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Skujins Breaks Into California

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May 19, 2016 – Latvia’s Toms Skujins won the fifth stage of the Tour of California on Thursday as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe retained his grip on the overall lead.

AFP/Darrell Parks

Cannondale rider Skujins, already a stage winner in the US cycling showpiece in 2015, came home ahead of Canada’s Adam De Vos (Rally Racing) and Spain’s Xabier Zandio of Team Sky.

Skujins’ victory came at the end of a demanding 131.7 mile (210 kilometer) uphill battle stretching from the scenic California wine country town of Lodi into the Sierra Nevada Mountains before finishing on the short of southern Lake Tahoe.

Skujins broke clear with around 19 miles to go, before being joined by De Vos and Zandio. Behind them, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Christian (Wiggins) and Katusha’s Jacopo Guarnieri upped the pace in an attempt to close the gap but the break proved decisive.

De Vos sought to make a break for the line but Skujins turned on the power to overhaul the Canadian and claim the win in 5hr 54min 45sec. Alaphilippe, meanwhile, retained his overall lead after finishing seventh, 43 seconds off the front.

Alaphilippe remains 22 seconds clear of American rider Peter Stetina and 37 seconds ahead of Lotto-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand. Friday’s sixth stage is a 12.6 mile time trial around the California town of Folsom.

Final kilometers of Stage 5

Results Stage 5:
1. Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale Pro Cycling 5:54:45
2. Adam de Vos (Can) Rally Cycling
3. Xabier Zandio (Spa) Team Sky 0:00:08
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:28
5. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Team Katusha 0:00:43
6. Rob Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Travis McCabe (USA) Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling

General Classification:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step 24:01:45
2. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:22
3. George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:37
4. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:40
5. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:49
6. Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:01:01
7. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
9. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling 0:01:12
10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:15