Bookwalter Fourth Overall After Fast Finale in California20. May 2017, Pasadena (USA) — Road Team
The AMGEN Tour of California drew to a close today after an exciting final day of racing saw the breakaway contest the win and Brent Bookwalter secure his fourth place finish on the General Classification.
With a fast opening descent, stage 7 got off to a flying start with the peloton altogether over the opening 20km before a flurry of activity saw seven riders try their luck at the front of the race.
However, it wasn’t meant to be for the group as the riders were caught by the peloton on the approach to the first of three categorized climbs after 40km, of the 125km course.
A second move, this time made up of five riders, formed on the ascent of Mt. Emma Road and they were able to build up a narrow 35-second advantage over the rest of the field.
Several riders tried to bridge the gap but only one was successful, and eventually, as the kilometers continued to pass by, they were able to stretch out their lead to a maximum of 1’45”.
The motivated main bunch continued to set a fast pace out on the road, and as they reached the early slopes of the final climb, Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, the gap was beginning to fall steadily.
A flurry of attacks off the front of the main 25-rider group saw the gap drop to inside one minute heading onto the fast descent and towards the final run-in to the finish line in the heart of Pasadena.
While the chasing group was working hard to try and close the gap, the six leaders were able to hold onto a narrow lead as they turned onto the home straight with Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) taking the win ahead of David Lopez (Team Sky) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).
Bookwalter crossed the line safely in the reduced bunch alongside Michael Schär and Samuel Sánchez to secure fourth overall on the General Classification, 45 seconds behind George Bennett (Lotto NL-Jumbo)
Quotes from the Finish Line
"I think today was harder than most people expected but fortunately we took some time to study the route and we could see that it had the potential to be more than a sprinters' stage. We had everything today, and it was a crazy start so, it was good that we collective decided to stay safe at that point. The racing was full on from there, and I think the heat took everyone by surprise. There were some attempts by the GC guys to shake things up, but I don't think the climbs were long enough or hard enough."
"I'm pretty proud of the week looking back at it. Of course, it stings a little bit to just miss out on the podium. In hindsight, the mistake on stage 2 will haunt us in the overall results and I take some of the responsibility for that but it was also a tactical error from us. We weren't quite ready for it. But, we moved on from it and I think I had a really strong race and we did well."
"Looking at the two big GC days, which I have worked towards all year, I think I executed my plan, and I think I also showed that I have taken another step forward in terms of leading a team. I haven't had many opportunities to do that, and I am grateful to have been given a chance to do that here. I am proud of how the guys stepped up and rallied around me. I think we can be pleased with our effort this week. It's been a long progression for me to lead a team and this was another step forward for me. We hold ourselves to a really high standard at BMC Racing Team. We aim to win and perform at every race. We were a little off the mark at some points this week but I am proud of how we all did, and I am definitely hungry for more."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was a really hard stage. We started at a high altitude with a fast descent. Brent Bookwalter needed a wheel change almost immediately, and Floris Gerts gave him a wheel. So, it was a bit of a stressful start for us, but it was a nervous race all day for everyone. It was full gas with lots of attacks all the way to the first climb, and then the breakaway went. The pace was hard to point where we dropped almost all of the sprinters and Brent came in safe with the leaders' group."
"Overall, I think we can say that we have had a good week. Brent was prepared for this race, and I think our mistake on stage 2 could have lost the race for us. We were disappointed to lose time there, but we definitely learned a lot from that. Brent has always given everything for the team, and it would have been great if we could have put him on the podium. But, I do think that he can be happy with his performance this week. He has proved that he is on another level this year."
AMGEN Tour of California
Stage 7: Mountain High > Pasadena, 125km
Top 3: 1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) 2. David Lopez (Team Sky) 3. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 11. Brent Bookwalter 14. Michael Schär 28. Samuel Sánchez
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.