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Tour of California 2017: Stage 7

Race overview:
Distance: 125km
Start location: Mountain High
End location: Pasadena

 


Welcome to live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California stage 7. For the final stage, the peloton will race 125km from Mountain High to Pasadena where the overall winner will be crowned.

 

Tour of California hub page
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Tour of California stage 6 results
Giro d’Italia stage 14 results

 

Hello and welcome to the seventh and final stage of the Amgen Tour of California from Mountain High to Pasadena. The riders will soon be rolling to the start line.

 

Race is set to start in about 15 minutes.

The riders are starting to roll around the start line up at the Mountain High Ski Resort. Our reporter Ted Burns is on site and will be speaking with a few riders. Check back for some interesting insights very soon.

 

 

 

It's the second time the race had visited Mountain High. It was used as the stage 6 finish line in the 2014 edition of the race and won by Esteban Chaves.

 

The riders start at more than 2,000 metres above sea level and descend out of the Mountain High Ski Resort. They will contest two intermediate sprints and three KOM ascents with a total of 6,400 feet of climbing before making their way into Pasadena.

 

After the depart Mountain High, the first sprint is at the 29km mark along Fort Tejon Rd.

 

Nearly 24km later, they will summit the first KOM at Mt Emma Rd (5km/6%) followed by the second KOM roughly another 20km later at Angeles Forrest Hwy (3km/6%).

 

Racers will descend and head toward the base of the third and final KOM on Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd (7.8km/4.6%).

 

They will begin a long descent, which passes through the second and final intermediate sprint in Clear Creek before heading down into Pasadena for the final.

 

It is the fifth time the race has visited Pasadena.

 

Here is the current overall classification following the stage 6 time trial:

 

1 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 20:16:48
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:35
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 00:00:36
4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:00:45
5 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 00:01:00
6 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:01:54
7 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 00:02:12
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:02:15
9 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data 00:02:20
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 00:03:14
 

 

 

Two minutes to start.

 

George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) may have been the most underestimated overall contender at the Big Bear Lake time trial yesterday.

 

While most eyes were on Andrew Talansky, Bennett seemed to have been overlooked. But the young rider ended up finishing the day fourth and rode away with the yellow jersey.

 

He is now 35 seconds ahead of runner-up and previous race leader Rafal Majka (Bora Hansgrohe).

 

He said he was probably the most surprised by his own performance - Read his full comments here:

 

We will talk more about Andrew Talansky and the other overall contenders shortly, but for now let's talk about the stage 6 time trial winner Jonathan Dibben

 

He took his first WorldTour win with Team Sky in the individual time trial at Big Bear Lake yesterday. It was a big day for the young rider.

 

"It's rather excruciating to watch people come in and come close every time," Dibben told Cyclingnews while he waited in the hot seat for the race to finish yesterday. "It's good but tense."

 

Read the full story here. 

 

And they are off!

 

Down, down, down the riders are cruising out of the Mountain High Ski Resort. But even though the course profile looks mostly downhill, Brent Bookwalter (BMC), who is currently sitting in fourth overall, told Cyclingnews yesterday that it is deceptive. 

 

“I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of the course tomorrow, but I know the general area and it’s the same kind of roads we were up in [during stage 5 to Mt. Baldy].

 

“I think the profile is deceiving. I was at the pre-race press conference and all the sprinters were saying stage 7 had a star on it. But if you look at the stage two days ago and how much I saw some of those sprinters suffering on a five-minute climb, the climbs tomorrow are real climbs. By most people’s standards they’d be mountains.

 

“It’s five, six, seven kilometres of actual climbing. That’s enough to make a difference, and that’s enough to shake things up. It’s seven days into the race, and we had an altitude effort today, so like George [Bennett] said, there’s no champagne and goofing around tomorrow. It will be real racing.”
 

 

The riders have finished their "neutral" start, which was blazing fast downhill right out of the gates of Mountain High Ski Resort.

 

One poor soul punctured at the start and thankfully the riders slowed ever-so-slightly for him to catch back on.

 

The field is all together at the 10km mark.

 

Bookwalter has also punctured! Not a good way to start the race for him as he has his sights set on moving onto the overall podium today. Best get these mechanicals and problems out of the way right now.

 

And Rally riders attack, which is no surprise since those guys have been aggressive all week.

 

Notably Evan Huffman and Rob Britton went one-two on stage 4 after being in an all-day winning breakaway. 

 

They were in the all-day move again during stage 5 to Mt. Baldy and Britton attempted a solo win but was caught on the final climb.

 

If there is a breakaway today, we can expect that team to be in it.

 

We've just received word that Bookwalter has made it back up to the main field after a mechanical. Phew!

 

Pack is all together. While the riders descend and high speeds toward the first intermediate sprint in about 10km, let's talk about what happened over at the Giro d'Italia today on the summit of Oropa.

 

 

 

In an all-out battle on the final climb of stage 14, Tom Dumoulin (Team Subweb) stormed to stage victory ahead of Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Mikel Landa (Sky). More importantly, he also extending his overall lead ahead of Nairo Quintana, who ended up finishing fourth on the day.

 

Read the full report here.

 

Over here at the Tour of California, a breakaway of four riders has formed. Those riders are Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk), Jonny Clarke (UHC), Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) and Truls Korsaeth (Astana).

 

They only have 10 seconds as they approach the first intermediate sprint of the day on Fort Tejon Rd.

 

Bernhard Eisel (Dimension Data) is trying to bridge across to the breakaway.

 

Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto took the sprint ahead of Joonas Henttala and Jonny Clarke.

 

Danny Pate (Rally) is also trying to bridge across to the move while it's still close enough to catch.

 

Michal Kolár (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Daniel Eaton (UHC) are also trying to get across.

 

The four riders have extended their lead to 40 seconds. It's now or never if riders want to make it across to this move.

 

The breakaway is now seven riders as Eisel, Kolar and Eaton make it across. That give UHC two riders in this move.

 

Danny Pate did not make it across.

 

The seven riders are: Clarke and Eaton (UHC), Henttala (Novo Nordisk), Kolar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Korsaeth (Astana), Eisel (Dimension Data) and Castillo Soto (Jelly Belly).

 

The gap is coming down to 30 seconds as Trek-Segafredo come to the front of the main field to start a chase.

 

There are no threats to the GC in this move as Henttala is the highest placed at 46:40 down.

 

The main field is still animated at the front and five more riders are attempting to bridge across to the leaders.

 

85km remaining from 125km

The field is back together as the peloton is starting the first climb of the day.

 

They are on the first of three KOM ascents today. Nearing the summit on Mt Emma Rd. This climb is 5km and averages 6%.

 

There is a lot at stake today as the GC is so tight and a handful of riders are looking to either move up or not move down in the overall.

 

1 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 20:16:48
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:35
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 00:00:36
4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:00:45
5 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 00:01:00
6 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:01:54
7 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 00:02:12
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:02:15
9 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data 00:02:20
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 00:03:14
 

 

Yellow jersey George Bennett and runner-up Rafal Majka have attacked on this climb.

 

It's an early move but this is a short stage at only 125km and there are only two climbs left to make a difference in the overall.

 

As Bennett and Majka mark one another, riders nearby continue to attack on Mt. Emma Rd.

 

Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) attacks and two riders tag on; Rob Britton (Rally) and Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data).

 

The three leaders have 15 seconds on the main field as they near the summit.

 

Lachlan Morton will want to redeem himself after a disappointing time trial where he had several mechanicals and bike changes at Big Bear Lake yesterday, which cost him a potential podium place.

 

He started the time trial in fifth overall at 49 seconds down, but dropped to ninth place and lost more than two minutes.

 

Two more riders have joined the breakaway, making it five. 

 

The new additions to the move are David Lopez (Team Sky) and Evan Huffman (Rally).

 

That's right folks, it's Rally duo Britton and Huffman together again!

 

Huffman and Britton were in the stage 4 breakaway and finished one-two. They were also in the stage 5 breakaway and Britton tried to solo on Mt. Baldy but was caught.

 

Little known fact: Britton's nickname is "The Bishop" because he was a high school chess champion.

 

77km remaining from 125km

Huffman took the KOM points at the top of Mt. Emma Rd. ahead of Britton and Edet.

The second KOM is coming up at Angeles Forrest Hwy. It's 3km and averages 6%.

 

Britton is currently wearing the light blue jersey of the Most Courageous rider from stage 5 that summited on Mt. Baldy. The award is much deserved after riding in the all-day break and then trying to solo to the finish line. He was caught by the overall contenders on the slopes of Mt. Baldy.

 

The five leaders are almost at the summit of Angeles Forrest Hwy.

 

Rally rider Sepp Kuss is trying to bridge across to the breakaway along Angeles Forrest Hwy. If he makes it across it will give Rally three riders in the move. 

 

Heck, why not.  Go big or go home!

 

61km remaining from 125km

The breakaway and the main field are 35 seconds apart and both groups are descending off of the Angeles Forrest Hwy climb. We will have the KOM results for you shortly.

 

Lachlan Morton has gone off the front of the breakaway alone and is holding a small lead over the four others.

 

Kuss has been reabsorbed into the field and Janier Acevedo (UHC) is now chasing the breakaway.

 

Morton has decided to sit up, take a drink and wait for Edet, Britton, Huffman and Lopez.

 

Many of the field sprinters were dropped on the first two climbs. The main field is looking very small now. 

 

Acevedo must have decided that he wasn't putting enough of a dent into the main field and he has sat up.

 

The riders will see undulating terrain until they hit the base of the third and final climb over Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd (7.8km/4.6%).

 

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) lost the yellow jersey to George Bennett in yesterday's time trial at Big Bear Lake. He finished a disappointing 22nd in the time trial, and now sits 35 seconds behind Bennett in the overall.

 

He said he needs to work on his time trial ability if he wants to be in contention the overall win.

 

"My legs were not perfect today. I tried everything and pushed as hard as I could, but it was my first ITT of the year, and it just feels different. I still need to do more training on my TT bike because I want to win these races.”

 

Read the full story here.

 

The leaders have pushed their lead out to 1:30, as LottoNL-Jumbo control the gap from the main field behind.

 

52km remaining from 125km

We have the results of the second KOM: Huffman, Britton and Morton.

 

Morton is the highest placed rider in the breakaway at 2:20 behind George Bennett.

 

Marcel Kittel, who was initially dropped on the early climbs, has caught back up to the main field with help from his Quick-Step Floors teammates. He will be one to watch for the win today in Pasadena, if he can make it over the lopes of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon.

 

The peloton is mixed with overall contenders, who want to put pressure on Upper Big Tujunga Canyon to improve overall places, and sprinters, who will want to win the stage in Pasadena.

 

Past winners in Pasadena include George Hincapie (2008), Rinaldo Nocentini (2009), Peter Sagan (2014) and Mark Cavendish (2015). Pasadena was also hosted a stage start in 2010.

 

44km remaining from 125km

The leaders are holding one minute as they make their way up Upper Tujunga Canyon Rd.

 

Current leader George Bennett is sitting in fifth wheel from the dwindled main field. Trek-Segafredo is putting pressure on the field, as is Bora-Hansgrohe and Cannondale-Drapac.

 

The final climb over Upper Tujunga Canyon Rd is one for the overall contenders and they are ramping up the pace for it. 

 

Kittel has again dropped off the back, and as with the other sprinters, he will have to chase to catch back up if he wants to win the day.

 

Lachlan Morton is doing much of the work on the climb. They are 1km to the summit of Upper Tujunga Canyon Rd.

 

He pulls off to let some of the others take a turn. Huffman takes a turn and Morton swings in behind him.

 

The main field is one minute back but the climb is fairly straight and if the leaders look back over their shoulders they will see the bunch behind.

 

39km remaining from 125km

They've posted an average speed of 44km/h on a stage that has 6,400 metres of climbing. There is only about 38km to go and it is all downhill.

 

The results for the third KOM: Huffman, Morton, Britton.

 

Excuse me! 6,400 feet of climbing, not metres. They'd be in the clouds by now!

 

Andrew Talanksy has just launched an attack.

 

The Cannondale-Drapac rider is quickly followed by Majka and Bennett.

 

Andrew Talansky was hoping to move into the overall lead at the time trial in Big Bear Lake. Instead he moved up into third place.

 

He’s only one second away from Majka, who is in second place, and 36 seconds away from current leader Bennett.

 

But it looks like he is heavily marked at the moment.

 

Sam Oomen (Team Subweb) is the next to make a move.

 

Oomen is back in the pack.

Katusha-Alpecin and Quick-Step Floors are pushing the pace.

 

Speaking of Katusha-Alpecin. Two staff members of the team have been suspended and sent home from the Tour of California after they were caught on video dumping their RV’s septic tank in a parking lot at Big Bear Lake after the stage 6 time trial.

 

Not only bad for the race image but also bad for the environment!

 

Read the full story (with video) here.

 

Edet is currently pulling the five-man breakaway.

 

26km remaining from 125km

The breakaway is still holding on to 45 seconds.

 

The main field still has several sprinters in John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors).

 

Peter Sagan is descending like a madman, putting gaps between himself and the rest of the field as they head toward Pasadena.

 

He's had a couple of speed wobbles and is forcing many of us to put out hands over our eyes!

 

17km remaining from 125km

The breakaway is still going strong, holding 40 seconds. But the main field is storming down the descent behind them as they push their way closer toward the finish line.

 

All LottoNL-Jumbo has to do is get Bennett safely to the finish line with the main field and he will have officially won the Tour of California.

 

The main field is quite small but there are still some good sprinters in the mix.

 

There are no finishing circuits today, just a run-in to the finish line.

 

Britton is pulling the breakaway. As we saw in stage 4, his teammate Huffman is quite fast and won that stage from the small breakaway.

 

Bora-Hansgrohe is still pulling the field along trying to close down the gap to the breakaway.

 

7km remaining from 125km

Sepp Kuss, who has been in the breakaway all along, with Britton and Huffman, has just been dropped from the move after massive effort for his team.

 

Britton is now on the front of the breakaway with Huffman on his wheel. There are 6km to go. Only 20-some riders are left in the main field.

 

Trek-Segafredo are sending riders to the front of the main group for their sprinter John Degenkolb. They are rivalled by Bora-Hansgrohe with Peter Sagan.

 

Results of the second sprint: Morton, Edet, Huffman.

 

5km remaining from 125km

5km to go and Morton is dragging the breakaway along the last big straightaway before they hit three final corners before the finish line.

 

2km remaining from 125km

2km to go, Morton is still pulling the breakaway and they are holding on to 30 seconds.

 

Britton moves forward with Lopez on his wheel.

 

Britton winds up the sprint with 1km to go, they are around the first corner.

 

Huffman swings around the corner wide alongside Lopez.

 

Lopez is at the front, Huffman on his wheel and Edet.

Evan Huffman wins his second stage this week!

 

Britton pats Huffman on the back, congratulating him for the stage 7 victory.

As the main field crosses the finish line, George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) puts his arms in the air as the 2017 Tour of California winner.

 

After a disappointing time trial yesterday where he lost his GC placing because of mechanicals, Lachlan Morton was able to salvage the best young rider jersey in Pasadena.

 

Huffman won the day ahead of breakaway riders David Lopez Garcia in second and Nicolas Edet in third.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo surround George Bennett with congratulatory hugs and cheers, particularly Robert Gesink, a former overall winner himself. It was only a matter of time before this young rider would take a big WorldTour stage race victory.

 

Evan Huffman stands on the podium as a stage winner for the second time this week. Great race for this American rider and his Rally team.

 

Stage 7 brief results

 

1 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 2:37:28
2 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky
3 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
4 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data
5 Rob Britton (USA) Rally Cycling
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:22
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
9 Ben King (Can) Dimension Data
10 Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin

 

Final general classification after stage 7


1 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 22:54:38
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:36
4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:45
5 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 0:01:00
6 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team UAE Emirates 0:01:54
7 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data 0:01:55
8 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:12
9 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:15
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:14

 

George Bennett is accepting his brand new Lexus RX!

 

Peter Sagan is on the podium collecting his prize for winning the points classification.

 

Daniel Jaramillo (UHC) steps onto the podium as the winner of the mountain classification.

 

Lachlan Morton is next up to receive awards for winning the young rider classification.

 

The Most Courageous Rider award goes to Evan Huffman, winner of stages 4 and 7. 

 

George Bennett gave fans some parting words following his overall victory at the Amgen Tour of California.

 

"We thought we had this race under control today but then it kicked off. I was under pressure but the team was awesome today. They showed some serious legs. It was a very special day today.

 

"This win is a big stepping stone for me. I wanted to get my hands up in the air and win a race. I hope I take a lot of confidence, backing from the team, and build on this win back in Europe. I want to race in the same manner in Europe against guys like [Alejandro] Valverde and [Chris] Froome."

 

Thank you for following our live of the Amgen Tour of California this week. We hope you enjoyed the coverage.

 

Please join us tomorrow for live coverage of stage 15 at the Giro d'Italia, 199km from Valdengo to Bergamo.

 

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