Before the start of stage six of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California on Friday, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) had managed to defend his overall lead in the race since winning stage three.

Going into the key individual time trial stage in Folsom, there was a question mark over whether the Frenchman could do enough to keep the likes of noted time triallists Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) at bay.

The short, flat 20.3-kilometre route threw up some very fast times from the off, with British rider Owain Doull (Team Wiggins) and American Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) two riders to spend an extended time in the hot seat.

>>> Tour of California 2016: Latest news, reports and info

In fact, Phinney’s time was only eventually bettered by stage winner Dennis and Talansky. However, no rider could do enough to overthrow Alaphilippe who finished the stage in eighth spot to retain the race lead.

Disaster struck former Tour of California winner and time trial world champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) when one of his aerobar extensions came off, and he rolled to the finish.

>>> Rohan Dennis wins Tour of California time trial as Julian Alaphilippe retains overall lead

Alaphilippe and his Etixx-QuickStep team must now navigate the final hilly stage on Saturday to ensure that the win is secured in Sacramento on Sunday. They will be most wary of the massed ranks of BMC Racing, whose Dennis and Brent Bookwalter are within 16 and 38 seconds of Alaphilippe respectively.