Australia's Michael Rogers survived attacks from American contenders David Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer to win the 2010 Amgen Tour of California on Sunday.
Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin Transitions won the final stage, driving to the front of a five-man breakaway ahead of George Hincapie.
While Rogers (HTC Columbia), Zabriskie (Garmin) and Leipheimer (RadioShack) finished 1, 2, 3 for the overall championship, Chris Horner raised himself to 4th overall on the strength of his last minute attack with Hesjedal up to the breakaway group. Hesjedal captured 5th overall.
This is the first time in the Tour's five-year history that a cyclist from outside the US has won the event. Zabriskie has finished in 2nd place twice before, and Leipheimer has finished 1st in three previous Tours of California.
The battle for yellow between Rogers and Zabriskie started on Thursday when Rogers took the yellow jersey from Zabriskie after Stage 5. Rogers beat Zabriskie to the line and matched the Garmin-Transition cyclist's overall time for a dead heat.
In the Tour's first true mountain stage the following day, Rogers gained a 2-second bonus at the finish to give himself a 4-second lead over Zabriskie. Then beat Zabriskie and Leipheimer in Saturday individual time trial in Los Angeles to gain a 9-second lead over Zabriskie and 25 seconds over Leipheimer.
With such a small lead over such aggressive cyclists, Rogers could not have felt comfortable about winning the Tour until he had crossed the finish line. Sunday's final stage was a 84-mile circuit race of four laps through Thousands Oaks, Westlake Village, and Agoura Hills.
A breakaway containing BMC Racing's Hincapie was about 3 minutes up the road after the second lap. The yellow jersey group rode together for the first three laps. The attacks started on the final lap, when Zabriskie teammate Matt Wilson went to the front to soften up the peloton.
Zabriskie and Leipheimer fired off a series of attacks on the 5-mile climb up Mulholland Highway. Rogers matched each time, but lost the rest of his HTC-Columbia crew. At one point, Leipheimer was aided by RadioShack teammate Yaroslov Popovych, who drifted back from the breakaway.
RadioShack's Horner and Garmin's Hesjedal rode with the yellow jersey group for a while, until they left to catch the three riders in the breakaway group. The pair caught the break near the finish and Hesjedal took it.
Top 10 overall
1. Michael Rogers, Columbia
2. David Zabriskie, Garmin – 9 seconds
3. Levi Leipheimer, Radio Shack – 25 seconds
4. Chris Horner, RadioShack – 1:04
5. Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin – 1:08
6. Jens Voigt, Saxo Bank – 1:44
7. Rory Sutherland, Unitedhealthcare – 1:58
8. Peter Sagan, Liquigas – 2:06
9. Janez Brajkovic, RadioShack – 2:42
10. Phil Zajicek, Fly V – 3:21
King of the Mountains — Thomas Rabou, Team Type 1
Sprint point winner — Peter Sagan, Liquigas
Best young rider — Peter Sagan, Liquigas