Chris Horner claimed the overall Amgen Race Leader Jersey in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California on Sunday, finishing with a time of 23 hours, 46 minutes, and 41 seconds. Horner's victory made him the oldest winner of the Tour. His teammate Levi Leipheimer, himself a three-time winner of the Tour of California, finished second to Horner, :38 seconds behind. Horner spoke after the race about winning:
"It feels fantastic to be the winner of the Amgen Tour of California. I have raced in the Amgen Tour of California since its inception and I helped Levi (Leipheimer) win it many times. As soon as they added the summit finishes, I made it my one of my personal goals to finish high in the race. Team RadioShack came in with a great squad this year. We had some great help. The crowds throughout the race have just been amazing."
Horner hung with the pack for the first two stages of the race as the sprinters attempted to make their mark. However, Horner used the fourth stage to take the solid lead he would not relinquish. He claimed victory in Stage 4, and then followed that up with a virtual tie with Leipheimer in Stage 7. His domination in those two stages allowed him to easily take home the victory on Sunday's ride into Thousand Oaks.
The course itself proved to be the most difficult it had ever been in its short existence. For the participating riders, increasing the difficulty of the race will only improve their chances of making an impact in the Tour De France later this summer. We're still waiting on odds, but I'd imagine Horner's Tour of California victory will get him some interesting odds for later this summer.