Bookwalter Second on AMGEN Tour of California Stage 6 Time Trial19. May 2017, Big Bear Lake (USA) — Road Team
After a tough queen stage, the AMGEN Tour of California headed to Big Bear Lake on day six for a time trial that would see Brent Bookwalter put in an impressive performance to finish second on the stage and move into fourth on the General Classification.
While the completely flat profile of the out-and-back course may have looked simple on paper, it was anything but, with riders racing against the clock at an altitude of nearly 2,100 meters above sea level.
Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates) set an early benchmark of 28'48" with Martin Elmiger and Miles Scotson both putting in strong opening rides to sit third (28'52") and fifth (29'04") respectively on the provisional leaderboard at the halfway mark.
Jonathan Dibben (Team Sky) then moved into the hot seat after crossing the line in 28'27", a time which would prove enough to secure the top step of the podium.
Bookwalter was one of the last riders to begin his 24km time trial, and his strength and determination were evident from the moment he rolled off the ramp.
As he rounded the final corner and the finish line came into view, Bookwalter rose from his saddle to make sure he left every last drop of energy out on the road. Eventually, he stopped the clock at 28'34" to set the second fastest time of the day, seven seconds behind the stage winner, Dibben.
Bookwalter's effort was also enough to see him move up into fourth overall heading into tomorrow's final stage, 45 seconds behind the new race leader, George Bennett (Lotto NL-Jumbo).
Elmiger's early time was enough to secure him a place in the top ten with Tom Bohli sitting 12th in 28'55" as Scotson, and Michael Schär, also finished inside the top twenty.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"I gave it everything today. Unfortunately, I just missed out on the stage win, but again, I am proud of my effort. I executed what I had trained for which was to improve my time trial skills on a flatter course, and I showed that of the GC guys I was the best today. For me, that was a bit of a milestone and a breakthrough ride in terms of racing against the other GC contenders on a course like today. It stings a little bit to miss out on the win, but there are lots of positives to take away from it, and I think I proved that I am one of the strongest riders here."
"It was a nice time trial. The parcours was good, a lot of corners and nice blue sky. Riding at an altitude of over 2000 meters was something a little special. That was a first for me and it was why I started off a little bit easier. Overall, I was happy with my effort, and I was able to keep a good rhythm all the way."
"Today was good. It's been a pretty hard week riding for the team so I definitely felt it in my legs a little bit and looking at it from that perspective, I am happy with my ride. The altitude definitely affects how you pace your effort, and you're not quite sure where your limits are. On the way back with the headwind, it was pretty hard to maintain your speed, but I gave it my best today."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"Brent Bookwalter did such a great ride today. Just as we saw yesterday, he is really on an entirely different level to where he was even last year. Several of our other guys had decent rides also which was good to see. To be seven seconds of the win is obviously a little disappointing but at the same time to be contesting the GC every day and still finish that close to the top of the podium today is impressive. The altitude is always going to be a factor on how you plan your efforts on a TT like this but I don't think it will have had a huge impact on the main contenders. Most, if not all, of them, will have been prepared for it just like Brent was."
"Tomorrow is going to be a fast stage I think, and while I don't see much changing overall, we need to make sure we stay safe."
AMGEN Tour of California
Stage 6 / ITT: Big Bear Lake > Big Bear Lake, 24km
Top 3: 1. Jonathan Dibben (Team Sky) 2. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) 3. Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Brent Bookwalter 9. Martin Elmiger 12. Tom Bohli
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.