A new race leader emerged following Stage 2 of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California, with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins (GBR) crushing the individual time trial event to capture the stage win with a margin of 44 seconds, as well as the Amgen Race Leader Jersey.
Presented by Michelob Ultra, Stage 2 held in the first-time host city of Folsom presented the cyclists with a fast and flat 12.5-mile, 8-corner time trial course that was made for speed. Team Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis (AUS), who finished third in last year’s Amgen Tour of California time trial, posted the time to beat early on, which held until Wiggins took the platform. The 2012 Tour de France champion, who won Olympic gold in the time trial the same year, turned in a spectacularly fast performance and became the only rider of the day to complete the course in less than 24 minutes for a final time of 23:18. Wiggins averaged a speed of 32 mph, a full mile per hour faster than the second-place Australian rider, who finished the day 44 seconds behind Wiggins.
“You have a plan in your head as to how you imagine you’re going to come out at the end of today, and so far it’s probably a bit better than I imagined,” said Wiggins in the NBC Sports Network telecast. “I think it’s going to be a tough week now. I think tomorrow the race can really start. As big as the gaps may be now, everyone is in with a chance.”
Photos © Darrell Parks
Wiggins is the second British rider to wear yellow this year, with the coveted leader jersey changing hands from Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish, who dropped to 18th place overall after today but retained the Visit California Sprint Leader Jersey. BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney (USA), an early favorite for today’s stage and tenth overall after yesterday, settled for a strong third place finish (+:52).
“I thought it would be a bit closer but when [Wiggins is] flying, he’s really flying, and he showed that today; kind of in a class of his own. I think I could have had a better result but I gave it everything I had, and that’s really what it’s all about, so I guess I have to be satisfied,” said Phinney (Boulder, Colo.).
Other jerseys awarded today include the Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey to Team Giant-Shimano’s Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas), while the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey remains with Team Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet (FRA) and the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey remains with Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Will Routley (CAN).
Women’s Time Trial
Prior to the start of the men’s race, 20 of the best women time trialists in the world competed on the same course. The invitation-only group included three riders representing the teams with podium finishes in yesterday’s Sacramento women’s circuit race.
After a strong performance at yesterday’s circuit race and narrowly missing a podium finish herself, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Alison Powers (USA) clinched her first Amgen Tour of California time trial victory today, setting the pace during her entire ride for a final time of 27:20.65. Powers, who holds National Championship time trial and criterium titles, placed second in the past two Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial races. Yesterday’s circuit race third-place finisher, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Brianna Walle (USA), had another strong performance today to take second place (+:21) behind Powers. Tayler Wiles (USA) of Team Specialized-lululemon finished in third place (+:25), just ahead of her teammate and last year’s time trial champion Evelyn Stevens (USA), who took fourth place (+:26).
“Long fast downhills and short uphills. I like that,” said Alison Powers UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. “I’m a little bigger and can carry some speed.”
Above Photo – Allison Powers rode the fastest time in the Women’s Time Trial.
Photo – Copyright Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com