German speedster Marcel Kittel of Quick – Step Floors collected his first career Amgen Tour of California stage victory and the Visit California Sprint Jersey as the weeklong, 583-mile stage race began today in Sacramento, Calif. World Road Race Champion Peter Sagan (SVK) of BORA-hansgrohe, known as the “King of California” for his race record 15 stage wins, crossed the line in second today with Team Sky’s Elia Viviani (ITA) rounding out the podium in third.
“It’s a nice start to the [Amgen] Tour of California. Some teams tried to go for the crosswinds but the wind was not strong enough. I’m very happy with how my team handled the sprint,” said Kittel. “It gives us confidence for the races to come. We got rid of a lot of pressure today, and we can look forward to the rest of the race and go relaxed in the next days.”
Photos © Darrell Parks
A breakaway of four rode out in front of the peloton for much of the 103.8-mile stage, including Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis’ Ben Wolfe (Greenville, SC), who took a turn at a solo lead and earned the Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
Tomorrow’s Stage 2 presented by Visit California will stretch 89.5 miles from Modesto to 11-time Host City San Jose. With six King of the Mountain climbs including the categorized climb up and over Mt. Hamilton, it will be clear after this stage which riders will be in contention for the overall win. The 583-mile race concludes in Pasadena May 20.
Stage 1 Podium
1. Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) – BORA-hansgrohe (GER)
3. Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky (GBR)
Stage 1 Jersey Winners
Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Ben Wolfe (USA) – Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
Visit California Sprint Jersey – Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey – Floris Gerts (NED), BMC Racing Team (USA)
Earlier in the day, the four-stage Amgen Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Women’s Race empowered with SRAM concluded with Boels-Dolmans’ 2016 Olympic Games road race gold medalist Anna van der Breggen (NED) taking the overall win. Van der Breggen rode into the final race day one second behind UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Katie Hall (Saratoga, Calif.) and earned valuable Sprint points during today’s Sacramento circuit race to take the overall race victory by one second. Today’s result also keeps Van der Breggen at the top of the UCI world rankings.
“For me it was not a nice day, I mean I’m not a sprinter and I had to sprint for those seconds. And it was scary…of course the UnitedHealthcare team was really up for me not taking meter seconds and they tried hard to avoid it, so I’m really happy my team was with me and they gave me the confidence that I could sprint for seconds, and I got the seconds,” said Van der Breggen. “It was a really tough victory – we really fought for it. I needed my team so badly here this day … this is really one [a victory] from the team, and that makes this victory really special.”
There were two important chances today for riders to earn time bonuses – the first three across the line at the intermediate Sprint during the 15th of 20 laps around the California Capitol Building, where Van der Breggen picked up time, as well as at the finish line.
24-year old Cuban cyclist Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women’s Team) placed third for the race overall after claiming a podium spot and the Visit California Sprint Jersey yesterday. Sierra will go home with the prestigious green jersey as well as the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey.
For today’s stage, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s sprinter Giorgia Bronzini (ITA) barreled over the finish line first today to close out the 2017 race after placing third in yesterday’s stage. Team Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.), who claimed the Stage 3 win in Sacramento yesterday, took second today (6th overall). Cylance Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild (NED) rounded out the stage podium in third place.
“It’s really important because America is the biggest crowd ever, and I’m really proud to be here,” said Bronzini of her stage win. “I was a bit more confident today…I eventually found the left side which was also covered by the wind, and that gave me the right moment to go over. The sprint is just when you think it’s too late so you need to go by instinct, and instinct gave me a reason today.”
At the conclusion of the 4-day, 256.6-mile race, Hall’s United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team took top team honors for their spirited ride supporting her on the podium this week.
Presented by Amgen, Stage 4 included 20 blazing fast circuit laps around the State Capitol Building. Today’s Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Most Courageous Rider Jersey went to United Healthcare Pro Cycling’s Rushlee Buchanan (NZL), who led the field in the final three laps to protect teammate, Hall who will take home the Lexus Queen of the Mountain Jersey.