The Amgen Tour of California came to an end last weekend with American Tejay van Garderen claiming the top step of the podium in Santa Rosa, earning his first major stage race victory. Van Garderen sealed his success with an emphatic win at the stage 6 time trial in San Jose. The course had a little of everything – flats, rollers, technical descents, brutal headwinds and a ridiculous climb up Metcalf Road to finish things off. The hill was so steep many riders opted to switch from a TT bike to a lighter weight road bike at the base of the climb. Here’s a look at a few images we captured to give you a taste of the action.
I was lucky enough to ride in the team car following NetApp Endura rider Leopold König. He switched from his Fuji Norcom Straight TT bike to an Altamira for the climb. The handoff was perfect. König rode to eighth place on the stage and won the seventh stage the next day that finished atop Mt. Diablo.
Here’s the view from inside the team car as König caught two riders who started before him. He blew their doors off as he swooped by.
Dave Zabriskie’s custom painted Cervélo P5 was lonely in the Garmin Sharp team car. Zabriskie crashed while warming up for the stage and was unable to start.
Lieuwe Westra of the Vaconsoleil-DCM team rode phenomenally, taking second on the day just 22 seconds down of van Garderen. Westra won the first stage of the race with a late attack that caught the field off guard. He worked with his team’s mechanics for several minutes to get his headset dialed in.
Former world champ Thor Hushovd of the BMC Racing Team warming up.
Chad Haga from the Optum presented by Kelley Benefit Strategies team was a pre-race favorite. According to his calculations, the weight savings of a rode bike vs. a TT bike would save him about 14 seconds up the climb. He finished further back than he was hoping in 20th place. In the photo below, he’s adjusting his helmet’s earpiece.
If you are afraid of clowns, don’t look at the image below. All kinds of crazies lined the serpentine climb up Metcalf Road to cheer on the riders.