Tom Danielson on the decisive California stages
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.
|(seconds lost)||TT time||Mt. Baldy time||Total time|
|Tejay Van Garderen||34||82||116|
|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.
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.