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Tom Danielson on the decisive California stages

May 20, 2012

Tom Danielson less than 1 k to the Mt. Baldy finish

The 2012 Amgen Tour of California course defined its overall leader in two of the eight stages: the stage 5 time trial and the Mt. Baldy finish on stage 7. When asked on the morning of stage 2 which would be more decisive, Tom Danielson of Garmin-Barracuda said, “They will both be important. There are GC guys who can do well on both.”

Danielson’s assessment was born out. Robert Gesink of Rabobank performed best among the favorites on both of these stages, and appears likely to retain his current overall lead after the final stage on Sunday into downtown Los Angeles.

Robert Gesink less than 1 k from winning stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California

(seconds   lost) TT time Mt. Baldy time Total time
Robert Gesink 39 0 39
Dave Zabriskie 0 85 85
Tom Danielson 67 26 93
Tejay Van Garderen 34 82 116
Chris Horner 170 38 208
Cameron Meyer 86 148 234
Joe Dombrowski 215 18 233
Rory Sutherland 70 193 263
Vincenzo Nibali 112 14 min 49 sec
Andrew Talansky 48 25 min 40 sec

Going into the Mt. Baldy stage, Danielson, who finished ninth in the time trial, occupied seventh place in the GC. Mt. Baldy provided him with a chance to knock on the door to the podium. He supported his teammate and race leader Dave Zabriskie as long as he could. Then he knocked.

Chasing the break that contained Horner, 17 k into stage 7

With about four kilometers remaining to the finish line and Chris Horner (RadioShack Nissan) and John Atapuma (Columbia coldeportes) up the road, Danielson responded when Gesink attacked.

“I really wanted to try for the victory today but I rode as smart as I could — I didn’t do any attacks so Dave could ride steady up the climb,” Danielson said after he stopped to speak with Jonathan Vaughters where the team cars had parked below the finish. “I just followed Robert and didn’t take one pull with him.”

Gesink and Danielson rode together until about two kilometers remained in the stage. “I rode well all day,” Danielson said. “I just came unglued a little bit towards the end and I had to let go of Robert. I was riding with him and I was comfortable and then started cramping up a little bit and then just had to ride my own pace.” Danielson told Cyclingnews he had become dehydrated.

The presence of Horner in the break-away rendered this year’s stage, which is very similar to the 2011 stage, more difficult than last year, according to Danielson. “It was pretty amazing actually how fast that break-away went,” Danielson said.

Danielson moved up to third place in the GC after stage 7. Sunday’s 69 kilometer stage isn’t expected to alter the final GC.

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