Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) made it two from two to claim his second stage win at the Amgen Tour of California Monday. The Liquigas sprinter extended his lead in GC with the win, while Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) picked up second and third.
Sagan was once again head and shoulders above of his competition, and like yesterday's stage 1, when a puncture threatened to derail his chances, he was thrown into jeopardy with a crash on the penultimate climb of the day.
Despite the spill, and a string of mechanical pit stops back at the team car, Sagan was perfectly placed inside the final kilometres. Rounding the final corner it was every sprinter for himself, and as Sagan used his handling skills to slingshot for the line. Howard was simply left for dead, and Haussler was only able to come through for second.
Sagan admitted that he may have surprised even himself with the strength in the finish.
"With two climbs in the end of the stage today, I am really happy to win," he said, celebrating his fifth stage win at the Tour of California. "I was thinking when I was still in the front group on the last climb I would try and win another stage. I knew the last corner was close to the finish so I decided to take the turn from the first position, and I won the stage."
How it unfolded
Just as with the opening stage, the attacking began immediately after the bunch rolled out of the neutral start through the San Francisco's Presidio in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) and Tom Zirbel (Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies) attacked off the front and built an advantage of two minutes before Geniez decided not to contribute. The pair eventually sat up as the field bore down on them and brought them back into the fold on Highway 101 along the Pacific Ocean.
A group of six riders immediately counter attacked and established the breakaway that would stick together until they turned away from the coast and headed up toward the Bonny Doon climb. Geniez once again made the break, along with Brad White (UnitedHealthcare), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling), Mike Creed (Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies), Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) and Juan Pablo Suarez (Columbia Coldeportes).
"The break rode well," White said. "There wasn't a big chase behind, so we rode fairly easy until they started chasing. When they started chasing we picked up our pace."
The gap opened up to more than nine minutes before the Bonny Doon climb but quickly evaporated as the ascent broke apart the breakaway. Geniez, White and Vennell, who started the day just 10 seconds behind the overall leader, dropped their three breakaway companions and set off on their own. But Geniez seemed unhappy with the trio's pace and attacked the group, getting away and trying his luck alone.
"A few of us tried to get away on Bonny Doon," White said. "But the Argos guy was just stronger. Vennell and I tried to limit our losses and re-catch him, but we weren't able to. We held off as long as we could."
The Argos rider kept the peloton in check until the higher slopes of Bear Creek, the second climb of the day. With Garmin-Barracuda intent on shaking off Sagan the gap quickly came down, and with 35 kilometres to race, Geniez was brought back, and large group of more than half the original peloton screamed off the slopes of Bear Creek behind a line of Liquigas-Cannondale riders hoping to deliver Sagan to the finish in Santa Cruz.
Another crash in the lead group during the closing kilometres took down current US pro champion Matthew Busche and several BMC riders. Busche, who had been riding well up to that point, looked a little battered and bruised – and very disappointed.
"I don't know what happened," Busche said. "I was behind it and ran into it. I'm frustrated and a little sore."
The crash didn't affect the tip of the race as Liquigas continued to pour on the heat for Sagan, and the young Slovak rider rewarded their efforts with yet another Tour of California stage win.
Haussler, who finished second in as many tries, said that the large group at the finish may have been surprising, but it didn't make a difference in the result.
"I don't think the result would have been any different had it been a group of 30 or 40," Haussler said. "Peter Sagan and Leigh Howard were the main sprinters, and they were still there."
Howard moved up one spot from his fourth-place finish on stage 1. Orica-GreenEdge team director Neal Stephens said he was happy with the improvement, and the team would try to find a way to get past Sagan if the opportunity presented itself again.
"We're going to try and look for a way," Stephens said. "He's a very talented bike rider, so are many other bike riders out there as well. We've just got to try and look for a way to improve a little bit. We went one better today. Yesterday (Howard) had a little bad luck. He broke a rim coming into the finish. Today he had a pretty good run. The boys did a great job and so that's the main thing, if we do a good job we can hope to improve."
But they're running out of chances to get past Sagan in a sprint, as the slippery Slovakian phenom figures he might have another day in yellow before the big mountains come and he'll have to surrender his ambitions to work for his team leader.
"I'm very happy with this Tour of California," Sagan said. "It is starting very well for me. I would like to say thank you to my team for the good work they did for me. I am thinking there is maybe one more day for me before we start the harder climbs and we work for Vincenzo Nibali, but we will see."
The Amgen Tour of California continues Tuesday with 185.5 km stage from San Jose to Livermore.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale||5:02:00|
|2||Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos - Shimano||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Hugo Houle (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Christopher Baldwin (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - Shimano||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Raymond Kunzli (Swi) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Brian Vandborg (Den) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Matt Cooke (USA) Team Exergy||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 48 - Cell 2|
|50||Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Andrés Díaz Corrales (Col) Team Exergy||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Ian Boswell (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 60 - Cell 2|
|62||Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 61 - Cell 2|
|63||Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Andrew Bajadali (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:00:44|
|65||Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|67||Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:36|
|68||Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:03:02|
|69||Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team||0:06:44|
|70||Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||0:08:16|
|73||Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|74||Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 75 - Cell 2|
|77||Ryan Eastman (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|80||Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|81||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|82||Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|83||Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - Shimano||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||0:11:33|
|85||Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|86||Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 85 - Cell 2|
|87||David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|88||Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 87 - Cell 2|
|89||Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|90||Thomas Zirbel (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|91||Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Scott Zwizanski (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:14:01|
|93||Michael Creed (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|94||Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan||Row 93 - Cell 2|
|95||Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|96||Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|97||Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Argos - Shimano||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|98||Robbie McEwen (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|99||Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|100||Matthew Wilson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|101||Jason McCartney (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|102||Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|106||Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||0:14:45|
|107||Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - Shimano||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Michael Friedman (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|109||Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team Exergy||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|110||Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|111||Javier Gonzalez Barrera (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|112||Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 111 - Cell 2|
|113||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|114||Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin - Barracuda||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|115||Morgan Schmitt (USA) Team Exergy||Row 114 - Cell 2|
|116||Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 115 - Cell 2|
|117||Logan Loader (USA) Team Exergy||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|118||Sam Johnson (USA) Team Exergy||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|119||Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|120||Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|121||Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos - Shimano||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|122||Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|123||Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|124||Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|125||Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 124 - Cell 2|
|126||Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy||Row 125 - Cell 2|
|HD||Patrick Bevin (NZl) Bissell Cycling||0:33:59|
|HD||Eric Young (USA) Bissell Cycling||Row 127 - Cell 2|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result||Header Cell - Column 3|
|1||Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team||5||pts|
|2||Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||3||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|3||Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||1||Row 2 - Cell 3|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result||Header Cell - Column 3|
|1||Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team||5||pts|
|2||Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling||3||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|3||Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||1||Row 2 - Cell 3|