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Is the Amgen Tour of California Over?

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Our New British Overlord
Our New British Overlord
Ezra Shaw

Sir Bradley Wiggins' dominating performance yesterday needs a bit of perspective. He won a 20km time trial by 44 seconds over his closest competitor, fellow crono ace Rohan Dennis, and 52 seconds over Taylor Phinney. That's more than two seconds per kilometer, my rudimentary sense of math tells me, and that's a lot, right? Here are the last several World Tour-level time trials of comparable distance:

  • Tour de Romandie, 18.5km, Chris Froome and Tony Martin tie, 8" ahead of Jesse Sergent
  • Vuelta al Pais Vasco, 25km, Tony Martin wins by 9" over Alberto Contador
  • Vuelta a Espana, 38.8km, Fabian Cancellara wins by 37" ahead of Tony Martin, 1.24 over Domenico Pozzovivo
  • ENECO Tour, 13.2km, Sylvain Chavanel wins by 4" over Tom Dumoulin and Jesse Sergent
  • Tour de Pologne, 37km, Bradley Wiggins wins by 56" over Fabian Cancellara, 1.14 over Taylor Phinney
  • Tour de France, 32km, Chris Froome wins by 9" over Alberto Contador
  • Tour de France, 33km, Tony Martin wins by 12" over Chris Froome, 1.01 over Thomas De Gendt
  • Tour de Suisse, 26.8km, Rui Costa wins by 21" over Tanel Kangert
  • Criterium de Dauphine, 32km, Tony Martin wins by 47" over Rohan Dennis
  • 2013 Tour of California, 31.6km, Tejay van Garderen wins by 23" over Lieuwe Westra.

And on it goes. As you can see, from this sampling (which excludes last year's Giro and a few prologues), nobody wins by two seconds per km. There are three instances where longer TTs yielded results in excess of this threshold between first and third, including Wiggins' Poland exploits. But even those are less impressive, since riders wear down as the race goes on, and such gaps seem easier to understand.

The even more stunning result -- and one that has ATOC organizers moping around the press tent as we speak (I bet), is this:

37. DANIELSON Tom GRS 05:09:56 00:02:21

That there is the only rider picked to challenge Wiggins for the overall title at this race. Some other notables: Lawson Craddock, 8th last year, at 1.33; Chad Haga, tenth last year, at a respectable 1.25; Matthew Busche at 2.15; Laurens ten Dam at 2.20; Peter Stetina at 2.30; Janier Acevedo at 2.39. Those are your notable climbers and GC guys, based on past results here. All crushed, in 20km.

Coming today is the climb to Mount Diablo. Last year, the only other time this stage finish was used, the top ten were all within 44 seconds of each other. In previous editions the Mount Baldy stage, which is far harder than anything on tap for this year, yielded chunks of 40 seconds to the winner. That's it.

Bradley Wiggins only needs to stay on his bike and eat properly before the climbs to win this race. The time trial is the race of truth, and the truth is, there is nobody in this field who can touch Sir Bradley now.