Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage. The final stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California takes racers over 69.1km from Beverly Hills to Los Angeles.
Good day and welcome to CyclingNews' Live Coverage of the eighth and final stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, a relatively flat and short 69.1-kilometer race from Beverly Hills to the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
72km remaining from 72km
Riders are lining up for the start in Beverly Hills under clear skies.
We expect the start here in about five minutes.
Robert Gesink looks relaxed in the yellow jersey.
It's worth noting that today is the last race start by GreenEdge's Robbie McEwen. He turns 40 next month.
And they're off!
Riders are still cruising through a neutral section on Rodeo Drive. It's relaxed in the peloton.
There is a small gaggle of fans at KM0, but beyond that, it looks like L.A. is still asleep.
And they are racing!
Michael Creed from Optum. Nice move and a sure sign that this isn't a typical "parade stage."
Well, this could be an exciting race today, but these guys will have a long way to go to match the excitement of the finish of today's stage at the Giro. What a finish.
65km remaining from 72km
We have a nice little break forming up. It includes Andrew Talansky (USA), Garmin; Thimothy Roe (Aus), BMC; Christopher Jones (USA), United HealthCare; Michael Creed (USA), Optum; Matt Cooke (USA), Exergy
The situation is quite dynamic and we have a new break that has formed off the front. The gap is only about 10 seconds.
McEwen spoke with CyclingNews before the stage about this, the final race of his career. Asked if he is feeling emotional, McEwen said there will be plenty of time for that later.
"Right now, I just want to go out and give it everything I have," he said. "The time for emotion will be when it's done and I've crossed the finish line.
Gesink is not really too worried about things. He has his team there, setting tempo in the peloton. His teammate Michael Matthews lined up today wearing a skin suit.
He says he's aiming for a stage win and saw no need for a regular road kit on a stage this short.
55km remaining from 72km
That new break has settled in to work. The group includes Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy).
The gap is 45 seconds.
54km remaining from 72km
The break composed of Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager) is holding. It's Rabobank doing the work at the front of the peloton.
Heinrich Haussler spoke with CyclingNews today. He said the team is obviously disappointed that they lost the overall lead, but adds that it was Gesink who rode a spectacular race. "All of our guys busted their asses yesterday," he said. "He just had a great day." Houssler adds that the team is aiming to take some solace with a stage win today, but notes that taking second and third on GC is not a bad consolation prize.
50km remaining from 72km
We failed to list Nathan Haas from Garmin in that break. So, the composition of the break is as follows: Nathan Haas (Garmin); Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager). It's Rabobank doing the work at the front of the peloton. The gap is now 30 seconds.
Alex Candelario (Optum) says the team is motivated today and, despite being a terrific sprinter himself, Cadelario says he's expecting a strong performance by tammate Ken Hanson, today.
The leaders have entered the finishing circuit. These urban streets are not smooth. There are a number of manhole covers and potholes.
It's quiet in LA and there are not a lot of fans on the streets. That will be different at the Staples Center, we're sure.
49km remaining from 72km
The gap is holding at around 35 seconds.
The race reaches the Staples Center and there are big crowds there.
44km remaining from 72km
Six laps on this circuit and this stage is over.
Jonas Carney, the DS of the Optum team says he is especially pleased that the team made it to L.A. with their sprinters. "A lot of teams have lost their fastest guys," he said, "but there are still a lot of really good guys here: Haussler, Boonen and Sagan of course. We'll give it our best and hope to do our best to give Hansen a good lead-out."
United HealthCare's Philip Deignan has a flat and is riding his way back.
40km remaining from 72km
The gap to the break is still 30 seconds. Rabobank is carefully measuring its effort and monitoring the gap.
39km remaining from 72km
It's down to 25 seconds.
36km remaining from 72km
After a turn with 400 meters to go, it's a straight shot to the finish line and riders will have ample opportunity to check out that corner over the five remaining laps on the circuit.
The time gap is 25 seconds.
34km remaining from 72km
This is being carefully monitored by Rabobank and GreenEdge and the gap is holding at 25 seconds.
Taking the intermediate sprint, the guys in the break roll through there.
1. Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare)
2. Morgan Scmitt (Exergy)
3. Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell)
32km remaining from 72km
GreenEdge is moving to the front of the peloton.
30km remaining from 72km
Four laps to go
28km remaining from 72km
The break - Nathan Haas (Garmin); Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager) - is still 20 seconds up the road. The peloton is giving these guys very little room to work.
27km remaining from 72km
It's still a combination of Rabobank and GreenEdge at the front of the peloton. The gap is holding at 20 seconds.
Nathan Haas (Garmin); Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager).
25km remaining from 72km
Situation holding. The break has moved ahead by a few more seconds.
22km remaining from 72km
Our seven leaders are still maintaining a small 30-second advantage over the field, but it's not going to last. The peloton is close enough to be able to snap these guys back with little effort. Three laps to go.
21km remaining from 72km
The gap at the line was only 18 seconds.
We're spotting a lot of Kings jerseys in the crowd at the Staples Center. It's a busy day here, with NHL and NBA games coming up today ... all in the building in front of which the bike race ends.
20km remaining from 72km
They are just letting them dangle.
GreenEdge's Leigh Howard flatted, but he's back.
17km remaining from 72km
The break - Nathan Haas (Garmin); Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare); Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano); Scott Zwizanski (Optum) Morgan Schmitt (Exergy) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager) - is still hanging on out there, but we expect a catch when the peloton deems it appropriate ... probably with 10k or so to go?
16km remaining from 72km
The gap looks to be around 15 seconds or so.
15km remaining from 72km
two laps to go
13km remaining from 72km
Garmin is moving up in the peloton, working to position Heinrich Haussler for the sprint.
12km remaining from 72km
Omega Pharma is working to bring Tom Boonen up, too.
11km remaining from 72km
The gap is back up to 25 seconds.
10km remaining from 72km
The guys up front are a little nervous and beginning to attack each other.
9km remaining from 72km
Rory Sutherland is attacking hard.
8km remaining from 72km
The break is back together again.
Nathan Haas (Garmin) attacks ... but he's being pulled in.
One lap to go.
Haas is actually holding his own. He's 17 seconds ahead of the peloton, which is scooping up some of the others from the break.
6km remaining from 72km
Haas is flyin' down the road. Back in the peloton, It's time for the sprinters' teams are forming up their finishing trains.
5km remaining from 72km
Other than Haas, the rest of the break has been caught.
Rabobank and Liquigas are at the front of the peloton.
Haas is caught.
4km remaining from 72km
Driving to the line, with 4km to go.
4km remaining from 72km
Driving to the line, with 4km to go.
3km remaining from 72km
Garmin is now moving up in the field. They are working for Haussler. Rabobank is still up there and probably happy that Gesink is within three kilometers, meaning he pretty much has a lock on GC now.
A United HealthCare rider is trying a last-second flyer. Bradley White it is.
He's caught and Omega Pharma is racing to the front, for Boonen.
1km remaining from 72km
Omega is really setting this up nicely.
1km remaining from 72km
Into the final kilometer and it's Omega driving it
0km remaining from 72km
Through the final turn and Sagan's team is pushing it.
Boonen is getting a great lead... Sagan goes!
Sagan makes it five!
Sagan wins his fifth stage of this year's ATOC.
Boonen got a terrific lead-out, but he just couldn't match the young Slovakian.
So, there is obviously no change in the overall standings. Robert Gesink becomes only the second non-U.S. winner of the Amgen Tour of California, sharing the podium with Americans Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson.
1. Peter Sagan (Svk), Liquigas-Cannondale; 2. Tom Boonen (B), Omega Pharma-QuickStep 3. Gerard Ciolek (G), Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
Okay, folks. That's a wrap. Congratulations to Peter Sagan and to Robert Gesink. Thank you all for a terrific week of racing. Thank you, too, to our readers for tuning in for Live Coverage here on CyclingNews.com. Have a terrific Sunday. Now go ride your own bike!
Top 10, Stage 8
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 1:27:36
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:00
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:00
4 Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - Shimano 0:00:00
5 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:00
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:00
7 Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:00
8 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:00
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:00
10 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 0:00:00
Final general classification
1 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 29:14:52
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:46
3 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:54
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:17
5 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes 0:01:36
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:02:13
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:30
8 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:02:49
9 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 0:02:54
10 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:03:05
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