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Tour of California 2016: Stage 8

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Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California set to begin at 11:15 a.m. local time. The men's race begins and finishes in Sacramento, racing for a total of 136.5km that includes three short finishing circuits in the downtown area.

 

Good morning. We are five minutes away from the start of the finale stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California. 

The men have signed in, the staging area is now closed and they are lining up at the starting area.

It will be an exciting race today. Stage 8 has tended to surprise at the Tour of California, especially last year.

And they are off! The men will roll for 4.7km of a neutral zone before starting the 136.5km race. 

Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data) is off the back in the neutral zone with a mechanical.

And Farrar has rejoined the field. 

All the riders are together and the race has official started.

Sagan may have taken the overall title from Alaphilippe in the eleventh hour last year, but this year the Frenchman heads into the final stage with 16 seconds on Rohan Dennis and 38 seconds to Brent Bookwalter, both from BMC.

 

Tour of California stage 7 overall - Brief Results#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step28:46:38  2Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:16  3Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:38  4Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:00:47  5Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman0:01:08  6Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:01:17  7Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team   8Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:24  9George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:01:45  10Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Team Katusha0:01:48 

Here is the top 10 in the overall classification following stage 7.

There is a lot of action happening at the start of the stage. Six riders have gained a small lead on the field.

Seven riders are now in the front group and their lead is growing as the main field has decided to take a nature break.

Here are the riders in the breakaway:

10km remaining from 136km

The gap is continuing to increase, now at 2 minutes.

The Women’s Tour of California stage 4 is underway. They will race for 20 laps, totally 66km along a 3.5km circuit, which is the same finishing circuits that the men will use later today.

It's sunny but cool in Sacramento today, and although there is little wind felt downtown, the wind has picked up out on the men's larger course.

For the men's race, it began in Sacramento. The capital city of California has hosted the kick-off to the Tour of California for the past two years as well as individual stage finishes; but 2016 marks the first time the city has hosted the overall finale.

That's a maximum of 16 seconds available. Hypothetically speaking, if Dennis won both intermediate sprints and the finish, and Alaphilippe none, they would end up tied on time. Dennis could then win the overall based on his time trial victory. It's too bad that Dennis is not known for his sprinting ability.

But Alaphilippe is backed by a very powerful Etixx-QuickStep team, and they will likely be in control of this race today.

It’s interesting to note that the last time the race was on a similar Sacramento course in 2014, crosswinds briefly split the group before it came together again near the finish.

Crosswinds are blowing strong from the right along a very straight road. 

34km remaining from 136km

18 laps to go.

Guarnier leads the overall by 15 seconds over Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Bikerider) and 25 seconds over teammate Evelyn Stevens. It is currently an all-American podium.

The L-shaped course in Sacramento has been used three times for the women’s race. Coryn Rivera won the race in 2010, Carmen Small won the race in 2014, and Leah Kirchmann won the finale star 3 during last year’s stage race.

Today, the women will have one intermediate sprint at the end of lap 15 where there are 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds offered.

16 laps to go.

Our own Pat Malach spoke with third placed on GC, Brent Bookwalter (BMC), this morning. Here is what he had today about today's stage,

36km remaining from 136km

15 laps to go.

14 to go for the women.

In the men's race, the wind is really blowing today out on course, much more so than it was in downtown Sacramento this morning.

Pat Malach spoke with young American Lawson Craddock this morning. He's sitting in sixth overall, while his teammate Andrew Talanksy is in fourth, both ride for Cannondale. 

Cannondale also lost Wouter Wippert, and Craddock said that was a blow to the team for today's stage,

12 to go for the women.

48km remaining from 136km

11 to go for the women's circuit race.

Amber Neben is now attacking.

In the men's race, Katusha is the team leading the chase from the front of the main field.

The breakaway is losing time, down to 1:38.

Unfortunately, Sheldon's teammate Angus Morton had crashed earlier in today's stage along with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo).

9 to go for the women.

60km remaining from 136km

8 laps to go for the women.

Pat Malach spoke with Taylor Phinney (BMC) at the start this morning. He's predicting a bunch sprint in Sacramento today.

6 laps to go for the women.

In the men's race, the seven men have picked up an additional 20 seconds, now leading by 1:50 ahead of a field led by Katusha.

5 laps to go: Intermediate sprint results:

In the men's race, Katusha is getting some help from Tinkoff and Etixx-QuickStep, that have both emerged to the front of the field to set the pace.

4 laps to go for the women.

In the men's race, Phinney just got a wheel change and he is back in the field.

3 laps to go.

We've just received word that there was a crash earlier in the women's race, at 12 laps to go. We'll try and find out more about that shortly.

2 laps to go for the women.

Some of the riders reportedly in the crash were Tetrick, Scotti Lechuga and Linnell.

There's also been a crash in the men's race. Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) was one of the two involved. He is getting a bike change.

1 lap to go.

And it is Kirsten Wild (Hitech Products) who takes the win at the fourth and final stage of the Women's Amgen Tour of California.

Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) takes second, Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) third, and Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) was fourth.

And Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) has won the 2016 Amgen Women's Tour of California.

The men have gone through the first intermediate sprint in Clarksburg. Here are the results.

They are losing time, however, as the gap is now down to only one minute.

Women's Tour of California stage 4 brief results:

Guarnier's overall victory at the Amgen Tour of California moves her up into the overall lead of the Women's World Tour.

37km remaining from 136km

Up in the breakaway, Marangoni is trying to eat food from out of his rear pocket. 

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens Berman) also had a rear puncture but he managed to get back into the field.

Etixx-QuickStep is riding on the front as their overall leader Alaphilippe is tucked in further back.

Both Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC) have flat tires. Both have raised their arms to request team support.

The main field is riding on a section of very rough roads, full of potholes.

Cavendish will surely want to go for the stage win today, and Bookwalter is sitting in third place overall behind leader Alaphilippe and Dennis.

Etixx-QuickStep have quickened the pace while Cavendish and Bookwalter are getting their wheel changes.

24km remaining from 136km

The main field is riding over a slight incline in the road, causing the field to single out.

The seven men still have a lead of one minute, but with teams eager to see a field sprint, it isn't likely that they will stay away.

Dimension Data have gotten themselves into a good position beside Etixx-QuickStep. Could it be a day for Mark Cavendish, who won four stages last year, but so far has come up empty-handed this year at the Tour of California.

The main field is 5km to the entrance of the finish circuits. 

The field is flying over Tower Bridge, over the American river. A bright yellow lift bridge.

Tinkoff and Katusha are jockeying for position side-by-side.

13km remaining from 136km

They still have one minute.

Lots of fans lining the sides of the finish circuit.

Rally's Oronte is leading the breakaway through the first few corners of the L-shaped circuit.

Jones is now taking a turn on the front, as he lead the breakaway through the circuit.  But it looks like Carpenter and Marangoni are taking bigger turns on the front.

There are just over 10km to go in the race. The breakaway, which is now on the final circuits, is quickly losing time.

Etixx-QuickStep have drifted further back, protecting their overall leader Julian Alaphilippe, and they've allowed the sprinters teams to take over.

Manangoni just flicked his elbow, trying to motivate his breakaway companions to continue pushing on to the finish line.

There has been a crash on the final circuits in the main field. Riders from Trek-Segafredo have gone down and their bikes are on the sidewalk.

5km remaining from 136km

Bernhard Eisel and Tyler Farrar have pushed their way to the front for Dimension Data and Mark Cavendish.

The breakaway is about to get caught as they whole field get the bell lap with one to go.

Dimension Data and Tinkoff are intertwined at the front of the field, dragging their sprinters around the last circuit.

2.5km to go and there are a couple of riders trying to attack the fast pace of Dimension Data.

All of the breakaway riders have now been caught with 2km to go.

Mark Renshaw is now at the front of the field, but Katusha have just stormed by with five riders and Kristoff.

And 500 metres to go, they are now sprinting toward the line.

Sagan is going on the right, Kristoff on the left, Cavendish is there too.

And it's Cavendish who finally gets the win he was waiting for at the Amgen Tour of California.

Julian Alaphilippe has officially won the overall title at the Amgen Tour of California.

Peter Sagan was second in the sprint today, behind Cavendish.

Alexander Kristoff was third.

Cavendish has won 10 stage victories at the Amgen Tour of California.

But he will go home happy knowing that he picked up one this year too.

Julian Alaphilippe did not leave it to chance today, sprinting to the line and finishing 11th in the bunch kick, securing his overall title.

Here are the top 10 for stage 8 at the Amgen Tour of California:

Final general classification after stage 8:

Thank you for following our live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California men's and women's races. We hope you enjoyed our commentary. 

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