Sagan wins Tour of California stage to Pasadena

It took seven stages, but Peter Sagan has finally added to his Tour of California tally, finishing off fine work from his Cannondale team to win the sprint in Pasadena over BMC's Thor HushovdDanny van Poppel (Trek) was third.

The general classification remained the same at the top 10, with Wiggins safely in the yellow jersey heading into the final stage. Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) had no chance to gain time on the Sky rider, while Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) maintained his podium position in third.

Saturday's stage win marked Sagan's 11th at the Tour California and his 60th professional win.

"I am very happy for the victory because I am a finish man, and today we did very, very good work," Sagan said. "It's a very important victory for me and the team, because I am always near the front from the first stage; fourth place, second place is not good, no?"

The 146.5km stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena began with the usual non-threatening breakaway but ended in a dizzying series of turns on the 5km city circuit.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Ben King (Garmin-Sharp), Lars Boom (Belkin), Chad Haga (Giant-Shimano), Isaac Bolivar (UnitedHealthcare), Luis Lemus (Jelly Belly) and Eloy Teruel (Jamis-Hagens Berman) were the lucky riders to tackle the two classified climbs off the front. But Cannondale helped keep the gap to a minimum - theleaders only gained 2:35 before the long downhill run to Pasadena helped the peloton whittle down the gap to just 20 seconds by the entry to the circuit.

"I was kind of surprised the gap came down so much on the downhill," King said. "We had some big guys and some great descenders in that group. It was a little surprising to hear we were back down to 20 seconds, because I didn't think it was possible to go faster than we were on the downhill.

King and Van Avermaet, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, were the last survivors, and while there were a number of counter-attacks, it was always going to be a sprint.

"We didn't have too many minutes in front," Van Avermaet said of the late effort. "Just before we arrived at the circuit it was already 20 seconds, so we knew it would be hard. But once you're in the break you have to go full gas for it. I had a good guy with Ben King with me, and he was working pretty good. We tried to stay out front as long as possible."

Cannondale caught the leaders but eventually ran out of men for the finale, and Taylor Phinney took over to lead out Hushvod. But Sagan's daring and technical skills were unmatched by the Norwegian champion. The Slovakian dove through the final turns to the front and emerged with a healthy advantage at the line.

Wiggins was relieved to get through the day unscathed, happy that a break without Cannondale in it went so that Sagan's team would do the work. The long, fast descent and high-speed run into town could have been dangerous to his lead.

"It's never really done until you cross the line," he said. "With the speed we were going - you puncture then and you're not going to get back into the race, even with a change. We were wary about that. I'm just glad another day's down and it's down to tomorrow now."

Sunday's final stage is a short-but-difficult 122.4 km circuit race. Riders will do three laps of a 32.9km loop that features two category 4 climbs and one category 3, including three trips up the Rock Store climb. The stage finishes with three loops of a pancake flat 7.4km closing circuit. It could be another day for the sprinters who can climb, and it could mean another day of the sprinters' teams taking over the workload from Team Sky.

"It depends who's there, really, and how the race pans out at the start," Wiggins said. "I haven't really looked at the route yet, so I'll have to get back and have a look at it and try and think of all the scenarios that could happen tomorrow and work out a strategy. But I guess Peter [Sagan] will probably have another go if he's there. It's pretty difficult, and [Mark Cavendish] will probably not make it again."

Sagan raced on a similar circuit in the 2010 race. He finished 11th on that stage, and he said he remembers it as being very tough.

"I know these climbs," he said. "Every climb is hard. If they go slow maybe I can come in to sprint."

No matter how the stage plays out, Wiggins was confident that he could pull off the overall victory in Thousand Oaks.

"I think we'll continue to do the same thing - keep an eye on the Garmin guys," he said. "I'm sure we'll be alright."

 

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale3:24:33
2Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 3 - Cell 2
5John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 6 - Cell 2
8Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 10 - Cell 2
12Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 11 - Cell 2
13Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdgeRow 12 - Cell 2
14Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team SkyRow 14 - Cell 2
16Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 15 - Cell 2
17José Joao Pimenta Costa (Por) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 16 - Cell 2
18Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 17 - Cell 2
19Alex Howes (USA) Garmin SharpRow 18 - Cell 2
20Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo NordiskRow 20 - Cell 2
22Gregory Brenes (CRc) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 21 - Cell 2
23Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdgeRow 22 - Cell 2
24Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 23 - Cell 2
25Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 25 - Cell 2
27Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin SharpRow 26 - Cell 2
28Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 27 - Cell 2
29David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 28 - Cell 2
30Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 29 - Cell 2
31Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Clément Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory RacingRow 32 - Cell 2
34Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 33 - Cell 2
35Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 34 - Cell 2
36Kristijan Koren (Slo) CannondaleRow 35 - Cell 2
37Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 36 - Cell 2
38Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin SharpRow 37 - Cell 2
39Daniel Jaramillo Díez (Col) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 38 - Cell 2
40Robert Víctor Squire (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:00:12
41Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42George Bennett (NZl) CannondaleRow 41 - Cell 2
43Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Benjamin King (USA) Garmin SharpRow 43 - Cell 2
45Nathan Brown (USA) Garmin SharpRow 44 - Cell 2
46Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Team SkyRow 45 - Cell 2
47Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 47 - Cell 2
49Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 50 - Cell 2
52William Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 51 - Cell 2
53Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 53 - Cell 2
55Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:00:17
57Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky0:00:29
58Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:00:35
59Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale0:00:37
60Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale0:01:04
61Danny Pate (USA) Team Sky0:01:19
62Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:01:35
63Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Bissell Development Team0:01:49
64Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Team Sky0:02:36
65Isaac Bolivar Hernandez (Col) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:04:39
66Edward King (USA) Cannondale0:06:16
67Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 66 - Cell 2
68Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:06:21
69Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 68 - Cell 2
70Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Fred Rodriguez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 71 - Cell 2
73Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Luis Lemus (Mex) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 73 - Cell 2
75Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory RacingRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory RacingRow 76 - Cell 2
78Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory RacingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Steve Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 78 - Cell 2
80Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 79 - Cell 2
81Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 80 - Cell 2
82Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin SharpRow 81 - Cell 2
83Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Alex Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 83 - Cell 2
85Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 84 - Cell 2
86Nathan Earle (Aus) Team SkyRow 85 - Cell 2
87Guillaume Boivin (Can) CannondaleRow 86 - Cell 2
88Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 87 - Cell 2
89Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 88 - Cell 2
90Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 89 - Cell 2
91Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo NordiskRow 90 - Cell 2
92Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 91 - Cell 2
93Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 93 - Cell 2
95Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 94 - Cell 2
96Kevin De Masmaeker (Bel) Team Novo NordiskRow 95 - Cell 2
97Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:06:33
99Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:07:15
100Tanner Putt (USA) Bissell Development Team0:08:12
101Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:12:47
102Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdgeRow 104 - Cell 2
106Cameron Wurf (Aus) CannondaleRow 105 - Cell 2
107Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
109Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
111Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo NordiskRow 110 - Cell 2
112Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 111 - Cell 2
113Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 112 - Cell 2
114Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis - Hagens BermanRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
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Points - Acton
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Benjamin King (USA) Garmin Sharp5pts
2Luis Lemus (Mex) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis - Hagens Berman1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Finish - 1st passage
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Benjamin King (USA) Garmin Sharp5pts
2Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Isaac Bolivar Hernandez (Col) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Pasadena (Finish)