Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 Amgen Tour - Stage 5

It looks like the early start will have them off under sunny skies, with some big, puffy clouds overhead. The wind is mostly a crosswind that will push them along a bit - very welcome I'm sure for riders with tired legs after yesterday's hard ride.

I don't have personal knowledge of this route, so will be a spectator along with everyone else today. The course looks very flat, except for the final, short climb, so I expect the sprint teams will do well. Thor Hushovd is near the top of the GC, and this stage will suit him well, so I expect he will be near the front a lot.

I'm guessing RadioShack will be happy to have other teams do the work at the front today, until the final KOM climb, and then they'll be in front protecting Horner and Leipheimer's 1, 2 GC positions. The scenery should be spectacular, and ride generally a fast, easy one.

Overall, today will be about recovery before the TT in Solvang, and the massive Queen Stage in the San Gabriel Mountains. I expect the minor teams will want to break away to get in the spotlight, but will get reeled in handily 10-15km before the final KOM, and dropped decisively there to keep the climbing teams' big gains yesterday intact.

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