Category: tour of california 2009

Stage 4: Sprinter’s day to shine

Amgen Tour of California Merced to Clovis

Today’s stage resulted in several riders dropping out, including Oscar Freire, Kim Kirchen and Scott Nydam as they crashed on the hilly roads of the Sierra Nevada mountains. A three man breakaway of Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank), Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing) and Serge Pauwels (Cervelo Test Team) that began before the first KOM worked together to hold the peloton back. The peloton roared through Clovis at better than 30 mph to catch the breakaway within a few short kilometers of the finish.

Cervelo jockeyed to position Thor Hushovd for a win when several sprinters rocketed through the bunched peloton, with Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish going neck and neck across the finish line for a photo finish.

#ATOC photo finish!

UK track champion Mark Cavendish (Colubmia High Road) took the podium by inches today, with Tom Boonen beside him for second place. JJ Haedo took third place, followed by Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar. The GC top five stays unchanged, with Levi Leipheimer retaining the yellow jersey.

Watch for more updates through the evening at Steephill.TV.

Flickr blog features Tour of California

Flickr shows you where you can find many Amgen Tour of California photos.

My photography for this year’s Tour is over, but you can find plenty of good photos at Ken Conley’s website.

Breakaway - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Steve Hill also has photographer Mike Norris covering the tour this year over at Steephill.TV. Mike’s a really nice guy. I first met Mike when he passed by me in Menlo Park last year. You can find Mike’s photos on Flickr here.

If you’re looking for updates on the MASH SF fixed gear team, they’re still riding the course. Josh Kadis is following them and posting updates on their progress on his Twitter feed. The Clif Bar blog is also supposed to be posting updates, though it looks like they’re too busy to post for now.

Finally, I need to give a shout out to Kristian Hansen of, who’s graciously shooting some photos I requested. You can find his photos at

Viking in Modesto: Tour of California

A day of heavy rain, wet roads, strong crosswinds and multiple crashes and a long five man breakaway concluded with Thor Hushovd taking the win today. It was an amazing sprint finish by the entire peloton as they fought for the podium in the final stretch on the drenched roads of Modesto.

Astana - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

The breakaway might have been safe from the peloton if not for Mollema, who was only two and a half minutes behind race leader Levi Leipheimer. This risk that Mollema could take the jersey away from Leipheimer ensured the breakaway’s failure, which was captured and swallowed up by the peloton inside of the city of Modesto.

In spite of the soaking rain, the crowds in Modesto were shoulder to shoulder, shouting enthusiastically and rattling their cowbells. It’s good to see that kind of support for professional cycling in the Central Valley.

Oscar Freire of Rabobank and Mark Renshaw of Columbia followed Hushovd in for their places on the podium today. There’s no change in the GC: Levi Leipheimer retains his yellow jersey for the trip from Merced to Clovis, with Astana still dominating in the top 10 with Lance Armstrong in fourth place and Chris Horner in fifth. Better weather is expected for the rest of this week — Hurray!

Floyd Landis in San Jose Team OUCH
Floyd Landis before the start in San Jose.

San Jose Race Start Tour of California Stage 3
Tyler Hamilton signs an autograph for a young fan in San Jose this morning.

See a great list of links to news, results, photos and video (including Levi’s crash video today) over at Steephill.TV.

Visit Bike World News for Chris Jones’ Diary. Chris Jones is a rider for Team Type 1 — he’s posting daily journal entries to Bike World News.

Ken Conley has uploaded Stage 3 photos to

Props to my buddy Kristian of, who’s taking a couple of photos for me tonight.

2009 Amgen Tour of California viewing times

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 runs from San Jose to Modesto today.

The riders are expected to reach the Sierra Road King of the Mountain (KOM) point about 30 minutes after their noontime start in downtown San Jose. They’ll reach Patterson Pass at about 2 PM, reach Tracy sometime between 2:30 PM and 3 PM, and reach Modesto sometime after 3:40 PM with the finish 10 to 15 minutes later.

Viewing suggestions:

  • Downtown San Jose. The neutral start parade laps around downtown San Jose are a crowd pleaser and ensure several good chances of seeing the racers pass by. They start on Almaden at San Fernando, turn right on Santa Clara, right on Market, left on Park, then back to Almaden to the start line.

    Downtown San Jose Tour of California Stage 3 Start

  • Sierra Road Sierra Road is closed to auto traffic, but if you start early enough you can ride your bike up their for viewing along this hill climb. They’re going uphill early in the race so you probably won’t see a lot of drama, but it’s an excellent chance to see the cyclists as they pass by.
  • Patterson Pass Another good location is anywhere on the uphill side of Patterson Pass Road east of Livermore. You probably don’t want to watch on the downhill — they zip by so fast that you’ll miss them even if you don’t blink.
  • Central Valley towns If you live in the Central Valley cities and towns that the peloton travels through, those are always good places to catch them.
  • Modesto finish line Find a good spot out of the rain to wait for the racers to arrive. The peloton comes into Modesto on Kansas Avenue. They’ll cut left on College, right on Coldwell, right on Sycamore, left on Needham, right on 16th and right on I for the circuit. The racers will do ride two laps around central Modesto before finishing at I and 12th.

Stage 2: Rain and Shine

The Amgen Tour of California traveled down the California coast and through the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains in constant drenching rain that Levi Leipheimer likened to an all day cold shower.

Levi Leipheimer and Tom Peterson
Tom Peterson on the left passes Levi Leipheimer in the final straightaway for the win.

Fans lined the roads all through Santa Cruz County in spite of the heavy rain and a mudslide that briefly closed Highway 17. Santa Cruz favorite Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) said he was very pleased to see the local turnout.

As the cyclists approached the city of Santa Cruz, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on the fans and the race. A breakaway of Tom Peterson (Garmin-Chipotle) and Levi Leipheimer (Astana) raced through town as cowbells clanged, with Levi leading and Tom Peterson sucking on Levi’s wheel until they were about 50 yards from the finish line, when Tom zipped to the side and pulled away For The Win.

Tom Peterson

Levi’s second place finish on the heels of Peterson earned him the Yellow Jersey, which he intends to hold on to through Escondido.

Levi Leipheimer Yellow Jersey

Michael Rogers of Team Columbia-High Road rounded out the podium for third place.

The blue and gold of Astana dominates in the GC rankings, with Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong (!) in fourth place, and Chris Horner in fifth. Michael Rogers is in second, while Dave Zabriskie (Garmin Slipstream) is in third place overall. My vote is for Levi but these are all very strong riders.

In last place today was Phil Southerland of Team Type 1. I talked with Phil last year and I’m really impressed with his effort, especially because he has Type 1 Diabetes. Major props to Phil for what he’s doing!

DNF’s today are Kirk O’Bee (Bissell), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1), Jonathan Clarke (Fly V Austalia/Successful Living), Scott Davis (Fly V Austalia/Successful Living). I don’t know about the others, but Andy Jacques-Maynes — Ben Jacques-Maynes’ brother — crashed and reportedly hit a parked car. He was transported to a Santa Cruz hospital but he’s doing fine.

View more photos from today’s stage in my Tour of California Stage 2 set. I’m still uploading them as of 7:30 PM so give it some time, please! I appreciate any and all comments and questions.

Tomorrow: San Jose to Modesto.