Garmin-Cervelo's Amgen Surprise: Tom Danielson Leads the Way

May 20 2011, 10:02 AM

All eyes were on local wonder-boy Taylor Phinney earlier this week as he made his professional road cycling debut at the Amgen Tour of California with Swiss-based BMC Racing. Entering the sixth stage today, Phinney sits at a respectable (and predictable) 78th of 138 riders, but five of his fellow Boulderites find themselves in the top 12 (Tour of California official standings). Leading the way for team Garmin-Cervelo is Tom Danielson (3rd), followed by Christian Vandevelde (4th), Ryder Hesjedal (7th), Andrew Talansky (9th), and Daniel Martin (12th). 

Many, including team CEO and director Jonathan Vaughters, didn’t predict 33-year-old Danielson’s climb to the top of the Garmin pack during this race. "How long has it taken him to get to this point?" Vaughters asks (Denver Post). "His expectations and focus are now in line with his abilities." A lot could happen between now and the finish line on Sunday, but Danielson says his young son is motivating him to "stop looking for excuses" and start fulfilling the potential his fans have seen in him since his college days in Durango.

Danielson isn't the only Garmin rider turning heads this week. Hesjedal earned the most aggressive rider award for stage four, and his 15-mile breakaway attack is a large part of the reason Garmin has a gaggle of riders out front (Velo News).