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Tour of California 2014: Stage 8

Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews’ live coverage of the Tour of California’s Stage 8 finale in Thousand Oaks.

 

Good morning! The peloton has rolled out on a neutral start, which kicks of the final stage of the Tour of California today.

Team Sky's Danny Pate already has a flat tire and is getting support from his team.

 

It's not a great way to start the race!

 

The neutral start was only about half a mile and the peloton is now officially racing.

 

It's a beautiful day in Thousand Oaks. The temperatures have cooled down just enough to give the riders some reprieve from the nearly 100 Fahrenheit weather during the previous stages.

 

It's actually a much cooler 60 Fahrenheit today. Brrr!

 

Five riders are trying to sneak off the front of the field at the moment.

 

 

Bradley Wiggins is leading the overall classification by 30 seconds ahead of Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and 1:48 minutes ahead of third placed Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano).

 

Team Sky has had firm control of the peloton, even though the mountain stages, so it's going to be tough for his rivals to advance on GC.

 

Six riders now have a slight advantage on the field. 

The field is traveling a top speeds of 60 km/h. 

 

It's expected to be an exciting circuit race today as the peloton will race three long circuits that are 32km followed by three short circuits that are 7.4km.

 

There are three King of the Mountain spots on Mullholland HWY, Rock Store. Canada’s Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) is leading that competition, and has been since the opening stage.

 

There are also two intermediate sprints and a final sprint for time bonuses at the finish line. Peter Sagan (Cannonadale) is leading the sprint competition.

 

It's a strong breakaway of riders with Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Matthew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge), Jack BoBridge (Belkin), Chad Haga (Giant-Shimano), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Alex Candelario (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)

 

122km remaining from 135km

The breakaway has gained over a minute on the field and is about five kilometers to the first climb.

 

Terpstra's Omega Pharma teammate Carlos Quintanilla is one his own, chasing the breakaway.

 

Breakaway rider, Chris Jones has been a regular in the breakaways during the last half of the Tour of California. He was wearing the event's Most Courageous Rider's jersey. He spoke with Cyclingnews in this video about his experiences during the race so far.

 

Quintanilla has caught up to the breakaway.

 

The breakaway is one kilometer to the top of the first climb over Rock Store, 1:10 minutes ahead of the field.

 

There are already 12 riders off the back on the main field.

116km remaining from 135km

And the breakaway has crested the first ascent over Rock Store.

 

Jones picked up the KOM points ahead of Haga and Bobridge.

 

The descent off of Rock Store is very fast, twisty and technical. 

 

We're sure these racers will have no problem with the technical nature of the descent off of Rock Store, however, people do race cars and motorcycles on it all the time. There's one bend that is so accident prone that they just keep a life flight helicopter around to rescue them. Yikes!

 

Our reporter Pat Malach spoke with Optum's director, Eric Wohlberg this morning, who said. “We have a training camp in Oxnard just over the hill, so we know Mullhulland Drive, the Rock Store climb and all these great roads. But the fact is that everyone's legs are cooked right now, so it doesn't really matter how well you know the roads. It's a tough circuit, but we're confident Will Routley will hold the KOM jersey. That's mathematically done, we just have to get him to the finish line.”

 

110km remaining from 135km

Our breakaway is approaching 25km into the race and holding a gap of 1:35 minutes.

 

It's too early to tell if the field will come back together, however, Cannondale's Ted King believes it will be another field sprint, despite the steep climbs on course, and another day suited to his teammate Peter Sagan.

 

"Peter is talented and I'm not worried about him making it over the climbs. Garmin has a lot on the line today, and they will go down swinging. It's going to be a very full day.”

 

There's been a crash in the main peloton on the descent off of Rock Store. Riders involved in the accident are from teams Bissell, UnitedHealthcare and Garmin-Sharp. We certainly hope that they are all OK.

 

The good news is that all of the riders involved in the accident on the Rock Store descent are back on their bikes and riding.

After all that craziness on the Rock Store descent, the is safely at the bottom, and has decided to slow down and call a nature break.

 

Race leader, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has gotten off his bike to adjust his front wheel.

 

102km remaining from 135km

The breakaway is approaching the first intermediate sprint.

 

Terpstra won the sprint ahead of Hayman and Quintanilla.

 

Oh dear, we've just gotten word that two of the riders that crashed on the Rock Store descent actually went over the guardrails. 

 

They were George Bennett (Cannondale) and Lawrence Warbasse (BMC Racing).

 

They have rejoined the peloton.

 

97km remaining from 135km

The new gap for our breakaway is 3:40 minutes.

 

Clement Chevrier (Bissell) told our reporter Pat Malach.

“It's my first time at this race, so I want to enjoy the last day. We've had a great week, and we'll try to get in the break today. It should be a fast climb. It's short but pretty steep and should be a good place to attack. I expect it will be a small peloton at the finish."

 

Unfortunately, Bissell has not made the first breakaway but there is still a lot of racing to go today and things could certainly reshuffle in their favor.

 

The breakaway has gained another 10 seconds and is leading the race by 3:50 minutes. 

 

Bobridge is the highest placed rider overall, 10:59 minutes behind Wiggins.

Optum's Brad Huff and BMC's Lawrence Warbasse have abandoned the race.

 

Warbasse was one of the riders who crashed off of the Rock Store descent and went over the guardrail.

 

87km remaining from 135km

The breakaway is continuing play nicely with one another. Terpstra is currently taking his turn on the front.

 

They're 48km into the race and approaching the Peter Strauss Ranch, a regional park unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

 

It's located off of Mullhulland Hwy. That means that they're getting close to the second climb over Rock Store!

 

85km remaining from 135km

And the breakaway is at the bottom of Rock Store for the second time.

 

Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) is sitting comfortably in the peloton. The youngster has had an outstanding performance this week, sitting third overall and wearing the event's Best Young Rider jersey. Check out what he had to say in this recent Cyclingnews video.

 

Optum's Alex Candelario has lost contact with the breakaway on Rock Store. He's been a top US national-level sprinter for over a decade and has had multiple top 10 finishes at the Tour of California over the years. Perhaps this climb is a little too steep and not quite his cup of tea.

 

Speaking of tea ... It seems that royalty has arrived to the top of Rock Store!

 

Fans dressed royal costumes and wearing crowns have gathered at the top of Rock Store to cheer on Bradley Wiggins.

 

Jones took the points at the top of Rock Store followed by Quintanilla and Terpstra.

 

Terpstra has attacked at the top of the climb followed by Bobridge, and the pair are trying to gain time on their former breakaway companions.

 

The pair have gained 15 seconds ahead of Voigt, Hayman, Haga, Jones and Quintanilla.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge have increased their lead to 35 seconds ahead of the five chasers.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge have increased their lead to 35 seconds ahead of the five chasers.

 

Terpstra came to the Tour of California after taking a break at the end of the Classics season. His objectives were to work for his teammates and gain form heading into the Tour de France, if he's selected. But he also said he would want to win a stage if the opportunity came up.

 

Cyclingnews caught up with Terpstra for this recent interview.

 

69km remaining from 135km

The main peloton has also split apart after climbing over Rock Store. Although the smaller groups are trying to catch back up to the main field before the start of the third large circuit.

 

Cannondale is working with Team Sky, setting a fast pace at the front of the field, to try and reduce the time to the escapees.

 

Sagan will no doubt want to win the stage today.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge are working hard to increase their gap to over a minute to the five chasers.

Terpstra and Bobridge are working hard to increase their gap to over a minute to the five chasers.

The peloton is beginning to reabsorb the original breakaway riders.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge, however, are still holding onto a minute advantage over the main field.

 

The breakaway riders are partway up the Rock Store ascent for the third time. 

 

Jose Pimenta (NetApp-Endura) has attacked the main field on Rock Store and is trying to bridge across to the two breakaway riders.

 

Team Sky is setting a fast pace at the front of the main field and Wiggins is looking quite comfortable on the climb.

 

The main field has 1km to go to the top of the climb.

 

Janier Acevedo has just attacked out of the field.

 

Acevedo was followed by Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis-Hagens Berman). They are working together to catch up to Pimenta.

 

Peter Stetina (BMC) has also made an attack over the top of the Rock Store summit.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge have lost time on the descent off of Rock Store. Their gap is down to just 30 seconds.

 

Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) is making his move off the front of the main field.

 

Terpstra and Bobridge look behind them and see the peloton approaching very quickly.

 

Wiggins himself closed down the breakaway, but then lets Dombrowski take over the pacemaking. There is still some chance of attacks, but the final three circuits are flat and fast.

The breakaway stayed clear long enough to take the KOM points:
1 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
2 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
3 José Joao Pimenta Costa (Por) Team NetApp-Endura

Eloy Teruel (Jamis-Hagens Berman) goes on the attack with a Novo Nordisk rider.

The pace is far too high, and they can't go clear, but now we have a counter-attack from Jamis.

That move was easily nullified by Tom Danielson, working for Rohan Dennis up front. The leading group has been reduced to just 40 riders, Sagan is still in there, but which other sprinters have survived?

They're on the descent now, and so far nobody is keen to risk it with an attack.

Janier Acevedo has defied the caution of the race leader, going away on the twisty part of the descent.

It's fairly unlikely that an attack on this descent will stay clear on the 22km of the finishing circuits, but tell that to stage 5 winner Taylor Phinney.

Sagan just cruised across to the leading two on the descent, he opened up a gap on Wiggins, but the race leader just closed it down.

There is a second peloton that's at 1:10. There are plenty of riders suffering after a hard, hot week of racing. Last time they did this circuit much of the peloton missed the time cut. They should be OK this year.

We've got another attack going off the front: a Jamis rider is visible with probably Omega Pharma-Quickstep and Garmin.

Nope, it's Jens Keukeleire (Orica), Lucas Euser (UHC) and Eloy Teruel (Jamis-Hagens Berman)

The NetApp-Endura team is amassing at the front of the chasing bunch, 5 seconds only behind the three leaders as they head under 1km to go until they hit the line for those three circuits.

Jack Bobridge isn't going to say die, he bridged up to the three, making it now four riders at 15 seconds.

Euser lead the break through the line for the sprint points, ahead of Eloy Teruel and Jack Bobridge, but they weren't exactly contesting it. The four are working together well.
 

Jens Keukeleire, 25, came to Orica via the Cofidis team. Back in 2010 he had a very impressive neo-pro year winning the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and Nokere Koerse back to back. Since then he's struggled to fulfill the expectations of the Belgian public, but has been turning out consistently strong performances.

They've managed to edge out another five seconds on the field, but their gap isn't growing enough to give us hope that they can hold off the Cannondale-led chase.

Lars Boom leaps out of the field to give a lecture to the motorbike, who he believes is helping the peloton chase his teammate Bobridge up in the breakaway.

Two laps to go for the four leaders - Teruel leads them across the line but there aren't any sprint points this lap.

Whoo! Right behind the peloton is another big group with Omega Pharma at its head, pulling Mark Cavendish back into contention. We've got Fred Rodriguez up front, Degenkolb, Sagan, Goss all itching for this sprint.

So far, Sagan's Cannondale team is doing all the work with just one rider, and Team Sky helping out - perhaps paying them back for yesterday's hard work. We expect to see Giant-Shimano come forward to help Degenkolb.

Yesterday, John Degenkolb was left without any of his usual teammates for the sprint, and was unable to get to the front with only skinny climbers to help him go up against Thor Hushovd and Peter Sagan. Today, he'll be rallying his troops to help him win a stage. He was so, so close on stage 1.

Omega Pharma is pulling Cavendish toward the front - Sagan drifted back and saw the group coming by. Surprise!

One sprinter who won't be taking part in the dash today is Moreno Hofland. The Belkin rider called it a day at the finish line along wiht teammate Dennis van Winden.

Bobridge, Euser, Teruel and Keukeleire now have Omega Pharma to deal with. BMC is also putting men up front, and this 25 second gap is starting to plummet.

There is about 200m between the four leaders and the peloton as they head past the VIP tents. They're in sight of the line and the bell lap.

Optum is getting together, their orange helmets standing out in the field. Euser and Keukeleire out-cornered Bobridge and got a gap, The Australian has to use his pursuiting skills to get back on with Teruel.

5km remaining from 135km

The corners in this finishing circuit are very wide and safe, allowing the field to easily power up to the breakaway. They're caught.

5km remaining from 135km

Teruel is not giving up, however, but can he hold off all of Omega Pharma? Nope. He swings wide and lets the field come through.

Bissell is moving up on the outside, following Trek, who work for Danny van Poppel.

The bunch is all over the road as riders try to get their lead-outs sorted. Bissell at the front.

We've been consistenly impressed with the team of Axel Merckx - he's taught them well, and they're fearless in front of WorldTour teams.

Sagan is quite a ways back, but moving up with a teammate.

Two Cannondale riders are now with Sagan, as Bissell swings off and BMC takes over> Hushovd is right up front.

No team has total control, and the peloton is still 5 riders wide as they head to 2km to go.

Phinney is there with Hushovd, wanting to get it right this time after yesterday's narrow miss.

Cavendish is sitting on the wheels, and we have an attack on the left at 1km to go.

They've got four lanes to sprint in, and the teams are jockeying left and right . Giant at the front now.

This is a sprint of pure power and we favor Degenkolb.

Cavendish is coming on the left, Sagan on the right.

Degenkolb makes a charge on the right but he cannot get it! Cavendish shows his class with a second fine sprint victory.

It was Sagan in third, he gets to keep that green jersey, with Goss, Hushovd, Van Poppel and Boom behind.

Sagan is an amazing rider, but he has become more versatile than just focusing on being a pure sprinter, so he lacks a little bit of speed on riders like Cavendish.

Your top 10:

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 2:53:50
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica Greenedge
5 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
7 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
8 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp - Endura
9 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp
10 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team

Final general classification

1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 28:22:05
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp 0:00:30
3 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:48
4 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:02:02
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:14
6 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:30
7 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:39
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01
9 Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp 0:03:05
10 David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura 0:03:06

Wiggins gets to take home the overall victory, with Rohan Dennis in second and Lawson Craddock third. The Giant-Shimano rider is also the best young rider. Mountains classification goes to Will Routley who led from start to finish, and the green jersey goes to Sagan.

Cavendish is going to look at the replay tonight and see how close he came to losing to Degenkolb, thanks to a slightly premature victory salute. 

Congratulations to Sir Bradley Wiggins on his victory here, and to all of our jersey winners and, to be honest, the riders who simply survived this race. It was a tough week with crazy high temperatures and hard stages.

Thank you for following the Tour of California with Cyclingnews. Be sure to check back for the full report, results and photos here.

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