Amgen Tour of California general classification set for shake up

The Amgen Tour of California has so far been a stalemate between the top contenders, but that should change on Thursday when the race hits Bakersfield for the 29.7km time trial on stage 5. The stage will finally shake out the general classification, where all the names are clustered at 40 seconds from race leader and winner of all four previous stages, Peter Sagan.

Sagan has stated definitively that he will be giving up his jersey in the test.

"Tomorrow I think I will lose this jersey. I will do bye bye. I don't time trial well," he said.

But which riders will come out with that yellow jersey?

Chris Horner, the race's defending champion, admits that the time trial isn't his kind of day and that he will lose some time not only on his main opponents but the stage winner as well.

"Tomorrow we'll find out who's good and who's not," he said. "It's still not a day for me in general, I'll lose some time, but hopefully not much. We'll definitely figure out where Levi's form is, and after that we'll find out the other GC guys too: Tejay [van Garderen], [Andrew] Talansky, [Tom] Danielson, all those guys. We'll see how the race has evolved, who's tired and who's not tomorrow."

Horner said he expects on this flatter course to lose 20 to 50 seconds depending on which rider you look at.

"Maybe 20 seconds on Tejay, if Levi [Leipheimer]'s on really good form maybe he can get 50 seconds on me, I'd imagine," he suggested. "Of course we don't know where his form is and we'll have to wait and see."

Van Garderen knows that Thursday is an important day if he is to gouge as much time out of GC rival Horner ahead of some big climbing days on Friday and Saturday.

"If I can see him on the line and pull back time, that'll be a good motivator," the BMC rider explained. "But as far as how I'm going to ride, it doesn't change a thing that he's the guy in front of me. The most important people to take time out of would be Nibali and Horner because those guys are the best climbers. I'll take as much time as I can. If I have 40 seconds on Horner going into the base of Mt. Baldy, then I think I have a chance."

With the temperature rising as the tour goes on, van Garderen said he was coping well with the sometimes challenging conditions.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he admitted. "The heat [on Wednesday] kind of took it out of a lot of people. Right now it's about cooling down, recovering and getting rehydrated.

"We'll have the AC [air conditioning] on full blast in the bus [on Thursday] and we're going to wear special ice vests beforehand, as well as put some socks filled with ice on the back of our necks – really anything to keep cool."

Garmin-Barracuda's David Zabriskie, the winner of last year's test in Solvang and five-time winner of the national title is a prime candidate to claim the stage win, and clustered in the 40 second group, he could well take the race lead. "That'd be amazing," he told Cyclingnews in Clovis, "but you gotta make it happen first, so I don't think about that until tomorrow."

Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) placed fourth in Solvang last year, and could well come out of the stage as the best placed rider who also can hold his own on Mt. Baldy. He and van Garderen are well matched in both disciplines but all of the climbing favorites must face Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) who has had an armchair ride throughout the week.

Nibali excels in time trials which feature hills, but even on the flat parcours of Bakersfield will be a formidable presence.

UnitedHealthcare's GC hopeful Rory Sutherland is also looking to gain some time on the climbers tomorrow.

"That's the idea," he said. "The real time trial specialists are probably pretty big guys, so they probably won't get up on Baldy, whereas I'm kind of in between. So it's more trying to put time into the climbers or stay as close as possible and then maybe look to make some time bonuses later on."

Fight for the stage win

The battle between the GC riders will likely take place behind the overall stage winner. With Liquigas-Cannondale the only team above zero in the Tour's win column, all of the other squads will be putting in a big effort to try for the time trial.

Australian Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), the current U23 world time trial champion is the center of his team's aspirations here in California. His director Neil Stephens has had to make sure 'Turbo Durbo' saves his legs for the stage win.

"Luke is in great shape at the moment. It's funny, we have to hold him back because he's really eager to help his teammates. We have to say hang on, we're here to try and get a stage result in the time trial. He's a very generous, very eager worker," Stephens said. "If he can beat the rest by a thousandth of a second that will be enough."

Optum Pro Cycling has had a few days in the mountains classification jersey, but have primed Tom Zirbel to deliver the goods in Bakersfield.

"I'm feeling confident and getting better every day here," Zirbel said. "I've ridden [the course] a couple of times, so I know how to approach it. It just comes down to legs and just a little bit of tactics, but it's a time trial - there's not much more you can do."

Rabobank has been knocking at the door of a sprint win, and don't have a pure time trial specialist although Luis Leon Sanchez can do well. Director Eric Breukink is hoping to limit his riders losses to the best climbers.

"The level of the team is quite good, Sanchez is OK. I think we can do a good result there. Then for the mountains we have a really good team. We're looking forward to the harder stages. The specialists like Zabriskie can win by one and a half minutes over 30km. If we can keep Horner within 30 seconds it should be good."

Of the outside contenders, Bontrager-Livestrong's Lawson Craddock and Nathan Brown are looking to test themselves against some of the world's top riders, and according to director Axel Merckx, they will put it all out there.

"We will see how they feel, but Nathan and Lawson should go full gas and test themselves against the WorldTour riders."

Bakersfeld Individual Time Trial Stage 5 start order

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamHeader Cell - Column 2
1Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes13:00:00
2Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos - Shimano13:01:00
3Logan Loader (USA) Team Exergy13:02:00
4Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes13:03:00
5Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team13:04:00
6Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Spidertech Powered By C1013:05:00
7Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale13:06:00
8Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Cycling13:07:00
9Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes13:08:00
10Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin - Barracuda13:09:00
11Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team Exergy13:10:00
12Jason McCartney (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team13:11:00
13Robbie McEwen (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team13:12:00
14Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:13:00
15Matthew Wilson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team13:14:00
16Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:15:00
17Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale13:16:00
18Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda13:17:00
19Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Argos - Shimano13:18:00
20Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team13:19:00
21Scott Zwizanski (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:20:00
22Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team13:21:00
23Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C1013:22:00
24Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:23:00
25Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling13:24:00
26David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C1013:25:00
27Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:26:00
28Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale13:27:00
29Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:28:00
30Morgan Schmitt (USA) Team Exergy13:29:00
31Michael Creed (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:30:00
32Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan13:31:00
33Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C1013:32:00
34Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - Shimano13:33:00
35Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team13:34:00
36Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack-Nissan13:35:00
37Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes13:36:00
38Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team13:37:00
39Thomas Zirbel (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:38:00
40Ryan Eastman (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team13:39:00
41Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda13:40:00
42Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale13:41:00
43Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:42:00
44Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team13:43:00
45Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:44:00
46Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale13:45:00
47Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep13:46:00
48Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team13:47:00
49Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - Shimano13:48:00
50Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling13:49:00
51Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team13:50:00
52Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C1013:51:00
53Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes13:52:00
54Hugo Houle (Can) Spidertech Powered By C1013:53:00
55Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos - Shimano13:54:00
56Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan13:55:00
57Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - Shimano13:56:00
58Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Livestrong Team13:57:00
59Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano13:58:00
60Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies13:59:00
61Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale14:00:00
62Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan14:01:00
63Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale14:02:00
64Andrew Bajadali (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies14:03:00
65Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale14:04:00
66Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team14:05:00
67George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan14:06:00
68Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14:07:00
69Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team14:08:00
70Christopher Baldwin (USA) Bissell Cycling14:09:00
71Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team14:10:00
72Andrés Díaz Corrales (Col) Team Exergy14:11:00
73Ian Boswell (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team14:12:00
74Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing Team14:13:00
75Matt Cooke (USA) Team Exergy14:14:00
76Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale14:15:00
77Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14:16:00
78Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team14:17:00
79Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14:18:00
80Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team14:19:00
81David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Barracuda14:20:00
82Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team14:21:00
83Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep14:22:00
84Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14:23:00
85Raymond Kunzli (Swi) Spidertech Powered By C1014:24:00
86Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team14:25:00
87Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team14:26:00
88Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale14:27:00
89Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes14:28:00
90Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team14:29:00
91Brian Vandborg (Den) Spidertech Powered By C1014:30:00
92Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team14:31:00
93Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team14:32:00
94Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team14:33:00
95Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team14:34:00
96Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda14:35:00
97Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes14:36:00
98Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Barracuda14:37:00
99Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team14:38:00
100Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan14:39:00
101Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team14:40:00
102Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan14:41:00
103Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano14:42:00
104Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team14:44:00
105Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team14:46:00
106George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team14:48:00
107Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep14:50:00
108Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team14:52:00
109Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team14:54:00
110Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team14:56:00
111Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team14:58:00
112Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan15:00:00
113Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling15:02:00
114Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy15:04:00
115Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda15:06:00
116Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team15:08:00
117Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda15:10:00
118Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale15:12:00

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