Phinney takes solo win (©GettyImages)
Phinney takes solo win (©GettyImages).

Bradley Wiggins closes in on Tour of California win

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Taylor Phinney wins stage five of the Tour of California after breaking away from the peloton on the descent of the San Marcos Pass.

The rider from the USA crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of the peloton which was led in by sprinters Peter Sagan and Matt Goss.

Mark Cavendish crossed the line amongst a third group of riders after being dropped earlier in the day.

Phinney's win didn't change the overall standings meaning Sir Bradley Wiggins still has his lead of 28 seconds going into the final two stages.

The BMC rider admitted he wasn't sure how he managed to win the stage and claims he was only aiming for a top three finish.

Phinney said, according to Cycling Weekly: “I was nervous about the climb. I was nervous about the heat. Once we got on the climb, I knew I was going to be able to stay with the group and at least sprint for top three and maybe get on the podium again.

"But to do what I did is kind of one of those things where you get to the finish and you’re like, ‘How did I do that?’ And why did I do that?”

A six man breakaway group did develop during the stage but after yesterday the peloton were more wary of this and they didn't let them stay out in front for too long, but Phinney's attack was another unexpected twist.

Wiggins had a pretty simple day with a stage which presented very few obstacles and with the help of other teams such as Cannondale and Orica GreenEdge setting the pace Team Sky had a relatively easy day.

Team Sky's Directeur Sportif, Servais Knaven said, according to Cycling News:  “It went really well for us out there. Several teams were prepared to share the workload with us and then Brad and Josh [Edmondson] rode tempo as Cannondale set a fast pace on the climb.

"It was a pretty hard one, especially with the speed they went up it, and a lot of guys got dropped.

"Brad, Danny and Josh were there though and they all looked really solid. That was good to see, especially with the sweltering weather we had again today, and obviously going into the sixth stage.”

Wiggins is set for a tough stage tomorrow as there is another summit finish and this will be the stage where the climbers will try to attack him and take the yellow jersey, but Knaven believes the team will have to ride similar to what they did today.

Knaven said: "There it will a similar scenario, and we'll be looking to make sure Brad saves as much energy as possible before riding hard on the long climb to the summit.

"He's in great form at the moment and we're really impressed with how he's performing. If we can defend the jersey tomorrow, that will leave us in a great position heading into the weekend stages."

Tour of California 2014, stage five: Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara, 173.8km
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing in 3-59-33
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 12 secs
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
5. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano
7. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Giant-Shimano
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
9. Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
10. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at same time
22. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at same time

Overall classification after stage five
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky in 17-53-36
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 28 secs
3. Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura at 1-09
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano at 1-25
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing at 2-28
7. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing at 2-29
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2-31
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 2-33
10. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 2-34

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