By Mark Etheridge
Robbie Hunter’s Garmin-Transition team failed to give David Zabriskie overall victory in the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday but had the consolation of taking honours in the Tour’s team category.
The eighth and final stage of the tour was a 134.4-kilometre ride from Thousand Oaks and took in Westlake before finishing in Agoura Hills.
A reduced field of just 83 riders started the final stage and at the end of the day over half the peloton were missing from the final 33km circuit, either voluntarily or for falling outside the prescribed time limit.
Stage honours went to Garmin rider Ryder Hesjedal of Canada in 3hr 21min 56sec.
Neither Hunter or the other South African rider in the field, Fly V Australia’s Darren Lill, came into contention in the time category on the last day.
So it was left to Australian Michael Rogers to claim victory in the general classification after being in the saddle for a total of 33hr 08min 30sec. After all the riding Zabriskie ended a scant nine seconds behind.
Four-time Tour winner Levi Leipheimer was third, 25sec off the overall time.
In the team category, Garmin-Transition had a combined time of 99hr 29min 17sec with their Team Radioshack rivals just two seconds in arrears.
Said Hunter on his Twitter feed after the race: “Tour done & dusted. We ripped the race to pieces today from the gun. Even with only 2 guys Rogersh managed to hold on to GC. We got the stage!”