The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM turned up the heat at the 2014 Tour of California on Friday, with Jack Bobridge going on the attack and placing eighth place on the 151.8km sixth stage from Santa Clarita to the Mountain High Resort. Team leader Laurens ten Dam finished 11th, moving up a notch in the overall classification.
Colombian climber Esteban Chaves of Orica-GreenEdge won the stage. Sir Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky maintained the yellow jersey as overall leader.
Laurens ten Dam, who began the day in 9th place overall, 2:33 behind Wiggins, was able to stay with the yellow jersey group until just 1,5km before the finish line. The Veteran Dutchman from Zuidwolde, is now 8th overall, at 1:21.
Laurens ten Dam said: “I’m happy with my progression, and my form. I saw the others also struggling and I had hopes to come back. I just did not enough power to do so. It’s a pity I lost contact just at the end, but I managed to move up one place.”
Bobridge, a 24-year-old Aussie from Adelaide who earned his stripes on the track in 2012 as an Olympic silver medalist in the team pursuit, spent most of the day in a six-man breakaway that had a one-time advantage over the peloton of more than 4 minutes. The breakaway disintegrated in the final kilometers, but Bobridge hung tough for a top place at the finish line.
Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said: “The team worked very hard today and we did what we had to do; Laurens was in a good position. Jack was super strong today; what a fighter he is. It would be nice if the temperatures would drop a bit so our Moreno Hofland can battle with Sagan in Pasadena.”
The stage, which included more than 4,000 meters of climbing in temperatures in the Mojave Desert soaring above 40 degrees Celsius, passed over a third- and two fourth-category climbs before the final, above-category climb to the finish line at Mountain High, at 2,247 meters above sea level. The brutal conditions forced several riders to abandon the race.
The 2014 Tour of California resumes Saturday with Stage 7, a 142.8km ride starting in Santa Clarita with two categorized climbs before finishing in Pasadena, home to the world-famous Rose Bowl Parade.
The race ends Sunday in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles