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Tour of California 2013: Stage 2


 Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.

It's a nice morning in Murrieta where the world-class peloton is lining up to start the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California. The sun is out and temperatures are in the high 80s. The heat played a big factor in yesterday's stage, unfortunately, the riders will not get much reprieve because the high for today is 108F in Palm Springs. 

And the riders have rolled out for the neutral start.

Today's stage is almost 200kms and includes an intermediate sprint in Hemet at about 65 kms, a KOM on Mountain Center at about 100 kms, a second intermediate sprint in Palm Springs at about 155 kms and an uphill finish in Palm Springs.

The neutral start is complete and the race is on ...

There have already been a number of attacks during the first kilometres of the race. 

If it's anything like yesterday, a breakaway could go early on. The course is undulating as the race heads toward the first small climb and then down to the first intermediate sprint of the day.

Speaking of heat, Laura Weislo spoke with Zak Dempster from NetApp-Endura this morning before the start. He lost four kilograms in weight during yesterday's stage from dehydration. He managed to gain three kilograms back, but he said the weather took a toll on many of the riders in the field. 

And there is the start of a breakaway right now. Five riders have a 10-second gap on the field.

The riders in the breakaway are Sylvain Chavanal (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jason McCartney (Bissell), Scott Zwizanski (Optum), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis) and Kin San Wu (Champion System).

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling manager Mike Tamayo told our reporter Pat Malach that the first Cat 1 climb of the day is long but not too difficult. He said that he expects a big group to get away on this climb.

Today's climb might be a good test of legs to see which riders have what it takes to win this edition of the Amgen Tour of California 

The breakaway has been reduced to four riders and they now have a lead of one minute. We will have those riders names for you shortly.

We have word that race officials have opened feeding early because of the very warm weather conditions today.

The breakaway riders have increased their gap to two minutes and their team cars are now moving ahead of the main field.

The riders in the breakaway are Scott Zwizanski (Optum), Jason McCartney (Bissell), Ben Jaques-Maynes (Jamis) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

The breakaway riders are gaining time on the main field. The group doesn't seem too interested in chasing just yet, as they are taking a nature break. There was probably a lot of water intake this morning in an attempt to battle the heat.

The gap has gone up to 4:30 minutes and the main field is not reacting.

180km remaining from 200km

We have word that there is one rider chasing, Bobbie Traksel from Champion System, but he is falling back and about to be reabsorbed into the main field.

Our four-rider breakaway now has 5:30 minutes on the main field.

The gap has increased to six minutes and there has been no effort coming from the main field to reduce this time gap. 

This is a strong group of riders off the front. They are all talented time trialists and are working very well together.

170km remaining from 200km

Vacansoleil-DCM is beginning to organize themselves at the front of the main field. They're riding for the current overall race leader Lieuwe Westra, who won yesterday's stage out of a late-race move with Francisco Mancebo from 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda.

There is a plane towing a banner over the race ... Too bad it's so far away and we can't read what it says. 

Zak Dempster NetApp-Endura told us this morning that at the end of his breakaway stint during stage 1 yesterday, he went to his team cars on Palomar Mountain to collect water bottles. He had hoped to pass them to his teammates when the main field caught him. Unfortunately, they didn't catch him and he had to finish the climb (and descent) carrying all those heavy water bottle. Perhaps that played a role in his four-kilogram weight loss. What a thoughtful teammate though!

Our four-man breakaway has now gained nine minutes.

It's getting really hot, over 100F right now. There's little shade on the route, no trees lining the rolling terrain. 

Laura Weislo spoke with Michael Rogers from team Saxo-Tinkoff this morning. He said that even though he's from Australia, he doesn't acclimate well to hot temperatures. He said that he's actually from Canberra, which he called one of the coldest places in Australia. 

Rogers won the 2010 edition of the Amgen Tour of California.

Breakaway rider Ben Jacques-Maynes is riding for Jamis-Hagens Berman. The team almost lost its rider Luis Amaran to a crash late in the race yesterday. Team director Sebastian Alexandre said that Amaran has deep road rash on his arm but he will be OK. He was able to start the stage 2 race this morning. We hope that his wounds heal quickly.

155km remaining from 200km

Although the peloton isn't expected to arrive to the mountaintop finish in Palm Springs for a few more hours, Laura Weislo is on the final climb right now checking things out. She says that Tramway Rd. is starting to fill up with spectators riding their bikes to the top. Actually most of them are walking their bikes up the 10% grade and there's a street sign that reads, "turn off air conditioner" so that cars don't stall. 

There is also very little air circulation on Tramway Rd making it feel like an oven. Ouch!

Breakaway rider Jason McCartney is racing for the US Continental team Bissell this year. The team had a very strong performance during yesterday's opening stage. Carter Jones was in the breakaway all day and earned the King of the Mountain leader's jersey. Jeremy Vennell placed 9th on the day and three others finished in the main field. Chris Baldwin said at the start, "we've already accomplished many of our goals for this week in one stage."

144km remaining from 200km

Shawn Milne from 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda is dealing with a broken chain right now. His team car has stopped to give him a new bike.

BMC's Thor Hushovd is also getting mechanical service after he dropped his chain.

The breakaway has gone up to nearly 11 minutes now. Who thinks this move is going to make it up Tramway Rd and to the finish line before getting caught?

There's still lots of racing to go. The breakaway is approaching the first intermediate sprint in Hemet, on a nice wide open four-way road.

Current race leader Lieuwe Westra from Vacansoleil-DCM is also leading the sprint classification, but runner-up in GC and sprint points Francisco Mancebo from 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda is wearing that jersey for him.

The breakaway is 200 metres from the sprint in Hemet

Jason McCartney (Bissell) won the first sprint of the stage in Hemet ahead of Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis) and Zwizanski (Optum) followed by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

The four-man breakaway is passing a very large orange grove. It's too bad they can't stop for a freshly squeezed refreshment to help them get through the remaining 130-some kilometres. 

Vacansoleil-DCM has recruited some help from Champion System. The two teams are leading the main field.

They also have help from a few Cannondale riders.

We just received news that Saxo-Tinkoff rider Jonathan Cantwell has crashed. He has had to get a bike change and a new jersey. He is working his way back into the main field.

Kris Boeckmans from Vacansoleil-DCM has also gotten a bike change. There have been a number of mechanicals and bike changes today. The roads must be fairly rough.

The main field is now approaching the first intermediate sprint line in Hemet, 11:20 minutes behind the breakaway.

The breakaway is now entering the San Bernardino National Forest and they are about 20 kms away from the day's decisive climb over Mountain Center.

The temperatures are above 100F as the race completes the first half of the stage. The climb up Mountain Center is classed as a category 1. It's not steep but it is 16 kms to the summit and could do some damage to the main field because of the heat.

The climb is also exposed and the wind is picking up. We could see some attacks out of the main field over this climb, and some separations.

117km remaining from 200km

According to the 2010 United States Census, Mountain Center had a population of 63 people. Maybe they're all out watching the bike race today.

112km remaining from 200km

They're riding very well together, even on the climb, and the gap has increased to 12 minutes.

Sylvain Chavanel has proven to be on good form this spring with an overall win at the Three Days of de Panne, after winning the finale time trial. He also took fourth at Milan-Sanremo and fifth overall at Paris-Nice.

The breakaway is about five kilometres from the top of Mountain Center. All four riders are taking turns on the front. 

The scenery at the top of Mountain Center is spectacular with views of the many vineyards in the region and the national park.

The breakaway is one kilometre from the top of Mountain Center. 

Back in the field, Saxo-Tinkoff has assumed control at the front. They are setting a pace of about 25km/h on the climb.

The temperatures are dropping slightly at the top of Mountain Center to 84F. It should be a bit cooler for the riders on the descent.

102km remaining from 200km

Chavanel, Jacques-Maynes, Zwizanski and McCartney have crested Mountain Center and they're descending at speeds of 80 km/h.

They're descending past beautiful views of Lake Hemet.

The main field, led by Saxo-Tinkof, is now one kilometre from the top of the climb. They have to make up 11 minutes on the breakaway if they want to bring this race back together before the final climb in Palm Springs.

Breakaway rider Sylvain Chavanel lost one of his Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders today. Stijn Vandenbergh pulled out of the race because of an aggravated knee injury. He was hoping the old injury had healed well enough to race this week, but it was causing him pain during yesterday's stage.

Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis) got full King of the Mountain points over Mountain Center. Jason McCartney (Bissell) was second, Chavanel was third and Scott Zwizanski (Optum) was fourth.

Tyler Wren (Jamis) led the main field over the climb and picked up fifth place points followed by Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) and KOM leader Carter Jones (Bissell).

The breakaway riders are probably enjoying some reprieve from the heat on the descent. They are currently leading the race by 9:30 minutes.

88km remaining from 200km

A BMC rider is now setting the pace in front of the main field. The gap to the breakaway is holding at around 9 minutes.

The breakaway is now entering the Santa Rosa Indian reservation. They have ridden a brief plateau before starting the main descent of the day. 

Breakaway rider Ben Jacques-Maynes from Jamis has had ample success at the Amgen Tour of California. He placed 3rd in the prologue during the 2007 edition, and has been involved in many breakaways. 

The four breakaway riders are still looking strong and sharing the work load. The gap is dropping, down to 8:20 minutes, and the temperatures are rising again as they approach the desert floor toward Palm Desert.

They are still on the winding descent, and will be for the next 24 kms, passing Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. 

70km remaining from 200km

The peloton is racing down through the valley and the temperatures are rising back up and over 100F, it's also very dry out there and the riders are drinking lots of water.

Sylvain Chavanel is in a full tuck position on his bike as he leads the breakaway down the steep descent into Palm Desert.

Chavanel is raising his empty water bottle and asking for more water from his team car.

45km remaining from 200km

Race leader Lieuwe Westra got off the bike to get a wheel change on the descent. He had a flat tire but he's back in the field now.

Up in the breakaway, McCarty is pouring cold water over his head and taking some extra water bottles from his team car. 

36km remaining from 200km

The gap to the breakaway is falling and is now under six minutes. The roads are flat on the approach to the final climb of the day on Tramway Rd.

Race organizers will leave the feeding open for the riders until they get to the base of the final climb.

BMC is taking a turn on the front of the peloton, trying to close the gap a little more before the climb.

It's 103F in Palm Desert right now and important for the riders to stay as hydrated as possible before the climb, and for the next stages of the Tour of California.

The four breakaway riders are looking surprisingly good, considering they've been off the front of the main field for nearly the entire race. 

32km remaining from 200km

McCarty is the highest placed rider in the GC out of the four breakaway riders, a mere six seconds behind race leader Westra.

26km remaining from 200km

Zwizanski has made an attempt to jump away from the breakaway, but it was quickly brought back by the other three riders.

23km remaining from 200km

Jacques-Maynes has attacked the breakaway. He has a small lead ahead of the other three riders.

21km remaining from 200km

Saxo-Tinkoff is doing a lot of work on the front of the main field. Other teams contributing to the chase are Vacansoleil-DCM and BMC. The gap is now down to three minutes.

Jacques-Maynes is now back in the breakaway and all four riders are headed toward the bottom of Tramway Rd.

Champion System is now contributing to the chase from the main field. 

17km remaining from 200km

Some of the strong climbers in the field are starting to move closer to the front of the main field. Tejay Van Garderen from BMC is looking very comfortable.

14km remaining from 200km

11km remaining from 200km

10km remaining from 200km

9km remaining from 200km

The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies duo are about to get caught by the main field. 

7km remaining from 200km

6km remaining from 200km

Third placed on GC Peter Sagan from Cannondale is sitting in the main field.

5km remaining from 200km

RadioShack's Andy Schleck is also falling off pace from the lead group of climbers.

Race leader Westra is off the back and is being forced to give up his yellow jersey. The climb is getting steeper and steeper every metre.

3km remaining from 200km

There is a group of about 12 riders that have emerged on the climb led by UnitedHealthcare's Phil Deignan, who recently won the Tour of the Gila.

Van Garderen is looking very strong and comfortable with the select group of climbers on the ascent. 

2km remaining from 200km

Acevedo has made a move and is now chasing Deignan. 

As Deignan leads on the climb with two kilometres to go, Van Garderen is now chasing Acevedo. 

2km remaining from 200km

2km remaining from 200km

Van Garderen and Acevedo are now together on the climb with less than one kilometre to go.

Acevedo has attacked Van Garderen and is riding away with less than one kilometre to go.

Van Garderen is trying desperately to drag himself back up to Acevedo before the finish line.

Acevedo has 500 metres to go and he is holding a strong lead on the climb.

Acevedo has won  stage two of the Tour of California, a big win for Jamis-Hagens Berman.

Tejay Van Garderen rode in for second place on the day and Deignan took third place.

Here are the unofficial brief results for stage two:

Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) is now leading the race heading into tomorrow's stage three of the Amgen Tour of California. 

Thanks for following along with our live coverage. See you again tomorrow!

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