Friday, May 18, 2012

WN Fast Freddie takes time out of Sagan!

As expected, today’s individual time trial blew up the leader board at the Amgen Tour of California. After four straight days of Liquigas’ Peter Sagan’s dominating sprint finishes, an individual time trial was just what the doctor ordered to shake things up a bit.

American TT champion David Zabriskie of Garmin-Barricuda flew over the 18.4 miles of Stage 5, averaging over 30 miles per hour and finishing in 35:59. Zabriskie powered through Bakersfield’s 101 degree heat as he tackled the long, mostly flat course with a couple of hard climbs at the finish. Germany’s Jens Voigt, a crowd favorite from RadioShack Nissan-Trek, came in second, 23 seconds behind Zabriskie. American Tejay VanGarderen from BMC Racing, came in third place, 34 seconds off Zabriskie's pace.

Zabriskie’s effort ended Sagan’s four-day reign in the yellow jersey. Zabriskie gained 2:47 on Sagan as a result, dropping him to 31st place overall. Team Exergy’s sprinter Fred Rodriguez also gained time on Sagan. Freddie put in an outstanding ride and came in 30th on the day and now sits in 25th place overall, 2:13 off the lead.

Tomorrow the boys ride 115 miles from Palmdale to Big Bear racking up more than 10,000 feet of climbing along the way. Two of the four KOMs top the 7,000 elevation mark. Possible morning winds could add to the difficulty, long before the climbs begin.

And if hard climbs and high winds aren’t enough to test the peloton, defending ATOC champion Chris Horner (RadioShack) sits 2:50 seconds down in the standings after today’s TT and could very well be on the attack as he looks to realign the leader board. Pre-race favorite Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), who needs 1:52 to take over the yellow, might also be on the lookout to gain some time with attacks.

The Exergy hounds are ready to get on trail, as WN Fast Freddie put it, looks like Exergy country! I recon so! The first part of a battle is to WN before you even get there!

Stage 6 begins at 10:25 a.m. MDT. Live coverage begins on NBC Sports Channel at 2 p.m. MDT.

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