacramento.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Leaving Auburn, the stage began under grey skies.

Leaving Auburn, the stage began under grey skies.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Dutchman Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) rides past signs of the American times.

Dutchman Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) rides past signs of the American times.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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A Blackhawk medic chopper dropped in to check out today's race

A Blackhawk medic chopper dropped in to check out today's race
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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George Hincapie had some fans looking for him in the feed zone

George Hincapie had some fans looking for him in the feed zone
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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A lot of today's route brought the race through vast farm lands

A lot of today's route brought the race through vast farm lands
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Getting a rotation worked out on the front of the race

Getting a rotation worked out on the front of the race
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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A number of riders went down in the finale of stage three.

A number of riders went down in the finale of stage three.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Greg Henderson raises his arm in victory in Modesto

Greg Henderson raises his arm in victory in Modesto
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The finish on top of Sierra Road above the Silcon Valley was spectacular.

The finish on top of Sierra Road above the Silcon Valley was spectacular.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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The Leoard Trek team leads out the race today in memory of teammate Wouter Weylandt.

The Leoard Trek team leads out the race today in memory of teammate Wouter Weylandt.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Working hard to keep in touch with the front group

Working hard to keep in touch with the front group
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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RadioShack kept the pressure on for most of the day.

RadioShack kept the pressure on for most of the day.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) has RadioShack teammates Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer chasing him down.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) has RadioShack teammates Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer chasing him down.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Chris Horner takes the lead from his RadioShack team leader Levi Leipheimer in the final kilometres

Chris Horner takes the lead from his RadioShack team leader Levi Leipheimer in the final kilometres
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Chasers Sutherland, Leipheimer, Schleck and Danielson on Sierra Road.

Chasers Sutherland, Leipheimer, Schleck and Danielson on Sierra Road.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) had a great ride today to come in third.

Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) had a great ride today to come in third.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Stage 4 winner Chris Horner (RadioShack) powers over the last few metres

Stage 4 winner Chris Horner (RadioShack) powers over the last few metres
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) just gets the better of Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) on the final push into the finish

Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) just gets the better of Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) on the final push into the finish
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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They may be skinny, but Chris Horner's legs deliver chunky beatings.

They may be skinny, but Chris Horner's legs deliver chunky beatings.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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The day's break almost succeeded until Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was caught with 2.5km to go

The day's break almost succeeded until Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was caught with 2.5km to go
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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American road champion Ben King (RadioShack) at the front.

American road champion Ben King (RadioShack) at the front.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Broccoli fields out on the course today.

Broccoli fields out on the course today.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The break sustaining its 3 minute gap.

The break sustaining its 3 minute gap.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) takes the stage 5 win in Paso Robles

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) takes the stage 5 win in Paso Robles
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Tom Zirbel (Jamis-Sutter Home) on the long lonesome TT course.

Tom Zirbel (Jamis-Sutter Home) on the long lonesome TT course.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) en route to a second place ride

Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) en route to a second place ride
(Image credit: AFP)
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Zabriskie heads into the Solvang farmlands.

Zabriskie heads into the Solvang farmlands.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Chris Horner (RadioShack) rolling through the vineyards of Solvang.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) rolling through the vineyards of Solvang.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo) time trials to victory and a new course record in Solvang.

David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo) time trials to victory and a new course record in Solvang.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Chris Horner (RadioShack) races to the finish in Solvang.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) races to the finish in Solvang.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Chris Horner (RadioShack) recovers after a tough effort

Chris Horner (RadioShack) recovers after a tough effort
(Image credit: AFP)
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Time trial stage winner David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo)

Time trial stage winner David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo)
(Image credit: AFP)
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The sumo wrestlers strike a pose for the camera

The sumo wrestlers strike a pose for the camera
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California

Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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So close to Los Angeles, and so remote.

So close to Los Angeles, and so remote.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Eight men made up the breakaway, including KOM leader Pat McCarty

Eight men made up the breakaway, including KOM leader Pat McCarty
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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The break heads into the KOM sprint.

The break heads into the KOM sprint.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) in a tunnel.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) in a tunnel.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Once the move turned out of town it was nothing but climbing.

Once the move turned out of town it was nothing but climbing.
(Image credit: Emory Ball/Cyclingnews.com)
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Chris Horner follows the Levi Leipheimer express to the top of Mt. Baldy.

Chris Horner follows the Levi Leipheimer express to the top of Mt. Baldy.
(Image credit: Emory Ball/Cyclingnews.com)
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Horner and Leipheimer ride together on Mt Baldy.

Horner and Leipheimer ride together on Mt Baldy.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) put in a fine climb for third.

Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) put in a fine climb for third.
(Image credit: Emory Ball/Cyclingnews.com)
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Levi had plenty of strength on Mt Baldy.

Levi had plenty of strength on Mt Baldy.
(Image credit: Jon Devich/Cyclingnews.com/epicimages.us)
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The Horner-Levi show takes stage 7 with style.

The Horner-Levi show takes stage 7 with style.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Leopard Trek bikes ready for the last stage.

Leopard Trek bikes ready for the last stage.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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He barks for BMC. Don't mess with him!

He barks for BMC. Don't mess with him!
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Michael Friedman, Jose Fernando Antogna, Jan Barta and Bradley White in the major break of the day

Michael Friedman, Jose Fernando Antogna, Jan Barta and Bradley White in the major break of the day
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The break gets some fan support along the course.

The break gets some fan support along the course.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The race makes its way through the hectic Thousand Oaks circuit.

The race makes its way through the hectic Thousand Oaks circuit.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) nails it in Thousand Oaks.

Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) nails it in Thousand Oaks.
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Michael Friedman (Kelly Benefits) looking happy to be done with the day.

Michael Friedman (Kelly Benefits) looking happy to be done with the day.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)

The 2011 Amgen Tour of California got off to a decidedly chilly start which resulted in a cancelled first stage however once in the warmer climes of Nevada City on stage 2, it was all systems go for yet another memorable edition of North America's largest race.

The Tour of California was highlighted by fast sprinting where the quicker members of the peloton were unafraid to show their frustrations; where Sky and HTC-Highroad battled for sprint supremacy only to be overcome by Peter Sagan and Liquigas-Cannondale.

When it came to the race's high peaks, Mt Baldy had been the stage predicted to present us with the overall winner, however the work had already been done. The tightly-fought contest between RadioShack teammates Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner was a genuine boon for this year's race. In the end it was the work that Horner had done on the stage 4 Sierra Road climb which presented the likeable veteran with overall victory.

Horner then put in a heroic performance in the Solvang time trial to ensure that he had enough of a gap on Leipheimer. Together, they crossed the line on Mt Baldy producing some of the most memorable footage of the race in its history.

Here's a look at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California from behind the lenses of Jonathan Devich and Mark Johnson who were out on the road for Cyclingnews over the past week.