Jens Keukeleire Sprints to Seventh in Pasadena

Sat 17 May 2014

Adam Yates remains in fifth overall at the Amgen Tour of California following the penultimate day of racing. Jens Keukeleire was the best-placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE, seventh in the stage seven sprint in Pasadena. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) sprinted to victory, beating Thor Hushovd (BMC) and Danny van Poppel (Trek) to the line.

“Jens got his result on his own,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We also had Adam and Esteban [Chaves] up there. Aside from being a little climber type that isn’t really suited to the lead-out, Esteban is still regaining his confidence in the bunch. Yatesy needed to look out for himself and his position on the general classification, so Jens had to do the sprint alone.”

A strong escape group formed shortly after the stage start in Santa Clarita. The move included several heavy-hitters with Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Ben King (Garmin-Sharp) and Lars Boom (Belkin) amongst the seven escapees. Cannondale kept the break on the short leash, bringing the leaders in sight ahead of the entry into the final circuit.

King and van Avermaet resisted the catch. An attack by King split the breakaway, and only van Avermaet was able to respond to the American’s acceleration. The duo evaded the peloton until the last of three laps around the downtown Pasadena circuit.

“It wasn’t the best day for us,” admitted Wilson. “We were on the back foot from the beginning when we missed the move. We had to do a little of bit of chase work, and then it became clear that Gossy wasn’t on his best day. It all went a bit pear-shaped for us in the end.”

The top ten on the general classification all finished safety within the bunch and were awarded the same time as Sagan. Bradley Wiggins heads into the final day of racing with a 30” lead over Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) in second and 1’48 over Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) in third. Yates sits 2’14 behind the overall leader in fifth place.

“We’ll try for the stage again tomorrow,” said Wilson “We’re happy with Adam’s position on the overall, but we still have a number of cards to play.”