Despite returning from a recent crash at the Tour of the Alps in April, American Ian Boswell (Team Sky) made it across to the decisive selection on Mt. Hamilton during stage 2 at the Tour of California. The effort put Boswell in contention for the yellow jersey at this year's Tour of California.
Boswell arrived at the line with three of the strongest climbers in the race, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data.) Boswell finished third and now sits 14 seconds behind Majka in the overall classification.
Boswell was able to bide his time with teammate Danny van Poppel representing sky in the day's breakaway.
"To be honest, we didn't have to do much today," Boswell said. "We tried to make the break and put Danny there, which is good. I did a few things early, but not too much, and then it just came down to the climb really."
George Bennett's LottoNL-Jumbo team pushed the pace to the bottom of Mt. Hamilton, enabling the Kiwi to launch a major attack. Boswell responded and was joined by Morton and Majka. The Bennett group proceeded to work past the day's early breakaway heading into the final climb. Recognising their mutual GC ambitions, the group shared the work over the last 25km.
"I felt like the group worked really well together," Boswell said. "We didn't really do anything until 800 meters to go. I think it is all GC guys and everyone cooperated really well."
While Boswell worked the break, Tao Geoghegan-Hart and David Lopez Garcia were sitting 30 seconds back in the pack, ready to pounce should things go sideways.
Boswell's group began attacking each other in the final kilometre, with Majka winning the race ahead of Bennett and Boswell.
Sky DS Gabriel Rasch was pleased with the day's tactics.
"When Bennett attacked, Boz could follow, which was perfect," Rasch said. "We told him not to do more than the other guys and just kept him updated. He did a good job.
"It was good to have Tao and David behind in the second group. All in all, it was a really good team effort."
Boswell will have additional opportunities to move up in the GC this week. Thursday's Mt. Baldy stage is a route he knows well. Boswell placed third in the stage that year and finished seventh in the GC. Despite his familiarity with the upcoming stages, Boswell was glad to get the GC selection started sooner rather than later.
"Majka is a strong rider and so is George, so is Lachlan," Boswell said. "It is still close, but I think we saw an aggressive day, which is good for myself. If we just looked to Baldy and the TT, it would be a bit challenging."