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American David Zabriskie won the Stage 5 Time Trial in the Amgen Tour of California and, with his performance, took over the top spot in the standings.
Zabriskie won the stage with a time of 35:39, which was much better than previous leader Peter Sagan's 39:26. As a result, Zabriskie took the overall lead and will assume the leader's jersey heading into Stage 6.
Lawson Craddock was the top performer for the Austin-based Bontrager-LIVESTRONG team, coming in 12th place at 1:30 behind Zabriskie. Nathan Brown in 19th place (+1:49) was the only other member of the team to finish in the top 50.
Here are the provisional general classification standings after Stage 5:
1) Dave Zabriskie (GRM) - 20:29:31
2) Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) - -:34
3) Robert Gesink (RAB) - :39
4) Andrew Talansky (GRM) - :48
5) Peter Velits (OPQ) - :49
6) Luke Durbridge (OGE) - 1:01
7) Tom Danielson (GRM) - 1:07
8) Rory Sutherland (UHC) - 1:10
9) Cameron Meyer (OGE) - 1:26
10) Markel Irizar (RNT) - 1:29
Another stage, another win for Peter Sagan at the 2012 Tour of California.
Sagan, who won the first three stages of the race, won again on Wednesday, finishing in first-place in Stage 4. Sagan needed a last-minute burst to claim the victory, but was able to come out on top in yet another stage.
With the win, Sagan earns another 10-second time bonus.
Heinrich Haussler is currently in second place, trailing only Sagan. Sagan is ahead of Haussler by 16 seconds, and is ahead of third-place Jeff Louder by 34 seconds in the general classification.
On Thursday, cyclists will be faced with a grueling time trial in Bakersfield, California. It will be an 18.4 mile individual time trial course that includes over 1,400 feet of climbing -- hardly a walk at the park for any cyclist.
For more on the 2012 Tour of California, be sure to keep checking SB Nation Houston's StoryStream throughout the week.
The second stage of the Tour of California kicks off at 11:00 AM PT on Tuesday. It will begin in San Francisco and end in Santa Cruz County. The entire stage is 117.1 miles long. While it is considered a long and difficult stage, it is also expected that it will feature a tight finish.
Leading the Tour of California after the first stage is Peter Sagan. He finished in a time of 04:42:25.
There are three members of the United States in positions three to five of the standings. Those cyclists are Jeffry Louder, Fred Rodriguez and Ben Jacques-Maynes.
The Tour of California is eight stages long and will wrap up on May 20 in Los Angeles.
The 2012 Tour of California begins on Sunday with Stage 1 where riders will embark on a 115.9 mile trip in and around Santa Rosa, California. The route begins with two neutral laps through the city and then heads out and back to Santa Rosa.
Stage 1 includes immediate sprint opportunities so expected a quick start to the race before it shifts to the mountain climbs. While the mountain climbs aren't severe the descents off the mountains will be fast and tricky which combined with the wind from the coast could keep things interesting. The stage levels out at the end which will give sprinters one final chance to set up their teams for a fast ending to the stage back at Santa Rosa.
The Tour of California 2012 gets underway on Sunday with Stage 1 action and can be followed online or on network TV. Stage one coverage will pick the race up in progress at 4 p.m. CT. Online coverage is available at the official Tour of California website.
NBC Sports 4 p.m. CT
Brand new for this year's race is to follow the action while your mobile with the Radioshack Tour Tracker app that is available in the itunes store or for Android. The app will enable users to track race results, stats, and also will give the user live video and photos. The mobile app is a nice supplement to keep viewers up to date until NBC begins its television coverage.
The LIVESTRONG team will look to get off to a quick start at the 2012 Tour of California on Sunday, as Stage 1 kicks off in Santa Rose, California.
Cyclists will begin the grueling 115.9 mile stage at 10:50 a.m. locally in California, 12:50 p.m. in Houston. While the mileage sounds quite imposing for those who aren't avid cycling fans, or professional cyclists, the ride does sound quite pleasant. Here's how the Tour of California's official website describes the route for Stage 1:
The first day of racing of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California will start and finish in Santa Rosa, California, the city that helped establish the race as the premier professional cycling event in the U.S. and home to three-time race champion Levi Leipheimer. Expect to see spectators perched in the trees, rooftops and in windows near the finish line as they vie for the very best view of the final sprint. The stage will start with two neutral laps around the city before heading out to the open roads of beautiful Sonoma County. Within 30 minutes, the race will reach the Town of Windsor and the first of several of the stage's featured Sprints. The peloton will then head south, passing by several of Sonoma County's world-famous vineyards. In Graton, the racers will turn east and head back into Santa Rosa for another Sprint, followed by a straight shot towards the coast and into the quaint town of Occidental. From here, the stage heads north on Bohemian Highway and follow a portion of Levi Leipheimer's "King Ridge GranFondo" route.
In Cazadero, the racers will start to feel the cool Pacific Ocean breezes as they begin a climb up to the top of Fort Ross Road. They say "what goes up must come down" - and in this case, Meyers Grade Road presents amazing views of a spectacular coast line, but it's the white-knuckle descent down to Highway 1 that will quickly grab the rider's attention. A left onto Highway 1 will take the racers south 12 miles to the quintessential northern California climb of Coleman Valley Road, which is long, twisty and steep. The technical descent back into Occidental will test the skills of every member of the peloton as they compete over the last 16 miles on redwood lined country roads to the finish in Santa Rosa. For the first time, the riders will race right to the finish line in Santa Rosa without any finishing circuits, ensuring a climactic, crowd-pleasing end to Stage 1 of the 2012 race.
For those interested in a map of Stage 1 -- don't worry, we've got you covered with a .pdf of the route.
The cyclists in the race will be quite pleased with the weather forecast as well. Per AccuWeather, it looks like it'll be a beautiful day on Sunday in Santa Rosa, with temperatures in the mid 70s with sunshine.
For more o the 2012 Tour of California and all things cycling, be sure to check out Podium Cafe and join the discussion.
America's biggest cycling event begins in Santa Rosa, California, Sunday, with Austin's Bontrager-LIVESTRONG team representing Texas on the path to the Tour De France.
Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.