VENTURA, CA – Stage 5 presented by Lexus from Pismo Beach to Ventura was the longest road day of the week at 136.4 miles. BAHRAIN-MERIDA did some heavy lifting throughout the stage to chase down the breakaway and put their sprinter Ivan Garcia Cortina (BAHRAIN-MERIDA) into the mix for the final bunch sprint where he seized his first pro victory, fending off some of the race’s Sprint favorites and overtaking Argentinian Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who came in second for the stage.

Three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) seemed determined to get into the breakaway today with multiple attempts, finally bridging to the early leaders with a small collection of others to form the day’s lead group of 12. On a stage many pegged to be a day for the sprinters, the final climb before the run into the finish in Ventura, which saw the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race Empowered With SRAM blown apart, would come into play.

On the fast approach to Ventura, Sergio Higuita (EF Education First Pro Cycling) attacked at the top of the final climb with 2017 Amgen Tour of California champion George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) on his wheel. The two sped together over the final two miles before being caught by a large chase group containing Higuita’s teammate and race leader van GarderenHiguita remained in hot pursuit to the finish, picking up third place and valuable sprint bonus points; with Bennett claiming points at an intermediate Sprint, both rose in the overall standings to 6 and 8 respectively.

Though largely intact, the leader board grew a bit tighter after day five of the Amgen Tour of California, with the crucial Queen Stage up the infamous Mt. Baldy looming tomorrow. A mere 36 seconds separating the top 10 overall race leaders.

“We just gotta try to get into the base of Baldy with our top guys with as fresh of legs as possible, which means it’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting from guys like Lawson [Craddock], Alex [Howes] and Lachlan [Morton] – but those guys have been stellar all week, and they rode like champions today,” said van Garderen.

Today’s hilly stage caused the polka dot jersey to switch hands to Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team), while the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey remains for the fourth consecutive day with Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).

Results Stage 5, Pismo Beach to Ventura

  1. Ivan Garcia Cortina (BAHRAIN-MERIDA)
  2. Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
  3. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First Pro Cycling)