Skip to main content
Live coverage

Tour of California 2012: Stage 2


Welcome to live coverage of stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.  Today's racing takes the peloton over 117.1 miles (188.5km) from San Francisco to Santa Cruz County.

The race is underway - we'll be joining the action in more detail in a few more minutes - when the racers hit the first sprint in Pacifica at 27.9km.

Stage 2 began at the Marina Green in San Francisco's Marina District at 11:05 am local Pacific time. The start line was at the break wall of San Francisco Bay. The backdrop included breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Marin Headlands. However, the riders' stay in the great city of San Francisco was short-lived because within a few minutes, the race had passed through the Presidio with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. From here, racers are heading south on Highway 1 through the San Francisco suburbs of Pacifica and Daly City.

Today's stage is rolling along the coast until the peloton hits Santa Cruz County.  At 123.9km, racers will do the Empire Grade (Cat. 1) grade, and at 154.7km, they'll tackle the Bear Creek (Cat. 2) grade - both for KOM points.

It's a little overcast today, but pleasant for bike racing.  It looks like the heaviness might lift later in the day.

165km remaining from 188km

Two riders are in a break: Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) and Thomas Zirbel (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) heading toward the sprint; however, Geniez doesn't seem too interested in working with Zirbel.

166km remaining from 188km

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) pulled out a thrilling performance to win yesterday's opening stage. The 22-year-old had to recover from a puncture inside the final 10 kilometres as well as avoid a crash with 3 kilometres to go, before beating Heinrich Haussler and Freddie Rodriguez into second and third.

Sagan's teammate Ted King crashed at the finish yesterday. He told Cyclingnews this morning that he is a little bruised and battered, but is putting on a happy face for the day. "It was a tough way to finish. We'll be defending Peter Sagan's jersey. He's the only sprinter who can get over those hills."

Earlier today, we brought you live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 9.  Check out the report of what happened in today's stage.

Earlier today, we brought you live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 9.  Check out the report of what happened in today's stage.

Earlier today, we brought you live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 9.  Check out the report of what happened in today's stage.

160km remaining from 188km

What's up next of significance for the racers is another sprint.  This one is in Half Moon Bay, at 25.9 miles or 41.6km into the race.

156km remaining from 188km

The racers are passing beautiful beaches and wild flowers.  Now we are passing the Point Montera Lighthouse.  According to Wikipedia, it was first established in 1875.

Our breakaway has 45 seconds on the chasing peloton.

151km remaining from 188km

Not that we think Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Barracuda) is worried.  He told Cyclingnews this morning:  "The hills are bigger at the end today, so it should be easier to bring back a breakaway than yesterday. The team will have to ride heads up in the start of the stage. The climbs will be all about the legs - I could have team meetings all day long, but in the end it's unpredictable how the race will play out. For us, with Andrew Talansky, Tom Danielson and David Zabriskie, who are all better time trialists than some of the other GC contenders it makes more sense to let the race come down to the time trial as much as possible."

Out in front of the Wilkinson School, the kids are enjoying a break from classes as they stand and cheer on the racers.

The breakaway sweeps up the sprint points. Here are the results of the Half Moon Bay sprint: 1) Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team); 2)
Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling); 3) Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale).

The six riders in the break have managed to extend their lead to 2:30.

Of the break riders, Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling) is the highest placed.  Yesterday, he was in 60th place, but just 10 seconds off race leader Peter Sagan in the GC.  Therefore Vennell is the virtual leader on the road.

One of yesterday's breakaway riders Jeff Louder said to Cyclingnews before the start, "It was a big effort yesterday. We'll see how the legs feel today. The morale is high. It was nice to perform in front of big crowds in the country's biggest race. I hope someone else can come up today, and I'll back them."  Louder races for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, and his teammate Bradley White is in the break.

140km remaining from 188km

Axel Merckx of the Bontrager-Livestrong team predicted this morning that Liquigas would work to defend Sagan's leader's jersey.  "We'll see how it will turn out today. The riders will have to assess along the way the race situation and how they feel. There's a lot of climbing this week, and the bigger teams could try to make the race hard. Liquigas should be defending Sagan's race lead today, so they will control the race," Merckx told Cyclingnews prior to the start of stage 2.

134km remaining from 188km

Some of you fans may remember the name Bonny Doon from previous editions of the Tour of California.  Today, when riders ge tto mile 68.1, they'll make a lefthand turn onto Bonny Doon Road from CA Route 1.  Then the uphill fun begins.   It continues when they turn onto Empire Grade at mile 75.5, and at mile 77.0, they'll be competing for KOM points.  The Empire Grade ascends Ben Lomond Mountain on the ridgeline between the Coast Road and the San Lorenzo Valley.  It was named after a mining company called Empire.

127km remaining from 188km

Prior to the start today, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) told Cyclingnews, "The 2000m of climbing was too much for me. The team will probably try to be in the breakaway today, but I'm not expecting to go for a stage win until stage 8." At the moment, Alexandre Geniez of France is flying the Argos-Shimano colors in the break.

123km remaining from 188km

118km remaining from 188km

Bissell's team staff told Cyclingnews that they're hoping Jeremy Vennell can make it up and over the Bonny Doon climb. They're guessing that on or just after that climb, the break will either get caught by some more riders who bridge up or whatever is left of the entire peloton, and the plan is to have Vennell and ideally one more Bissell rider up in the front for the finale.

One Bissell rider who has been considered a favorite for today's stage is Ben Jacques-Maynes. The American is from Santa Cruz and has featured prominently in previous Tours de California. Before start of today's stage, he said to Cyclingnews, "I'd like to win the jersey today, but I don't know and will have to see how it goes. I'll have to wait and see." Perhaps he'll be able to leverage his local road knowledge to his advantage once the terrain becomes more demanding.

As a reminder, our current breakaway riders are Michael Creed (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling), Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Colombia - Coldeportes) and Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano). They now have 6:45 on the peloton.

108km remaining from 188km

104km remaining from 188km

When the route today turns inward in about another 15 miles, racers will start the assault up Bonny Doon, which, in previous editions of the race, has determined the winner of the stage. However, with the stage finish moving to Aptos this year, the riders are facing another 42 miles of racing and another KOM. The last several miles of the stage are downhill, followed by a short run down Soquel Avenue to the finish. Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California will be a long and difficult, but it won't be a surprise to see a good-sized pack of riders contest the finish in an exciting sprint.

In yesterday's opening stage, there was also a break that had established a huge gap. Ben King (RadioShack-Nissan) talked about what happened out there. He did a huge amount of work to chase yesterday's leaders down and may well feel the effects today. "No one wanted to take responsibility for the chase, they were all waiting for us as defending champions to work. But Quickstep is leading the WorldTour, and Liquigas has two strong guys, so we were all playing a bluffing game for a while. When we finally did start chasing, it was a big gap, so it made my job much harder. Today, we expect a selection on the climb and there's only 30km to the finish, but it's all downhill and technical, so it will be hard to chase.

Want to see what pre-race favorite and defending champion Chris Horner is riding?  We've just posted a Pro Bike featuring his Trek Madone 6.9 SSL.  Check it out:

95km remaining from 188km

We've got an update on Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale), who crashed yesterday. He is just bruised up a bit. He was up near the front with 3km to go when Michael Matthews (Rabobank) crashed. Roche nearly avoided the crash, but Matthews' bike bounced up in front of him and he flew over it into the median. "At least it was a bit softer landing than the road," said Roche, trying to see the bright side.

Roche is here without his AG2R teammate, Jean-Christophe Peraud, who instead raced the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup yesterday in Czech. Peraud finished 17th and was the top French man as he tries to qualify for the French MTB team headed to the Olympic Games in London later this summer.

98km remaining from 188km

82km remaining from 188km

Brian Holm of Omega Pharma Quick Step offered his prediction prior to the start of today's stage: "It's not a sprinter's stage today, for sure. It may be that Peter Sagan wins again." He also claimed to not really know yet how race favorite and past winner Levi Leipheimer is doing following his broken fibula earlier this spring. "We don't have a clue how he will be, he's really motivated. If he had been dropped yesterday, we would have known why, right? But today we will see, we will hope to keep Peter Velits in a good position and see how long Levi can hang on. Yesterday, we were hoping to work for Tom Boonen, and we put Bert Grabsch in the rotation to help bring back the breakaway. We're not the big favorites for the overall, so we weren't going to put the whole team on the front. It's up to Radioshack and Garmin, who are the big favorites."

76km remaining from 188km

Garmin-Barracuda has several riders at the front, setting the pace among the peloton.  They are working for Tom Danielson.

Juan Pablo Suarez (Colombia Coldesportes) is having some trouble on the climb in the break. 

Meanwhile one of his teammates is attacking out of the peloton. 

73km remaining from 188km

Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) decides to go it alone at the front.

At the other end, Robbie McEwen (Orica GreenEdge) gets dropped from the peloton.

The peloton is spread wide across the road,  Some of the riders look surprisingly comfortable.  Former winner Levi Leipheimer is sitting in this main group.

72km remaining from 188km

Most of the riders at the front of the peloton are climbing in the saddle, setting a steady tempo.  Chris Horner is among the riders spotted in there.

The first of two KOMs for today will come at 77.0 miles (123.9km).  It's a Category 1 on the Empire Grade.  After the line, there is a short downhill, another short uphill, a short downhill another short uphill and then a huge downhill for several miles where it will be hard for any of the riders who are away to stay away.

Alexandre Geniez is still solo at the front.  He's got 4:40 on the peloton and is breaking up his time - spending some in the saddle and some out of the saddle.

Most of the peloton's leaders are riding with their hands on the hoods.  They still look comfortable and are riding a steady tempo.  Peter Sagan (Liquigas), the race leader, is sitting tight in there.

66km remaining from 188km

There is a crash with several riders down in the peloton.

Peter Sagan is down.

The racer leader Peter Sagan gets himself out of the ditch, brushes himself off and gets some help from a mechanic to get back going again.

Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) was also in the crash and is in a small group with Sagan trying to catch back up.

Peter Sagan gets a bottle from a team car and then a mechanic briefly adjusts his bike on the fly.  He and Ten Dam are trying to work their way back up.  Looks like George Hincapie (BMC) was also having some trouble - may have been involved in the crash too.

Andres Diaz of Exergy and Josh Atkins of Bontrager-Livestrong were also among those in the crash.

It seemed like Garmin-Barracuda didn't get the word very quickly, possibly due to the lack of race radios.  They didn't just let up so Sagan could catch back on, although now the pace has backed off a bit, and race leader Peter Sagan has regained contact with the peloton.

Peter Sagan doesn't look very comfortable - we hope he hasn't hurt himself too seriously in the crash.  He's been moving his shoulder a bit and stretching out some kinks.

Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) is still toiling away at the front on his own.  He's got 4:55 on the peloton and his chances look good for taking those KOM points.

Former break riders Juan Suarez and Mike Creed are caught back by the peloton.

64km remaining from 188km

Racers in the peloton sprint for the last few points at the KOM. Mountains classification leader David Boily (Spidertech Powered By C10) takes the second place points.

64km remaining from 188km

Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) picks up a bunch of bottles from the team car to carry up to his teammates.  Durbridge made the front group with all the climbers yesterday but was really working to keep Leigh Howard in position for the sprint and Cameron Meyer and Pieter Weening up there for the GC. "I'm here to help the team and have as good a time trial as possible. I might come back and try to ride GC in a few years, but right now I will work for Cam and Pieter and try to save a little for the time trial," he told Cyclingnews earlier today.

Former break rider Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) is getting caught by the peloton.

57km remaining from 188km

The pavement on this descent is not in good shape.  It looks quite rough with lots of patched sections. Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) is cutting every corner and almost loses it on one of them.  He's got his leg stuck out at times for balance and is passing motos.

Hopefully, the peloton will get down this descent without incident.  The peloton's riders have managed to close the gap to just under 4:00.  It's at 3:55 - the least since so far since they started chasing seriously.

The peloton passes the "dangerous descent" signs set out for the occasion and starts flying downhill.  Garmin-Barracuda is still at the front, picking their lines.

55km remaining from 188km

Timmy Duggan said his Liquigas-Cannondale would try to control the race today. "It takes a lot to drop (race leader) Peter Sagan on the hills, so the impetus will be on us to keep it together." Yesterday when Sagan flatted, Duggan was at the front and had no idea that it happened because there aren't race radios in the Tour of California, as it is not WorldTour. He did, however, see Ted King's crash. Ted King is doing OK today, Duggan said, but he is a bit bruised up but good considering he crashed at 52km/h.

48km remaining from 188km

The descent was so fast and twisty that it seems to have resulted in a split in the peloton.  There are still several Garmin-Barracuda riders at the front, driving the pace.  There are also some Rabobank and Liquigas-Cannondale racers spotted just behind them.

45km remaining from 188km

43km remaining from 188km

42km remaining from 188km

There is one final intermediate sprint sandwiched in between the final KOM and the finish line in Santa Cruz.  The Summit Rd. sprint will occur with 22.9km or 14.2 miles to go.

Two former break riders, Jeremy Vennell and Bradley White have been caught by the peloton.  That leaves the lone break survivor, Alexandre Geniez, still off the front.

39km remaining from 188km

38km remaining from 188km

Peter Sagan (Liquigas), race leader, is sitting safely in the peloton.  He is being kept company by some of his teammates as Garmin-Barracuda continues to dominate the front line of the peloton.

Various riders are starting to fall off the pace of the peloton.  So far, none of the favorites are among them.

38km remaining from 188km

37km remaining from 188km

Alexandre Geniez is looking a lot more tired now.  He's got just under 1:30 and his chances of staying off for the day are shrinking with every kilometer. 

36km remaining from 188km

36km remaining from 188km

Crowd favorite Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) falls off the pace of the peloton after working for his team all day.  Next off is Greg van Avermaet (BMC).

There are some different faces at the front.  Instead of Garmin-Barracuda, United Heathcare is setting the pace of the peloton.

The peloton has Alexandre Geniez in sight. He's about to get caught.

35km remaining from 188km

Poor Geniez is shattered as he drifts back and now he's hanging on the very end of the peloton, hoping to make it over the top with the bunch.

33km remaining from 188km

30km remaining from 188km

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is sitting at the back of the peloton, which seems a bit strange as his teammates are accelerating at the front.  It'd be a shame if they dropped their own team leader.

Now Sagan is talking to his team car just a little off the back of his peloton.  That's no easy feat skill-wise on a descent.

Peter Sagan is stopped along side the road, getting a wheel change.

That was a super fast wheel change - his front.  Now we know why he was back there talking to his team car.

28km remaining from 188km

It's interesting that the former mountain bikers are doing so well in the big stage races at the moment.  Peter Sagan is the leader in the Tour of California while Ryder Hesjedal is the current leader in the Giro d'Italia.  And of course, you can't forget that Cadel Evans won the most recent Tour de France last year.

25km remaining from 188km

George Hincapie (BMC) takes a turn at the front, along with several of his teammates.

The peloton is heading for the the final sprint of the day on Summit Road.

24km remaining from 188km

22km remaining from 188km

Race leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is safely back in the pack as his teammates take to the front of the peloton following the sprint.  They may already be thinking of setting him up for a sprint at the end of today's stage.

19km remaining from 188km

17km remaining from 188km

As a reminder, the general classification after stage 1 was led by Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) with a four second lead on Heinrich Haussler (Garmin - Barracuda) and Jeffry Louder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team). Fred Rodriguez (Team Exergy) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Cycling) are at six seconds. Josh Atkins (Bontrager) is at nine seconds.

12km remaining from 188km

10km remaining from 188km

7km remaining from 188km

Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) will be on of the top sprinters to watch.  Garmin did a lot of work earlier today to control the race and bring back the six-man break.

5km remaining from 188km

There is a crash.

Looks like three to five racers are down, including US National Champion Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan).

3km remaining from 188km

Bontrager Livestrong Team will be working for Josh Atkins of New Zealand.

A United Healthcare rider attacks - looks like Rory Sutherland.

1km remaining from 188km

Peter Sagan is sitting in fourth wheel.

The spring goes.

Sagan launches toward the finish.

Peter Sagan takes the stage 2 victory.

Sagan picks up a 10-second time bonus for his win and extends his overall lead. 

Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Barracuda) and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) round out the top three for the stage.

The same order applies for the GC.  Sagan leads Haussler and Howard going into stage 3.

Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. We'll be back to bring you more live coverage from stage 3 tomorrow.  Racers will cover 185.5km from San Jose to Livermore.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews