Sylvain Georges Leads 184.5 km to Win Tour of California Stage Six

May 18, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Sylvain Georges of Ag2R nearly collapses after crossing the finish line to win Stage Six of the Tour of California. The French rider made an incredible effort to lead the race for 184.5 km and solo the final fifty km fast enough that the peloton couldn't catch him. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Sylvain Georges of Ag2R nearly collapses after crossing the finish line to win Stage Six of the Tour of California. The French rider made an incredible effort to lead the race for 184.5 km and solo the final fifty km fast enough that the peloton couldn't catch him. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Ag2R rider Sylvain Georges joined the first break of the day, 1.5 km from the start of the 186-km Stage Six of the Tour of California, and managed to stay ahead of the peloton until the end, beating Peter Sagan across the finish line by 28 seconds.

Georges picked up the pace fifty kilometers from the finish line, on the long final ascent. The rest of the six-man break disintegrated on the long, long climb up to Big Bear Lake; only one rider, Optum’s Sebastien Salas hung on until the King of the Mountain point, when he sat up, having secured enough points to seal the KOM competition.

Georges made an amazing effort, pushing himself so hard he could barely stand after crossing the finish line. None of the GC contending teams expected him to last; Garmin, Liquigas, Rabobank, BMC and Omega failed to chase, waiting for the Frenchman to fade.

He didn’t. Somehow Georges found the will to push himself up the long climb, stay away on the flat route around the lake, and up the final ascending kilometer, while the peloton roared up after him.

For a while it looked as if Georges might also win the yellow jersey, but Liquigas and Garmin, realizing in the last dozen kilometers that their GC contenders might be threatened, turned up the pace and cut the gap from several minutes to half a minute.

“It was at the second KOM [King of the Mountain] point when I caught up with the king of the mountains leader [Sebastien Salas] and I  knew from there the other guy was finished, so I told myself I was going to go for it form that point until the end,” georges to NBC Sports. “For me this is the most wonderful victory. I have never ridden 45 kilometers solo for a victory and it makes it that much more special.”

One other rider from the break, RadioShack’s Greg Rast, very nearly got a podium finish; he joined a pair of Dutchmen, GreenEdge’s Peter Weening and Rabobank’s Wiley Keldermann, who attacked 27 km from the finish. This trio stayed ahead of the peloton until 1300 meters from the finish.

Peter Sagan finished second; had his team started chasing harder a few minutes sooner, Sagan would have gotten his fifth of six stage wins. Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s Peter Velits challenged Sagan for the sprint to finish third, netting himself a time bonus which advanced him to fourth in general Classification.

Garmin-Barracuda’s Dave Zabriskie kept the leader’s yellow jersey, with BMC’s Teejay Van Garderen and Rabaobank’s Robert Gesink 34 and 39 seconds behind. Velits is 45 seconds back, and Garmin’s Andrew Talanksy fifth, 48 seconds behind.

All of that could change dramatically during Stage Six, the Queen Stage of the Tour. The 126-km climb up to the top of Mount Baldy will determine the winner of the race; the long climb up to Glendora Ridge Road starting the stage, coupled with the fifty kilometers of climbing to the finish, will make and break riders. Anyone withing a couple of minutes of the leader has a chance, because any rider not on top form could crack and lose huge amounts of time.

 

Tour of California Stage Six

 

rider

team

time

1

Sylvain Georges

Ag2R

5:07:06

2

Peter Sagan

Liquigas-Cannondale

+ 0:28

3

Peter Velits

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

+ 0:28

4

Thomas Damuseau

Argos-Shimano

+ 0:28

5

Tom Dumoulin

Argos-Shimano

+ 0:28

6

Greg Van Avermaet

BMC

+ 0:28

7

Romain Bardet

Ag2R

+ 0:28

8

Christopher Horner

Radioshack-Nissan

+ 0:28

9

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC

+ 0:28

10

Robert Gesink

Rabobank

+ 0:28

General Classification after Stage 6

 

rider

team

time

1

David Zabriskie

Garmin-Barracuda

25:37:04

2

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC

+ 0:34

3

Robert Gesink

Rabobank

+ 0:39

4

Peter Velits

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

+ 0:45

5

Andrew Talansky

Garmin-Barracuda

+ 0:48

6

Luke Durbridge

Orica-GreenEdge

+ 1:01

7

Tom Danielson

Garmin-Barracuda

+ 1:07

8

Rory Sutherland

UnitedHealthcare

+ 1:10

9

Cameron Meyer

Orica-GreenEdge

+ 1:26

10

Lawson Craddock

Optum

+ 1:30