Majka could not stop smiling at the post race press conference and was appreciative of how far he had come since his first Tour of California six years ago.
"I remember when I came here in 2011, my first year as a pro," Majka said."Now I am so happy when I win a stage.
"We have a very nice group in the front with strong riders, and we go really fast, and at the end, I win. I am so happy, my team is happy, and this is also for my small girl that came three months ago."
Majka joined George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data) and Ian Boswell (Team Sky) on the climb up Mt. Hamilton. The group passed the remnants of the day's breakaway and worked smoothly together until 1km to go. Riders attacked each other repeatedly in the final push to the line, Majka countered a move from Bennett and held on to win the race.
Majka's now holds yellow jersey by two seconds over Bennett. The three-time Tour de France stage winner was glad to get some time over the other GC contenders.
"Today was very tough, the stage," Majka said. "But in the end, we tried our best, and we win the stage, and we put some time into the other riders like Sanchez and some other guys like Talansky."
Putting Majka in yellow was not the original plan according to Bora director Patxi Vila.
"We actually wanted to go for Peter today," Vila said. "We controlled the pace, but as expected, some teams tried something on the Hors Catégorie climb. When Peter was dropped, the attacks started, and Rafa went with them. I told him not to take any risks in the downhill section, and then it was the crucial part when the break hit the flat with just 20 seconds over the peloton."
Majka said the team would evaluate their GC ambitions later in the week after the time trial and Mt. Baldy and then joked about being teammates with one of the most prolific cyclists in the world.
"Now we still have one hard stage when it's uphill, and we'll try also there," Majka said. "So we win the stage, and we also have Peter Sagan, and he wants to win some stage in California like all the time."