Climbing Begins with Tomorrow’s 133-mile Trek from Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe
The Amgen Tour of California kicked off with BORA-hansgrohe’s three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK) claiming his 17th California stage win by a wheel over USA Cycling National Team’s Travis McCabe (Tucson, Ariz.). Continuing to grow his Amgen Tour of California stage win record, Sagan also took the early lead in the Sprint competition.
The final meters of the race’s 10th visit to Sacramento were neck and neck with Sagan and McCabe, who is celebrating his 30th birthday today. Sagan placed second twice before on this finish behind Mark Cavendish in 2015 and 2016.
Third for the stage was Maximilian Walscheid (GER) of Team Sunweb, which set a blazing tempo around the Capitol Circuits to get him in prime position for the final sprint.
“We will see here day by day how it’s going….,” said Sagan. “I had stopped [winning] for one year, last year I didn’t win, but I am very happy that I could catch another one. If I can continue like this, it’s gonna be nice to hold some record here in the [Amgen] Tour of California.”
Stage 1 presented by Amgen was an 88.9-mile ride beginning and ending in the shadow of the State Capitol Building, with a three-circuit finish.
“I felt great, I thought I was closing in on him [Sagan]; I had to come from four or five wheels back … I can’t be more happy with second place; losing to a World Champion is not a bad thing,” said McCabe.
An early breakaway of four dwindled to two following the intermediate Sprint in Winters, including 21-year-old Tyler Stites (Tucson, Ariz.), who is making his Amgen Tour of California debut with the USA Cycling National Team after finishing third on the final stage and fifth overall at the recent Tour of the Gila. Stites will wear the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey tomorrow. The last rider standing before being reabsorbed by the peloton as it returned to the city center was Charles Planet (FRA) of Team Novo Nordisk, a team of athletes with diabetes, earning him the day’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
The peloton of 19 teams (132 riders) representing 33 countries includes three World Champions, Olympians, Tour de France stage winners and six current National Road Race Champions from around the world. Throughout the week, cyclists will contest 773 miles of California’s most scenic highways, mountain roads and coastlines, visiting 13 cities throughout the state for stage starts and finishes, concluding in Pasadena on May 18.
Tomorrow’s Stage 2 presented by Visit California begins in the first-time race Host City of Rancho Cordova, with the cyclists then journeying 133.3 miles and climbing 14,500 feet to the finish at the slopes of South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort.
Fans can stay up to date on the race via daily live airings on NBC Sports Network <https://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/watchattend/tv-coverage> with the May 18 conclusion live on NBC, and via the free Amgen Tour of California App.
The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM UCI WorldTour race showcasing the world’s best women cyclists will run concurrently for the final three days of the men’s event, beginning in Ventura May 16-18.
Photos Darrell Parks / darrellparks.com
Sprint Photo – Getty Images