AMGEN Tour of California Stage 7: Meersman Top 15 on Mt. Diablo, Verona Makes the break
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman finished 15th on a tough HC summit finish on Saturday's 141.7km Stage 7 at AMGEN Tour of California. He was one of about a dozen riders who stayed with the yellow jersey group, and finished just 1'02" from race winner Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) on Mt. Diablo.
Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) was 2nd, and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd.
OPQS rider Carlos Verona entered into the breakaway of the day, but the gap for the break only reached a maximum gap of a few minutes during the stage. Verona stayed ahead with four other riders heading onto Mt. Diablo — 17km in length — but eventually those riders were caught by a hard charging peloton. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and David De La Cruz (NetApp-Endura) attacked earlier and remained ahead out of the original break.
Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard) was one of the first riders to attack out of the yellow jersey group, but he was soon caught and dropped by attacking Francisco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy) with several kilometers remaining. Mancebo eventually caught the duo ahead, and then started to drop them as well. However, Acevedo attacked out of the yellow jersey group, and passed Mancebo with 2.7km to go.
The winning move came from König in the final kilometers, as he caught Acevedo and then attacked him inside the final 500m and went on to victory.
OPQS looks next to a 130.4km Stage on Sunday, from San Francisco to Santa Rosa.