The Seaside to SLO leg follows the scenic California Central Coast, but the riders in stage 4 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California enjoyed none of the views as they slogged through dreary, cold rain and constant headwinds, keeping the pace under 20 mph for much of today’s long stage. The racers finally finished after over seven hours on the road, well after the anticipated 4 p.m. finish time.
A break that eventually consisted of Edward King (Bissell), Roman Kilun (Health Net p/b Maxxis), Dominique Rollin (Toyota – United), Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), George Hincapie (High Road) and Iker Camano Ortuzar (Saunier Duval-Scott) moved ahead of the peloton. Rollins attacked beginning about 45 minutes from the end, pulling away from the breakaway as Hincapie and Camano work to reel him in. Rollins, a continental team rider, managed to hold off two seasoned Euro pros and took the stage win today has he went solo across the finish line 18 seconds ahead of Hincapie and Camano.
Team High Road got three of the top five spots as Gerald Ciolek and Mark Cavendish came in fourth and fifth place. I’m certain the cyclists are glad today’s stage is over.
It was painful watching today’s stage — I could almost feel the discomfort as they rode through the miserable rain and their soggy kit clinged to their arms. The stomach bug that took Tyler Farrar out yesterday apparently hit several other riders, mechanics and support staff, making the long ride even longer and more miserable for them. Several cyclists dropped out.
Levi retains the yellow jersey going into Stage 5 on Friday. His team protected his yellow jersey and apparently held back just a little when they didn’t attack the breakaway and finishing over 2 minutes behind the leaders, probably to save their legs for the 15 mile individual time trial in Solvang. Still, Thursday was brutal for all of the cyclists and Friday is supposed to be another windy day so Stage 5 should be interesting to see.
I’ll grab some quotes from the riders and update this post later tonight. I’m sure there will be some good ones so check back here at Cyclelicious for the updates.
Photo Credits: Dominique Rollin Win by Ken Conley; Wet Astana Peloton captured from Amgen Tour of California Adobe Tour Tracker video stream; Rollin Podium my Ken Conley.