2013 Amgen Tour of CA – Stage Seven
Words and Photos by Adam Bendig and Mike Mische (where noted)
The queen stage of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California proved to be exciting for the fans as well as the racers. Replacing Mt. Baldy as the champion maker, it featured an even more intense climb to the clouds. Fans lined the roadway nearly from bottom to top, cheering the riders on every pedal of the route. A group containing Andy Schleck, Carter Jones, David De La Cruz, Kristijan Koren, Lieuwe Westra, Carlos Verona, and Laurent Didier established a break early on, though BMC kept a fairly tight leash, controlling the race for their man Tejay in gold. Jamis-Sutter Home put work into the field for Janier Acevedo, hoping to regain some of the time he lost the days prior to Van Garderen. He had fallen to fifth after the San Jose time trial and was looking to move back onto the podium.
As the riders reached the base of Mt Diablo, the field was quickly stripped to a minimum. The break began losing riders and the main field paired down to fewer and fewer relatively quickly. Quickly, Lieuwe Westra and David De La Cruz were all that was left of the sizable breakaway, while Jens Voigt made YET ANOTHER attack to shake up the race. While it was short lived, nobody is mad when The Jensie goes for it.
At 2.7km remaining, Janier Acevedo attacked to reclaim his gold jersey with an assault similar to his powerful ascent of the Palm Springs Tramway. Leopold Keonig launched his own attack on Janier at 1k to go, passing him only on the final pitch to the summit.
Sunday’s final stage would be a mostly ceremonial one, with one intermediate sprint point along the way to Santa Rosa from San Francisco, leaving an opportunity for Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Sharp to claim the last remaining jersey for an American sweep.
Net App-Endura rider Leopold Koenig collapses into a supporters arms after his late attack net’s him the queen stage win. (Photo by Mike Mische)
Janier Acevedo followed the attack in an attempt to regain some of the time he lost when he could not bridge to the GC attack on their way into Avila Beach. He jumped two places to third after slipping to fifth after the time trial in San Jose. (Photo by Mike Mische)
Bontrager’s 21 year old Lawson Craddock finished 7th on Mt Diablo, only 32 seconds behind the stage winner. This helped him jump to 8th in the GC only 5:24 behind Tejay Van Garderen. (Photo by Mike Mische)
Lawson Craddock slips to the ground while holding his girlfriend’s hand after an impressive finish at the summit of Mt Diablo. (Photo by Mike Mische)
Cannondale’s Peter Sagan in the Visit CA green sprinters jersey, Vacansoleil-DCM’s Lieuwe Westra in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous jersey, BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen in the gold leader’s jersey, Carter Jones of Bissell Pro Cycling in the Nissan King of the Mountains polka dots, and Bontrager’s Lawson Craddock in the Crunchies Best Young Rider jersey. (Photo by Mike Mische)
The carnage of a bloody nose at elevation on a Jamis-Sutter Home bike. (Photo by Mike Mische)
Stage winner, GC leader, and random riders chosen for anti-doping tests at the conclusion of stage 7. (Photo by Mike Mische)
The announcers on stage at the top of Mt Diablo were highly animated as the peloton rolled closer and closer.
VIP fans, media and volunteers packed the limited available space on the peak of Mt Diablo.
NetApp-Endura rider Leopold Koenig made a late attack near the summit, and was the first to raise his hands in victory.
Nathaniel English felt the heat as he fought his way to the summit.
All but assured of victory, Tejay Van Garderen points out a teammate crucial to his pending victory.
Bontrager’s development squad rode strong the entire week, taking part in many of the breakaways.
Garmin Sharp’s Alex Howes takes a breather after a fast paced climb up Mt Diablo.
NetApp-Endura’s Leopold Koenig claimed a huge victory for the domestic squad on the summit finish of Mt Diablo, with Janier Acevedo of Jamis-Sutter Home only 7 seconds behind. GC leader Tejay Van Garderen followed closely behind for third on the stage.
Kenda’s 1k to go marker en route to the summit of Mt Diablo.
A Jamis-Sutter Home rider had one of the most severe bloody noses I’ve ever seen.