Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain fended off his challengers to claim the top prize in the fourth-closest finish that the race has ever seen, according to race organizers.
Wiggins, who defended the leader's Yellow Jersey day after day in the 8-day race, finished with an overall time of 28 hours, 22 minutes and 5 seconds.
“It’s a lot more strenuous," Wiggins said, referring to wearing the Yellow Jersey all week. “And then, obviously, the guys have to take the strain as well. No matter how strong you are individually, you’re nothing without a team behind you.
"They put themselves on the line, and they really raised the game, especially the young guys on the team. I’m very grateful to them.”
Stage 5 of the race began in Pismo Beach and ended on Santa Barbara's waterfront on a day when temperatures reached triple digits in places along the route.
Sunday's 78.1-mile final stage included three times around a circuit in Thousand Oaks. The stage was won by British rider Mark Cavendish of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step cycling team.
From iconic ocean vistas to mountaintop finishes to desert scapes, the cyclists covered more than 720 miles of varying California terrain during the week as they rode from the north to the south of the state in the ninth annual Tour de France-style competition.
The Tour of California is considered the premier cycling event in the United States.