Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 ITT: Alaphilippe on the Podium Again!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe impressed again at 22-years-old, this time with a 3rd place finish in the 10.62km ITT of Amgen Tour of California in Santa Clarita on Friday. The French rider finished 19" down (50km/h) down on Peter Sagan's (Tinkoff-Saxo) winning time of 12 minutes and 31 seconds. Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 2nd.
Alaphilippe, in the white jersey for Best Young Rider, remains 3rd in the GC (+45") going into the crucial 128.7km Queen Stage on Saturday. Sagan moved into the race lead with his victory. The Stage 7 finish on Mt. Baldy (6.92km, 9% average gradient) will be likely be decisive for the GC. There will then be a 105.2km Stage 8 from L.A. Live to Pasadena/Rose Bowl, which strongly favors a bunch sprint finish with a 7-lap finishing circuit on Sunday. Mark Cavendish goes into tomorrow's stage still in the Green Jersey as leader of the points classification.
Etixx - Quick-Step has been on the podium every stage of Amgen Tour of California, including three victories by Cavendish, a 3rd place from the Manx Missile, and two 3rd places for Alaphilippe.
"With the change of the time trial course to a shorter distance in Santa Clarita, this suited me," Alaphilippe said. "I felt good at the start and wanted to do my best to defend my 3rd place in the GC. I have been taking it day-by-day, because I came here after some hard racing at the Ardennes Classics. I've had good legs so far, including today. I was super pleased with how I performed. Sagan was really strong today, so congratulations to him on the victory. I am really happy to be on the podium and to go into the queen stage having protected my overall placement. This is my first time at an eight-day stage race, and so far I did well at the time trial. We will see how I do on a key mountain stage tomorrow. I know that Mt. Baldy will not be easy, but we will see what can happen. We have a very motivated team here, as you can see with three victories of Mark Cavendish and my two podium placings. We also have the White Jersey and Green Jersey. I will do my best to honor my 3rd place in the GC on Saturday, and to also learn from the experience with the support of my teammates."