Here, Jones races at Bend. This week, he's moving up the rankings in the Amgen Tour of California.

Here, Jones races in Bend. This week, he's moving up the rankings in the Amgen Tour of California. © Cyclocross Magazine

In Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California, racers covered 135 miles and climbed nearly 10,000 ft. After the long haul, Jeremy Powers tweeted that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”  Lars Boom echoed the sentiment on his Twitter as well, saying, “Really hard stage today!”

Three-time world champ Oscar Freire (Rabobank) came within a couple of kilometers of making an all-day breakaway stick to the finish line, but it was Peter Sagan (Liquigas), the 21-year-old phenom from Slovakia, who solidified his overall lead in the sprint competition by launching a wicked sprint to win the stage. Sagan, lest you forget, was the runner up in the 2008 Junior World Cyclocross Championships in Treviso, Italy, and he took home the rainbow stripes in the MTB World Championships the same year. He’s been away from cyclocross for long enough that we haven’t included him in our “official-unofficial” ’crossers round-up, but he deserves a doff of the cap nonetheless.

Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optum Health) was also mixing it up at the front early on as he battled for KOM points. Anthony currently sits in second in the competition, behind Patrick McCarty (Spidertech)

As of the end of Stage 5, overall results for Cyclocross Magazine’s Amgen Tour of California Cyclocross Leader’s Jersey are as follows:

22 Tyler Wren (Jamis-Sutter Home)
36 Chris Jones (Team UnitedHealthcare)
47 Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optum Health)
61 Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optum Health)
99 Lars Boom (Rabobank)
112 Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell)
121 Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly)
133 Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home)

Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) was in a crash in Stage 5, breaking his collarbone, and was transported to the Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton. His brother and teammate, Andy, also was involved in a crash near the end of the stage, but was able to finish the race.

It seems that the cycling community has taken notice of our racers and the benefits they’ve been reaping thanks to their cyclocross background. Scott T. Anderson tweeted at Candelario’s team, Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optum Health, “It was all the Sacramento Cyclocross Series riding Alex did this winter that helped, right?”

Missed some stages of our Amgen Tour of California coverage?
Read Amgen Tour of California: Stage 2, Cyclocross Style, Amgen Tour of California: Stage 3, Cyclocross Style, and Amgen Tour of California: Stage 4, Cyclocross Style to catch up.

As the Tour continues, we’ll be keeping up with these racers, so check back for updates.