Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 of the Tour of California, a climber-friendly 144.5km trek from Modesto to San Jose.
Tour of California hub page
Stage 1 report
5 riders to watch
Giro d'Italia: Rest Day round-up - Podcast
The Tour of California's second stage gets underway in less than an hour. With five categorised climbs on tap, things could get interesting on the road to San Jose.
Marcel Kittel took a convincing victory on Sunday's opening stage in Sacramento and currently leads the race.
Stage 1 Results
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 3:45:35
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
5 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
6 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
7 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8 Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
9 Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
General classification after stage 1
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 3:45:25
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:04
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:06
4 Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
5 Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
6 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:10
7 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
8 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
9 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10 Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
It should be a mostly sunny day for the California peloton, but there may be a bit of wind on tap as the riders make their way towards the Bay Area.
Our Ted Burns is on the ground in Modesto talking with riders before today's stage gets underway.
"It could be a good GC day, it could be a good reduced sprint day," says Kiel Reijnen. "I'm going to fight like hell to make it. We saw a breakaway stick two years ago here so it could be a big fight for the breakaway if teams are thinking that's the way it will go again. This definitely a deeper field here than ever before so I think we'll see a fast climb up Hamilton and maybe some attacks at the end."
Evan Huffman: "I think it is a good day to be in the breakaway so we'll try to put somebody up there."
Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California is underway. Riders are taking two laps through a downtown Modesto neutral zone before kilometre 0.
One lap down, one to go before the racing begins in earnest.
The race is now headed out of town.
Modesto has done a good job getting the crowds out. Fans from local schools have been lining the roads to cheer on the Tour of California peloton.
The peloton has finished riding through the neutral zone and passed kilometre zero. Let the racing commence!
It's a flat two-lane road taking the peloton out of Modesto through orchards and farms. The pack is chugging along at a good pace right now, about 50 km/h.
133km remaining from 143km
Through 10 kilometres of racing, it's still gruppo compatto on stage 2 of the Tour of California. Dimension Data, Cofidis, Jelly Belly and Novo Nordisk have all been involved in trying to make something happen, but no one has gotten clear of the pack just yet despite a decent tailwind.
The peloton is approaching the first turn since Modesto after several kilometres of straight road. That changes the wind direction, bringing a crosswind into play as the riders roll through wide open fields.
There's some activity off the front but nothing is sticking just yet.
Race leader and stage 1 winner Marcel Kittel has hit the deck!
A crash took out a few riders but it does not appear to have been a serious pileup. Marcel Kittel is quick to get up and remount. The big German looks okay.
The yellow jersey is already back with the peloton. Kittel seems to have shrugged off the early fall.
The pack is approaching the day's first intermediate sprint in Patterson.
A group of about 10 riders has managed to get clear but they don't have much of a gap just yet.
125km remaining from 143km
The road rises almost immediately after Patterson, which could give breakaway hopefuls a launching pad.
Everything is back together as the pack nears the sprint.
Zdenek Stybar takes the first intermediate sprint. Ben King is second across the line, followed by Tanner Putt.
With the first intermediate in the rearview mirror, the road begins to rise slightly. The first categorised climb doesn't officially start for quite a while yet, but it's more or less uphill now for over 40 kilometers.
111km remaining from 143km
Still all together after over 30 kilometres of racing.
The break has a great shot today, so teams don't want to let anything go unless they've got a man in the move.
A big group looks to be forming off the front. It's 22 riders strong at the moment and that means that plenty of teams are represented in the move, though it's unclear if the peloton will let them go.
103km remaining from 143km
No dice for the 22-man move. They've been caught.
It won't be easy for Marcel Kittel to hold onto the leader's jersey with today's lumpy profile, but Quick-Step could have hardly asked for a better start to the Amgen Tour of California. Kittel won the opening stage rather convincingly. Patrick Lefevere was on hand in Sacramento to celebrate with his squad – though he also voiced his displeasure yesterday about reduced appearance fees at the race this year. You can read about that HERE.
Attacks are continuing to fly on the winding road towards the Del Puerto Canyon climb. Seven riders have a small gap now.
It's now six riders, and they have 15 seconds on the bunch.
Toms Skujins, who has won stages in the last two Tours of California, is one of the riders up the road.
93km remaining from 143km
Danny Van Poppel, Chris Hamilton and Scott Thwaites are also up there.
Katusha-Alpecin are setting a torrid pace in the peloton.
Four riders – Skujins, Van Poppel, Thwaites and Hamilton – look to be the move of the day. After they stubbornly refused to yield to a hard-charging peloton, the quartet has opened up a gap now. The pack has taken it's foot off the gas.
It will be more fun than yesterday I think," Toms Skuijns told our Ted Burns at the start today. "Yesterday was cool but if there are more hills it is more exciting for the fans."
Apparently the Latvian decided to guarantee that the racing would be worth watching today, having jumped into the break himself. Skujins made the most of the Tour of California's most recent San Jose finish back in 2015, winning the stage and taking control of the race lead for a few days too.
83km remaining from 143km
Indeed, the second half of today's stage is nearly identical to that of the stage Skujins won in his breakout performance back in 2015. Then again, that also puts a bit of a target on his back. He'll probably want to shake the very fast-finishing Danny Van Poppel well before the finish but he can expect his breakaway companions to be watching his every move.
The breakaway has four minutes on the peloton after 60 kilometres of racing.
Hearing that Daniel Jaramillo and Tanner Putt are both up the road as well, making it six in the break.
Hamilton and Van Poppel are having trouble hanging on in the break. The road has been angling slightly uphill for quite a while now and it's getting steeper as the first climb of the day begins.
77km remaining from 143km
Jaramillo leads the way through the KOM point. Scott Thwaites is second over the line, followed by Tanner Putt and then Toms Skujins. That was a tough first climb and there are still several to come.
Hamilton and Van Poppel were struggling on the climb but the six out front are all together now.
The breakers have worked the gap up over five minutes.
The next climb is the Cat. 3 ascent up San Antonio Valley Rd. From the top, the riders will take a short, speedy descent and then loop back around for another trip up.
69km remaining from 143km
Riders are through the feed zone. The gap is yo-yoing a bit. It stands at four minutes right now.
10,000 kilometres away from the Tour of California, the Giro d'Italia peloton is heading to bed as a rest day comes to a close with a critical time trial on tap tomorrow.
The Cyclingnews Podcast discussed the state of affairs after nine stages of racing and looked ahead at what's next in Italy. You can listen HERE.
61km remaining from 143km
Another KOM for Jaramillo. He leads the break over the top of the day's second categorised climb, followed by Skuijns and then Putt. They'll be back up there soon as the route loops around for another pass.
Sunweb's Chris Hamilton is in trouble. He's dropped off the back of the break, staring at a 15-second gap to the others up the road.
Hamilton is losing ground on the break. The others off the front have about four minutes on the peloton, currently led by Bora-Hansgrohe.
It's Bora who are on the front and in numbers as they set a furious pace as the road moves uphill. Behind them, we have Kittel's men nicely lined out. The break have 3'50 on the main field.
Surprising, somewhat, to see Van Poppel in the break but I remember Mark Renshaw also going in a long break during this race a number of years ago, back in his HTC days.
55km remaining from 143km
There's a jump from the break as they go for the KOM points. It looks like Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez has held off Toms Skujins for the top spot. Putt pats his teammate in congratulations and we're on the descent.
Dont forget you can catch up on all our Giro d'Italia coverage from the day. Why not start here, with our analysis of the top ten contenders in the race.
@quickstepteam Mon, 15th May 2017 21:37:29
Meanwhile the bunch has crested the climb and they're at 3'00 but up ahead the break has blown apart. Danny van Poppel has been dropped, and so has Putt. We have just three leaders as the road rises once more.
52km remaining from 143km
All change at the front of the bunch and LottoNL Jumbo have hit out and they're looking to stretch the peloton to almost breaking point with their entire team on the front.
And Kittel has been dropped with 52km to go.
Kittel isn't alone. He's in a group of around 20 riders off the back of the bunch. His race lead is over in this race.
We're on Mt Hamilton and LottoNL are really pushing the pace right now with former race winner, Gesink, in second wheel.
Up ahead and our three leaders have 2'20 on the main field.
Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data)
Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac)
Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team)
LottoNL have reduced the main field to about 40 riders as we continue to climb.
And Sagan has been dropped. He's not giving up as he pushes a big gear and his team car comes along side him. It's a very long descent to come so it's not over for the world champion.
Gesink is the only LottoNL rider left it seems at the front of the race. And there's an attack from his teammate, Lindeman. He's joined by a rider from Dimension Data, and then a rider from Team Sky.
And Majka has come over to the move too. It's Morton from Dimension Data but no confirmation on the Sky rider.
It looks like Boswell from the way he's climbing.
It is Boswell. Nice to see him back to his best after a crash last month. The LottoNL rider is actually Bennett but there's no time gap yet from that group to the peloton.
Every time Majka moves to the front the rest of that little break are almost sprinting to get on terms.
Toms Skujins has taken maximum points at the top of the climb and Thwaites cracks slightly but he should be able to get back on during the descent.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 15th May 2017 22:01:03
47km remaining from 143km
@TeamSunweb Mon, 15th May 2017 22:03:54
Cannondale-Drapac's Andrew Talansky is leading a chase of the chasers.
Jaramillo and Thwaites are embedded with Majka's group now.
Skujins should be caught by Majka and Co. soon. Talansky and the other GC hopefuls, meanwhile, are a minute back.
34km remaining from 143km
Seven riders together in the lead now: Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team), Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data), Ian Boswell (Team Sky), Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data), Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)
The gap to the peloton is around 45 seconds now.
Skujins takes a drink as the breakers approach the foot of the Quimby Rd. climb.
The upcoming ascent is short at 1.8km but very steep at 9.2%.
Jaramillo and Thwaites can't hold the pace, dropping almost immediately as the road tilts dramatically upward.
Majka jumps out of the group near the summit to take max points on the KOM.
The breakers have gone up and over the climb and are zooming down a very fast descent now. Majka has a small gap.
Majka still has a small advantage on the other four off the front. A group of 20 is in hot pursuit, with Andrew Talansky, Brent Bookwalter, Samuel Sánchez, George Bennett and Robert Gesink in the mix.
Toms Skujins has gone down very hard. He quickly remounted but he looks dazed.
Majka is with Boswell, Morton and Bennett now.
20 kilometres to go. Four off the front, but a chasing group of around 20 riders is within 20 seconds. Fast-finishing Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) appears to be in there.
18km remaining from 143km
The quartet is working well together to keep their advantage steady as the road briefly flattens out before it rises again towards the finish.
The escapees appear to have around 50 seconds now.
14km remaining from 143km
It's a 45-second gap from the escapees to the chasers and less than 15 kilometres remain until the finish line in San Jose.
Cannondale are setting tempo in the chase but the rest of the riders appear to be more or less sitting on. It will be no mean feat closing this gap.
After his nasty crash, Skujins is well off the back and has now pulled over.
Jersey ripped to shreds and sporting some serious bruises, Skujins looks to be calling it a race. He tried to push on for a while but this is the right call.
8km remaining from 143km
This gap is holding for now. BMC is leading the chase but it's a 50-second difference. Majka, Boswell, Morton and Bennett are in a really great position right now.
The chase is a minute down on the quartet out front now. It's an uphill road to the line but the escapees should contest the win amongst themselves in San Jose.
1km remaining from 143km
One kilometre to go!
Majka is leading the quartet up this climb to the finish line.
Boswell makes a dig but Majka immediately closes it and Boswell seems content to pump the brakes for now.
There goes Morton! He's made a big acceleration.
Bennett counters with Majka just behind. This is quite a climb.
Bennett and Majka have a small gap over Boswell and Morton.
They're rounding the final bend!
Majka takes the win!
Majka takes the stage ahead of Bennett with Morton and Boswell a little bit behind. Gesink leads the chasers over the line for fifth.
1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
2 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky
4 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
Majka's stage-winning performance has earned him the race lead in the Amgen Tour of California. He sits atop the overall leaderboard with a two-second advantage over Bennett. Boswell is now in third, 14 seconds back.
Stage 2 results
1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:43:46
2 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 0:00:07
4 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:37
6 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
General classification after stage 2
1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 7:29:14
2 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:02
3 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 0:00:14
4 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:16
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:48
6 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
9 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
10 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
That's all for our live coverage of stage 2! Stay tuned at Cyclingnews.com for reactions from today's stage and an update on the status of two-time stage winner Toms Skujins, who abandoned the race after a hard fall.
Racing in California continues Tuesday with a 192km stage 3 from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay.
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