Rohan Dennis (BMC) took the win in the 20.3 kilometre individual time trial stage six of the Amgen Tour of California, ahead of Andrew Talansky (Cannondale), and Taylor Phinney (BMC). Race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) rode out of his skin to retain his race lead, with Dennis moving up into second place.
The stage featured a flat profile, perfectly suited to the strong time trial riders in the field. The first rider to come in under 26 minutes for the course was Ben Wolfe (Jelly Belly), but his time of 25:50 did not last long before Owain Doull (Team Wiggins) stormed home with a time of 25:21.
World Champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) did the title proud as he came home in 25:00, but that would not be enough on the day as Taylor Phinney (BMC) came home under the 25 minute barrier with a time of 24:36. A number of riders bettered Phinney’s time at the halfway mark, but one by one they failed to improve on Phinney’s time at the finish line, as Soren Kragh Anderson (Giant-Alpecin), Jurgen van den Broeck (Katusha), and Lawson Craddock (Cannondale) all falling short at the finish. Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) tied Van den Broeck’s leading time at the halfway mark, before going on to topple Phinney out of the lead with a time of 24:33. However, it would not be enough to take the spoils on the day, as Dennis rode a measured time trial to come home a good 17 seconds clear of Talansky.
Patrick Bevin (Cannondale), riding in the New Zealand national champion’s kit, was the best performing Kiwi, finishing in 15th place, 1:11 down on Dennis.
This put the pressure on the riders high up in the overall classification, as they needed to produce good times in order to hold their high placings. Some fared better than others. Race leader Alaphilippe rode very well to finish eighth on the stage, 45 seconds behind Dennis, and narrowly retaining his lead. However, Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), who had been in second place overall coming into the time trial, did not have a great day on the bike, and finished 2:25 behind the stage winner, and 1:40 behind Alaphilippe. Kiwi George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) did not have the best day either, losing 1:53 to the stage winner; but still holding top ten position overall, in 9th overall.
By the end of the day, the overall classification had a distinctly different look to it. Alaphilippe was still on top, but Dennis had moved up into second place, only 16 seconds back, with his BMC team mate Brent Bookwalter up into third, a further 22 seconds back. Talansky’s strong time trial had elevated him to fourth overall, 47 seconds off the race lead, with Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) having done a very good ride to maintain his high position in the standings, sitting in fifth overall, 1:08 off the race lead.