San Jose, CA – Rory Sutherland blasted his way to third place today in the fourth stage – and the first true hill climbing test – of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, thanks to a tremendous effort in what proved to be an exhilarating mountaintop finish atop Sierra Road in San Jose, California. Sutherland’s performance in the short but intense 131.6 km course from Livermore to San Jose was enough to vault the Blue Train’s veteran leader to into fifth place overall, as the peloton heads into the start of Thursday’s fifth stage in Seaside, California.
On a day with UnitedHealthcare (the Team’s title sponsor) sponsoring the stage and one of pro cycling’s living legends Chris Boardman (the Team’s bike sponsor) in attendance, after making a special trip from England to see the Team perform (and coincidentally riding behind in the Team car), things could not have come together better for the first year Pro Continental Team and its fearless captain.
Sutherland proved once again he is one of the sport’s elite, going head-to-head with stage winner Chris Horner (RadioShack) and Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) who took second place, and topping the rest of the world-class field in the very selective stage. When asked how things unfolded for him today, Sutherland beamed and said, “My Teammates really did a great job getting me in position. I hit away at the end and nearly threw up. Then when I realized I had to push it or I was going to be fourth and that this was UnitedHealthcare’s stage, I kept going and said to myself I can throw up later! I’ve got to get on the podium and thank them for their great support here!”
Sutherland continued, “It’s good. It’s a result. This is my job and I’m happy to deliver for this Team, especially with Chris Boardman being here today.”
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “This was an excellent day today. The Team was perfect and they shepherded Rory all day long. The sprinters took care of him in the flats and the climbers did their job in the hills. Everyone put in 100% and contributed to getting him on the podium.”
Following the stage, Tamayo was asked what it took for the Team to get to this point, especially given its jump to Pro Continental status this season. He responded, “On May 28, 2010, Rory and I sat down and we talked specifically about what it would take to do well in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. We put our heads together and put a plan in place. Now we are executing that plan. It’s good to see the hard work, the training and planning pay off. It’s not over yet and we still have some hard days ahead, so we have to stay focused and continue to have some good luck.”
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for the Amgen Tour of California
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Robert Förster (GER)
Karl Menzies (AUS)
Brad White (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
Christian Meier (CAN)
Charly Wegelius (GBR)
Andrew Pinfold (CAN)