Tour of California: Esteban Chaves wins atop Mountain High

Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge) soloed to the win during stage 6 at the Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Mountain High with a virtuoso display. The Colombian climber, in his first season at the WorldTour level, attacked on the final climb from a select group and held off the remnants of the peloton to take the biggest win since his Tour d'Avenir victory in 2011.

Chaves attacked inside the final 5km of racing, distancing breakaway companions David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Team NetApp-Endura) and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), who finished second and third, respectively.

"Today I felt so good," Chaves said through a translator at the post-race press conference. "Just in the last 4km I was afraid that the chase with all the guys from the overall would catch us. But I felt so good in the last 3km, and the climb was steep, so I tried, and I got the victory. I knew that I had one opportunity to win the stage, so I knew that the victory was for me in just the last one-and-a-half or two kilometres."

Behind the break a close battle developed between Team Sky and its rivals for the yellow jersey, including Garmin-Sharp's Rohan Dennis, who started the day second overall, just 24 seconds behind race leader Bradley Wiggins.

Joe Dombrowski defended Wiggins against persistent pressure from BMC and Garmin-Sharp, and inside the final 2km the race leader was forced to hit the front. He was able to match the challenge from Peter Stetina (BMC) and even managed to put two seconds into Stetina and Dennis at the line.

"I actually felt pretty good," Wiggins said. "I felt better than I did on Diablo, so I was just really watching Rohan and Adam [Yates, of Orica-GreenEdge] and trying to gauge how they were feeling. I really didn't look around and see who was there until I saw the big screen about 400 meters to go, and I saw there were just four of us left, so at that point I just went to the line and put it all out there."

Dennis said he never even considered attacking Wiggins in the last kilometers, as he did on Mt. Diablo when he pulled back 20 seconds from the race leader.

"We had Tommie D off the front, so we were watching what Sky was doing," Dennis said. "Hopefully they were riding hard like they did on Diablo and just blow up, but they controlled it perfectly. It was steady uphill. Wiggo up there in the last kilometer, whoa, I don't think I've hurt like that in a while."

Wiggins now leads Dennis by 30 seconds, with Lawson Craddock (Team Giant-Shimano) moving into third at 1:48.

For the fifth consecutive day, temperatures soared near or beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but that didn't stop the early adventurers from taking off about 29km into the 156.1 km stage that included more than 3,330 meters of climbing. The group of six included Chaves, Danielson, De La Cruz, Jack Bobridge (Belkin Pro Cycling Team), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Javier Megias Leal (Team Novo Nordisk).

A heavy tailwind through most of the stage helped the breakaway riders again during stage 6, and the gap grew to a maximum advantage of 4:20 the chase from Team Sky - with some help from Garmin - started to bring it down. Chaves started the stage 3:32 down on Wiggins, and as the best-placed rider in the breakaway, he was briefly the virtual leader on the road.

Despite the concerted chase behind, the tailwind continued to push the breakaway, and at the start of the final climb to Mountain High about 20km from the finish, the escapees still had a gap of more than three minutes.

Sky pushed the pace on the front for Wiggins, and up the road Megias needed a bike change, effectively ending his day in the break. Jones was the next rider to pop out of the group, followed a bit later by Bobridge. Chaves, De la Cruz and Danielson continued on, while Michael Schär (BMC) went to the front of the Wiggins group to help Sky with the chase. Dennis sat behind Wiggins and the Sky lineup, trailed closely by his teammates Ben King and Janier Acevedo.

King jumped out of the group to try and draw out the Sky chase, but at 7:48 down, the Wiggins group showed little interest in picking up its tempo to go after him. But he eventually faded and came back. With less than 10km remaining, the trio off the front had a 2:25 advantage on the peloton, and their chances of staying away appeared all but certain. Wiggins still had Dombrowski and Josh Edmondson with him, and his two teammates sold out at the end to keep the pace high and chase down one last attempted attack from Stetina.

At the front of the race, an attack from Chaves dropped Danielson and De La Cruz, while Acevedo tried to jump away from the Wiggins group to set up Dennis for the finish. But Dombrowski pulled back the Garmin-Sharp rider, and Dennis was unable to counter.

Chaves continued on his own all the way to the finish, while De la cruz crossed the line next, followed by Danielson in third.

In the GC battle behind, both Dombroswki and Emdondson burned themselves up for their team leader and pulled off, leaving Wiggins on Dennis' wheel. Stetina was also still in the group, along with third overall Tiago Machado (Team net App-En dura), fourth overall Craddock and Yates.

Wiggins eventually went to the front and set a tempo that would discourage anymore attacks. He crossed the line behind Yates for fifth, preserving his GC lead over Dennis. Craddock, who stated the day 16 seconds behind Machado, was able to gain enough time to move into third.

Results

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Stage 6 result
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge4:09:13
2David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura0:00:13
3Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Sharp0:00:41
4Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:00:53
5Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
6Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:55
7Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp
8Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:01:07
9George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale0:01:15
10Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:16
11Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:01:21
12Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp0:01:24
13Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:32
14Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Team Sky
15Gregory Brenes (CRc) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:01:38
16Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:41
17Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura0:01:46
18Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing0:01:49
19Daniel Jaramillo Díez (Col) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:01:55
20Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:02:09
21Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale0:02:11
22Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing0:02:21
23Benjamin King (USA) Garmin Sharp0:03:06
24Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano0:03:45
25Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Team Sky0:04:59
26Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:05:37
27Robert Víctor Squire (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
28Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:06:12
29Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:06:18
30Clément Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team
31Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:06:31
32Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge0:07:19
33Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:07:24
34Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
35Nathan Brown (USA) Garmin Sharp0:08:22
36Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:12:05
37Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
38Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin Sharp
39Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
40Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development Team0:15:40
41Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
42Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura
43Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
44Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
45Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
46Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
47Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:16:09
48Danny Pate (USA) Team Sky0:16:23
49Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
50Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing0:18:29
51Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
52Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
53Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis - Hagens Berman
54Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
55Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk
56Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
57Luis Lemus (Mex) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
58Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
59Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
60Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
61Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:18:54
62Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
63Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team0:18:57
64Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:19:50
65Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Bissell Development Team
66Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:20:20
67Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:21:22
68Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp0:22:17
69Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:22:32
70José Joao Pimenta Costa (Por) Team NetApp-Endura0:23:05
71Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
72Edward King (USA) Cannondale0:23:30
73Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development Team
74Steve Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
75Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale
76Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura
77Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing
78Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
79Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
80Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale
81Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura
82Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
83Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
84Fred Rodriguez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
85Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Jamis - Hagens Berman
86Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
87Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
88Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
89Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
90Tanner Putt (USA) Bissell Development Team
91Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
92Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
93Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
94Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky
95Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
96Kevin De Masmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk
97Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale
98Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
99William Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
100Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
101Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
102John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
103Alex Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
104Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky
105Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
106Isaac Bolivar Hernandez (Col) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
107Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale0:23:55
108Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
109Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
110Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
111Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
112Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
113Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk
114Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:24:24
115John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:25:16
DNFPhillip Gaimon (USA) Garmin Sharp
DNFNicolai Brochner (Den) Bissell Development Team
DNFTom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
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Points - Leona Valley
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Sharp5pts
2Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk3
3David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura1
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Palmdale
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Sharp5pts
2Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team3
3Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk1
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KOM - Bouquet Canyon
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team6pts
2Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Sharp5
3Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge4
4David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura3
5Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk1
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Spunky Canyon
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team4pts
2Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team3
3Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge2
4Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk1
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Mt.Emma
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team4pts
2Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge3
3David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura2
4Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp1
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Mountain High (Finishline)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge12pts
2David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura10
3Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Sharp8
4Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge7
5Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky6
6Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team5
7Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp4
8Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team3
9George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale2
10Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano1
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge4:10:06
2Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:23
3Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:39
4Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Team Sky0:04:06
5Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:04:44
6Clément Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team0:05:25
7Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development Team0:14:47
8Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
9Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:17:36
10Luis Lemus (Mex) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
11Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Bissell Development Team0:18:57
12Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development Team0:22:37
13Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
14Tanner Putt (USA) Bissell Development Team
15Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Garmin-Sharp12:30:39
2Team Giant-Shimano0:01:57
3Team Sky0:04:24
4Team NetApp-Endura0:05:11
5Orica GreenEdge0:05:12
6Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:05:46
7Jamis - Hagens Berman0:06:10
8BMC Racing Team0:12:43
9Trek Factory Racing0:16:50
10Cannondale0:23:56
11Team Optum By Kelly Benefit Strategies0:37:51
12Bissell Development Team0:38:48
13Omega Pharma-QuickStep0:40:25
14UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:42:26
15Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis0:46:03
16Team Novo Nordisk1:00:21
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General classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky22:03:42
2Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp0:00:30
3Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:48
4Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura0:02:02
5Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:02:14
6Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team