Sagan Wins Five of Eight Stages of Tour of California

May 20, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Peter Sagan (2L) of Slovakia of Liquigas-Cannondale celebrates his fifth stage victory in Stage Eight of the Amgen Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Peter Sagan (2L) of Slovakia of Liquigas-Cannondale celebrates his fifth stage victory in Stage Eight of the Amgen Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Peter Sagan, the 22-year-old Slovakian cycling champion, came to America and beat the nation’s best in their own backyard. Of course, he also beat the best from the rest of the world.

Sagan, riding for the Liquigas-Canondale team, won the first four stages of the Tour of California, finished second in Stage Six, and won Stage Eight. Sagan didn’t even make the top ten in the General Classification, but his is a feat people will remember.

When asked by NBC Sports if things could possibly have gone better the 22-year-old Liquigas rider replied, “I don’t know—maybe if I won another victory on Big Bear, but in life we can’t have everything. I am very glad and happy, and thanks to my team.”

“Tom Boonen had a good train. The last kilometer was really fast—the last turn right was also dangerous. It was good we had been there six times already.” (The route included several laps around the city of Los Angeles.) “I went at 150 meters and I finished first so I am happy.”

Sagan confirmed that he would ride the Tour de France for the first time in July. “I will do the Tour de France and I will do it well,” he said. “I hope to win one stage.”

Rabobank’s Robert Gesink will also be remembered. This 25-year-old Dutch rider won the overall by the biggest margin in the seven-year history of the event—a whopping 46 seconds. Gesink finished fourth in the Stage Five time trial and won the Queen stage—the hardest stage of the race—the climb up Mount Baldy by enough to win the race overall.

The American RadioShack-Nissan team won the best team classification, and U.S. rider Dave Zabriskie from U.S. team Garmin-Barracuda won second overall—for the fourth year in a row. Maybe, next year, Dave.

Four of the top ten finishers overall were Americans, and five of the top ten from American teams.

Peter Sagan, along with winning five stages, also won the green jersey for most points, earned by winning sprints. Sebastien Salas, a Canadian riding for the American Optum team, won the King of the Mountains jersey. 21-year-old Wilco Kelderman of Rabobank won the Best Young Rider competition.

The race ran from Beverly Hills to Los Angeles and ran several laps around Hollywood before the finish on Hollywood Boulevard. There were constant attacks, but none mattered; Liquigas and Omega Pharma-Quickstep were each determined to set up a sprint finish.

Omega set up a perfect leadout train for Tom Boonen, but it didn’t matter. Sagan came onto the final straight fourth wheel behind his teammate Dania loss; Sagan cut right around Boonen when the Omega rider started sprinting, and Sagan simply blasted by to win the stage by half a wheel.

 

 

Tour of California Stage Eight

 

rider

team

time

1

Peter Sagan

Liquigas-Cannondale

1:27:36

2

Tom Boonen

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:00:00

3

Gerald Ciolek

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:00:00

4

Roger Kluge

Argos-Shimano

0:00:00

5

Heinrich Haussler

Garmin-Barracuda

0:00:00

6

Lloyd Mondory

Ag2R

:00:00

7

Ken Hanson

Optum

0:00:00

8

Daniel Oss

Liquigas-Cannondale

0:00:00

9

Michael Matthews

Rabobank

0:00:00

10

Guillaume Boivin

Spidertech

0:00:00

Final General Classification

 

rider

team

time

1

Robert Gesink

Rabobank

29:14:52

2

David Zabriskie

Garmin-Barracuda

0:00:46

3

Thomas Danielson

Garmin-Barracuda

0:00:54

4

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC

0:01:17

5

Fabio Andres Duarte

Colombia-Coldeportes

0:01:36

6

Levi Leipheimer

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:02:13

7

Wilco Kelderman

Rabobank

0:02:30

8

Christopher Horner

RadioShack-Nissan

0:02:49

9

Tiago Machado

RadioShack-Nissan

0:02:54

10

Pieter Weening

Orica GreenEdge

0:03:05