Team Sunweb’s Sam Oomen made the final selection on the ascent of Mount Baldy to take 6th on it’s summit finish.
Starting in Ontario, the queen stage of the Tour of California brought riders along two first categorised climbs before the summit finish atop Mount Baldy. Inside the first 20 kilometres the bunch splintered, with a group of around 20 gaining an advantage. For the second consecutive day and after taking 3rd yesterday as a breakaway went through to the finish, Lennard Hofstede made the days selection out at the front once again. Almost immediately riders tried to shake off the stragglers and Lennard was able to follow. A series of re-grouping saw him go forward inside a select group of 12 riders, who were caught with 16 kilometres to go. Meanwhile, the rest of the team spent the day safe in the peloton keeping Sam Oomen fresh for the summit finish. After an unfortunate start with Johannes Fröhlinger crashing, the team did a great job in delivering Sam safe to the bottom of the final ascent atop Mount Baldy. As a select group of riders led the field onto the climb, Sam remained up at the front with a group of eight. The pull to the finish began to take its toll and Sam lost contact as four riders went through the finish. Sam continued to put in a huge effort to take 6th place.
After the stage Sam explained: “The team’s plan today was to protect me get me as fresh as possible to the bottom of Mount Baldy and also to have one of us in the breakaway. The team was around me all day and kept me safe. We also had Lennard in the break so everything was perfectly done. Mike [Teunissen] was able to stay with me on the second-to-last climb. After that we caught Lennard back from the break so until the last climb I always had a teammate with me which was really good. On Mount Baldy the pace was high and because of the steepness later on the climb I chose to follow and not to blow up. Unfortunately at the end I lost contact with the first four guys and ended up 20sec behind on 6th. I think I can be happy with the result, and hopefully I can still do a good TT at altitude tomorrow.”