It was another day for the sprinters and no shortage of virtual fireworks for the 10th anniversary Amgen Tour of California as Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish (GBR) blasted over the finish line to his second stage win in the first two days of racing.
At the Nevada City start of Stage 2, presented by Breakaway from Cancer®, BMC Racing Team’s Daniel Oss (ITA) and Trek Factory Racing’s Markel Irizar Aranburu (ESP) escaped and were followed in short order by Cuba’s Luis Romero Amaran of Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home and Robin Carpenter (USA) of Hincapie Racing Team.
The breakaway held off the peloton for most of the 120.4-mile stage, with the gap hovering around 5 minutes midway through the race. Reminiscent of yesterday’s ride, Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team set the pace in the peloton on the downhill jaunt into first-time host city Lodi. They cranked it up inside the 20-mile mark, angling to catch the break and send their sprinter Cavendish (GBR) to his second stage win of the race.
Amaran was the first to succumb, with the others falling back into the fold on the second of the two 2.2-mile circuits lined with thousands of fans in downtown Lodi. A crash while preparing to round a corner on the first circuit took out several riders in the middle of the pack, including race veteran Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home, who has competed in all 10 Amgen Tour of California editions and was making his final race appearance. Unfortunately, the resident of nearby Watsonville, CA, Jacques-Maynes suffered a separated shoulder, the loss of a couple of teeth and minor cuts to his face and was unable to finish the race.
Photos © Darrell Parks
During the final circuit, Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team, Tinkoff-Saxo and Drapac Professional Cycling all formed lead-out trains, ready to propel their sprinters in the final meters. In a frenzied sprint, which saw Cavendish momentarily boxed in, Drapac’s Wouter Wippert (NED) had the lead going into the home stretch. In an explosive maneuver, Cavendish whipped by him on one side with Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan (SVK) on the other as they lunged together over the line for a photo finish. Cavendish, with 146 career wins to his credit, took the stage by centimeters, making him the second all-time Amgen Tour of California stage winner (7), behind Sagan (11) who has two second place finishes in this year’s race.
“To be fair, on the line, I didn’t even know if I’d got it,” said Cavendish. “I’m happy I could win after the hard work of Etixx – Quick-Step today.”
Cavendish leads the general classification, with Sagan trailing by :8 and Carpenter and yesterday’s breakaway leader William Clarke (AUS) of Drapac Professional Cycling at :11.
Southern California resident Carpenter took maximum points at all three Sprint lines on the course and was the first to crest the only categorized climb of the race on Highway 49, which earned the 22-year-old the Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey and the SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey today.
STAGE 2 PODIUM
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
2. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Wouter Wippert (NED), Drapac Professional Cycling
STAGE 2 JERSEY WINNERS
Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Visit California Sprint Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey: Robin Carpenter (USA), Hincapie Racing Team
Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Markel Irizar Aranburu (ESP), Trek Factory Racing
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Robin Carpenter (USA), Hincapie Racing Team
Top Photo – Etixx – Quick-Step/Tim De Waele