Stage 7 at the 2011 Tour of California was without a decisive stage for General classification. Starting in the college town of Claremont and ending 121km later at the top of Mt Baldy, riders had their work cut out.
With a gigantic category HC Climb compared with some of the toughest climbs in European races, the last portions of Stage 7 would most likely proclaim the eventual winner of the Tour.
With the red, King of the Mountain jersey, Pat McCarty knew the task ahead. With a six-point lead over his closest competitor entering the race, McCarty knew today would be critical in defending his jersey and the best climber win for Team SpiderTech.
McCarty got to the task right from the get go. As part as the first serious break of the day, he took the points in the first King of the Mountain check point. In the second climb, McCarty sprinted past the attack group to take the second of third point-grabbing challenge.
With 39 points in the King of the Mountain category, McCarty has successfully defended the red jersey for SpiderTech, and build a large enough lead to win it.
“It was another tough day with a very fast start. With help from my team and Lucas, I got into the day’s break and won two of the three KOM locking up the jersey. I was a very hard day by satisfying to step up on the podium one more time.” said McCarty.
“The game plan was to follow the Shack Train as the first attacks of the day developed. We knew Garmin-Cervélo would be aggressive and they made the race tough. Pat timed the move perfectly. Winning the first KOM of the day virtually guaranteed the KOM overall title. He rode with a strongmen break of Hejesdal, Talansky, Hincapie, Efemkin, Britton, and Tem Dam for the majority of the race and capped his race with a second KOM. The jersey is in the pocket now and finish tomorrow’s stage ” added Steve Bauer, directeur sportif for SpiderTech.
Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack won the gruelling stage after the last climb, holding the hand of teammate Christopher Horner, the golden jersey leader. Leipheimer, a three-time winner of the Tour, also takes the climbing points for the HC category climb.
Tomorrow is the final day at the Tour of California. Bearing a catastrophe, Horner should win the General Classification and take the title of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. The trek will take the riders on a road filled with switchbacks and plenty of opportunities to grab sprint points. The winner will then be crowned, and riders will celebrated the completion of the hardest stage race in the history of the United States.