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Immediately, Martens got dropped, leaving the lone Canadian to battle his machine up the climb.
Behind, Leipheimer, a three time winner of the Tour of California, was passed by a Nike Roshe Run For Kids
As was the case on Stages 1 and 2, the domestic squads sent riders up the road to attack early, but with overall contenders having so much at stake on the stage, those breakaways managed to open only small, short lived gaps.
Horner Wins Tour of California 2011 Stage 4
first objective as a pro is always the team. Second, of course, you wish it to be you that wins.
doesn't make a difference (who wins), he said. my career I've had a lot of races, and the first priority is always the team. I don't care if it's me, or if it's Levi, or Matt Busche.
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resurgent Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) and also Rory Sutherland (UnitedHeathcare), who had a brilliant day eventually finishing third. Young American and pre race favorite Tejay Van Garderen tried in vain to bridge to Horner but lost steam, while Garmin Tom Danielson rode strongly to finish fifth.
After some early and fierce pace making by their teammate Matt Busche, Horner and Levi Leipheimer led the last of the disintegrating pack up the climb and past Hesjedal, then the Nike Roshe Run Print Running Shoes pedaling began in anger with Horner going full gas and Leipheimer trying to hold his wheel. And just like that, Leipheimer fell off the pace and Horner set off on a tear for an impressive solo finish.
had a fantastic team all day. You have to go back to kilometer zero and our tactics were we wanted a break to go away. I was really hoping it didn have a Garmin rider in there so you have two strong teams up there chasing 100% all day long Nike Roshe Run Shoe Review
at the same time it's pretty simple to see that the last few years my form has been among the best in the world. With the exception of Alberto Contador, I don think there's anybody who can drop me.
Though Stage 4 was the second shortest stage of the tour, at just 82 miles, the riders had some serious climbing to do, with three category four climbs, one that was hors category, or above classification Hamilton finally, the category one summit finish atop Sierra Road.
Eventually a nine rider break did evolve, and it included Lars Boom (Rabobank), Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell), and Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies OptumHealth). As the stage only significant break, it never gained more than a few minutes on the main field. By the time the riders hit the penultimate climb, Mt. Hamilton, the chasers had been reeled in and it was all eyes on the favorites.
and just destroy the field. The real destruction started with Matt (Busche). He's a fantastic young rider . who is coming into exceptional form. And he just devastated the field in the first 500 meters of Sierra, and then all I had to do was ride hard with Levi on my wheel and go to the summit.
In a display of unmatched power and fitness, the 39 year old Horner won the race first mountain stage after dropping those still on his wheel on the final climb up Sierra Road in San Jose. He won the stage solo by 1:15 over second placed Andy Schleck, and he now leads the race ahead of teammate Levi Leipheimer, also by 1:15.
my career years think I've been underappreciated, he said. was quite insulted not to be invited to the press conference. I've been underrated many times. I've done a lot of domestique work over the years, and I can see how the press would lose me in the limelight.
came courtesy of Canada Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin Cervelo inside 20 miles to go on a short climb that briefly interrupted the long descent of Mt. Hamilton. He was quickly joined by Rabobank Paul Martens, but once they picked up speed on the twisty descent, it was clear that Martens was no ace descender, as he ran off the road into a bed of gravel while trying to match Hesjedal aggressive cornering. The lead pair were still together, however, as they started the final ascent up Sierra Road, a 3.5 mile climb that rises over 1,750 feet with an average grade of 10 percent.
Horner dominating ride brought him more than just a new jersey, however. It also brought great satisfaction.
With the lead now his, Horner believes he can win this year's race. Still, the second oldest rider in the race was quick to praise his team for its efforts.
And though he ended the day wearing the race leader gold jersey, Horner said it wasn the most important thing.
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