By Nigel Wynn
David Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) won the stage five time trial in the 2012 Tour of California on Thursday to take the overall lead in the race, breaking Peter Sagan's (Liquigas-Cannondale) hold over the general classification after winning four consecutive stages.
'Captain America' Zabriskie swept around the flat 28.7-kilometre course starting and finishing Bakersfield with a time of 35 minutes and 59 seconds to take the win.
Veteran German Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) placed second behind Zabriskie at 23 seconds, with overall hope Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) in third, 34 seconds adrift of Zabriskie.
Sagan came home in 52nd spot, some 3-27 behind Zabriskie to lose the yellow leader's jersey and relinquish all hope of an overall win.
Zabriskie leads the general classification 34 seconds ahead of Van Garderen, with Robert Gesink (Rabobank) in third at 39 seconds.
Defending California champion Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) put in a surprisingly poor performance in the time trial to finish in 32nd spot, 2-50 down on Zabriskie and crucially 2-16 down on GC rival Van Garderen. Horner's former RadioShack team-mate Levi Leipheimer - now with Omega Pharma-QuickStep - fared better in 17th spot, at 1-44.
Horner and Leipheimer now have two full-on mountains stages to claw back time on their rivals, not least during Saturday's mountain-top finish at Mount Baldy which last year saw Horner and Leipheimer crossing the finish line together in hand-holding celebration.
The UCI 2.HC-ranked Tour of California concludes on Sunday, May 20, in Los Angeles.
Tour of California 2012, stage five: Bakersfield to Bakersfield, 29.7km ITT
1. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin--Barracuda in 35-59
2. Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan at 23 secs
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 34 secs
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 39 secs
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 48 secs
6. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 49 secs
7. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank at 52 secs
8. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-01
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 1-07
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) United Healthcare at 1-10
Overall classification after stage five
1. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Barracuda in 20-29-31
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 34 secs
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 39 secs
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 48 secs
5. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 49 secs
6. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-01
7. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 1-07
8. Rory Sutherland (Aus) United Healthcare at 1-10
9. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-26
10. Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 1-29
Stage three: Sagan's California hat-trick
Stage two: Sagan makes it two out of two
Stage one: Sagan wins California opener
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