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Photo Essay: Tour of California -- Stage 7, Pasadena

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CSC's Juan José Haedo and High Road's Mark Cavendish stretch for position. Cavendish took 6th and Haedo 7th. | Photo by Matt Cohen

San Francisco based photographer Matt Cohen reports from yesterday's Tour of California with photos and explanations of what happened:

On its seventh and final stage yesterday at the 2008 AMGEN Tour of California, riders raced from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, often in very heavy rain. The 93-mile Stage 7 was the Tour's most exciting, featuring a furious battle to the finish line between Team High Road's George Hincapie and Rory Sutherland of HealthNet. Former U.S. champion Hincapie had a bit more in the tank, besting Sutherland by a few lengths, with Team CSC's Jason McCartney took third on the day.

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Safely ensconced inside a bubble created by his Astana teammates after building a 49 second lead in the previous stages, Santa Rosa, CA native Levi Lepheimer cruised to his second consecutive Amgen Tour of California victory. Slipstream-Chipotle filled out the rest of the overall podium with Brit David Millar taking second, with American Christian Vandeveld third. The powerhouse Slipstream-Chipotle also won the team competition.

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Slipstream's Danny Pate assumes leadership of the breakaway on Soledad Canyon Road. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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The breakaway rides Soledad Canyon as the rain begins to fall. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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The peloton climbs through rocky Soledad Canyon Road. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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Soledad Canyon stretches out the peloton. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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Quickstep and Astana lead the peloton early in Stage 7 | Photo by Matt Cohen

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Bouygues Telecom rider Dimitri Champion stays hydrated the all-natural way. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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The Peloton cuts through a downpour in shadow of the Rose Bowl. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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George Hincapie of Team High Road caps an exciting battle with HealthNet's Rory Sutherland and CSC's Jason McCartney. | Photo by

Matt Cohen

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Toyota-United rider Dominique Rollin won the green jersey for Best Sprinter. He decided he had enough roses to give a couple to the Rock Racing girls. | Photo by Matt Cohen

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2008 Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer soaks runner up David Millar with champagne | Photo by Matt Cohen

More of Cohen's photos from the 7-day race can be found here at his flickr set.

Previously on LAist
-- Photo Essay: Tour of California -- Stage 6, Santa Clarita
-- AMGEN Tour of California finishes in Pasadena on Sunday