May 14, 2015 (Avila Beach, CA) – Etixx-Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish had to launch his sprint from longer than usual on Thursday in a rain-soaked 154km Amgen Tour of California Stage 5. Despite having to close a small gap from behind, he still won his third stage out of fives stages, this time in Santa Clarita. Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin) was 2nd and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 3rd.
The original breakaway was down to Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team) inside the final 10 kilometers, but Etixx – Quick-Step was on the front and the peloton caught him with 3.2km to go in the stage after a long day of chasing in miserable conditions. Yves Lampaert was on the front and doing his best to set a fast tempo, while also tracking down Mark Renshaw guiding the Manx Missile. The Belgian rider and his two teammates rejoined right before the final kilometer, and then it was up to Renshaw to have to guide Cavendish for an extended leadout. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was on his wheel.
Waeytens launched his sprint at the front from long distance, but Cavendish still passed well before the line for the stage win. Cavendish has now won 12 times in 2015, and earned the 26th road win for Etixx – Quick-Step this season.
Julian Alaphilippe moved up to 3rd GC, down 44 seconds going into the individual time trial tomorrow. He remains the Best Young Rider. Cavendish extended his lead in the Points Competition from a single point over Sagan to six points (55).
“The thing is, when you’re going so fast there’s the wind chill as well,” Cavendish said. “It’s one thing to be wet and to be cold when you’re wet, but with the wind coming on you’re freezing to the absolute bone. But it was good. All my teammates, thank you. It was hard to catch them back in the final but my team really looked after me. It was also nice to see so many people out here despite the weather.
“As for the sprint, I had Mark Renshaw at the end, and as always he was cool and calm, but we had to dig deep. It was a bit hectic in the last kilometer and Mark Renshaw was cooked, so we couldn’t go as fast as we wanted in the end. It was a headwind finish, and I knew I didn’t want to jump early. Waeytens went first and I timed it well enough to catch him before the line. I’m super happy to get the stage win for the team today.”
“The team worked from kilometer zero again today,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “Hincapie did a good job helping us chase today, and Tinkoff-Saxo after the win yesterday supported us in front as well. After we kind of blew it yesterday we made it good again today with a win, and the third win in five days. The rain didn’t bother us. We’re a Belgian team. We love rain and we’re hard to beat in the rain. The bad weather was perfect for us. So everything came together perfectly today.
“As for the next days, Julian Alaphilippe is now 3rd in the GC. Tomorrow’s time trial has been moved to Santa Clarita due to bad weather conditions at Big Bear Lake. It was a fast decision by the race organizers and I give them credit for changing the location so early. Then the day after we have the Mt. Baldy finish. It’s a very nasty climb, not fun at all. Alaphilippe is going to try his chances to defend his position in the overall, but we will see as he came here directly after the Ardennes Classics, which means he might be a little tired. But we’ll see how far he can make it. He has the spirit to always try and we know wherever he finishes will be the best he could do that day.”
1. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Etixx – Quick-Step 3:51:37
2. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Jempy Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
6. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
7. John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
8. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN – Qhubeka
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Justin Oien (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
43. Michael Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
61. Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop 0:13
125. Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 6:41
GC after Stage 5
1. Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team 22:02:34
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:18
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:44
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:47
5. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7. Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
8. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Peter Kennaugh (Gbr) Team Sky
10. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:04
14. Michael Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:47
21. Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop 0:56
65. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 20:35
117. Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 30:57