After the Amgen Tour of California started with some big surprises, the 6th edition of the week-long race ended Sunday pretty much as expected.
The 82-mile Stage 8 bike race from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks ended in a mass sprint — won by Matthew Goss of HTC Columbia.
And yellow jersey leader Chris Horner (RadioShack) protected his gap to take the championship.
Just like that, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California was over. It was one for the record books:
— First Tour of California with an abandoned stage: Stage 1 canceled due to inclement weather in the high Sierra Nevada around Lake Tahoe (Stage 2 delayed and relocated);
— Record time in the Solvang individual time trial: David Zabriskie, Stage 6, 30:36;
— Two summit finishes: Sierra Road on Stage 4 and Mount Baldy on Stage 7;
— Oldest cyclist (and oldest in peloton) to win championship: Chris Horner, 39.
It also marked that first Tour of California that
Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) won a stage that wasn't an individual time trial.
Three-time winner Leipheimer finished in second-place overall. He might have made a contest out of it if the cyclist with a 38-second lead was anyone but Horner. As a RadioShack teammate, he was sworn to defend the jersey.
Calling second-place “bittersweet” after the race, Leipheimer was quoted:
“We’re happy to have it over with and take home the victory. Chris
was the better rider, he was stronger, and he deserved it.”
Following Horner and Leipheimer to the podium was Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervelo), finishing 2:45 behind the winner.
The winner of the points classification was Peter Sagan (Liquigas) who won Stage 3 in Modesto and missed a second victory in Thousand Oaks by a hair.
Jonathan McCarty (Spidertech) won the mountains classification, and Tejay van Garderen (HTC Highroad) took the best young riders jersey. The best team at the race was Garmin-Cervelo.