Liquigas recorded its second win in as many days as Peter Sagan beat Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) to the line in Bakersfield at the end of stage five of the 2010 Tour of California.
The 21-year old Slovakian is the revelation of the 2010 season. He can now add a stage of the Tour of California to double stage wins in Paris-Nice and a stage at the Tour of Romandie.
With time bonuses for the first three places, the battle between Rogers and Zabriskie had GC implications. Zabriskie tried to go from too far out and though the finish was uphill, he was passed by Sagan and also Rogers.
The difference in time between second and third allowed Rogers, who had also gained a two second mid-race time sprint bonus, to assume the overall lead though both he and Zabriskie are now tied on time.
Zabriskie was clearly disappointed to lose the jersey. He indicated at the start of stage 4 in San Jose that the Garmin-Transitions team was ready to defend the lead all the way to the race’s finish on Sunday in West Lake Village. With only three stages remaining and the queen stage tomorrow, HTC-Columbia will most likely ride to keep Rogers in the jersey and let Saturday’s time trial determine the overall winner.
The day began with the allegations from the winner of the inaugural Tour of California, Floyd Landis, that Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and a number of participants in this year’s race had used performance-enhancing drugs. Everyone named denied the allegations, but the mood of the race was definitely down a notch as the peloton left Visalia for the 122-mile trek to Bakersfield.
At mile 13, Armstrong was involved in a huge pile-up and though he remounted, a cut below his left eye began oozing blood forcing the seven-time Tour de France champion to stop and ultimately abandon.
At the local hospital, eight stitches were required to close the cut. Also abandoning due to the crash were Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo Test Team).
Tour of California 2010, stage five: Visalia – Bakersfield, 196km
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
3. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions
4. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack
5. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
6. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia
7. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions
9. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Unitedhealthcare all same time.
Overall classification after stage five
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
2. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions at same time
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack at 10secs
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo at 15secs
5. Marc De Maar (Ned) Unitedhealthcare at 28secs
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions at 31secs
7. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) RadioShack at 31secs
8. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Unitedhealthcare at 31secs
9. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack at 31secs
10. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions at 31secs