HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers withstood an onslaught of attacks at the finale of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday to take the biggest victory in his career. With the whole race split to pieces by the tough climb up from Malibu, Rogers finished safely to retain his overall lead of the race.
“It was a really tough race,” said Rogers. “I knew the last stage of this race wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I didn’t realize it would be that tough. It was obvious early on that Garmin and Radio Shack were going to attack on the fourth lap so we were ready for it. They really stuck it to us and I’m really happy that we could hold on. It was a really tough course.
“This is a very big day for us,” said Rogers. “With HTC-Columbia being an American Team based in California, this race is second only to the Tour de France in importance.
“I’m really happy that I could rely so much on my team this week. It’s amazing what a team can do together when they have the yellow jersey. They really stepped up to the occasion to win this race.
“I made a lot of changes this year with my training and my approach to cycling and winning this Tour is really a very satisfying step for me.”
David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Transitions finished in second place overall for the second consecutive year at 9 seconds behind Rogers, and three-time champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack finished third at 25 seconds behind.
The Amgen Race Leader Jersey was awarded to Rogers. Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Doimo retained the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey. Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 held onto the climbing lead to take the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Popovych claimed Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. With a celebratory champagne fight on the awards stage, Garmin-Transitions claimed the overall team classification.
U.S. national road champion George Hincapie delivered the BMC Racing Team a runner-up finish on the final stage. Hincapie was among seven riders who escaped the field on the second of four trips up the difficult Rock Store climb during the 134 km race. “This stage was brutal,” Hincapie said. “I knew the race was going to be hard. I did everything right. I just didn’t have the legs today.” Hincapie was beaten in the sprint by Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions). Hincapie was one of only 63 finishers (of 128 starters), the lowest in the race’s five-year history.
George Hincapie (BMC)
2nd on the stage
15th in General Classification
7th in Overall Sprint
2nd in Overall King of the Mountain
Chris Butler (BMC)
56th on the stage
41st in General Classification
6th in Overall Best Young Rider
Davide Frattini (Team Type I)
51st on the stage
55th in General Classification
3rd in Overall King of the Mountain