The 5th stage of the Amgen Tour of California saw the expected showdown take place on Mount Baldy and it was the American, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) who rode away with the win. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished in 2nd place and 3rd went to George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Although the 5th stage of the Tour of California was just 125km in distance, 3 big climbs meant it would certainly be the queen stage of this year’s edition of the race. A fast start also didn’t make things any easier with 20 riders jumping into the early break of the day. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in the move and so the rest of the team could rally around Lachlan Morton and his GC ambitions.
Bora-Hansgrohe and LottoNL-Jumbo also had big plans for the final climb up Mount Baldy and so they didn’t let the big break get too far up the road. It was the Dutch teams’ big acceleration on the penultimate climb that dropped many of the riders in the peloton and reeled in most of the break. Scott Thwaites and Ben King were on hand to deliver Morton to the foot of the final climb.
As the final climb started, only a lone rider remained out front by 40 seconds but that was never going to be enough with the GC contenders raring to go. King led the diminished peloton up the lower slopes of Mount Baldy, and the pace he set ensured only the best 20 riders would take on the last 5km of the climb. Morton was looking good and our young Australian put in an early surge which whittled the front group down to just 8 riders.
Nobody wanted to show their cards too early though and so Morton was the next to attack once again. Talanksy and Majka marked our Best Young Rider closely as the altitude started to take effect. Talansky then made the telling move with 3km to go and only Majka and Bennett could respond. At the summit, it was Talansky who had the legs.
Morton came in 27 seconds down and in 7th position. It was enough to keep the Best Young Rider jersey and slot into 5th place overall. As Mark Resnshaw’s recovery is still not 100% complete after breaking his Talus bone 6 weeks ago, he did not complete today’s stage.
Lachlan Morton – Rider
The pace was on for most of the day once again but the team were great in looking after me all stage. Ben was real strong today and on the final climb he was going so fast, it was awesome to have that support. I decided to throw in a few early jabs on the climb. I went pretty deep and in hindsight, taking the altitude into consideration, maybe I should have waited. Talanksy was really good though and a deserved winner today.