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Tour of California 2015: Stage 1


 Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 1 of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California.

The race is still about 40 minutes from the start here in downtown Sacramento, an the teams are beginning to arrive for their warm ups.

The race is still about 40 minutes from the start here in downtown Sacramento, and the teams are beginning to arrive for their warm ups.

The 203.1km open tin stage will be a pancake flat affair that starts in front of the state capitol and finishes in the same place. 

The 203.1km open tin stage will be a pancake flat affair that starts in front of the state capitol and finishes in the same place. 

Mark Cavendish won a similar stage here last year, beating John Degenkolb by a mere three millimetres. Cavendish is back again this year and looking to add to the five stages he's won here previously. You can read more about Cavendish and Etixx-QuickStep in California here.

The inaugural three-day Tour of California women's race has been taking place the past two days in Lake Tahoe. The race concludes today with a circuit race in downtown Sacramento after the men's race departs. You can check out all of Cyclingnews' coverage of the women's race here. 


Over in Italy today, crashes marred stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia. The crashes caused several splits in the peloton, writes Stephen Farrand, forcing the Cannondale-Garmin and Ag2r-La Mondiale teams to chase for team leaders Ryder Hesjedal and Domenico Pozzovivo. Hesjedal made back into the peloton and did not lose time but Pozzovivo lost 1:09 and slipped to 1:57 down in the overall. You can read more about it here.

Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan is the most prolific stage winner in the 10-year history of the Tour of California. The young Slovakian has won 11 stages here, but his week got off to a rough start when team owner Oleg Tinkov had some critical things to say about Sagan in his Cyclingnews blog.

Stage 1 of the Tour of California has started. The riders are off for a 3km neutral roll out.

Cannondale-Garmin's Andrew Talansky is back in California for the first time since 2012. He lives in Napa now and considers this his home race. You can read more about Talansky here.

It's a windy start today, but riders are starting out fast trying to establish an early breakaway. Last year on this course, strong winds caused a split of about 30 riders late in the race, forcing QuickStep to work hard to weld things back together for the sprint.

Team Sky's Elia Viviani was the winner of today's field sprint in Italy. You can read about how the stage played out here.

Four riders have a slight advantage on the field. We'll get numbers shortly.

The breakaway riders are William Clarke of Drapac, Steve Fisher of Jelly Belly-Maxxis, Rob Britton of SmartStop and his teammate Bobby Sweeting. The gap is over a minute now.

194km remaining from 204km

One of the riders in this breakaway, Rob Britton, recently won the overall at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico. You can read about Britton's win here.

Britton's teammate, Bobby Sweeting, owns a company that sponsors the domestic elite amateur team called Alto Velo. You can read more about Sweeting and the team here.

While Viviani took today's stage win in Italy, Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Matthews earned the Maglia Rosa. You can read about his day here.

The breakaway is getting some real traction now. The gap has ballooned to 3:10.

180km remaining from 204km

Ben Jacques-Maynes started his 10th Tour of California today. The California native is the only rider to start all 10 editions of the race. Cyclingnews spoke with him this morning before the start.

The gap to the four breakaway riders has gone up to nearly seven minutes. QuickStep must have a lot of confidence it can bring the escapees back on this flat stage.

The women's race is currently underway on the streets of downtown Sacramento. BMW-Happy Tooth is doing a lot of work on the front.

Cavendish has his top leadout man here in California, and Cyclingnews spoke with mark Renshaw before the start. 

The dirt section Renshaw was talking about comes at 80.5km into the stage and lasts for several kilometres.

Team Sky's Ian Boswell is in California again this year after helping Bradley Wiggins win the overall last year. The American rider is looking for his own opportunities in the race this year. You can read more about Boswell here.

154km remaining from 204km

It looks like William Clarke has taken the first intermediate spent ahead of Britton and Sweeting. Clarke will get a three-second time bonus for his effort. Britton will get two and Sweeting one.

Back in Italy, Trek Factory Racing's Eugenio Alafaci blamed a spectator on a fixed gear for causing a crash with 10km to go, and he had some angry words for the person. You can read more about it here

With both Fisher and Sweeting from the US and Britton from Canada, Clarke is the only non-North American rider in today's breakaway. The 30-year-old Drapac rider has won stages at the Tour Down Under, the Tour of Japan, the Herald and Sun Tour, the Tour of Iran and Tour de Kumano.

137km remaining from 204km

Of today's stage win in Italy, Elia Viviani said “Greipel was the strongest but I was the smartest.” You can read more from Viviani here.

Rob Britton is a surprise member of the breakaway today. The Canadian is a talented climber and time trialist and could figure into the general classification or the Mt. Baldy stage. SmartStop team director Michael Creed tells Cyclingnews that he thinks Britton was just covering early moves for the sprinters and ended up in the move that stuck.

We're getting news that Leah Kirchmann (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the final stage of the women's race.

The men are through the second intermediate sprint, and Clarke has won again.


You can check here soon for full results and report from the women's race.

79km remaining from 204km

127km remaining from 204km

Fast Freddie Rodriguez is starting his last Tour of California. The 41-year-old Jelly Belly rider will retire at the end of the season. Cyclingnews spoke with him this morning before the start.

117km remaining from 204km

Team SmartStop is reporting that Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) is pulling out of the race. No conformation yet from race radio.

It's official: Talansky has abandoned. 

100km remaining from 204km

Among the Giant-Alpecin riders in today's race is neo-pro Carter Jones, the former Optum rider who was 11th in California last year. Jones' week got off to a rough start when he was involved in a crash while training on a bike path. Cyclngnews spoke with him before the start.

The gap is hanging around three minutes. QuickStep is likely feathering the throttle a bit so as not to bring the escapees back too soon.

82km remaining from 204km

Another young rider with big ambitions for this week is James Oram, who rides for Axel Merckx's Axeon development team. Oram had some tough luck in last year's race after crashing and breaking his collarbone. Cyclingnews spoke to him this morning.

We've received word from Cannondale-Garmin about why Andrew Talansky abandoned. Marya Pongrace, the team's communications director said Talansky was forced to abandon today due to an unfortunate combination of allergies and upper respiratory infection.

64km remaining from 204km

Rob Britton has dipped out od the breakaway, leaving Fisher, Clarke and Sweeting to soldier on without him.

47km remaining from 204km

42km remaining from 204km

The loss of Talansky will come as a big blow to Cannnondale-Garmin. We spoke with his teammate Alex Howes before the stage today, and he said the team was ready to race.

34km remaining from 204km

Full results from the women's race are posted now. You can see them here.

A moment ago we saw an Etixx-Quickstep rider on the front of the peloton, and fans might think, 'gee that looks a lot like Tom Boonen'. Well, it's not - it's Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, but he is Boonen's body double.

26km remaining from 204km

Whoops! We have a Jelly Belly rider who slid off the road into the ditch. Luckily SRAM neutral support is right there to help him out. It's Jonathan Freter, who was in the peloton. He's not hurt.

Freter will face a long chase through the team cars after getting a wheel change. The officials will hopefully look the other way as he drafts off the cars on his way back to the bunch. The peloton is not going flat out, so he shouldn't have too much trouble getting back in.

20km remaining from 204km

The riders will have 9.6km remaining once they are on the circuits.

 Tyler Farrar is back in the peloton after chasing back on after a mechanical.

189km remaining from 204km

15km remaining from 204km

The breakaway has made it onto the finishing circuit. They will do three laps before hitting the finish line

The break has been trimmed to two with Steve Fisher (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) dropping away after the sprint point a few kilometres ago

MTN-Qhubeka hasn't had a great dat with mechanicals so far with Johann van Zyl also suffering a flat tyre

The peloton has the leading duo in their sights and its all coming back together now on the finishing circuit

6km remaining from 204km

Tinkoff-Saxo have made their presence felt on the front of the peloton now with MTN-Qhubeka and Etixx-Quick Step also up there

6km remaining from 204km

Lotto-Jumbo are also trying to get up the front for their sprinter Tom Van Asbroeck

3km remaining from 204km

Drapac are also showing themselves and will look to position Wouter Wippert in good position for the sprint

3km remaining from 204km

UnitedHealthcare and Giant-Alpecin are moving up and spreading across the road with Etixx-Quick Step on the left-hand side of the road

1km remaining from 204km

That's an easy win for Mark Cavendish who takes the stage win ahead of Peter Sagan

Mark Cavendish takes his tenth career Tour of California stage win and will wear the first leaders jersey of the race after after Etixx-Quick Step controlled the final 10km of the stage and did their job to perfection

Results Results#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Etixx-Quick Step4:43:27  2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo   3Jempy Drucker (Lux) BMC   4John Murhpy (USA) Unitedhealthare   5Guillaume Boivin (Can)  

Results Results#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Etixx-Quick Step4:43:27  2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo   3Jempy Drucker (Lux) BMC   4John Murhpy (USA) Unitedhealthare   5Guillaume Boivin (Can)  

So Mark Cavendish now has ten wins for 2015 after his stage win today and will be looking to add a few more this week. He and Etixx-Quick Step really took control of the stage and bossed it all the way to the line. 

On GC, it's Mark Cavendish in yellow with Will Clarke (Drapac) in second place just one second in arrears after his breakaway efforts

Find our full race report by clicking here!

Here's the margin of victory for Mark Cavendish today

Keep checking our race report from stage 1 right here as full results and photos roll in as well as all the reaction

Find our full race report by clicking here!

Find our full race report by clicking here!

Thanks for joining us for coverage of of the first stage of the Tour of California. We hope you enjoyed the stage and will join us again tomorrow for stage two from Nevada City to Lodi. 

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