Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California
Good morning from the Tour of California! It's a windy one en route to Ventura today, so there might be some good echelon action today.
It's another 200+km stage today, the last of four in a row before the short, tought stage up to Mt. Baldy on Friday and the short sprinter's delight in Pasadena on Saturday.
The overall classification still stands with Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the top.
Yesterday's decision by the race jury to award van Garderen and Gianni Moscon (Ineos) the same time as the stage winner Fabio Jakobsen was quite controversial, and harkens back to the 2007 edition when Levi Leipheimer was kept in the race lead, denying fellow American Ben Jacques-Maynes a chance to wear the leader's jersey.
If you missed it, van Garderen crashed and was chasing back on when he came upon a blockade of riders who had just crashed outside the 3km to go mark.
All the riders caught up in the melee were awarded the same time, despite it being outside the zone protected under UCI rules.
Had that decision not been made, Kasper Asgreen would be in yellow, and his team manager Patrick Lefevere was fuming and called the UCI commissaires "incompetent".
GC After stage 4
1 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First 21:16:50
2 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos 0:00:06
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:07
4 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:16
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:22
6 Rob Britton (Can) Rally UHC Cycling 0:00:33
7 Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
8 David de la Cruz (Spa) Team Ineos 0:00:34
9 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:36
Back in 2007, Leipheimer was involved in a crash with 9.4km to go on the stage in his home town of Santa Rosa. He made it back to a second group, behind a split from the front group where Jacques-Maynes was. Instead of docking Leipheimer the gap of a handful of seconds that would put Ben in the jersey, the judges nullified the gap between the two groups.
Back to the present day, the peloton have departed Pismo Beach for some neutral kilometres. There are some tired legs in the bunch and they've got five climbs today, including the category 1 over San Marcos Pass.
On the route today:
Sprint 1 - Orcutt, km. 40
Foxen Canyon Rd (Cat. 3), km. 80.4
Foxen Canyon Rd (Cat. 3), km. 88.5
San Marcos Pass Rd (Cat. 1), km. 128.4
Casitas Pass Rd (Cat. 2) km. 180.5
Casitas Pass Rd (Cat. 3), km. 184.6
Sprint 2, Ventura, km. 214.5
@itmofnw Thu, 16th May 2019 17:15:05
The battle for the KOM jersey should be a good one today, with Alex Hoehn (USA Cycling) leading with 31, one point over Deceuninck's Rémi Cavagna, with Davide Ballerini (Astana) on 29.
Expect to see one of those riders in the breakaway today, as there are 22 points on the road on today's stage. The jersey could also go to Michael Hernandez (USA Cycling) if he has anything left in his legs after an aggressive first few stages, or EF's Lachlan Morton, who have 13 points, or even Lawson Craddock who has 10.
We've also got the first stage of the Amgen Women's Race today, which starts in Ventura at 12:10 PDT.
200km remaining from 219km
It's a fast start to the stage, and the battle to get into the breakaway has been intense, but still no word on any successful groups.
Cyclingnews' Pat Malach has been the lucky one, having survived a night at the Sundown hotel in Morro Bay, to grill riders for their opinions on yesterday's jury decision.
Kasper Asgreen, the one who lost the most in the move, just smiled and said “I have no comment about that”.
Four riders did not start today's stage, including Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), who suffered a wrist fracture. Also out are David de la Cruz (Ineos), Timo Roosen (Jumbo-Visma), and Tyler Stites (USA)
187km remaining from 219km
There is a big group of riders out the back of the peloton, likely due to some crosswinds at the moment. Still no breakaway in the first 32k, which means the pace is hot.
179km remaining from 219km
Looks like Kasper Asgreen is keen to get into the yellow jersey. Deceuninck kept the race together for the sprint, and he took the three bonus seconds, which could be important down the road.
EF Education First were powerless to stop him with lead-out expert Max Richeze at the helm.
Sprint 1 - Orcutt:
1. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 3s
2. Max Richeze (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 2s.
3. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) 1s.
Now that the sprint is behind, look for a breakaway to have a shot.
@TeamINEOS Thu, 16th May 2019 17:52:39
171km remaining from 219km
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looks like he wants another stage - he's attacked with a few others.
@iamdlax Thu, 16th May 2019 17:26:13
There won't be any breaking away for Michael Hernandez, who is fighting to keep in contact with the bunch, according to the race tracker.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 16th May 2019 17:58:27
The peloton seem to want to get this longest stage over with quickly, as they've been motoring along at over 50kph in the first hour.
At the moment, the peloton are way ahead of the quickest predicted schedule, but expect that to come down as they hit the hills.
Looks like we have a breakaway! Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma) is away with Davide Ballerini (Astana) - who wants that mountains jersey - and Michael Schär (CCC) with Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) rounding out the move.
164km remaining from 219km
The quartet have just under a minute. It's a strong group of riders, but Cavagna or Hoehn are worried about the KOM jersey...
The gap wasn't big enough to prevent a bunch more riders coming across. It's now 10 at the front with Hoehn chasing with Sunweb's Cees Bol.
154km remaining from 219km
The breakaway is now:
Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Neilson Powless (Team Jumbo-Visma), Michael Schär (CCC Team), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Brandon McNulty (Rally UHC Cycling), Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Lennard Hofstede (Team Jumbo-Visma), Leonardo Basso (Team Ineos)
They have 1:40 on the bunch.
Helped along by a tailwind, the breakaway is cruising along at a solid clip, with Hoehn and Bol getting a little closer. They've made the turn into Foxen Canyon, but there are still 20km before the first climb.
Over in the Giro d'Italia, overnight race leader Primoz Roglic had a crash that looked worse than it was, but decided to give the breakaway ample room to take over the maglia rosa.
150km remaining from 219km
The two chasers made it across, making it an even dozen riders out front, with Schär the best-placed on GC at 1:41. Now that the gap has gone out, the CCC rider is in the maillot jaune virtuel...
This stage, at 219km, is the longest stage in the Tour of California's history. This year's race is also the only year there have been multiple 200+km stages, and they've really ratcheted it up - with four in a row. Pretty unheard of!
The women's race was moved up to make sure they can finish well in time before the men come into town. The men are just flying out there - 80km done in 1:45.
@FakieFrankie Thu, 16th May 2019 18:43:47
The men are more than 30 minutes ahead of the fastest predicted schedule, and organisers are afraid they'll run into the women's race. The women's finish is scheduled for 2:56pm local time, with the men coming in at 3:43pm. But at their current clip, they're on track to finish just minutes after the women.
The battle for the KOM jersey is on! Ballerini took the first sprint on Foxen Canyon Rd ahead of Hoehn to tie up on points. Schar was third. There's another climb just ahead.
Oh dear, Hoehn has slipped out of the jersey virtually as Ballerini takes KOM 2 ahead of him, with Sagan in third.
Down in Ventura, the women have departed for a fast 95km stage. Check out the race start in this tweet.
126km remaining from 219km
The men, now 45 minutes ahead of schedule, might be slowed down a little by the next climb, a 5.5km-long category 1 ascent that begins at km 123.
@JonoCoulter Thu, 16th May 2019 19:07:45
But, before they get to the cat 1 climb, the breakaway grab some lunch in the feed zone to fuel up. The gap is holding steady around 2:30.
A little bit about the riders in our breakaway today: we all know Peter Sagan, of course. He's leading the points classification, and holds the record for most stage wins in the race at 17, most days in green at 40 and most green jerseys won at seven.
Also, yes, three-time world champion, winner of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, 11 Tour de France stages and six green jerseys there. The Slovakian champion is also a past Tour of California overall winner (2015).
Ballerini is 24, and no stranger to chasing mountains classifications, having won the jersey in Tirrreno-Adriatico in 2017. He's in his first WorldTour season after leaving Androni for Astana.
Toms Skujins is a fan-favourite, having won stages in emphatic fashion in Tour of California in 2015, 2016 and 2018. He had a pretty fabulous victory salute at Laguna Seca last year.
Neilson Powless is another rider to come out of Axel Merckx's programme, following Skujins into the WorldTour. He was the best young rider in the Tour of California in 2016 and 9th overall.
We're hearing reports of some rain out on course. It's been a very wet year for California.
32-year-old Swiss rider Michael Schär is a loyal domestique who's raced the Tour of California each year since 2013. He's won a stage in the Tour of Utah and the Swiss nationals.
Basso (no relation to Ivan) is in his third year with Ineos/Sky after turning pro with the team. He's racing here for the first time.
Hofstede turned pro in 2017 with Sunweb after winning the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour (2016) with the Rabobank devo team, and moved to Jumbo-Visma in 2018.
Another Axel Merckx prodigy is Jasper Philipsen, who turned pro with UAE this year and immediately won a stage in the Tour Down Under. He won a stage of the Tour of Utah and the U23 Giro d'Italia in 2017 and 2018. He came close to victory on stage 4.
Over in the Women's Race, Lindsay Goldman (Hagens Berman-Supermint) is off the front with about 15 seconds on the peloton.
Also in our move is Brandon McNulty - one of our five riders to watch. Unfortunately he fell ill after winning the Giro di Sardinia and came to California lacking a little. Today could suit him, however.
That leaves us with Tim Declercq, Quickstep's powerhouse domestique who spends most of his time with his nose in the wind, pulling for his teammates. He hasn't won a pro race yet at age 30, but is a valuable member of the Belgian squad.
Neo-pro Cees Bol (Sunweb) made himself known with a sprint victory in Knokere Koerse, a result overshadowed by a bad crash from Mathieu van der Poel.
And Alex Hoehn, our mountains leader was third overall and best young rider at the Joe Martin stage race, and fourth in the Tour of the Gila. He's also the current U23 national champion.
95km remaining from 219km
The leaders are making their way up San Marcos pass, with the gap to the peloton falling to 1:50.
The leaders are inexplicably an hour ahead of the slowest schedule for the stage, and still more than 30 minutes ahead of the fastest. They're still averaging over 42kph even with the climbs.
If they don't slow down, the women will finish about 15 minutes ahead of the men if we are lucky. They unfortunately are racing into the headwind, while the men have the wind at their backs.
Looks like Hoehn is struggling on the climb, chances for keeping the polka dot jersey are not looking good for the USA Cycling rider.
92km remaining from 219km
Matteo Badilatti (Israel Cycling Academy) has attacked out of the peloton to try and make it to the breakaway.
We just learned that Badilatti made it across on the climb and then proceeded to out-sprint Ballerini for the maximum points.
That furious chase is hurting Badilatti on the descent, and he has to scramble to get back on.
85km remaining from 219km
The wind and the descent mean super high speeds for both peloton and breakaway, and there are gaps opening up as the Bahrain-Merida team pour on the pressure.
Hoehn is still in no-man's land behind the breakaway, while up ahead Sagan is driving the pace on the descent in his characteristic aero tuck.
Op looks like Hoehn was just caught and went straight through the peloton.
There's been a crash in the women's race, with Joscelin Lowndes (Drops) and Laura Asencio (WNT) going down. 58km to go for them with Goldman holding 1:30 on the bunch.
It's so breezy at the finish, they're having to dissemble some of the infrastructure.
The women's speed has gone down to an average of 31kph, with the men still at 44.3kph.
This is so dicey! If the women don't speed up, and the men stay the same, the women's race will finish only seven minutes ahead of the men.
Fortunately, the women now have the benefit of that strong tailwind and seem to be picking up the pace. Goldman's lead is down to 20 seconds.
EF Education First are pulling steadily at the front of the peloton bringing the leaders back to 2:15.
Zdenek Stybar is doing bottle duty at the Quickstep car, loading up his jersey with drinks to bring to his teammates.
Oh dear, this is looking bad. The predicted time between men's and women's finish if all stays the same is only two minutes...
Michael Hernandez (USA Cycling) is being distanced from the peloton. Being off the front for a few 200+km stages is really rough on a young rider.
This could be a situation like Het Nieuwsblad this year where the women were stopped to let the men go by.
Running concurrent races is tricky business.
The men are going so hard they are spitting riders out the back left and right.
66km remaining from 219km
Right now the men's field are in a sheltered area that is quite hilly but not any classified climbs.
There is a gruppetto forming behind the bunch with riders like Reijnen, Walscheide, Hoehn, Garrison.
The women's peloton is all back together, and they're turned back into the tailwind section, but this has got to be giving the organisers ulcers.
We use this calculator to determine time to finish, and the race organisations' average speed.
The combined men's and women's races are a big boost for the women, but can also cause other unexpected headaches. ASO, who help organise Tour of California, are refusing to televise Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege women's races, despite UCI Women's WorldTour rules.
They may not be able to be WorldTour in 2020, you can read all about it with reactions from Anna van der Breggen, Ina Teutenberg and more here.
61km remaining from 219km
The gap to the breakaway is beginning to tumble, with Schär finally out of the maillot jaune virtuel, with only 1:35 on the field.
There's been a slight easing of pace, and Hoehn has managed to catch back onto the peloton. At the back, Stybar had a puncture and is having to chase back on. Luckily he'd already given away all those bottles.
Thanks to the easing in the men's race and the women catching the tailwind, the expected gap between the races is now 9 minutes! Phew.
The women are starting up the final two climbs at Casitas Pass.
There is no underestimating how hard this edition of the Tour of California has been. Just imagine three stages over 200km, with numerous climbs and high mountains, then a fast, furious tailwind stage? There is certainly some zaps of pain going through the legs of the riders.
One rider who doesn't look pained is Peter Sagan, who is pulling through smoothly in the green jersey.
It seems Badilatti is now the best-placed since he bridged across, and he's now maillot jaune virtuel. At 1:26 from Van Garderen this morning, he now has 20 seconds in hand.
There are some really tricky turns on this course.
If this breakaway sticks, it will be a fun sprint between Sagan, Philipsen, Bol and even Skujins. Who's your pick? Tweet at us @cyclingnewsfeed.
The peloton get through a tricky left-hander safely, but the whiplash effect at the back is brutal, and Hoehn finds himself having to chase again.
Up ahead, Sagan has a chat with his team car.
The leaders are now only 18 minutes ahead of the fastest schedule, and area heading toward Casitas Pass. The sun is out, by the way, and has been for a while. It must have been a passing shower earlier.
Over in the women's race, the peloton has split on the final climb, where Astana's Bianca Moreno took the top points. They're over all of the hills for today, while the men are about 10km behind them.
Philipsen, Powless and McNulty have a little gap as they pull through in the breakaway. Badilatti has to close it down.
44km remaining from 219km
The leaders are still keeping that gap of 1:40 over the peloton, with two climbs coming soon, the cat 2 and cat 3 on Casitas Pass Road.
Over in the women's race, Olympic silver medalist Olga Zabelinskaya has attacked with 27.5km to go.
The gruppetto is back on the back of the peloton, with Nacer Bouhanni, Kiel Reijnen and the rest. Trek-Segafredo are now coming forward to help Bahrain-Merida and EF Education First.
Good news for the women, the hills and the distance are slowing down the men enough that they should finish about 15 minutes apart. Good thinking by the race organiser to do an early start!
The breakaway are sticking together on this category 2 ascent, it's a fairly gradual one and with the tailwind a bit easier than usual for the classification.
Ballerini takes the max points.
Cavendish is in a small group out the back with a teammate and two other riders.
In the women's race, Zabelinskaya has a full 1:30 on the field with 20km to go. She was second to Kristin Armstrong in the Olympic time trial, and is a very good time trialist.
Casitas Pass (Cat. 2)
1. Davide Ballerini
2. Neilson Powless
3. Brandon McNulty
4. Jasper Philipsen
Sagan goes to the front for a nice steady pull, then McNulty takes over. Their pace is a bit more languid than that of the peloton.
The leaders approach the final KOM, and the team cars are being pulled from the gap behind them.
Bit of an attack from Skujins, who senses the lull. He's marked by McNulty and Philipsen and of course, Ballerini.
Sagan also marked the move, while Badilatti, the two Jumbo riders, Bol and Basso are dropped.
Badilatti just wasn't paying attention and is fighting his way back on terms.
The breakaway should come back together on the descent. It's so fast they are all having to get very aero to even keep the gap steady.
Hearing reports that the men are two miles behind the women's broom wagon.
32km remaining from 219km
1km to the final KOM for the field, as the gap comes down to 1:25.
The 'official' climbs might be over, but the road still tilts up again for the leaders. They're all back together. Apologies for Hoehn being in our race situation as a breakaway rider, he was dropped a long time ago but a technical glitch is preventing us removing him from that group.
Badilatti made it back to the lead group, still heading over undulating terrain with about 30km left to go. The wind is whipping furiously in this more exposed stretch.
In the women's race, about 12km to go for Zabelinskaya, who is still holding 1:05 on her peloton.
There are 17km separating the front of the races, but the women's peloton blew apart on the climbs.
Daniel Ostanek here, taking over the finale of both races.
Zabelinskaya has hit the final 10km. She has an advantage of 55 seconds.
Meanwhile, there's still 1:25 separating the break and peloton in the men's race. They're 24km from the finish.
Hagens Berman-Supermint rider Lindsay Goldman wins the most courageous rider in the women's race. 6km to go there, and Zabelinskaya's lead is down to 50 seconds.
Matteo Badilatti (Israel Cycling Academy) wins the most courageous rider in the men's stage.
The team cars have been taken out of the gap, and the peloton are just 40 seconds behind the break now. Bahrain-Merida lead the peloton.
Zabelinskaya is haemorrhaging time now. She's 30 seconds up on the chasers with 5.5km to race.
Just 30 seconds between the break and peloton now.
Zabelinskaya has been caught now. Attacks are flying, and Kasia Niewiadoma has a mechanical problem. Bad timing for her.
Anna van der Breggen is on the attack now. She's flying downhill and has a 20 second gap on the chasers already. 3km to go for the women.
17km remaining from 219km
Tim Declercq is on the attack in the men's race. He's leaving the break behind on a downhill section.
He's got a decent gap.
Van der Breggen has turned into the headwind along the coast. It's her versus a chase group of around 15 riders.
Van der Breggen hits the flamme rouge!
Van der Breggen solos to the line. She's won the opening stage of the Women's Tour of California!
A small group crosses the line shortly afterwards.
12km remaining from 219km
And we're back to Tim Declercq, pushing on alone.
Van der Breggen wins stage 1 of the Women's Tour of California. Stand by for full report and results here.
9km remaining from 219km
The peloton are right behind the remnants of the break now.
8km remaining from 219km
The break did put up a fight, but they've been caught now.
7km remaining from 219km
Just Declercq up the road now. He's about to hit the unclassified climb to the final intermediate sprint of the stage.
Declercq is about 15 seconds ahead of the peloton.
The peloton can see Declercq on the unclassified climb. Ineos lead the way.
Declercq's teammate Zdenek Stybar launches!
Stybar launched after Declercq was caught. EF's Higuita launches with George Bennett on his wheel.
3km remaining from 219km
Higuita and Bennett lead it over the top. The peloton has been blown apart by these attacks.
The duo fly down the steep descent now.
Bennett and Higuita don't have much of an advantage, but then again there's not much road to go. There's a headwind on the closing straight, mind.
Groups are scattered down the road behind them.
Only around 5-6 riders in the next chase group on the road.
Schachmann, Moscon and a few others catch the lead duo. A larger group is coming up behind too.
There are around 20 men up front.
2km remaining from 219km
A slowing in the pace after the regrouping. More attacks fly.
The headwind is discouraging attacks.
1km remaining from 219km
The lead group reach the home straight, riding into the headwind.
Ivan Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) takes the win! Just reward after their work to catch the break earlier on.
Richeze opened up the sprint, but it was Cortina on his wheel, not a QuickStep rider. It looked like Higuita took third behind Cortina and Richeze.
Here's the latest news story from California. After the decision to reinstate Tejay van Garderen to the race lead yesterday, controversy still swirls, with other teams angry about the jury's choice. Read the full story here.
Here's the top ten on the stage.
1 Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 4:56:11
2 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First
4 Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb
5 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Team
8 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
10 Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
General classification after stage 5
1 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First 26:13:01
2 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:04
3 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos 0:00:06
4 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:16
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:22
6 Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First 0:00:28
7 Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:33
8 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:34
9 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:00:36
And here's the top ten for the Women's Tour of California stage 1
1 Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 2:36:17
2 Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling 0:00:18
3 Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women's Team
4 Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women
5 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv
6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
7 Emma White (USA) Rally UHC Cycling Women
8 Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo Women
9 Brodie Chapman (Aus) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:00:20
10 Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
Thankfully, no polemica from today's stage to keep us going for hours afterwards.
That's the first pro win for Ivan Garcia Cortina, by the way. He's been a pro since 2017, and was a stagiaire for QuickStep in late 2016.
Not quite four in a row for the Belgian team, then.
Stay tuned here for our full report and results from stage 5 of the Tour of California.
The general classification has remained the same, save for Asgreen moving ahead of Moscon after snagging some bonus points.
Further down, Rob Britton is the main casualty of the stage. He lost 24 seconds and 12 places, while Sergio Higuita jumped up five places thanks to bonus seconds for third place.
Asgreen takes over the points classification lead from Peter Sagan after his fifth place.
Tadej Pogacar keeps hold of the youth classification jersey, while EF Education First are still top team.
Davide Ballerini retakes the KOM jersey after his day in the break. He leads Alex Hoehn by 16 points now.
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