When the pros have to reach back to Oslo in the mid 90s to think of a race as long, and wet and miserable, you know that you’ve got a race as difficult as any you’re likely to see. When the winner was asked for a finish line quote, he just gasped for air, unable to even speak.
Throughout the day, riders were dropping by the wayside, just too beaten down to continue. It’ll be interesting to see who shows up tomorrow for the time trials.
Tour of California Stage 4 at 16 miles. Who knew what was ahead.
Stage 4 from Seaside to San Luis Obispo of the Amgen Tour of California was an epic marathon that forced the riders to battle rain, wind, stomach viruses and hills along 135 miles of the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway.
For much of the race the Astana team was forced to do all of the work leading the peleton in support of their man Levi Leipheimer. They got some revenge by riding so close to the left margin of the road that the following peleton had to ride in the gutter to keep in their slipstream.
(Here is Team Astana still working 5 hours later. Hey TDF: You really want to keep out a team that works this hard? Who you afraid of?)
A ten-man break escaped early and it eventually withered to eight riders.
Here’s Hincapie working hard in the breakaway
But nobody was having much fun anywhere. Stewart Jackson dropped out with hypothermia and the rest of the Peleton just looked miserable. But they soldiered on.
A late attack from Toyota-United’s Dominique Rollin shattered the break
Rollin rolling away from the field.
The two rode in desperate pursuit of the young Canadian, but Rollin managed to hold them off to pocket the win solo after almost 7-and-a-half hours in the saddle.
His Toyota-United remains the only domestic team to win a stage of the Amgen Tour of California.