Four 21-mile laps with a 1,000 foot climb on each lap were enough to sap the strength of everyone but a very elite group but Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) won the 8th stage at the conclusion of the Tour of California, pipping George Hincapie (BMC) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) in an exciting climax.
The yellow jersey was retained by Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) despite being comprehensively worked over by both Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) and their respective teams up the final climb.
A breakaway including US National Champion George Hincapie (BMC) formed for the latter half of the race with a maximum gap of around 3 minutes and it could have gone either way. Unusually, while the eventual podium places were sorting themselves out, Chris Horner (Radio Shack) and Hesjedal bridged across to the Hincapie group, sparring in a gripping final kilometre. Hincapie blinked and Hesjedal, a former mountain biker, was there.
Tour of California Stage 8 brief result
1 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions 3:21:56 2 George Hincapie (USA) BMC 3 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step 4 Christ Horner (USA) Radioshack 5 Oscar Pujol Munoz (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:00:05 6 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling 0:00:28 7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 8 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia 9 Dave Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions 10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack 0:00:34
Tour of California brief overall after stage 8
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC-Columbia 33:08:30 2 Dave Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:00:09 3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack 0:00:25 4 Christ Horner (USA) Radioshack 0:01:04 5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions 0:01:08