Amgen Tour of California 2014

Amgen Tour of California 2014
Photo by Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Stage 1: Sacramento

Mark Cavendish wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 1
Mark Cavendish wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 1 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) won a photo finish sprint in the Sacramento with John Degenkolb (Team Giant Shimano) coming in second and Moreno Hofland (Belkin Pro Cycling) crossing third.

Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma Quickstep
Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma-Quickstep Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“To be fair, I won Milano – Sanremo by 10 centimeters before. I’ve lost a sprint in the Giro d’Italia by three centimeters. Both of those, I knew the outcome.

This is the first time in my career I really had no idea. I had to wait a little bit until they confirmed. So, I’m super happy. It was hard, that line was coming up too fast, and John was strong today.

But my Omega Pharma – Quick-Step teammates did a perfect job to keep me up there. There were a lot of trains vying for position. We knew it was going to be windy, but to be honest the wind changed direction on the way back.

We thought it was going to be a crosswind in the last 20 miles on the main road on the way to Sacramento. We sensed the move that split the group. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step is a Belgian team. We felt the crosswinds, knew the split was going to happen, and we just went straight to the front. It split and we were there. We were well represented with four guys. But then we turned right and it was a headwind.

That’s when we thought it was going to be a crosswind. If you’ve got a small group, that much distance, and a headwind, you’re never going to stay away. We sat up and didn’t deplete our energy any further. I could feel the work we did earlier in my sprint and I could see it in the guys setting up for the sprint. But they still kept me up there and led me out perfectly. We gave a good show for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and we got the best result from our effort. I’m really proud of what we did today.”
– Mark Cavendish

The stage 1 win placed the yellow jersey on the shoulders of Cavendish, who also sits at the top of the Sprint classification.  Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies ) won the KOM jersey and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Bissell) took the Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 2: Folsom Individual Time Trial

Bradley Wiggins wins Stage 2 ITT at Amgen Tour of California 2014
Bradley Wiggins wins Stage 2 ITT at Amgen Tour of California 2014 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) handily won the stage 2 ITT at Folsom and moved into the yellow jersey with a 44 second lead in the overall.  Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) is now in second and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is 52 seconds back in third.

Bradley Wiggins takes over lead at ATOC 2014
Bradley Wiggins takes over lead at ATOC 2014 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“It’s really nice. You never know what to expect. To come here and receive the reception we’ve received is great so far. It just goes to show that post-Armstrong era, cycling is still as popular as ever.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 2 jerseys
Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 2 jerseys Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“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. I’m in a really good place. I’m probably a bit ahead of where I was in 2012 with the Tour de France. I’ve worked hard for this – I’ve said openly all year this has been my goal.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Stage 3: San Jose to Mount Diablo State Park

Rohan Dennis on his way to an ATOC 2014 Stage 3 win
Rohan Dennis on his way to an ATOC 2014 Stage 3 win Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) won the queen stage on Mount Diablo ahead of Tiago Machado (Trek Factory Racing) and Lawson Craddock (Team Giant Shimano).

Rohan Dennis wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 3
Rohan Dennis wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 3 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“Both Janier [Acevedo] and Tommy [Danielson], they were itching. You could say they’re pure climbers. They wanted to make it more exciting. For myself, it was a bit of a rough patch for a period. I was pretty happy with the tempo. When Janier asked to attack again, just after 2K to go, it worked out perfect.”
– Rohan Dennis 

Bradley Wiggins fights for every second at the end of stage 3 on Mt Diablo
Bradley Wiggins fights for every second at the end of stage 3 on Mt Diablo Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) saw his overall lead cut to 24 seconds.

“The boys did a good job in this heat. I was alone about the last 8 kilometers I think. We did this climb a little over a week ago. I knew how it kicked up the last 300 meters. It was a tough climb. Every day is a tough day when you’re in yellow.”
– Sir Bradley Wiggins

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) remains in the green Sprint jersey and Will Routley (Optum By Kelly Benefit Strategies) once again picked up the KOM jersey.

Stage 4: Monterey to Cambria

Will-Routley
Will Routley wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 4 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A stage four six-man breakaway rode all the way to the finish line with Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) grabbing the win, leaving Cavendish and Sagan empty-handed in Cambria. Gregory Daniel (Bissell) was second and Kevin De Masmaeker (Team Novo Nordisk) was third.

Will Routley, Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 4
Will Routley, Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 4 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“Coming out of the last KOM I was still thinking just ride within myself as I have more KOMs to go for later in the week. Then it was 30k to go and we started to really move.

And I realized the gap was coming down pretty slow. And then at 25k point to go I started thinking this is really going to make it and we need to really dig in.”
– Will Routley

Jonathan Clarke, United Healthcare
Jonathan Clarke, United Healthcare Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“In between the two KOMs when it came down to 230 and then we didn’t ride any harder and it went up to 330. I don’t know whether Omega and Giant or any others were arguing back in the peloton, which can happen, and then when we got out of the KOM and got the tailwind, I thought, we have to give it full gas.

I mean that’s the beauty of it. The director told us this morning, for sure Omega’s going to bring it back for a bunch sprint, but you just never know so you got to take your opportunities and go for them.”
– Jonathan Clarke, member of the six man breakaway

Routley, who already held the KOM jersey, also picked up the Sprint jersey, which was previously worn by Cavendish.

Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 4
Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 4 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) held onto the yellow jersey, increasing his lead to 28 seconds over Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp).

“It worked out to be a pretty good day because the nearest guy in the breakaway was about 14 minutes. We had a pretty easy day. We assisted with the chase out of respect for the jersey. With that tailwind running it was going to be difficult closing 3 minutes with 25k to go, we saw the speeds were quite high in the running.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Stage 5: Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

Taylor Phinney wins Stage 5 Amgen Tour of California 2014
Taylor Phinney wins Stage 5 Amgen Tour of California 2014 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) made his move on San Marcos Pass and roared into Santa Barbara for a solo stage 5 victory.

“I wasn’t planning attacking at the top. If anything I was going to attack with 4 to 5k to go. The way the group was, and the way Cannondale was isolated – Sagan was isolated, [John] Degenkolb [Team Giant-Shimano (NED)] was dropped, Cav [Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team (BEL)] was dropped and I went on instinct and went for it.

There is only one time in cycling when I have an advantage and that’s going downhill. I weigh a lot more than everyone else. I was able to tuck and pull away and accelerate up to speed and then tuck and keep pulling away. When I got to the bottom, I had a sizeable gap. I wasn’t convinced it was a very smart move until I got closer to the finish and the gap stayed pretty constant and just never looked back.

I committed to it. I knew we had Greg [Van Avermaet] back at the group so I figured if it wasn’t going to be for me it was going to be for Greg if I got caught. I think that’s a really special way to win. The way I happened to do today.
You know sometimes the stars start to align and you’re able to do cool things like that. I did it last year in Poland. It’s sort of my style. It’s really, really painful. I suffer a lot but it’s worth it.”
– Taylor Phinney

Unable to catch Phinney, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) had to settle for second place and Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEDGE) for third, both 12 seconds back in the field.

Peter Sagan & Matthew Goss, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5
Peter Sagan & Matthew Goss, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) comfortably retained the overall lead and the yellow jersey, remaining 28 seconds ahead of Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) in the general classification.

Sir Bradley Wiggins, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5
Sir Bradley Wiggins, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“It was the hottest I’ve ever raced a bike. It was 42o Celsius at one point. It was like being in an oven. Everyone felt it today. It was a tough one. Fortunately the speeds were quite high so we weren’t out there for that long; about 3 hours 40 minutes. That was probably the hottest day I’ve experienced on my bike.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Peter Sagan, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5
Peter Sagan, Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 5 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sagan was rewarded for his efforts for the day by claiming the green Sprint jersey. William Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) retained the KOM jersey, Phinney received the Most Courageous jersey and Lawson Craddock (Team Giant Shimano) remains in the Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 6: Santa Clarita to Mountain High

Esteban Chaves wins ATOC 2014 Stage 6
Esteban Chaves wins ATOC 2014 Stage 6 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Estaban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE) soloed to a mountain top victory on Mountain High at the Amgen Tour of California. David De La Cruz (Team NetApp Endura) was second and Tommy Danielson (Garmin Sharp) was third.

The trio had been a part of the day’s breakaway and managed to hold on to the stage 6 finish.

“I felt good today. The last 4k, I was afraid the guys would catch me, but I felt good and knew the last 3k were steep. But I tried and got the victory.”
– Estaben Chaves

Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 6, Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis
Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 6, Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) increased in his grasp on the yellow jersey by increasing his overall lead over Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) to 30 seconds.

“Today was the one, really. You don’t necessarily feel it, but you know that’s going to be the one. The job isn’t done but we’re 90 percent there, so we’ve got to get through the next two days and not let our heads down too much.”
– Bradley Wiggins

No jersey changes for Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who remains in the green sprint leader’s jersey, Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in the KOM jersey and Lawson Craddock (Team Giant Shimano) in the Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena

Peter Sagan wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 7
Peter Sagan wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 7 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) powered through the streets of Pasadena to win the bunch sprint for the stage 7 victory. Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) was second and Danny Van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) was third.

“Today, I am very happy for this victory. It was big work of my team, all the team, because they were all pulling from the start to the finish. It was a very big stage for us. I am very happy for a victory because I’m a finish man and today we did very, very good work.”
– Peter Sagan

“I came into this race with some ambitions and goals. But with the heat, I was suffering a lot. It is difficult when it is that hot on the bike. But I knew I had done the work, so it would eventually turn out. Obviously it is a nice result to get second.”
– Thor Hushovd

Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 7, Rohan Dennis, Bradley Wiggins
Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 7, Rohan Dennis, Bradley Wiggins Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) heads into the final stage with the yellow jersey firmly on his shoulders with a 30 second lead over Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) in the overall.

“Wherever you ride in the yellow you get a little bit more respect. People tend to get out of your way or let you sit there. That’s a little quirk of the job. Especially on the running today; when you’re up there fifth, sixth wheel, people tend to move up and they’ll sit behind you; they won’t sit in front of you. So that’s quite a good thing. It definitely allows you more freedom in the peloton.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) remains in the green sprint jersey, Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) is a the top of the KOM classification and Lawson Craddock (Team Giant Shimano) stays in the Best Young Rider jersey.

Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 7 start in Santa Clarita
Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 7 start in Santa Clarita Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 8: Thousand Oaks circuit

Mark Cavendish wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 8
Mark Cavendish wins Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 8 Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the stage 8 sprint finish in Thousand Oaks inches ahead of John Degenkolb (Team Giant Shimano). Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was third.

“To be fair I wasn’t anticipating a sprint today. I wasn’t going to start today, let alone finish. But then I just thought I’d start. I’d maybe get dropped the first time, maybe do another lap for training, and then that would be it. I had a small breakfast and we started.

A few guys suffered the first lap, but the second lap I actually punctured on my own at the bottom of the climb. So I had my wheel changed by neutral service and rode the second climb alone. But, I had good power. I was passing a lot of guys.

Then over the top I could see the group and I was chasing the group. Then I got back on, on the descent. I thought if I could do that, then I’ve got a shot of getting over on the last lap as well. So, I just thought I would try and hang in there on the last lap.

I got dropped a bit, but I had Mark Renshaw and a few strong guys from other teams with me. The guys who were with me wanted to get back on. So, we went full gas on the descent and we almost got back. Then my teammates Niki Terpstra and Carlos Verona, who were in the breakaway, came back. They chased for the team and we got back on.”
– Mark Cavendish

Danny Pate, Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis
Danny Pate, Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) won the overall Amgen Tour of California 2014. Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) finished the race in second place and Lawson Craddock (Team Giant Shimano) came in third.

Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 8 Rock Store Climb
Amgen Tour of California 2014 Stage 8 Rock Store Climb Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“I think it’s a huge relief that it’s over now, to be honest. I’ve led the race for nearly a week now. I think with that it come a lot of added pressure whenever you get back to the hotel late every night. It’s a lot more strenuous. And then, obviously, the guys have to take the strain as well.

No matter how strong you are individually, you’re nothing without a team behind you. They put themselves on the line and they really raised the game. Especially the young guys on the team. I’m very grateful to them.”
– Bradley Wiggins

Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the KOM jersey, Craddock took home the Best Young Rider jersey and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won the Sprint jersey.

“I’m very happy, and I’m happy that I finish and I take the green jersey. I congratulate Mark [Cavandish] today and my team did a very big part today. We wanted to come out on front. I’m happy for one stage win and for another green jersey. I have five now.”
– Peter Sagan

“I’m definitely lucky to be able to win five of eight of the jerseys. I’m happy to win one and wear it all week is a great experience as well. The big goal in the back of my mind was to win a stage. Being able to achieve both goals is fantastic.”
– Will Routley

“I had a great team that had a lot of faith in me. It’s not every day you get to pop champagne with a knight [Bradley Wiggins].”
– Lawson Craddock

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