Eleven riders formed the day’s breakaway but with only 126-kilometers on the cards, the peloton kept the group close and controlled their advantage at a maximum of three minutes.
An attack from George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) inside the final 70 kilometers provided a shake up and saw a select 15-rider move, featuring Riccardo Zoidl, go clear in pursuit of the breakaway.
The group, featuring most of the riders in the General Classification top ten, bridged the one and a half minute gap to the breakaway, creating a 25-rider lead group.
The peloton, led by Simon Geschke, began to reduce the gap inside the final 30 kilometers, while up ahead, more attacks from the leading group saw four riders go clear.
Eventually, the peloton proved too strong and managed to close the gap, sweeping up the peloton and the remaining riders at the front of the race to set the stage for the expected bunch sprint into Pasadena.
At this point, the CCC Team train took charge at the front of the peloton, working for Sajnok, and positioned him well with five kilometers to go.
Sajnok took the final turn in the top 15 riders and crossed the line just outside of the top ten, in eleventh place, behind stage winner Cees Bol (Team Sunweb).
Zoidl finished in the bunch to retain 13th on the General Classification, 1’50” down on winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
Quotes from the Finish Line
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“First of all, today, we thought it would be a sprint and so, we wanted to help Szymon Sajnokin the final. We had a good plan for a good lead out and the guys really talked to one another and discussed how we would do it. They really came together in the end and left him in a good place but he just lost a few positions in the final, finishing 11th. It was well-organized by the guys but, I think he wanted to do a better result.”
“However, it was still a nice finish to a good week. We’ve had a couple of top ten placings and a podium finish with Simon Geschke on stage three. We came here looking for a top ten on the General Classification and thinking of a stage win but, although we didn’t do that, we were not completely out of the race. Everyone is coming out of it with some good success and some good form. Everybody, except Barta unfortunately, stayed safe and overall, I think it was a good first Amgen Tour of California as CCC Team.”
Amgen Tour of California
Stage 7 Santa Clarita > Pasadena (126km)
Top 3: 1. Cees Bol (Team Sunweb), 2. Peter Sagan (Bora-hasngrohe), 3. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)
CCC Team top 3: 11. Szymon Sajnok, 35. Gijs Van Hoecke, 49. Riccardo Zoidl
Top 3 on GC: 1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), 2. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), 3. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
CCC Team top 3 on GC: 13. Riccardo Zoidl, 27. Michael Schär, 39. Simon Geschke
📷 Cor Vos