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Tour of California 2013: Stage 5


 Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California.

The riders are rolling to the stage five start line in Santa Barbara, where the weather is much cooler than it has been during the previous stages.

We are two minutes away from the start of the race.

And the peloton has started the neutral roll out.

As mentioned, it’s a cooler day today compared to the first few stages of the Amgen Tour of California when temperatures were as high as 108F. It is slightly overcast and the riders are enjoying the change of weather.

Stage five is 185.7 kms in length and starts with a steep climb over San Marcos Pass, which is the day's King of the Mountain.

And the race has officially started!

After San Marcos Pass (25 kms), the terrain is undulating with three intermediate sprints in Orcutt (112 kms), Guadalupe (132 kms) and Arroyo Grande (152 kms). The finish line is in Avila Beach and has a very sharp corner with 200 metres to go.

Optum Pro Cycling is gearing up for another strong sprint finish in today's stage. Yesterday Ken Hanson placed second to stage winner Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Sharp. Both Hanson and teammate Alex Candelario said this finish suits a team like theirs, which is well-versed in technical, high-speed and criterium-style circuits.

The field is very active this morning. There have been several attempts at a breakaway but they've all been reeled back in.

Hanson said his teammates really helped him out in yesterday's sprint finish, especially during the last kilometre.

Three riders are trying to create a gap on the field. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Kai Chun Feng (Champion System) and KOM leader Carter Jones (Bissell).

Ken Hanson also told our reporter Pat Malach that he got impatient and jumped early in yesterday's stage four sprint. He said that he could have waited an additional 50 metres. "It was huge for myself and the guys to place second. We've always been confident that we can do a lead out at this level and go toe-to-toe with the best. Yesterday was a good example."

Our three breakaway riders have over a minute on the main field. Again those riders are Jones, De Gendt and Feng. There is also one rider chasing, Marsh Cooper (Optum Pro Cycling).

To recap the overall classification. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) is leading the race by 12 seconds ahead of Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and 27 seconds to Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare).

And chaser Marsh Cooper (Optum Pro Cycling) has been reabsorbed into the main field. He has been in several key breakaways this week including an all-day breakaway during stage one in Escondido.

170km remaining from 186km

Cyclingnews reporter Pat Malach is traveling in the race caravan today. He says there are lots of children outside of the schools cheering and waving flags and banners in support of the Amgen Tour of California.

The breakaway is entering Los Padros National Forest. They are headed toward the decisive climb of the day on San Marcos Pass (25 kms). Their gap has increased to 4:35 minutes.

Breakaway rider Carter Jones (Bissell) is leading the KOM competition with 25 points, ahead of Marsh Cooper (Optum) who has 18 points. Too bad Cooper didn't make it up to the breakaway, that would have been an exciting battle for points at the top of San Marcos Pass.

Our reporter Pat Malach spoke with Bissell DS Omer Kem, who says he told the other directors that if they made it easy for his rider Jones to get the full KOM points on San Marcos Pass, he will allow Jones to make a full contribution to the breakaway. 

165km remaining from 186km

There are some great crowds gathered on San Marcos Pass to watch the bike race today.

The breakaway is one kilometre away from the top of the San Marcos Pass KOM. It looks like they are working together.

Back in the main field, Jamis-Hagens Berman is leading the peloton and protecting its race leader Janier Acevedo.

Garmin-Sharp DS Geert Van Bondt said that today is kind of an awkward stage with a climb at the start that gains 700 metres, followed by a flat to undulating route to Avila Beach. He said he hopes that a breakaway gains 10 minutes. He also said his team could control a large breakaway with help from Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge, and other teams that have strong sprinters.

160km remaining from 186km

Garmin-Sharp DS Geert Van Bondt might be getting his wish. The breakaway of three riders; Jones, Feng and De Gendt now have 8:30 minutes on the main field.

The breakaway is descending off of San Marcos Pass at about 75 km/h.

Carter Jones of Bissell did get the full KOM points at the top of San Marcos Pass. Champion System's Feng was second and Vacansoleil's De Gendt was third.

The main field crested the KOM led by Francisco Mancebo from 5-hour Energy/Kenda and Michael Torckler from Bissell.

Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo is heading to the finish line in Avila Beach. She said the sky is overcast but it is not as windy as it has been in previous stages. The flags are lazily waving along the west coast shoreline.

Garmin-Sharp's Johan Van Summeren is feeling good about his Tour of California so far. He hasn't raced since the classics this spring. He told Laura Weislo that he had allergies at the start of the race but that he's been feeling better since the weather has cooled off.

152km remaining from 186km

Feng, Jones and De Gendt are passing the Bradbury Dam.

There are a couple of fan favourites in the peloton today. Ted King (Cannondale), US national champion Timmy Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) have enjoyed the crowds of people asking to take pictures with them and for autographs. 

141km remaining from 186km

Duggan is roommates with Saxo-Tinkoff teammate Michael Rogers this week. Rogers won the overall title in 2010. Rogers said that he is feeling good, climbing well and looking forward to the individual time trial tomorrow in San Jose.

Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) is from the Napa Valley in California. He told Laura Weislo that he is enjoying racing on home roads. He is working for Philip Deignan, who is in third place overall.

136km remaining from 186km

Back in the main field, a Saxo-Tinkoff rider is struggling with his shoe. 

Saxo-Tinkoff's Jonathan Cantwell has just abandoned the race. 

Cyclingnews reporter Pat Malach said the cross winds are picking up and coming from the left, pushing the field over to the right side of the road.

132km remaining from 186km

The peloton is passing a number of beautiful horse farms on course today.

Fans are lining the road as the peloton passes through Los Olivas.

The gap has falled to 6:50. Many of the teams with strong sprinters such as Cannondale, Garmin-Sharp and Optum Pro Cycling are going to be working hard at the front of the main field to keep this breakaway at a manageable distance. 

118km remaining from 186km

There are three intermediate sprints today in Orcutt (113 kms), Guadalupe (132 kms) and Arroyo Grande (152 kms). 

The breakaway riders are working well together and trying to hold off the peloton. They have a lead of more than 6:30 minutes. 

The gap has dropped to 6 minutes and the breakaway is passing through Curtis Winery Vineyards, just a few kilometres away from the feed zone.

Breakaway rider Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) is 26 years old and an all-round rider. He was third overall at the Giro d'Italia last year and won stages at both the Giro d'Italia and Paris-Nice. He has also worn mountains and sprint classification leader's jerseys during his career.

117km remaining from 186km

The breakaway is now passing the Fess Parker Vineyard. They also stayed at the Fess Parker Hotel last night. Parker was an American actor famous for playing Davy Crockett in the 1950s and Daniel Boone in the 1960s and 70s.

Back in the main field several riders are having problems with their bikes. Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) dropped his chain, Jason McCartney (Bissell) also has a dropped chain and Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) has crashed.

Vennell, who is known for his time trial ability, placed a respectable 9th place in yesterday's stage 4 sprint in Santa Barbara.

106km remaining from 186km

The peloton is putting on quite the chase to try and reduce this gap before the finish line in Avila Beach. There is still a long way to go, more than 100 kms.

There are many teams and riders hoping for a field sprint today in Avila Beach. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) would no doubt enjoy a second consecutive victory at the Amgen Tour of California. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) also has a shot at a second stage win. Thor Hushovd (BMC) would like to win a stage this week. Ken Hanson (Optum Pro Cycling) is looking to take that top step on the podium after placing second to Farrar yesterday. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) is looking for a win, among others.

We spoke with Jamey Driscoll from Jamis-Hagens Berman this morning. He said the team has been working hard this week to protect Janier Acevedo's overall race lead. Their main goal is to get him to the finish line safely with the main bunch.

Cyclingnews reporter Pat Malach is in the race caravan and said they just drove by a man sleeping in his driveway with his dog beside him. He's probably been waiting out there all morning to see the racers pass. Let's hope he wakes up soon or he'll miss the bike race!

The wind is starting to pick up a little more as the race heads toward Avila Beach. The gap has dropped to 4:00 minutes and the peloton seems to be strategically holding them at that time.

If the peloton brings this breakaway back and the field gets to Avila Beach intact, there will be a big push for good positioning amongst the sprinters. The final 300 metres is very technical and on narrow streets.

Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo saw the final metres of the finish in Avila Beach and said, "there's a left turn at 500 metres to go, on a wide road that goes uphill just before a right turn with 300 metres to go. They turn onto a very short road that's much narrower and then have a quick left turn with 200 metres to go onto a wider road. The road is flat until the last 10 metres, then it kicks sharply uphill."

Avila Beach is a beautiful place and the finish line is located at the top of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

The next two stages will likely be GC deciders with a stage 6 time trial in San Jose tomorrow and a stage 7 uphill finish on Mt. Diablo on Saturday.

81km remaining from 186km

Wesley Kreder from Vacansoleil-DCM is getting a bike change. The peloton rode over some very rough roads a short while back and it was expected that some riders would have mechanicals.

The breakaway is a few kilometres away from the first intermediate sprint of the day in Orcutt. 

The gap is continuing to fall and is now 3:30 minutes.

The breakaway is 1 km to the sprint.

72km remaining from 186km

Breakaway rider Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) is having a chat with his team car. All three riders are looking very strong.

Back in the field, Jamis-Hagens Berman and race leader Janier Acevedo are sitting behind teams Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Orica-GreenEdge, Cannondale and Garmin-Sharp. They are probably happy to save their legs and let these teams do most of the work heading into the Avila Beach finish.

67km remaining from 186km

Jamis-Hagens Berman is throwing in one or two riders to help chase. 

64km remaining from 186km

Most of the teams are patiently sitting in the field and allowing the teams with strong sprinters to take control of the chase.

59km remaining from 186km

The breakaway riders are cresting a small hill and looked back to see the main field off in the distance along with the entire race caravan. 

The breakaway is heading toward the second sprint in Guadalupe. Cyclingnews reporter Pat Malach says there is a nice crowd lining to roads waiting to see the race pass.

Feng, Jones and De Gendt are not giving up. They are still taking short pulls into the cross winds and trying to stay ahead of the race for as long as possible.

Back in the main field, RadioShack is rotating at the front and putting everyone behind to the side of the road and into the wind. Cannondale has responded by pulling ahead of them. And Orica-GreenEdge is also pulling back up to the front.

The breakaway is losing time fast, down to 1:30 minutes.

55km remaining from 186km

There is a small group that have split off the front of the main field. It contains riders from RadioShack, BMC, Orica-GreenEdge, and other. There are about 12 riders in that group. They are about the catch the original three  breakaway riders.

There are now six groups of riders on the road, all split because of a massive acceleration from RadioShack in the strong cross winds. 

50km remaining from 186km

48km remaining from 186km

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is in the front group and looking comfortable. This group now has 40 seconds on the second group that contains Acevedo.

47km remaining from 186km

The riders in the new breakaway are:

Tyler Farrar had a flat tire and a wheel change. He is now trying to get back into that front group.

And the front group of riders are:

39km remaining from 186km

To recap the new breakaway includes,

There are some very strong sprinters in this new breakaway including Sagan, Matthews, Farrar, Thor Hushovd and Candelario.

34km remaining from 186km

Thor Hushovd took the time bonuses located at the third sprint in Arroyo Grande. Michael Rogers tried to get those but he just wasn't fast enough to come around a sprinter like Hushovd.

31km remaining from 186km

Race leader Janier Acevedo from Jamis-Hagens Berman is sitting in the main field. His team is not contributing to the chase.

Now Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is driving the pace of the main field. The gap has decreased to 30 seconds.

26km remaining from 186km

It's nice to see that two of the original breakaway riders are still in the front group; Feng and De Gendt.

The breakaway is passing 25 km to go.

24km remaining from 186km

The lead group is working very hard to increase their gap to almost a minute.

If we didn't mention it earlier, Tyler Farrar is back in the front group. 

18km remaining from 186km

5-hour Energy/Kenda and UnitedHealthcare are doing most of the work at the front of the main field, chasing.

Race leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) has lost a minute in the GC because of missing out on this split in the field. 

13km remaining from 186km


It's still very windy out there and the riders are getting blown around by the gusts.

10km remaining from 186km

The breakaway is now on the descent down into Avila Beach with 8 kms to go.

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was only 12 seconds behind Acevedo in the GC at the start of today's stage. He is now the virtual leader on the road.

Van Garderen is at the front of the breakaway and helping to increase the time to the main field ... and Acevedo.

Jens Voigt (RadioShack) is attacking the breakaway. He is the one who started the breakaway to begin with and it looks like he also wants to win the stage today.

There are only 4 kms to go and Voigt now has about 10 seconds on his previous breakaway companions.

3km remaining from 186km

2km remaining from 186km

Cooke is back in the group.

Voigt is on his way to win, 200 m to go

Jens Voigt has won stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California

The chasers were swallowed up by the group sprint.

The main field has crossed the line about a minute behind the leaders.

The unofficial brief results are for stage 5:

The overall classification has shuffled:

Thank you for following our live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California. Please join us again tomorrow for the stage 6 time trial in San Jose!

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