Sagan wins in Santa Cruz

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.

Full results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale5:02:00
2Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - BarracudaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - ShimanoRow 3 - Cell 2
5Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team ExergyRow 4 - Cell 2
6Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - ShimanoRow 8 - Cell 2
10Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 12 - Cell 2
14Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos - ShimanoRow 13 - Cell 2
15Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-NissanRow 15 - Cell 2
17George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La MondialeRow 18 - Cell 2
20Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-NissanRow 19 - Cell 2
21Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Hugo Houle (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 22 - Cell 2
24Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 23 - Cell 2
25Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 24 - Cell 2
26Christopher Baldwin (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 25 - Cell 2
27Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - ShimanoRow 27 - Cell 2
29Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-NissanRow 29 - Cell 2
31Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 31 - Cell 2
33Raymond Kunzli (Swi) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 32 - Cell 2
34Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 33 - Cell 2
35Brian Vandborg (Den) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 34 - Cell 2
36Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-NissanRow 35 - Cell 2
37Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 36 - Cell 2
38Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 39 - Cell 2
41Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 41 - Cell 2
43Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Matt Cooke (USA) Team ExergyRow 43 - Cell 2
45Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 44 - Cell 2
46Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 45 - Cell 2
47Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 50 - Cell 2
52David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 52 - Cell 2
54Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-NissanRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andrés Díaz Corrales (Col) Team ExergyRow 54 - Cell 2
56Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 57 - Cell 2
59Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 59 - Cell 2
61Ian Boswell (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Andrew Bajadali (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies0:00:44
65Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 64 - Cell 2
66Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 65 - Cell 2
67Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan0:01:36
68Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:03:02
69Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team0:06:44
70Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack-Nissan0:08:16
73Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 72 - Cell 2
74Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 73 - Cell 2
75Edward King (USA) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 74 - Cell 2
76Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Ryan Eastman (USA) Bontrager Livestrong TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 80 - Cell 2
82Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 81 - Cell 2
83Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - ShimanoRow 82 - Cell 2
84Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:11:33
85Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 84 - Cell 2
86Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 85 - Cell 2
87David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 86 - Cell 2
88Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 87 - Cell 2
89Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 88 - Cell 2
90Thomas Zirbel (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 89 - Cell 2
91Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 90 - Cell 2
92Scott Zwizanski (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies0:14:01
93Michael Creed (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 92 - Cell 2
94Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-NissanRow 93 - Cell 2
95Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Argos - ShimanoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Robbie McEwen (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Matthew Wilson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Jason McCartney (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin - BarracudaRow 101 - Cell 2
103Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell CyclingRow 102 - Cell 2
104Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 103 - Cell 2
105Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 104 - Cell 2
106Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes0:14:45
107Roger Kluge (Ger) Argos - ShimanoRow 106 - Cell 2
108Michael Friedman (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 107 - Cell 2
109Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team ExergyRow 108 - Cell 2
110Carter Jones (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 109 - Cell 2
111Javier Gonzalez Barrera (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 110 - Cell 2
112Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 111 - Cell 2
113Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10Row 112 - Cell 2
114Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 113 - Cell 2
115Morgan Schmitt (USA) Team ExergyRow 114 - Cell 2
116Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 115 - Cell 2
117Logan Loader (USA) Team ExergyRow 116 - Cell 2
118Sam Johnson (USA) Team ExergyRow 117 - Cell 2
119Ken Hanson (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 118 - Cell 2
120Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
121Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos - ShimanoRow 120 - Cell 2
122Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 122 - Cell 2
124Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 123 - Cell 2
125Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team ExergyRow 125 - Cell 2
HDPatrick Bevin (NZl) Bissell Cycling0:33:59
HDEric Young (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 127 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Pacifica, 27.9km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team5pts
2Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - Half Moon Bay, 41.6km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team5pts
2Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 3 - Summit Rd., 165.6km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team5pts
2Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points - Finish, 188.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale15pts
2Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team10Row 2 - Cell 3
4Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep1Row 9 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 - Empire Grade (Cat. 1) 123.9km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - Shimano10pts
2Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team9Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling7Row 2 - Cell 3
4Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale6Row 3 - Cell 3
5David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C105Row 4 - Cell 3
6Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies4Row 5 - Cell 3
7Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Barracuda2Row 6 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 - Bear Creek (Cat. 2) 154.7km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team8pts
2Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team7Row 1 - Cell 3
3Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team6Row 2 - Cell 3
4Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team5Row 3 - Cell 3
5Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3Row 4 - Cell 3
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