By Mark Etheridge
South African cyclist Robbie Hunter won a sprint category in Thursday’s fifth stage of the Amgen Tour of California but his Garmin-Transition teammate David Zabriskie was bumped off the overall lead in a drama-filled day of racing.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong went down for the second time of the tour, and on this occasion there was no coming back for the Team Radioshack rider. He was taken to hospital for stitches under his eye and also suffered a badly bruised elbow.
Hunter’s fellow South African rider Jay Robert Thompson was also a casualty, the Fly V Australia rider failing to finish the 195.5-kilometre stage between Visalia and Bakersfield.
Zabriskie now has the same overall time as new leader Michael Rogers of Team HTC-Columbia (22:56.59) but the Australian still leads, courtesy of his favourable stage placings.
And lurking just 10 seconds back is four-time race winner Levi Leipheimer of Team Radioshack.
In the general classification, Fly V Australia’s South African representative Darren Lill now lies 46th in the general classification, 25:41 down the field while Hunter is a further 11 positions back (+36:08).
Hunter also lies 13th in the sprint classification.
Friday’s sixth of eight stages is a 213.7-kilometre ride between Pasadena and Big Bear Lake.