San Francisco, May 21, 2016 (AFP) – Australia’s Rohan Dennis won Friday’s sixth stage time trial in the Tour of California while France’s Julian Alaphilippe finished eighth to retain his grip on the overall lead.
BMC rider Dennis captured the 12.6-mile (20.3km) time trial around the town of Folsom in 24mins 16secs, defeating American Andrew Talansky of Cannondale by 17 seconds with US standout Taylor Phinney, Dennis’ BMC teammate, third, another three seconds adrift.
Etixx-Quick Step rider Alaphilippe, meanwhile, kept the overall lead with two stages remaining by finishing only 45 seconds behind Dennis, giving the Frenchman a total time of 24:26:46.
The Aussie’s stage triumph jumped him into second place overall, only 16 seconds off the pace after starting the day 61 seconds adrift.
American Brent Bookwalter of BMC was third overall, 38 seconds back after a fifth-place stage finish in which he pulled back only two seconds from Alaphilippe.
The Frenchman had owned a 22-second lead on American Peter Stetina after five stages.
Lotto-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand, 37 seconds adrift after the fifth stage, fell to ninth overall at 1:45 back.
Saturday’s seventh stage will be a 109-mile (175.5km) journey through wine country that begins and ends in Santa Rosa, setting up Sunday’s concluding 84.8-mile (136.5km) trek that ends in the state capital of Sacramento.
Winner’s Interview with Rohan Dennis
The look on your face as you crossed the finish showed you had given it your all today. Can you describe how you felt in that moment?
“I was fairly confident as I crossed the line that I had set the quickest time for the rest of the race. I was in a fair bit of pain, the main thing I remember was that I had that taste of metallic in my mouth for the last four or five kilometers from the lactate so it was good to get a drink and wash that out.”
The condition were by no means an easy today, how did you feel as you were riding?
“The wind was definitely getting stronger and stronger throughout the day which actually played into our favor a little bit with Alaphilippe because he is a smaller rider and would have been blown around a little bit more. In the end it didn’t make too much of a difference with the stage win, that was my goal for the day as well as trying to take time out. So, it was still a good day, even if we didn’t get the yellow jersey.”
You won by a fairly significant margin today, what are your thoughts about that?
“I think that today was probably one of the best time trial’s that I have done so I am happy with that, really happy after looking at the power profile. It was also a good indication that after six days, everything I have done leading up to now has been working and I am on the right track especially after not a whole lot of racing. I am in a good place mentally with my form and I was pretty happy to come away with that win.”
And now looking forward to tomorrow’s stage?
“Tomorrow is going to be a difficult one I think. A lot people have been saying watch out for Stage 7 as Santa Rosa is super hilly, it’s going to be possibly the hardest stage. I struggle to believe that in some way as everyday has been hard and a few days have been super hard so it may just completely explode the peloton and that could actually open up possible chances to get that yellow jersey.”
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“We’re pleased and not pleased after today. I mean we are very happy to win obviously but we really thought that we could bring the time a little bit closer than we did. We thought, in the best case scenario, that we could ride into the jersey today and we got within 16 seconds of it. It’s hard to separate a GC goal with a stage win but, to win a stage is great for Rohan and great for us.”
Results and standings after Friday’s 12.6-mile (20.3km) time trial sixth stage of the Tour of California:
6th stage result
1. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC) 24min 16sec,
2. Andrew Talansky (USA/Cannondale) 17 seconds,
3. Taylor Phinney (USA/BMC) 20,
4. Soren Andersen(DEN/Giant-Alpecin) 33,
5. Brent Brookwalter (USA/BMC) 43,
6. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/Sky) 44,
7. Lawson Craddock (USA/Cannondale) 44,
8. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Etixx-Quick Step) 45, 9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL/Katusha) 49,
10. Neilson Powless (USA/Axeon) 52
1 Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Etixx-Quick Step) 24hr 26mins 46secs,
2. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC) at 16 seconds,
3. Brent Bookwalter (USA/BMC) 38,
4 Andrew Talansky (USA/Cannondale) 47,
5. Neilson Powless (USA/Axeon) 1:08
6. Lawson Craddock (USA/Cannondale) 1:17,
7. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (ESP/BMC) same time,
8. Laurens Ten Dam (NED/Giant-Alpecin) 1:24,
9. George Bennett(NZL/Lotto-Jumbo) 1:45,
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL/Katusha) 1:48
Stage 6 Jersey Winners
Amgen Leader Jersey – Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (BEL)
Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Evan Huffman (USA), Rally Cycling Team (USA)
Visit California Sprint Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff (RUS)
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey – Neilson Powless (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)
Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Toms Skujins (LAT), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA)