ToCal St2: For Cyclists, Summits Are Epic.
Legends are created atop summits. We assault them. We fear them. We never forget their name once we’ve conquered them. Summits are nothing short of the reason we cycle – to reach the top. Today’s second stage of the Amgen Tour of California was nothing short of epic.
Anxious crowds await atop Sierra Road summit.
– By Tom McManners of Discover Adventures
Billed as one of the toughest stages of the Tour, it delivered in spades. Cyclists of all types including local teams, mountain bike riders, riders in blue jeans and the pro peloton climbed 2,000 feet (just over 3 miles long) to the KOM atop Sierra Road.
George leads the chase over the summit before the 20k descent into San Jose.
Greeting everyone that completed the journey to the summit was a beautiful angel that blew tantalizing kisses to the racers as they reached the top (and some of the racers blew kisses back!). Inspired by the angel, local fan Scott Lemke of San Ramon shared “I’m trying to win a trip to heaven” as he ogled at the goddess.
Good example of ‘gorilla’ marketing by the boys at Health Net, can you say “Look ma I’m on TV!”.
The race wasn’t decided at the top today, but a small group of the strongest riders regrouped on the 20k descent into San Jose where George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) out-sprinted Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto) and the rest of the breakaway studs to capture the victory. Even though Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) finished fourth with the same time as Hincapie, the victor garnished time bonuses that catapulted him into the leader’s jersey heading into tomorrow’s ever important individual time trial. The quote of the day came from George after being asked if it is scary going those speeds on the descent that followed the Sierra Road KOM, and he stated both assuredly and matter of factly, “I don’t get scared descending.”
Two of the more stylishly dressed fans along the climb.
[Ed. Note: that’s the first time I’ve seen a fan wearing one of our jerseys… very cool.]
In post-race interviews, both Hincapie and Horner expressed their amazement at the fans that adorned the climb, but also along the roads the entire way. Elated fans, including Pez-adorned cyclists and the devil himself made this summit feel like Mont Ventoux during a Tour de France. There were only two ways to the top of this Category 1 climb today, cycling and walking. No cars were allowed, so only the true-blue cycling fans mustered the challenge to witness the best international contingency of pro’s the US as ever seen in an American stage race reach the top. 90% of the roadside cycling fans today road their bikes all the way up. Awesome!
Heaven feels so close you can almost … touch it.
In the spirit of domestic cycling in this post-Lance era, today clearly unveiled how cycling starved this country is and how important a race like the Amgen Tour of California is toward keeping the cycling flame lit. Thanks to everyone that made today’s summit unforgettable.
Results Tour of California Stage 2
1. George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 4.01.26
2. Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto
3. Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Davitamon-Lotto
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner
5. Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
7. Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
9. David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC
10. Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Credit Agricole
GC After Stage 2
1. George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 7.20.28
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.04
3. Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 0.09
4. Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.10
5. David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.13
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.16
7. Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 0.19
8. Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.21
9. Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC
10. Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel 0.22
PezCycling’s Tour of California reports are filed in partnership with Discover Adventures Cycling Tours: Check their website to enter to win a trip to the Tour de Georgia.