Stage five of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California is an individual time trial through Bakersfield, the site of some dramatic finishes in years past. Riders will be competing only against the clock on Thursday, but all of them know how important that competition is. The race won't be won in the TT, but any advantage gained here goes a long way over the next few days, as the race makes its way through the mountains.
The 18.4mi out-and-back route starts with a screaming descent that should see riders hit almost 55mph right out of the gate. Once they hit the rollers at the turnaround point, they'll have to work all the way back and make their way back up, tacking the 8% China Grade climb before a slightly uphill half mile run to the finish. Peter Sagan may hold the leader's jersey at the end of the day thanks to his 40 second cushion over the heavyweight GC contenders, but if he enters Friday in the lead it's likely to be by a much smaller margin.
Start Time: 1:00pm PDT
Television Coverage: Live coverage on NBC Sports Network starting at 1:30pm PDT
Streaming Online: Coverage provided via the Radioshack Tour Tracker
SB Nation Los Angeles will continue to bring you previews, updates, recaps and more from the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. As always, SB Nation's cycling blog Podium Cafe has you covered for excellent insight and analysis.