Tour of California analysis: Bernal in the driver's seat after stage 2 win

Stage 2 at the Amgen Tour of California promised a GC shakeout, and it delivered. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) climbed to the top of the general classification as expected. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) lived up to expectations after his runner-up performance last year with second on the stage, and Adam Yates (Micthelton-Scott) proved that he is on his way back from injury at Volta a Catalunya with a third-place result.

Majka has struggled in the time trial previously but he’s focused on the discipline in the off-season and was third in the Vuelta a San Juan time trial in January. Yates is hot and cold in time trials. Both riders were happy with their performances on Gibraltar and hope it bodes well for the rest of the week.

Tolhoek, now fourth overall at 40 seconds back, also struggles in the time trial, while Durasek has recently improved his race against the clock and finished 15th at the Tour de Romandie 9.9km time trial. Brandon McNulty, the junior time trial world champion in 2016 and the U23 runner-up last year, is currently 13th overall, 1:25 back, and could ride into the top 10 with a good time trial.

"In the Colombian national championships he was second to Bernal by like three or four seconds [it was six seconds – ed.]. So he’s a good TT rider, for sure. Dani, for a first-year pro, 21 years old and has an outside shot at the podium, that’s kind of where we are. That was the game we were playing to come in here."

"But the time trial will be long, so I’m not sure I can lose this time in the time trial or not. I’m not sure. I’m happy because I won today, and tomorrow we will try to keep the jersey, and then we will see for the time trial."

The rider who emerges from that Tahoe stage in yellow will likely wear it on the final podium the next day in Sacramento. 

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.