Stage 5: Visalia to Bakersfield

For the second stage in a row, a Liquigas-Doimo rider won a bunch sprint to the line. This time it was 20-year-old Slovak Peter Sagan, who is quickly becoming the revelation of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.

Sagan came from second wheel behind Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie to take the stage victory and gain a few seconds on the overall classification. He now sits just 15 seconds behind the yellow jersey and also leads the Best Young Rider and Sprint point standings. Michael Rogers, who finished second on the day, collected enough time bonuses to move into an overall tie with Zabriskie. Rogers, however, will wear the yellow jersey to start Stage 6 due to his finish ahead of the American in today's stage. Levi Leipheimer remains in third, 10 seconds back from the two leaders.

Turmoil hit Stage 5 before it even began as race officials and several top riders were forced to answer past doping allegations when emails sent by Floyd Landis came to light. Landis is not participating in this year's Tour of California.

Around five miles into the actual race, a large crash took down several riders and caused more than a few to abandon due to injuries—including Lance Armstrong and Stuart O'Grady. Armstrong would be taken to a nearby hospital and was later given stitches on his face and elbow.

As the peloton neared Bakersfield, Ben Day of Fly V Australia became the last surviving member of a six-man breakaway that at one point looked to be strong enough to survive the stage. But as Garmin-Transitions and HTC-Columbia began taking control of the chase group, Day was reeled in. Rogers' HTC-Columbia team led the charging peloton to the line, though it lacked sprinter Mark Cavendish, who was left behind in a grupetto several minutes behind the main field.

Zabriskie maintained a position in the HTC-Columbia train, but eventually found himself leading out with a few hundred meters to the finish. Sagan was on his wheel followed by Rogers. Zabriskie attempted to time trial his way to the stage win but didn't have the strength, allowing Sagan to come from behind and capture the day.

Ben Day
Benjamin Day of Fly V Australia solos away from field on the finishing circuit at the end of Stage 5. - Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Stage 5 Results

  1. Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Doimo 4:52:28
  2. Michael Rogers - HTC-Columbia +00:00
  3. Dave Zabriskie - Garmin-Transitions +00:00
  4. Chris Horner - Team RadioShack +00:00
  5. Paul Martens - Rabobank +00:00
  6. Tony Martin - HTC-Columbia +00:00
  7. Levi Leipheimer - Team RadioShack +00:00
  8. Ryder Hesjedal - Garmin-Transitions +00:00
  9. Jens Voigt - Team Saxo Bank +00:00
  10. Rory Sutherland - UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis +00:00

Overall Classification

  1. Michael Rogers - HTC-Columbia 22:56:59
  2. Dave Zabriskie - Garmin-Transitions +00:00
  3. Levi Leipheimer - Team RadioShack +00:10
  4. Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Doimo +00:15
  5. Marc De Maar - UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis +00:28

Click Here for More Overall Standings and Jersey Leaders

Thursday, May 20 — 121.5 miles

The move from February to May allowed race organizers the chance to head into the Sierra Mountains. Stage 5 dips briefly into the foothills, but the most significant climb of the day may be a 250-foot bump the peloton will have to tackle three times during the finishing circuits.

? Sprint points at: Lindsay, Porterville

? KOM points at: Old Stage Rd., Round Mountain Rd.

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