American Andrew Talansky took a hard-fought victory atop Mt. Baldy on the fifth stage of Amgen Tour of California on Thursday. The 28-year-old out-sprinted race leader Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) in an uphill dash to the line to claim Cannondale-Drapac’s first WorldTour win of the season.
“I’m so happy,” Talansky said. “We needed that. That’s what happens when we have fun.
“We’re all overjoyed,” added Talansky. “The guys set it up on the stage. My form, as far as everyone else was concerned, was unknown coming into this, and the guys put full trust and full faith in me. I ended up losing a bit of time on Mt. Hamilton on Monday. Brendan Canty saved my day yesterday, the whole team did. I could have been a minute back after getting a flat at a bad time.”
He’s not a minute back. Instead Talansky will head into the penultimate stage in fourth overall with a 44-second deficit to Majka. George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) is currently second at six seconds while Ian Boswell (Team Sky) is third at 25 seconds. The stage six individual time trial covers 24-kilometers around Big Bear Lake, which lies 2,000 meters above sea level.
“I’d prefer to be in the yellow jersey right now, but we won the stage today, and I’ll enjoy that,” said Talansky. “Tomorrow I’ll focus on the time trial. If we win this race, we win this race, and if we lose, we lose. Life goes on.
“Rafal is a great time trialist,” Talansky added. “I like my chances, but I can’t underestimate what he will do tomorrow. I have no doubt that we’ll both go out there and give it everything we have. Whoever ends up on top, ends up on top.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a fast, frantic start to the queen stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Thursday’s race took in 125 kilometers with over 3,600 meters of climbing between Ontario and the top of Mt. Baldy. The category one summit finish has four times featured in the Amgen Tour of California, including in 2011 – Talansky’s first participation in the race.