LOS ANGLES — Eight months after breaking his leg in a training accident, Dutchman Robert Gesink sealed his overall race title Sunday with a main-field finish in the eighth stage of the Amgen Tour of California.
Peter Sagan, 22, of Slovakia won the final leg. Sagan claimed the 42.6-mile road race from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles with a late burst to take his fifth win of the eight-stage event.
Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer, a three-time winner of the Tour of California who is also coming back from a broken leg, finished 50th in Sunday's final stage and sixth overall, 2:13 beind Gesink.
Gesink, 25, who rides for Rabobank, was victorious over Dave Zabriskie, the Utah native who lives in Los Angeles, by 46 seconds after claiming the mountainous and decisive seventh stage.
“It's moments like this, when you have your good times and your wins, that's what you do it for,” said Gesink, the fifth-place finisher in the 2010 Tour de France who broke his leg in four places last September, and whose father died in a cycling accident in 2010.
Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) finished second in the event for the fourth time.
Tom Danielson, a Connecticut native who resides in Boulder, Colo., finished third overall for the second straight year, 54 seconds behind.
Sagan, who rides for Liquigas-Cannondale, claimed his seventh victory of the season and 31st of his career. He swung to the right and bolted to the front seconds before the finish line.
Sagan will compete in the Tour de France for the first time in June and July.
Tom Boonen of Belgium, the current No.1-ranked cyclist, finished second in the final stage, trailing by a half-length. Gerald Ciolek of Germany placed third.
“The last kilometer was very fast and the last turn was dangerous,” said Sagan. “It's good we went by it six times. I went from 150 meters back and just finished first.”