Sixth place was good enough for Chris Horner (Radio Shack) to hold onto the yellow jersey after Friday's individual time trial concluded in Solvang at the Amgen Tour of California.
Dave Zabriskie (left, Garmin Cervelo) won the stage, setting a record over the 15-mile course. The previous record holder, Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) finished second, 14 seconds behind Zabriskie.
While Horner remained in 1st overall, he lost time to Leipheimer who now trails his teammate by 38 seconds. This could result in some interesting team tactics on the summit finish of Mt. Baldy on Saturday. Do they support Horner, now the oldest cyclist in the race, or Leipheimer, who's seeking a fourth ToC championship?
Saturday's Stage 7 is a 75-mile route from Claremont to the 6,400-foot elevation summit of Mt. Baldy. It ends in a 4.3-mile twisting route that climbs 2,039 feet at 8.9% grade.
Zabriskie's comment about the stage: “Tomorrow's going to just be carnage.”
The race ends Sunday in Thousand Oaks.
Horner gained the yellow jersey on Stage 4's Sierra Grade climb. He was setting a pace for teammate Leipheimer, who cracked, and Horner took it alone and gained a 1:15 margin.
That didn't change on Stage 5 Thursday, leaving Stage 6 to sort out whether Leipheimer could take control of the bike race.
Leipheimer appeared to fade toward the end, and appeared disappointed later about losing the time trial. “There's nothing I can say. He (Zabriskie) was the better rider.”
Leipheimer finished 2nd, followed by Tejay Van Garderen (40 seconds behind, HTC-Highroad), Peter Velits (48 seconds, HTC-Highroad), and Maarten Tjallingii (49 seconds, Rabobank).
Leipheimer still sits second overall, followed by Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthCare) trailing Horner by 1:38 and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Cervelo) sitting at 1:39. Tom Danielson (Garmin) rounds out the top 5, 1:44 behind.
Horner writes about the individual time trial at his blog.
1. Chris Horner (RadioShack)
2. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) – 38 seconds behind
3. Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare) – 1:38
4. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) – 1:39
5. Tom Danielson (Garmin) – 1:44
6. Tejay Van Garderen (HTC Highroad) – 1:54
7. Linus Gerdemann (Leopard) – 2:26
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) – 2:27
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) – 2:43
10. Andy Schleck (Leopard) – 2:54