Haedo and McCabe top-10 in chaotic sprint finish
ELK GROVE, Calif. – One of the many beautiful things about bike racing is watching the breakaway, aka the underdogs, hold off the charging peloton to the finish. Today at the Amgen Tour of California, that magic moment almost became a reality for Tanner Putt. The Utah native put himself into the breakaway early during the 176.5-kilometer stage and very nearly saw it through to the finish.
Putt animates breakaway on stage 5 of Amgen Tour of California
“Today the break went very early,” Putt said. “There were five of us and we all worked really well together. In the last 15 kilometers, two of the riders were dropped, but went as hard as we could, but were caught in the last kilometer. I felt great, but was bummed to get caught so close.”
Stage 5 was a fast and flat outing from Stockton to Elk Grove and, with just one lesser categorized climb on route, designed to be a sprint finish. It was a hectic finale, with one significant crash a few kilometers before the end that fortunately didn’t involve any UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling riders.
The drive into Elk Grove came fast along the wide California roads, and allowed the big World Tour teams to line up their sprint trains to attack the finish hard.
“I tried to be up there in the last 3km,” Haedo said, “jumping from wheel to wheel to stay near the front.” And stay near the front, he did, fighting to a 7th place finish on the stage. Just on his wheel was Travis McCabe who battled the chaotic sprint, and pushed his way into 10th on the day.
The team’s GC hopeful Gavin Mannion, who is currently sitting 17th in the overall, is looking forward to tomorrow’s huge test in the mountains.
“I think tomorrow is going to live up to the expectations as queen stage,” Mannion said. “The time gaps are relatively close and the race win is still up for grabs. I think it will be hard racing from now the start and a decent sized break will form on the early climbs with guys a bit down on GC. From there, I think it will just whittle down in the field until the climbs towards the end where guys try and make up time for GC and maybe the stage win if the breakaway comes back. Personally, I’ve been feeling good all week and am looking forward to one more chance to race for a stage win move up on GC.”
Tomorrow’s stage from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe starts at 9:45 am.