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Jeremy Vennell - most aggressive jersey
May 16th, 12. Yesterday Kiwi Jeremy Vennell was awarded the Most Courageous Rider jersey, today he won the Most Aggressive jersey after another day out in front at the Tour of California.
The Bissell Pro Cycling rider's efforts in the thick of the action at the Amgen Tour of California have been rewarded with two distinguished jerseys.
Although he has ridden this tour three times before, these are his first jerseys.
Vennell's persistence in the break yesterday netted him the Most Courageous Rider jersey, a platitude Vennell described as an honour.
Today he was at it again.
He initiated the break of the day, and attacked throughout his time out front to earn the Most Aggressive rider title, an impressive feat after yesterday's energy-sapping effort.
The Hawkes Bay rider who calls Santa Rosa, California home during the international season, attacked on the first King of the Mountain climb only 8km into the 185.5km stage from San Jose to Livermore.
Three riders joined him to contest the King of the Mountain climb before the group opened up a gap on the rest of the field. 25km into the stage the group had already established a lead of over 4min, they went on to double their margin to over 8min.
With 68km to go, Vennell increased the pace in the break and only one companion was able to respond. The pair, a Kiwi and Colombian who are both former national time trial champions, quickly put time into their breakaway companions.
As the race ascended the final climb of the day, Vennell attacked again but he was unable to get free and it was not long until the peloton lead by Garmin-Barracuda and Liquigas-Cannondale caught the duo with 25km to go.
When RoadCycling.co.nz spoke to Vennell before this tour began he said the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey was each day's goal for his team - with his two jerseys and Ben Jacques Maynes' Most Aggressive title on the opening stage, Bissell are definitely achieving their target!
Other Kiwis are going great
Vennell was not the only Kiwi having a good day today. Young Kiwis Josh Atkins (Bontrager Livestrong) and George Bennett (RadioShack Nissan) again finished with the front bunch.
Atkins was out the front in the final kilometre helping to set up his teammates for the sprint finish. He is still the 2nd best Young Rider behind tour leader Peter Sagan and will wear that jersey for a third day tomorrow. The 19 year old is 8th on GC, one place up on yesterday after Orica GreenEdge's Leigh Howard finished off the pace in today's extremely hot stage.
Bennett, a teammate of defending champion Chris Horner worked well to keep his leader out of trouble over the 4h50m race. Thanks to the time bonuses triple stage winner Sagan has claimed, Horner is 30sec back on GC - but he always expected his tour would be decided in the tougher climbs in the final two days of the eight stage tour.
Tomorrow is the longest day of the Amgen Tour of California at 209.5km
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