2015 Tour of California
|2015 UCI America Tour|
|Dates||May 10–17, 2015|
|Distance||701.3 mi (1,129 km)|
|Winning time||28h 13' 12"|
The 2015 Amgen Tour of California was the tenth edition of the Tour of California cycling stage race. It was held from May 10–17, and rated as a 2.HC event on the UCI America Tour. It began in Sacramento and finished in Pasadena.
The race's general classification was won by Slovakian Peter Sagan (Tinkoff–Saxo) by only three seconds over Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx–Quick-Step), the closest winning margin in the race's history. Sagan also added two stages to his palmares, including the individual time trial. Colombian Sergio Henao (Team Sky) completed the podium.
The sprints competition was won by Briton Mark Cavendish (Etixx–Quick-Step), who also was the winner of four individual stages. The mountains classification jersey went to Italian Daniel Oss of BMC Racing Team, while Julian Alaphilippe took the best young rider's jersey and the queen stage 7. Team Sky was awarded the "best team" title. Latvian Toms Skujiņš of domestic team Hincapie Racing also won a stage and wore the leader's jersey for three stages.
- 1 Schedule
- 2 Teams
- 3 Preview
- 4 Pre-race favorites
- 5 Stages
- 6 Classification leadership
- 7 Classification standings
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|1||May 10||Sacramento||126.2 mi (203.1 km)||Flat stage||Mark Cavendish (GBR)|
|2||May 11||Nevada City to Lodi||120.4 mi (193.8 km)||Hilly stage||Mark Cavendish (GBR)|
|3||May 12||San Jose||105.7 mi (170.1 km)||Hilly stage||Toms Skujiņš (LAT)|
|4||May 13||Pismo Beach to Avila Beach||106.9 mi (172.0 km)||Flat stage||Peter Sagan (SVK)|
|5||May 14||Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita||95.7 mi (154.0 km)||Hilly stage||Mark Cavendish (GBR)|
6.6 mi (10.6 km)
|Individual time trial||Peter Sagan (SVK)|
|7||May 16||Ontario to Mount Baldy||80 mi (128.7 km)||Mountain stage||Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)|
|8||May 17||L.A. Live to Pasadena||59 mi (95.0 km)||Flat stage||Mark Cavendish (GBR)|
|Total||701.3 mi (1,129 km)|
18 teams were selected to take part in the race. As a 2.HC event, the race organisers could invite UCI ProTeams to make up 70% of the line-up; however, only 8 ProTeams were invited, along with 4 Professional Continental teams and 6 UCI Continental teams. The maximum amount of riders allowed per team was eight, so the field had a maximum of 144 cyclists.
World Tour Teams
Professional Continental teams
As in 2014, the race followed a North to South pattern through the State of California and its course did not include other states. It visited thirteen host cities. The overall classification should be decided late in the race, notably in the time trial at Santa Clarita on Stage 6 and on the subsequent stage to Mount Baldy. In 2014, the individual time trial was situated on the second stage won by Bradley Wiggins and there were two mountain stages with stage three ending at Mount Diablo and stage six ending at Mountain High. The fact that the more important stages came later in the race did preserve the suspense for longer and gave the fast men a chance to garner stage wins early on, although the race has been known to let numerous breakaways take stage honors. The crosswinds often had an effect on the flatter stages and formed echelons of riders on the road. The general classification hopefuls wanted to avoid getting caught off-guard by staying near the front of the peloton when the wind came from the sides.
It is also worth noting that ex-cyclist and former multiple Tour of California stage winner Jens Voigt was the ambassador to the race and did serve as a television analyst and as an adviser to the organizers. Also, a rider was present who had ridden all ten editions of the Tour, Ben Jacques-Mayne, but he had to abandon after Stage 2 because of a crash.
Furthermore, anti-doping tests were conducted in-and-out of the competition by USADA, in agreement with the UCI. USADA's tests included researching for testosterone, CERA and human growth hormone. Subsequently, no positive tests were declared in the race nor after it.
The winner of the 2014 edition, Bradley Wiggins, did not participate to this year's race as he was going back to track cycling. There was only one former winner of the race at the starting line: Robert Gesink of LottoNL–Jumbo won the 2012 edition, which featured the same queen stage (Stage 7). American Andrew Talansky (Cannondale–Garmin) was designated as his team's leader. Other favorites included Team Sky's Sergio Henao who was supported by a strong team and would have liked to make it two in a row for SKY and Haimar Zubeldia of Trek Factory Racing who came in eighth at the 2014 Tour de France. There also was Warren Barguil, Lawson Craddock (both with Team Giant–Alpecin) and Laurens ten Dam of LottoNL-Jumbo, who could be called to the fore were his leader Gesink to lose significant time. Outsiders included Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN–Qhubeka), Janez Brajkovič (UnitedHealthcare, a former Tour de France top-10 finisher), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Rob Britton (Team SmartStop) and Phil Gaimon (Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies).
Those who were chasing stage wins included Mark Cavendish of Etixx–Quick-Step, who did come to the race with a lead-out train to facilitate his sprints, including Mark Renshaw. Peter Sagan of Tinkoff–Saxo, the record holder of most stage victories in the history of the event with eleven, was also a rider to watch in the sprints, especially on the hillier stages that could shed the pure sprinters from the leading group. He had won the points jersey competition for the last five years. American Tyler Farrar, accompanied by other capable sprinters in his team such as Gerald Ciolek, Theo Bos and Matthew Goss of MTN–Qhubeka, would try to leave his mark. Other contenders for stage honors included Lucas Sebastián Haedo of Jamis–Hagens Berman, Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) and Guillaume Boivin (Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The first stage of the race was generally pan flat and included 3 intermediate sprints: one in Walnut Grove, another one in Isleton and a final one in West Sacramento. There were no categorized climbs, so no points were on offer for the Mountains Classification jersey. There was a section of dirt roads starting 50 mi (80.5 km) into the race and lasting 2 mi (3.2 km). The stage featured a modest elevation gain of 1,400 ft (430 m).
A breakaway of four riders formed early on: Will Clarke of Drapac Professional Cycling, Steve Fisher of Jelly Belly–Maxxis, Rob Britton of Team SmartStop and his teammate Bobby Sweeting. Britton had just recently won the overall classification of the Tour of the Gila. The peloton then eased off a bit to give some leeway to the break and the gap grew to a maximum of about six minutes and a half. Soon, Etixx–Quick-Step took the reins of the bunch, clearly establishing their intentions of a stage win. Will Clarke grabbed the first points on offer for the sprints classification in Walnut Grove, also reaping a three-second bonus. He won the second intermediate sprint as well. With about 60 mi (96.6 km) to cover, it was announced that one of the favorites, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale–Garmin) had abandoned the race due to a combination of allergies and upper respiratory infection.
As the television coverage started, it was evident that the wind was pretty strong as the four riders in the break were forming a mini-echelon to shelter themselves. Britton suffered a mechanical and decided to sit up and wait for the peloton. Mark Renshaw crashed as he hit a pothole, but was able to remount and make contact with the field. MTN–Qhubeka and Tinkoff–Saxo started helping Etixx–Quick-Step at the front of the pack with 35 mi (56.3 km) to go, as the gap to the three breakaway riders was 2 minutes 30 seconds at that point. With 15 mi (24.1 km) to race, Jelly Belly–Maxxis' Jonathan Freter took a nasty tumble down the left side of the road, but luckily he could reintegrate the peloton. The break resisted to make it to the last intermediate sprint in West Sacramento as Will Clarke won the honors and the five points again. At the same time, Fisher was dropped from the break.
Tinkoff–Saxo marshalled the peloton after the breakaway was caught, then Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) decided to roll the dice with an attack but to no avail as he was quickly caught. Etixx–Quick-Step opted to take matters in their own hands with 2 mi (3.2 km) to cover. The peloton negotiated the last corners in Sacramento at very high speeds, and Mark Cavendish launched his sprint after his lieutenant Mark Renshaw took the last strong pull. Peter Sagan could only stay in Cavendish' slipstream as the Manx Missile took his tenth victory of the season. With the ten seconds bonus awarded to the winner, Cavendish was the first rider to wear the overall classification jersey. Jean-Pierre Drucker completed the podium and no overall classification contenders lost time on the fast run-in.
The second stage of the Tour again contained three intermediate sprints which were included in the first half of the race. There was also one categorized climb which summited about 40 mi (64.4 km) into the contest and determined the first Mountains Classification jersey wearer. It was a category 4 affair situated on CA 49. There was a finishing circuit in Lodi, which the riders had to accomplish two times. The elevation gain of the whole stage was 6,000 ft (1,800 m).
It is worth noting that Will Clarke (Drapac Professional Cycling) wore the points classification jersey as he had the same amount of points as Cavendish (15) who sported the general classification leader's jersey. Peter Sagan wore the polka dots jersey for best climber as he finished second of the first stage, which didn't feature a KOM competition.
A flurry of attacks occurred from kilometer zero, and after numerous failed attempts, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) and Markel Irizar (Trek Factory Racing) succeeded in extricating themselves from the peloton. They were soon joined by Luis Amaran of Jamis–Hagens Berman and Robin Carpenter of Hincapie Racing. Seemingly contempt with this break composition, the bunch decelerated noticeably. After 17 mi (27.4 km) of racing, the four escapees enjoyed a three-minute advantage. Carpenter took the first sprint points in Meadow Vista. Then the breakaway riders battled for the first KOM of the race; Carpenter prevailed, meaning he wore the mountains classification jersey on the next day.
3 mi (4.8 km) later, an intermediate sprint was contested in Cool, and was coolly swept up by Carpenter, who decided not to leave anything for the others. He completed his domination of every bonuses on offer that day by taking the last sprint in El Dorado. The breakaway enjoyed a maximum advantage of a little more than five minutes. The crosswinds were about 15 mph (24.1 km/h) and the terrain very flat and open. Still, no breaks were reported in the bunch as Etixx–Quick-Step were controlling the pace with an occasional Tinkoff–Saxo rider chipping in. Former stage winner Jens Voigt was invited to speak with the television commentators and expressed the opinion that the breakaway had very little chance of making it all the way. With 15 mi (24.1 km) to go, the gap was 2 minutes 40 seconds and Voigt humorously changed his mind and said the escape would make it.
Shortly thereafter, the field floored the gas pedal and the gap started to melt in the run-in to Lido. A crash occurred before a bend with 5 mi (8.0 km) to go implicating Ben Jacques-Mayne (Jamis–Hagens Berman) and one of the race favorites Warren Barguil of Team Giant–Alpecin; Jacques-Mayne did not finish the stage. The breakaway was absorbed shortly afterwards and no one tried to escape the bunch from that point on. In a very fast finish, Wouter Wippert (Drapac Professional Cycling) launched a long sprint and Sagan jumped onto his wheel. Cavendish opened his own sprint on the right side of the road and Sagan popped out of Wippert's wheel on the left. As both the Slovakian and the Manx Missile crossed the line at high speeds, none of the two raised their hands, as they were unsure who had just won. It was later determined that Cavendish had met victory in his second stage in a row, with the involuntary lead-out man Wippert rounding-up the podium.
The third stage of the race featured only one intermediate sprint, contested in Livermore, then the climbing began. From that point on, there were six King of the Mountains prizes (four were category 4 and one was category 2), with the major one being the climb to Mount Hamilton, a "Hors Category" affair at 6.5 mi (10.5 km) for an average 7% gradient. One of the category 4 climb was situated at the end of the stage in San Jose where the finale featured 0.25 mi (0.4 km) at an average of 10%. The elevation gain for the stage was 10,200 ft (3,100 m).
As they rolled out of the neutral zone, the temperatures were around 60 °F (15.6 °C) and the sun was out. Two riders didn't take the start of the stage: Warren Barguil of Team Giant–Alpecin and Tyler Magner of Hincapie Racing, both due to the crash that occurred the day before. The start of the event was very fast since a lot of riders wanted a chance to get the KOM points on offer during the stage. After 15 mi (24.1 km) of racing and numerous attempts at forming a breakaway, the pack was still together except those who had already been shed off the back thanks to the rapid pace. Travis Meyer (Drapac Professional Cycling) went first through the intermediate sprint as the composition of the leading group was still changing by the minute. Soon, Roy Curvers (Team Giant–Alpecin), Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team), Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Evan Huffman (Team SmartStop), Oscar Clark and Toms Skujiņš (both with Hincapie Racing) joined Meyer and formed the break.
Oss swept all three KOMs (Cat. 4) before Mount Hamilton. Midway through the stage, the gap to the escapees was hovering around 3:15 with the big mountain (HC) still to come. At the foot of the ascent of the behemoth, Toms Skujiņš accelerated away from his companions. Soon the gap grew and he was first at the KOM point, amassing 12 points. The peloton exploded as they tackled Mount Hamilton. The riders then negotiated the twisty descent on good tarmac. After the difficulty of the day, Peter Sagan suffered a mechanical incident but reintegrated the pack on a small non-categorized rise. The next KOM came shortly after the descent and was named Quimby (Cat. 2). Skujiņš won this KOM too and fell off his machine in a tight bend on the descent as he made contact with a protective haystack, but remounted straight away. With 12 mi (19.3 km) to cover, he still enjoyed an advantage of 2:30 on lone pursuer Oss and 4:00 over the reduced peloton.
The main pack accelerated in damage control mode. With 7 mi (11.3 km) to go, the gap from the peloton to the lone breaker was still 3:30, with Tinkoff–Saxo doing some work along with the teams of the favorites in an effort to bring Skujiņš back. Laurens ten Dam of LottoNL–Jumbo was distanced and finished 7:25 from the winner. Skujiņš resisted on the flat run-in and on the short but steep climb at the end to claim the stage victory and the general classification jersey. A minute and six seconds later, Peter Sagan sprinted uphill to claim second place just a few meters in front of Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe of Etixx–Quick-Step. In all, the 23-year-old Skujiņš had raced 34 mi (54.7 km) solo to realize this performance. With the points on offer on the final climb, Skujiņš grabbed the best climber's jersey as well.
The fourth stage featured three intermediate sprints once again, contested in Guadalupe, Orcutt and Arroyo Grande. Before being able to contest the third sprint, the peloton had to contend with a climb on Tepusquet Road which was midway into the stage and classified Category 3. The climb was not steep, but 4.7 mi (7.6 km) long. The altitude gained in the parcours was 5,200 ft (1,600 m).
Hincapie Racing planned on defending the leader's jersey through the stage with occasional support from the teams interested in a mass sprint, said Robin Carpenter (rider for Hincapie Racing) before the start. Despite the stiff crosswinds, the peloton rode at speeds approaching 30 mph (48 km/h) early on. The first sprint was won by Gregory Daniel (Axeon Cycling Team) while the race was still in "breakaway formation mode". Soon thereafter, it became apparent that the following five would be the escape for the day, as the field stopped for a natural break: Gregory Daniel, Jesse Anthony (Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN–Qhubeka) and Will Clarke (Drapac Professional Cycling). The latter also featured in the break on stage one. The most dangerous threat for the overall classification in this group was Gregory Daniel, who was eight minutes down on leader Toms Skujiņš of Hincapie Racing. The second intermediate sprint, in Orcutt, saw the American Daniel take the honors again.
The feed zone was situated in the run-in to the climb of Tepusquet Road on a gentle uphill incline. At that moment, the pack was being marshalled by Hincapie Racing and Etixx–Quick-Step as the gap hovered at 3:30. The 4.7 mi (7.6 km) ascent was an average 5% until the final kilometer, which was steeper at nearly 7%. The gap melted slowly as the break went up the incline and Jesse Anthony crested the obstacle first. The riders had to compose with the wind after a change of direction on the flatter roads, and LottoNL–Jumbo tried to create echelons but failed as the wind was not in the perfect direction. As the riders reached the last intermediate sprint in Arroyo Grande (won by Daniel) with 20 mi (32.2 km) to go, the break was within eyesight of the main field at 35 seconds. The escapees started a flurry of attacks and soon only Daniel was in front of the race and stomping the pedals. He was caught with 10 mi (16.1 km) to cover.
With 5 mi (8.0 km) left, the peloton was spread across the road, trying to sort out their lead-out trains. The finish was technical with three 90 degrees bends in the last kilometer and featured a short but steep rise right before the line. Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) tried his luck under the red kite, but was joined with about 100 meters remaining as Sagan powered his way past him to claim his second victory of the season, followed by Wouter Wippert (Drapac Professional Cycling) and Mark Cavendish. As he crossed the finish, Sagan banged his front wheel twice on the tarmac while still at speed. He treated the crowd to a no-footed wheelie afterward to celebrate. Although Sagan took a ten-second bonus for his victory, the overall classification remained unchanged.
The stage had two intermediate sprint contests held in Ojai and Santa Paula. Four categorized climbs were on the menu, two of them being situated on Highway 150 (Cat. 4), another one named Dennison Grade (Cat. 3) and the last one was contested on Balcom Canyon (Cat. 4). The run-in to Santa Clarita (the last 25 mi (40.2 km)) was mainly flat after the riders contested the hilly part of the race. The official elevation gain for the stage was 7,600 ft (2,300 m).
From the start, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) tried to extricate himself from the peloton since he was second-placed in the Mountains competition by a single point to race leader Toms Skujiņš (Hincapie Racing). Oss failed in his ordeal. An attempt containing Oss' teammate Danilo Wyss tried to get clear, but Wyss' presence, being only 47 seconds down on general classification, sparked some chasing by the peloton. However, about 10 mi (16.1 km) into the race, the gap had ballooned rapidly to 1:30, making this breakaway the fastest one to form in the Tour so far. Its composition was the aforementioned Wyss, Alex Howes (Cannondale–Garmin), Javier Mejías (Team Novo Nordisk), Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly–Maxxis) and Geoffrey Curran of Axeon Cycling Team. The responsibility for the chase fell upon Hincapie Racing's riders, whose task it was to manage the gap. The break soon hit the short but steep first two KOMs of the day situated near Lake Casitas. Wyss crested both of them in the top spot to claim maximum points.
After the descent of the latter KOM, there was about 10 mi (16.1 km) of flat roads to the first intermediate sprint in Ojai, which was swept up by Alex Howes. Immediately after that, the riders attacked the Category 3 Dennison Grade with Lachlan Morton raking in the KOM points. With 60 mi (96.6 km) to go, rain started falling and some riders opted to put rain jackets on as the temperatures dipped to 56 °F (13.3 °C). The leaders passed Santa Paula while Wyss won the last intermediate sprint of the day. The very steep climb of Balcom Canyon saw the riders at the front of the race drag themselves up the incline at 6 mph (9.7 km/h). Morton won that KOM also while Chris Butler of Team SmartStop attacked from the main field and tried to bridge to the escapees. He was inserted between the main field and the leaders for about 8 mi (12.9 km) before finally making contact with them.
All the riders in the race were careful not to crash on the descent of the last hill (uncategorized), as the roads were soaking wet and the escape lost 3 elements. With 25 mi (40.2 km) to race, the gap was one minute and 50 seconds to the now three escapees, Howes, Curran and virtual leader Wyss. From that point they put the hammer down while Hincapie Racing and Etixx–Quick-Step marshaled the pack. With 14 mi (22.5 km) to the finish, the rain was pouring heavily and the difference was still around 1:50. Danny Pate of Team Sky and some Drapac Professional Cycling riders came to the fore to lay a helping hand, but Wyss attacked the break after a crash occurred in the field. He was finally mopped up with 2 mi (3.2 km) to cover after being the virtual leader all day.
A massive sprint ensued in the streets of Santa Clarita, the tarmac was drier than it had been on the run-in to town and Mark Cavendish took victory for the third time in this Tour. The Englishman got out of his lieutenant Mark Renshaw's wheel to benefit a bit from Zico Waeytens's slipstream and opened his machine, winning by a bike length. The Belgian Zico Waeytens of Team Giant–Alpecin took second position. Peter Sagan came in third place and amassed another four-second bonus. Toms Skujiņš held on to the general classification lead.
Big Bear Lake, which is situated at 6,000 ft (1,828.8 m), was supposed to welcome the event but was forecast to receive 2 to 5 inches of snow, so tour organizers opted to move the event to Santa Clarita. The Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park was the host of the start and finish of the race. The course was mainly flat and did not feature many corners, but there was a 180 degree turnaround. "On this fairly short course, the result is really anyone’s guess because there is room for a specialty rider to take the cake from the big hitters in the general classification." said race director Jim Birrell.
There were 133 riders left to dispute the Tour of California at the start of the stage. As is standard procedure for individual time trials, the riders' order of racing has been the reverse of the general classification, meaning that Carson Miller of Jamis–Hagens Berman, the last of the race at 42:18 started first. Riders went on the course at one-minute intervals until only 20 competitors were left, at which point they started at two minutes increments. There was a tailwind coming out of the start gates and a headwind coming back with temperatures hovering around 62 °F (16.7 °C).
45 minutes into the event, the temporary leader was Jos van Emden (LottoNL–Jumbo) with a time of 12:46. An hour into the stage and with 36 riders having completed the course, Emden was sitting in the leader's chair. Many of the cyclists in the early wave were out on the course on their usual road machine, with no aero bars to gain an aerodynamic advantage. Mark Cavendish, standing 62nd on overall classification, started dressed in full-time trial kit. He overtook the rider in front of him, sprinter Zico Waeytens (Team Giant–Alpecin). He finished thirty seconds down on Van Emden with 13:16.
Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff–Saxo) put in a good performance, getting a provisional second position, seven seconds down on Van Emden. Shortly afterward, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) the polka dots jersey wearer, took a provisional fourth position with 12:59. Overall classification favorite Sergio Henao (Team Sky) performed well with a time of 12:57, as did LottoNL–Jumbo's Robert Gesink only a second after the Colombian.
Van Emden had to wait until the penultimate rider Peter Sagan got on the course and crushed his time. Sagan negotiated the corners aggressively and registered a time of 12:32, besting Van Endem by fifteen seconds. With that operation, Sagan grabbed the overall leader's classification jersey. There were no points on offer for the sprinter's classification jersey on that time trial. Toms Skujiņš of Hincapie Racing held on for the second position of the general classification and finished 34th of the stage.
This was the queen stage of the 2015 Tour of California. The riders contended with the first King of the Mountains competition of the day which was Glendora Ridge Road (Cat. 2) and went down to the intermediate sprint in Glendale. Immediately afterward the climbing resumed back up Glendora Mountain Road (Cat. 2) and up to the Mount Baldy Ski Lifts (Hors Category), an ascent that took the competitors from an altitude of about 1,000 ft (300 m) to approximately 6,800 ft (2,100 m). Mount Baldy has 15 switchbacks and a maximum 17% gradient. It is no surprise that this stage featured the biggest elevation gain of the race, with 11,600 ft (3,500 m) of climbing.
The stage was a short stage but hardly featured any flat terrain, which made for intense racing as it was a deciding factor in the general classification standings. As the race got on its way, reports indicated that the temperatures at the finish line were as low as 42 °F (6 °C). The race start saw a flurry of attacks which were quickly brought back. On the climb to Glendora Ridge road, a break tried to get clear including second-placed Toms Skujiņš (Hincapie Racing), who was wearing the polka dot jersey and had an advantage of a single point over Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team), who was also part of that move. The other breakers were Gregory Brenes (Jamis–Hagens Berman), Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale–Garmin), Steven Butler (Team SmartStop), Daniele Ratto (UnitedHealthcare) and Johann Van Zyl of MTN–Qhubeka. Before the end of the climb, Skujiņš folded back to the peloton. Lachlan Morton of Jelly Belly–Maxxis joined the break as Ratto and Hansen were distanced. Oss took maximum points on the Category 2 affair, with the bunch looming two minutes behind at that point. Nobody in the breakaway was much of a threat on general classification as Oss was the better placed rider at 9:29.
The breakaway was splitting up on the twisting, narrow descent and a trio of leaders formed: Oss, Butler and Morton. They were chased by the former breakaway riders who made contact in the run-in to Glendale. Meanwhile, the peloton containing the favorites and race leader Peter Sagan were almost four minutes in arrears. They were six forming the lead group as Butler was the lone chaser. He didn't make it back to the break. Team Sky, Tinkoff–Saxo and LottoNL–Jumbo were working at the front of the bunch. The riders were racing near the Morris Reservoir as they were dealing with the only big stretch of flatter roads of the stage. Lasse Norman Hansen happened to be at the front when crossing the intermediate sprint, which was not contested as it had no consequence on the points classification for the escapees. Then, it was mostly uphill for 25 mi (40.2 km) until the finish line. Van Syl attacked and Oss made contact. With 20 mi (32.2 km) to race, the gap from the peloton to the front of the race was two minutes and Team Sky toughened the pace in an effort to drop Peter Sagan, the leader of the race. Oss won the Glendora Mountain Road KOM. It was his objective all along, and he let himself be distanced by Van Syl to reintegrate the remnants of the main field.
Toms Skujiņš, second on general classification, was distanced with 15 mi (24.1 km) to race and Van Zyl was reabsorbed around that point. With 12 mi (19.3 km) to go all the favorites were still in the leading group, including Sagan. Former winner of this stage in 2012 Robert Gesink of LottoNL–Jumbo was dropped with 3.5 mi (5.6 km) to cover. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx–Quick-Step) took the lead of the very depleted group and Team Sky's Sergio Henao attacked, dropping Sagan who still hammered the pedals as he tried to hold on to his 45-second lead in the general classification. The Frenchman responded to Henao's attack and dropped the Colombian. Snow was covering the sides of the road as they were at altitude. At that point, there literally was no "group" to speak of, at the front of the race at least. Alaphilippe soloed through the twisting finale featuring bad tarmac and held on to win atop Mount Baldy to take his first win of the season after numerous podium placings. Peter Sagan finished 47 seconds in arrears, putting him only two seconds in deficit to Alaphilippe in the overall classification. Henao finished second of the stage to find himself third on general classification, 33 seconds down. Ian Boswell rounded up the podium of the stage.
The last stage of the race was also the shortest road stage. There was one intermediate sprint point at the first crossing of the finish line near the Rose Bowl, then the riders did nine laps in Pasadena. The course did not feature any King of the Mountains points since it was flat. The total elevation gain was a modest 2,000 ft (610 m).
This stage was supposed to have no consequences on the overall classification due to its flat terrain, but the two-second difference separating Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe in the overall classification meant that the Tour was not yet decided. The bonus seconds on offer in the stage would determine the winner. The only intermediate sprint of the day offered 3, 2, 1 seconds for the first, second and third rider to cross the line respectively. The stage in itself also gave bonus time by finishing in the top-three, which provided bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds respectively.
The race got underway under sunny weather, with temperatures around 70 °F (21.1 °C). Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) wore the best climber's jersey and was certain to finish the Tour of California with it, since there were no categorized climbs on the last stage. A breakaway formed made of two Etixx–Quick-Step riders, Matteo Trentin and Yves Lampaert, Danny Pate (Team Sky), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN–Qhubeka) and Ruben Zepuntke (Cannondale–Garmin). Tinkoff–Saxo pulled at the front since they wanted to bring back the break so Sagan could have a chance to sprint for bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint. The team was down two riders since Maciej Bodnar and Michael Kolar had to abandon earlier in the race. Mark Cavendish has said that he would work for Alaphilippe and forget his own ambitions.
With 40 mi (64.4 km) to race and 10 mi (16.1 km) to the intermediate sprint the breakaway was reeled in. Attacks came fast and often from Etixx–Quick-Step but were reabsorbed. On the intermediate sprint, Cavendish won, followed very closely by Sagan who gained two seconds as Alaphilippe finished third, stealing a single second. At that point the difference between the two leaders of the race was one second for Alaphilippe and it would be all decided on the final sprint. Immediately after the sprint, two Hincapie Racing riders went clear, Joseph Lewis and Oscar Clark. They were soon joined by BMC Racing Team's Manuel Senni and Jesse Anthony (Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies). The sprinters' teams came to the fore. With 20 mi (32.2 km) to go, the average speed of the race had been 28 mph (45.1 km/h).
The mass sprint was won by Mark Cavendish, second was Wouter Wippert and Peter Sagan came in third, reaping a four-second bonus and making him the winner of the overall classification of the 2015 Tour of California. Sagan was third by mere inches over fourth-placed Tyler Farrar and they had to wait for the photo-finish to make it official. Had Sagan not effectuated a bike throw as he crossed the line, he would not have won. It was the closest winning margin in the Tour's history. Sagan celebrated with a long, one-handed wheelie while saluting the crowd. "I'm very happy to win the Tour of California, also because this year I lost the green jersey, so I had to do something here to get on the podium," he said while laughing. He also shared his thoughts about waiting for the race judges to know if he had won the Tour: "They said it three times, and then I believed".
In the 2015 Tour of California, 5 jerseys were awarded. For the general classification, calculated by adding the finishing times of the stages per cyclist, the leader received a yellow jersey (Amgen Race Leader Jersey). Time bonuses were awarded for the first three finishers on mass-start stages (10, 6 and 4 seconds respectively) and on intermediate sprints (3, 2 and 1 seconds respectively). This classification was considered the most important of the Tour of California, and the winner of the general classification was considered the winner of the Tour of California.
Additionally, there was also a sprints classification, akin to what is called the points classification in other races, which awards a green jersey (Visit California Sprint Jersey). In the sprints classification, cyclists received points for finishing in the top 15 in a stage. In addition, some points could be won in intermediate sprints as well as bonus seconds in the overall classification. The first across the line got 3 seconds, the second two and the third rider, one.
There was also a mountains classification, which awarded a Polka dots jersey (Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey). In the mountains classifications, points were won by reaching the top of a mountain before other cyclists. Each climb was categorized, either first, second, third, or fourth category, with more points available for the harder climbs.
There was also a youth classification. This classification was calculated the same way as the general classification, but only young cyclists (under 23) were included. The leader of the young rider classification received a white and green jersey (Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey).
The last jersey was awarded to the most combative rider of a stage for him to wear on the next stage. It was generally awarded to a rider who attacks constantly or spent a lot of time in the breakaways. This jersey was blue, white and yellow (Amgen Breakaway from Cancer© Most Courageous Rider Jersey).
There was also a classification for teams. In this classification, the times of the best three cyclists per stage were added, and the team with the lowest time was the leader.
|1||Mark Cavendish||Mark Cavendish||Zico Waeytens||not awarded||Mark Cavendish||Will Clarke||BMC Racing Team|
|2||Mark Cavendish||Robin Carpenter||Robin Carpenter||Markel Irizar||Tinkoff–Saxo|
|3||Toms Skujiņš||Toms Skujiņš||Julian Alaphilippe||Toms Skujiņš||Daniel Oss||BMC Racing Team|
|4||Peter Sagan||Gregory Daniel|
|5||Mark Cavendish||Danilo Wyss|
|6||Peter Sagan||Peter Sagan||not awarded|
|7||Julian Alaphilippe||Julian Alaphilippe||Daniel Oss||Lachlan Morton||Team Sky|
|8||Mark Cavendish||Peter Sagan||Oscar Clark|
|Final||Peter Sagan||Julian Alaphilippe||Daniel Oss||Mark Cavendish||not awarded||Team Sky|
|Denotes the leader of the General classification||Denotes the leader of the Mountains classification|
|Denotes the leader of the Points classification||Denotes the leader of the Young rider classification|
|1||Peter Sagan (SVK)||Tinkoff–Saxo||28h 13' 12"|
|2||Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)||Etixx–Quick-Step||+3"|
|3||Sergio Henao (COL)||Team Sky||+37"|
|4||Joe Dombrowski (USA)||Cannondale–Garmin||+1' 14"|
|5||Robert Gesink (NED)||LottoNL–Jumbo||+1' 15"|
|6||Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)||Trek Factory Racing||+1' 16"|
|7||Ian Boswell (USA)||Team Sky||+1' 23"|
|8||Riccardo Zoidl (AUT)||Trek Factory Racing||+1' 24"|
|9||Peter Kennaugh (GBR)||Team Sky||+1' 44"|
|10||Rob Britton (CAN)||Team SmartStop||+2' 10"|
|1||Mark Cavendish (GBR)||Etixx–Quick-Step||75|
|2||Peter Sagan (SVK)||Tinkoff–Saxo||62|
|3||Wouter Wippert (NED)||Drapac Professional Cycling||38|
|4||Jean-Pierre Drucker (LUX)||BMC Racing Team||26|
|5||Zico Waeytens (BEL)||Team Giant–Alpecin||22|
|6||Will Clarke (AUS)||Drapac Professional Cycling||20|
|7||John Murphy (USA)||UnitedHealthcare||19|
|8||Tyler Farrar (USA)||MTN–Qhubeka||19|
|9||Lucas Sebastián Haedo (ARG)||Jamis–Hagens Berman||16|
|10||Robin Carpenter (USA)||Hincapie Racing||15|
Young rider classification
|1||Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)||Etixx–Quick-Step||28h 13' 15"|
|2||Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR)||Axeon Cycling Team||+2' 33"|
|3||Jay McCarthy (AUS)||Tinkoff–Saxo||+3' 13"|
|4||Manuel Senni (ITA)||BMC Racing Team||+4' 43"|
|5||Dion Smith (NZL)||Hincapie Racing||+4' 52"|
|6||Lawson Craddock (USA)||Team Giant–Alpecin||+9' 35"|
|7||Ruben Guerreiro (POR)||Axeon Cycling Team||+12' 47"|
|8||James Oram (AUS)||Axeon Cycling Team||+20' 38"|
|9||Jasper Stuyven (BEL)||Trek Factory Racing||+22' 59"|
|10||Robin Carpenter (USA)||Hincapie Racing||+25' 43"|
|1||Daniel Oss (ITA)||BMC Racing Team||48|
|2||Toms Skujiņš (LAT)||Hincapie Racing||33|
|3||Lachlan Morton (AUS)||Jelly Belly–Maxxis||20|
|4||Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)||Etixx–Quick-Step||14|
|5||Johann Van Zyl (RSA)||MTN–Qhubeka||14|
|6||Evan Huffman (USA)||Team SmartStop||13|
|7||Jonathan Clarke (AUS)||UnitedHealthcare||13|
|8||Sergio Henao (COL)||Team Sky||11|
|9||Ian Boswell (USA)||Team Sky||11|
|10||Danilo Wyss (SWI)||BMC Racing Team||10|
|1||Team Sky||84h 43' 10"|
|2||Trek Factory Racing||+4' 06"|
|3||BMC Racing Team||+5' 35"|
|6||Axeon Cycling Team||+23' 37"|
|8||Hincapie Racing||+42' 52"|
|9||Team Giant–Alpecin||+45' 22"|
|10||Team SmartStop||+46' 28"|
- The original host of the event, Big Bear Lake, was due to receive snow, so the stage was displaced to Santa Clarita.
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