team finished the Amgen Tour of California
on a high note as Canadian Ryder Hesdjedal won
a thrilling final stage in Westlake Village (pictured) and David Zabriskie
hung tough to finish second overall.
Riders faced a challenging circuit race on the final day of the eight-day stage race that began in Sacramento on May 16. The 134km Stage 8 started in Thousand Oaks, home of the title sponsor Amgen, and included four circuits of a hilly course that was packed with spectators.
On the last lap of the circuit, the tightly grouped GC leaders, including second-placed Zabriskie, the Stage 2 winner in Santa Cruz, launched attack after attack in their bids for overall victory. Going over the top of the final climb, a small group established a gap and Hesjedal was in the group.
After a blazing descent to the finish in Westlake Village, Hesjedal wowed the crowd with a decisive attack on his Felt F1
team bike in the final 300 meters. The Canadian outsprinted U.S. road champion George Hincapie and four others to add another major stage win to his name.
"Since I started with this team at the beginning of 2008, I have gotten to a lot of places I wanted to be in my cycling career,” Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.com.
The stage win moved Hesjedal up to fifth overall, giving Garmin-Transitions two top-five GC finishers. And to top it off, the team won the overall teams classification.
Zabriskie finished in the next group, 28 seconds behind Hesjedal. That put him second overall in the General Classification, 9 seconds behind overall winner Australian Michael Rogers.
AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
Stage 8: Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Transitions, 3:31:56
2. George Hincapie (USA), BMC, same time
3. Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa), Quick Step, same time
4. Chris Horner (USA), Radio Shack, same time
5. Oscar Pujol Munoz (Spa), Cervelo Test Team, at 0:05
1. Michael Rogers (Aus), HTC-Columbia, 33:08:30
2. Dave Zabriskie (USA), Garmin-Transitions, at 0:09
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Radio Shack, at 0:25
4. Chris Horner (USA), Radio Shack, at 1:04
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Transitions, at 1:08