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Tour of California 2018: Stage 7

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Good morning and welcome to the finale stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California, a 143km race in Sacramento.

Tour of California - Preview

We are back in Sacramento for finale stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.

Lots of fans are out to watch the final stage around the state Capitol, which finishes at the Capitol Park.

The riders are off! Not officially, though, as they need to complete a short neutral section.

Stage 7 is a flat route that finishes with circuits around the Capitol complex in downtown Sacramento. The men will race 143km, with one larger loop in the downtown area and three shorter finishing circuits on the outskirts of Capitol Park.

We also have the finale stage 3 of the Amgen Women's Race in Sacramento today.

The women's stage 3 will tackle 20 laps of a six-corner, 3.5km loop, for a total of 70km.

The men are just 2km into their race and attacks are flying.

Here are the overall classification standings after the mountainous stage 6 yesterday.

We don't expect any changes to the overall GC, as Egan Bernal (Team Sky) has a healthy lead.

The all-star cast of sprinters in the field here in California include world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott).

In the previous two sprints; stage 1 in Long Beach and stage 5 in Elk Grove, the podiums were identical with Gaviria taking the wins ahead of Ewan and Sagan. 

There have been several small breaks off of the front of the field but Katusha-Alpecin is trying to hold the field together.

As they races alongside the Sacramento River, there has been a successful split of four riders that have cleared the field.

The gap is 50 seconds

The breakaway includes Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo), Adam De Vos (Rally), Mikkel Bjerg (Hagens Berman Axeon), Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare).

Mitchelton-Scott on the front, followed by Quick-Step and Katusha

Gap has stretched out to 55 seconds

129km remaining from 143km

The peloton is racing alongside local farmlands, that are currently being sprayed.

The team cars are passing the peloton and moving into the gap, to service their breakaway riders.

If you missed today's stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia, you can catch up on the details here.

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

Back to the Tour of California, they are racing on some very exposed road now, although the wind seems to have died down a bit.

120km remaining from 143km

Breakaway rider De Vos has had a great season so far. He wore the leader's jersey for two das at the Tour de Langkawi, and was involved in the stage 2 breakaway as well.

113km remaining from 143km

Correction!

Amgen Women's Race

Last year, Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) lost the race by a mere one second to Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolman), after the Dutchwoman collected an intermediate sprint time bonus in Sacramento.

The men's peloton is leaving the residential area and going back into agricultural tracts, but there are quite a few people lining the streets to watch the race.

107km remaining from 143km

Amgen Women's Race - The women have officially started and the field is all together led by Hagens Berman Supermint.

Along with Rally's De Vos, Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) has also had a strong start to the season, securing second overall at the Tour of Taiwan after leading the race for two days.

Apparently Hagens Berman Axeon's Ian Harrison is from Woodland, which we passed through today.

This stage is so flat and exposed, but the wind doesn't seem to be causing any problems.

102km remaining from 143km

Powless was marked as one to watch for the overall classification this week.

So far, we've passed massive crop fields, poppy fields, corn fields, wheat fields... 

Katusha-Alpecin is leading the peloton in the chase. They have help from Bora-Hansgrohe's Juraj Sagan and one Mitchelton-Scott rider.

93km remaining from 143km

And now we get to the sunflower fields! Only it's too soon for them to flower.

Amgen Women's Race - There have been several attempts at breakaways from Sunweb and USA Cycling National Team, but the field is all together with 14 laps to go.

Back in the men's race, the breakaway has lost a few seconds, as the gap dropped to two minutes with 55km to go.

86km remaining from 143km

Bjerg is a strong time triallist, and a good worker in a breakaway. He was sixth in the time trial in San Jose, but has a history of top performances.

The breakaway has reached Winters, where the intermediate sprint is located.

81km remaining from 143km

Intermediate sprint results -

77km remaining from 143km

Amgen Women's Race - The field is together with a line of UnitedHealthcare riders setting a quick pace. They are seeing 10 laps to go.

73km remaining from 143km

72km remaining from 143km

Amgen Women's Race - 9 laps to go

The men's race has passed through the feedzone and some riders have taken on food and drink. Although it is a short stage at 143km, the route is exposed to the sun and wind.

Team Sky have surrounded their overall leader Egan Bernal. The British team is lined up behind the main sprint teams; Katusha-Alpecin, Mitchelton-Scott.

BMC Racing is also nearby with Tejay van Garderen, winner of the San Jose time trial and second overall. 

Amgen Women's Race - 5 laps to go

The sprint teams seem happy to let this move hold onto a one minute lead. They won't want to bring this move back completely, yet, to avoid further attacks.

Team Sky are dominant at the front of the peloton, keeping overall leader Egan Bernal safe, along with some riders from Mitchelton-Scott.

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

Amgen Women's Race - 3 laps to go

Mark Cavendish is sitting comfortably in the field with his Dimension Data teammates. He is a 10-time stage winner at the Tour of California, and won the bunch sprint in Sacramento four times.

Amgen Women's Race - 1 lap to go

Amgen Women's Race

Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) wins the overall title at the Amgen Women's Race.

37km remaining from 143km

The peloton is racing alongside the Sacramento River, as they head back toward the downtown area.

European Champion, Alexander Kristoff, is also sitting in the field looking quite comfortable. So is world champion Peter Sagan, no doubt considering the final sprint.

33km remaining from 143km

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) jumped out of the main field, in an attack ahead of the next intermediate sprint.

Naesen is back in the field, but the move has caused the field to get nervous.

30km remaining from 143km

Amgen Women's Race - top 10

The main field, led by one rider each from Quick-Step, Katusha and Mitchelton-Scott, are racing along a wide-open highway that heads back into Sacramento.

Downtown Sacramento is looming off in the distance. For now, the field is riding along, at moderate speeds, and the sprinter teams have not yet started their surge forward.

19km remaining from 143km

Several riders have needed service for mechanicals in the last 20km, among them were Kristoff and Van Garderen. But they are all safely back in the bunch.

The peloton is making a left turn and they are now on the downtown city boulevard in Sacramento. 

The four leaders are still fighting to stay ahead of the field, as they are not quite at the circuits yet.

The are 5km away from the start of the circuits.

They are crossing over Tower Bridge

There is a time bonus available at the intermediate sprint.

One rider is trying to jump ahead of the peloton.

Powless attacks the breakaway and is quickly followed by his rivals.

Powless is still dragging the breakaway as they start the circuits, they are passing under the 1km to go banner, before they reach the circuits.

 De Vos sprints for the intermediate bonus

Team Sky are in control of the main field, with overall leader Egan Bernal sitting in, and probably hoping for these circuits to finish as quickly as possible.

Mitchelton-Scott has taken over from Team Sky, and that will signal the start of the lead-out trains for the final sprint.

7km remaining from 143km

Mitchelton-Scott are being rivalled by Katusha-Alpecin as they round the left corner on the circuits.

Clarke looks over his shoulder and sees the peloton charging down the straightaway behind him.

Dimension Data has now moved forward with Mark Cavendish.

Powless isn't giving up and he has attacked the breakaway again.

The L-shaped circuit has eight corners on wide, open city boulevards, covered by mature trees as it wraps around Capitol Park.

4km remaining from 143km

The peloton is hearing the bell, signalling one lap to go, and the field is all together.

Mitchelton-Scott is trying to hold their position at the front, with Caleb Ewan on their wheels.

Katusha appears to have a firm hold on the front of the field.

Katusha still have three riders on the front, as one just peeled off. Marcel Kittel is in a good position to win this stage.

They pass under the 1km to go banner. Katusha still have three riders up front.

Three Quick-Step riders launch off the front, with Gaviria.

Peter Sagan is on the left.

Max Walschied who pushes his way through the centre. And it's a photo-finish!

Walschied looked like he had the faster sprint but Gaviria threw his bike at the line and took the stage win for Quick-Step Floors.

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 7 at the Tour of California

Max Walscheid (Sunweb) was second, Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) was third and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hasgrohe) was fourth.

Gaviria will leave the Tour of California with three stage wins; stage 1 in Long Beach, stage 5 in Elk Grove and stage 7 in Sacramento.

Egan Bernal (Team Sky) wins the 2018 Tour of California

Tour of California stage 7 - Brief results

Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) is being awarded the final golden jersey as the winner of the Amgen Women's Race.

Thank you for following along with our live coverage of the 2018 Tour of California.

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