The 2016 Amgen Tour of California began in San Diego, California Sunday, May 15 and wrapped up nearly 800 miles later in Sacramento on Sunday, May 22. Along the route from south to north, the riders climbed mountains, traveled the beautiful Hwy 1 along the California coastline and visited majestic Lake Tahoe.
In the end, a 23-year-old Frenchman, Julian Alaphilippe, took home the yellow jersey, something he’d had in his possession since winning the third stage of the race and taking over the race lead in Santa Barbara County.
A couple of days before the race began, a select group of riders met with the press at the San Diego Yacht Club. A beautiful setting, the San Diego Yacht Club dates back to 1886, when local boating enthusiasts formed the club, which has been located at its current location in Point Loma since 1924.
Pre-race press conferences typically include race official speeches, sponsor promotions, local celebrity cyclists and, of course, a handful of the cyclists riding the race.
It was an all-star lineup of cyclists including 2012 Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Alexander Kristoff, Julian Alaphilippe, Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb, and Taylor Phinney. Chatting under the California sun, the riders answered questions and bantered amongst themselves in the relaxed southern California atmosphere.
A day off followed the press conference, then it was time for the race to begin its journey toward the north.
San Diego stage 1 circuit
The 108 mile Stage 1 began at Mission Bay, traveled through Balboa Park and various San Diego neighborhoods, moved to the nearby hills east of the city, then returned to a finish a couple of miles from the start, near Sea World.
Seven riders quickly pulled off the front of the peloton, maintaining about a four minute lead on the peloton for the majority of the day. We spent the day in a media car in the peloton, near the breakaway group of riders.
As with most breakaways, it fell apart near the end, with 2015 Amgen Tour of California winner, Peter Sagan of Tinkoff taking the stage 1 win.
I’m very happy to be here again, to catch a first victory here, in the first stage. Thank you to all my teammates. Today was a good day. I came here the first time in 2010…it was a very nice race, very good organization, very nice hotels, food. Also, the level of the race is very good, and it’s also very good for preparation because it’s good weather. Now it’s the Giro and Tour of California. And I prefer to come here to train and prepare. And also I like California for the fans, and I’ve won a lot of stages here, and I’m very happy always to return here.”
– Peter Sagan
Stage 2: South Pasadena to Santa Clarita
Day two began in South Pasadena near Rose Bowl Stadium, the site of the finish of the 2015 race. Located only six miles from downtown Los Angeles, South Pasadena is a picturesque community in San Gabriel Valley known for its tree-lined streets and historic homes.
Leaving South Pasadena, the riders spent the day covering 92 miles that included visits to Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Canyon in Angeles National Forest, before ending in Santa Clarita, which has hosted the most stages in the history of the race.
Remember the above statement from stage one that most breakaways fall don’t make it to the finish? Yeah, well, sometimes they do.
Ben King (Cannondale) and Evan Huffman (Rally) survived the stage 2 breakaway with King taking the win in Santa Clarita. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took third along with the peloton 8 seconds later.
The win also placed King in the overall race lead, taking the yellow jersey from Peter Sagan heading into stage 3.
I knew Evan was a pretty quick sprinter. He smoked me in both of the King of the Mountain sprints, so I was hesitant to let it come down to a sprint, but I couldn’t drop him on the climb, so in the end we both fully committed to make the breakaway stick to the finish, and in the end, Evan let out the sprint, and I was able to come around him in the finish.”
– Ben King
South to Central California
Stage 3: Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County
Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) dominated on the Queen Stage of the Amgen Tour of California, taking the win on Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County and the overall race lead.
The goal at the start of the day was to be in a good position in the final kilometers and I was there thanks to the hard work of my teammates, who protected me throughout the day. I felt good, left it late to attack and from then on put in a strong effort. Now I’m in yellow, which is great, and I’m prepared to take things day by day.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx – Quick-Step
The race finished for the first time on the legendary Gibraltar Road, with the final 12 kilometers ascending at an average 8% grade.
At 10 kilometers to go, the day’s break had dissolved and the peloton began to fracture. Neilson Powless (Axeon Cycling) pulled away from the main group, riding solo for several kilometers, until he was joined by Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly).
With three kilometers remaining in the race, Stetina attacked. Alaphilippe quickly bridged to Stetina from the main group, then continued on, passing him enroute to the finish and the stage 3 win.
Stetina finished the day in second place, as well as in the overall race, and now sits 19 seconds back.
George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) was third for the day, which moved him into third place in the general classification, 31 seconds behind Alaphilippe.
I’m happy with my performance today. I didn’t know how my condition would be because I was sick in the spring classics. I want to thank the boys for their help today and the team for the possibility to train in Colorado to build up again.”
– George Bennett
Stage 4: Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) picked up another win at stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) was second and Nathan Haas (Dimension Data).
“I’m feeling pretty good after that stage. It would have better if we could have won a stage already but in the end it was a good day for us and I’m pretty happy with my form after coming back from my crash in Flanders. I think Brent and Rohan had a really good day in GC and everything went pretty well.
For me, on the uphill sections I tried to follow as if you know there is a good finish for you, you can always hang on longer. So, I tried to get over the climbs and the team did a really good job today keeping the pace pretty high. In the end, there was a little bit of gambling about how the finish would go. I’ve beaten [Peter] Sagan a few times already but this time he won so next time I will have to try and beat him again.”
– Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team
Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) retained the overall lead, now 22 seconds in front of Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and 37 seconds ahead of George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).
Stage 5: Lodi to Lake Tahoe
Toms Skujins (Cannondale) survived the breakaway to win stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California at Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe. Adam De Vos (Rally) was second and Xabier Zandio (Team Sky) was third.
To get into the break, you have to try at least a couple of times. I knew that the altitude was going to make people suffer, and I knew that even if it wasn’t the steepest hills that the race would be blown to bits. It was a good day for the breakaway. I was really happy I could get into the move, and of course, I was happy to take out the win.”
– Toms Skujins
No change in the top of General Classification, with Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) holding onto the overall race lead by 22 seconds over Peter Stetina (Trek Segfredo) heading into the stage 6 time trial in Folsom.
Stage 6: Folsom Individual Time Trial
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) won the stage 6 time trial in Folsom with a time of 24 minutes 16 seconds, but Julian Alaphilippe remains in yellow. Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) was second at the ITT and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) was third.
I was fairly confident as I crossed the line that I had set the quickest time for the rest of the race. I was in a fair bit of pain, the main thing I remember was that I had that taste of metallic in my mouth for the last four or five kilometers from the lactate so it was good to get a drink and wash that out.
The wind was definitely getting stronger and stronger throughout the day which actually played into our favor a little bit with Alaphilippe because he is a smaller rider and would have been blown around a little bit more. In the end it didn’t make too much of a difference with the stage win, that was my goal for the day as well as trying to take time out. So, it was still a good day, even if we didn’t get the yellow jersey.”
– Rohan Dennis
The ride moved Dennis into second place in the overall standings, now 16 seconds behind Alaphilippe with two stages remaining. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) is in third 38 seconds back.
Of course I’m really happy, and a small surprise for me to stay in yellow today, because the time trial is not really my specialty.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx – Quick-Step
Stage 7: Santa Rosa to Sacramento
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team) took the stage 7 victory in Santa Rosa, edging out Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky).
We had to chase hard and still in the end Peter Sagan was right there with me even though he had been out there by himself all that time. Unbelievable. I was happy to be able to hold him off. I think if he had saved some energy from earlier he would have beaten me. I had wanted to see how I felt after the climbs before I put my team to work, but once we came across the last one I could tell I was OK. I was tired, but I knew everyone else was also tired. The guys all did such a good job. It’s always good to finish it off with a win and it shows I am going the right way for the Tour de France.”
– Alexander Kristoff, Katusha Team
Julian Alaphlippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) held on to his overall lead, which should send him to the race win at stage 8 in Sacramento.
Reflecting on the 2016 race, Alaphilippe recognized the importance of his time trial performance in his overall success, while pointing to his stage 3 victory on Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara county as the highlight:
Victory is always something special. Yesterday was a good performance for me because I’m really not a specialist and I never train with my TT (time trial) bike….I know for only 20k’s (kilometers), I can do something good.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx – Quick-Step
Stage 8: Sacramento
Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) became the youngest winner of the Amgen Tour of California, winning the 2016 race in Sacramento at the age of 23.
It was stressful today, because everyone wanted to stay at the front and fought for a better position. Usually, I’m not nervous, but today things were different, as the victory was closer and closer. Thankfully, I had a powerful team around me, which was always in charge, and as soon as Tom Boonen hit the front with me safely tucked behind him, it was like being on a holiday. Now, we’ll celebrate the win, but once we will return home, I’ll be back on my bike, training and looking to further improve.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx – Quick-Step
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) picked up the final stage win of the race, edging out Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team) for the win in a sprint finish.
Its been a tough week, Nathan was third the other day, but we really wanted to get this stage win. It was a windy day, so we had to take on the race. The guys rode out of their skins, Jacques rode the whole day on the front, and then everyone was just really going for it. We had to use our whole lead-out to catch the break, so in the end it was a bit a case of free styling. I was on Sagan’s wheel and know this finish really well. I’ve won here before and knew that, if was in the right position I should win here.”
– Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
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The Amgen Tour of California 2015 began on Sunday, May 10th in Sacramento and ended nearly 700 miles later in Pasadena on Sunday, May 17.
The route included a mix of old and new locations, with first-time host city, Lodi, the ten-time host city, San Jose, and Sacramento, Nevada City, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Stage 1: Sacramento
Mark Cavendish (Etixx QuickStep) sprinted to a stage 1 victory at the Amgen Tour of California 2015 in Sacramento. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was second and Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing) was third.
I wasn’t really that calm to be honest because it was really chaotic out there. When Mark Renshaw is stressing a bit you know it’s really stressful. But I know with my teammates I don’t really have to think too much even with chaos, so it means I can focus on saving my energy for the sprint. In this situation, we maybe didn’t go exactly how we wanted to inside the last kilometer.
Mark Renshaw had to go a bit far from behind. But we knew when Sagan lost the wheel he was in the wind a bit. I knew he’d get in on my wheel and when I jumped I could get a gap. I didn’t go too early, I didn’t go too late. Mark set me up perfectly at about 200 meters to go and I’m super happy to win here in Sacramento. It also says a lot about Mark Renshaw because he went down hard in that crash. There was a massive pothole and when you’re in the middle of the peloton you don’t see it.
I was riding next to him and he just disappeared due to the fall. So I was a bit worried. But fortunately, he made it back and did a great job in the end, even if he’s a bit sore. As for tomorrow’s stage, I’d really like to see if we can go for another win with me in the yellow jersey. Then we will take it day-by-day in the next stages. We’ve got a strong team here structured around the sprints, and we’ll see what results we can get when the chances are there after this victory today.”
– Mark Cavendish, Ettix
It was a long day. The break went pretty early. Probably the biggest race our team will be doing this year. We have seven more stages to come and we’re looking forward to having riders win more stages.”
– Will Clarke, Drapac
I am very happy and very satisfied. The team had confidence in me and I gave them back with a result. I am maybe not the fastest sprinter, but I can still do some good placement and get some good results. So I will try to be up there again tomorrow.”
– Jempy Drucker, BMC Racing
Stage 2: Nevada City to Lodi
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) bested Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the line to pick up back to back wins at the Amgen Tour of California in Lodi. Wouter Wippert (Drapac) was third.
To be fair, on the line, I didn’t even know if I’d got it. I’m happy I could win after the hard work of Etixx – Quick-Step today.”
– Mark Cavendish, Etiss-QuickStep
Soon after leaving the start in Nevada City, a breakaway formed consisting of Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team), Markel Irizar Aranburu (Trek Factory Racing’s ), Luis Romero Amaran (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) and Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team). The four held off the main field until hitting the circuits in Lodi.
With the win, Cavendish kept the leader’s jersey and held on to the top position in the sprint classification, leading Sagan by 6 points. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team) leads the KOM and Best Young Rider classifications.
Stage 3: San Jose
Toms Skujins of the Hincapie Racing Team held on from the breakaway to solo to victory in San Jose and take the stage 3 victory.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was second, 1 minute six seconds back, and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) was third.
We came out and rode from Livermore to the finish; I kind of knew the most important parts of the route. I knew that after Mt. Hamilton it was a pretty technical decent.
I was mostly worried about that long drive from like 20 kilometers to go. Even in training I was like ‘What the hell is this? It keeps going and going.’ I knew it was going to be hard to chase and a small group would go over Mt. Hamilton and not a lot of teams would be able to chase. Thank God I won.”
– Toms Skujins, Hincapie Racing Team
This season is all about new experiences for me as a young rider, and this is my first time at Tour of California. This was also my first eight-day stage race with a mountain stage and a time trial still to come. I have to say I’m enjoying it a lot. So far we had great teamwork with Mark winning two stages, and defending Yellow.
It was important to learn how to work in support of him, sometimes using a lot of energy in front. I was also honored to be his second-to-last leadout man yesterday. We accomplished the goal of the win, and I was happy I contributed in the last kilometers. Today I thought might be a chance to maybe show myself if the condition was there.
Voila, my condition was good. I was able to stay in the front group with the best guys. In the end it was clear we couldn’t catch Skujins, so congratulations to him for a strong stage.
I still wanted to go for the podium on the uphill finish and I did it. Against a guy like Peter Sagan I can be satisfied with a 3rd place. Now I am in the White Jersey for Best Young Rider, and 4th in the GC. Tomorrow begins more chances for sprints with Mark. We’ll see what we can do. I’m learning more and more day-by-day, and if there can be an opportunity for me in the next days, why not, we will see what I can do to protect my overall position.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etiixx-Quick-Step
Stage 4: Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) powered through the streets of Avila Beach edging out Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) to claim the Amgen Tour of California 2015 stage 4 victory.
Thank you to all my teammates. I want to give this victory to Maciej Bodnar because he had a very bad crash yesterday and went home this morning. Today Ettix – Quick-Step [Pro Cycling Team] did the most work as well as the Hincapie [Racing] Team on the front. We tried with the crosswinds to break from the group.
For the finish we lost [Daniele] Bennati because he flat-tired the last 3 kilometers. Matti Breschel, Michael [Mørkøv] and Jay [McCarthy] did a very good job in the last 2 kilometers to bring me to the front. Mark Cavendish, was a little bit behind the last turn left – right – left and then I took position on the front.”
– Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
Toms Skujins (Hincapie Racing Team) remained in the overall lead, 22 seconds in front of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 43 seconds ahead of Team SmartStop’s Rob Britton.
Well, this morning I was pretty tired, but feeling better now. Just loosened up the legs in the race and it was pretty hard in the end, but the team kept me safe, so that was awesome. You never know what the other teams are planning, but we kept the tempo good.
The team rode amazing, riding up front, drilling it. I’m super happy and super grateful. They road their hearts out.”
– Toms Skujins, Hincapie Racing Team
I was very happy to be in the break today. It was the plan of the team to have a rider in the breakaway. It was hard with the wind and the bunch wasn’t giving us any gap. At least the team could hide in the bunch and save energy for the finish. Tyler got 5th on the stage so I am happy with my contribution.”
– Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
Stage 5: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) claimed his third win at Amgen Tour of California on a cold, rainy stage 5 that ended in Santa Clarita.
The thing is, when you’re going so fast there’s the wind chill as well. It’s one thing to be wet and to be cold when you’re wet, but with the wind coming on you’re freezing to the absolute bone. But it was good. All my teammates, thank you.
It was hard to catch them back in the final but my team really looked after me. It was also nice to see so many people out here despite the weather. As for the sprint, I had Mark Renshaw at the end, and as always he was cool and calm, but we had to dig deep. It was a bit hectic in the last kilometer and Mark Renshaw was cooked, so we couldn’t go as fast as we wanted in the end.
It was a headwind finish, and I knew I didn’t want to jump early. Waeytens went first and I timed it well enough to catch him before the line. I’m super happy to get the stage win for the team today.”
– Mark Cavendish, Etixx-QuickStep
Zico Waeytens (Team Giant Alpecin) was second and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was third.
Toms Skujins (Hincapie Racing Team) retained the overall lead, 18 seconds ahead of Sagan and 44 seconds in front of Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep).
The guys did amazing. With the help of Etixx – Quick-Step [Pro Cycling Team], we managed to not let the guys get too far ahead of us. We kept them pretty close, like 3:30 or something.
We know that after the last decent it could be tailwind or crosswind, so it would be a really fast finish. The good thing was that we had them at :02-something at that moment. So, it didn’t get too out of hand. It was pretty hectic in the final with the rain and stuff, but we managed to keep it and we were pretty happy.”
– Toms Skujins, Hincapie Racing Team
I’d like to thank my teammates for their hard work today, we pulled at the front during the whole day, at times with other teams. It was raining in some parts of the stage but the heaviest rainfall took place on the last 20km and the colder temperatures made it even tougher.
Overall, it was a good stage and I could, probably, have finished in a better position but we did our best and we are satisfied with the result. Tomorrow’s shorter time-trial suits me better and I will certainly try to take the yellow jersey.”
– Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
Stage 6: Six Flags Magic Mountain ITT
Due to the forecast of snow and low temperatures, the Amgen Tour of California organizers determined that race day conditions were not safe for riders, teams, partners, fans or staff participating or attending the Individual Time Trial events scheduled for Friday, May 15 at Big Bear Lake. Friday’s Men’s and Women’s Individual Time Trials was relocated to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) rode his way into the leader’s jersey at stage 6 time trial at the Amgen Tour of California. Jos Van Emden(Team Lotto NL-Jumbo) was second and Etixx-QuickStep’s Julian Alaphillipe placed third, which lifted him to second in the overall GC.
I was feeling in great shape today and this shorter race course helped me. This morning I was feeling confident and I believed I could make it. I was aiming at the yellow jersey without focusing on a stage victory but I got both. I tried, I gave my best and I’m happy with the result. My sports director Patxi Vila was following me in the team car and as he was giving me my intermediate times, I saw I was getting faster, which made me confident in the fact that I would have a big advantage.
Over the winter, I spent more time on my time-trial position and carried out tests in the Specialized wind tunnel as well as on race tracks in Europe after Paris-Roubaix. That had, undoubtedly, a positive impact on my time-trial performance. If Maciej Bodnar had been here, I am sure he would have won and we could have had two Tinkoff-Saxo riders on the podium.”
– Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
With the change of the time trial course to a shorter distance in Santa Clarita, this suited me. I felt good at the start and wanted to do my best to defend my 3rd place in the GC. I have been taking it day-by-day, because I came here after some hard racing at the Ardennes Classics. I’ve had good legs so far, including today. I was super pleased with how I performed. Sagan was really strong today, so congratulations to him on the victory.
I am really happy to be on the podium and to go into the queen stage having protected my overall placement. This is my first time at an eight-day stage race, and so far I did well at the time trial. We will see how I do on a key mountain stage tomorrow. I know that Mt. Baldy will not be easy, but we will see what can happen. We have a very motivated team here, as you can see with three victories of Mark Cavendish and my two podium placings. We also have the White Jersey and Green Jersey. I will do my best to honor my 3rd place in the GC on Saturday, and to also learn from the experience with the support of my teammates.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx-QuickStep
Stage 7: Ontario to Mt Baldy
Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) soloed to victory on Mt Baldy claiming the Amgen Tour of California 2015 Stage 7 win and the leader’s jersey.
Sergio Henao (Team Sky) was second and Ian Boswell (Team Sky) was third.
Peter Sagan now sits 2 seconds behind Alaphilippe in the general classification heading into the final stage which begins in Los Angeles and ends in Pasadena on Sunday.
I am super happy with this win. Today was a short stage and we were going full gas since the beginning. In the final I was there with the best guys. Henao was attacking, stopping, attacking, stopping. He was relentless. At a certain moment at about 4 kilometers to go I decided to try to attack, and see if I could improve my classification. I went, and Henao didn’t respond immediately.
When I saw he didn’t follow me I thought he was playing with me, and that he would arrive at any second and pass me. But I kept going and going anyway. The last two kilometers were the hardest of my life. I gave everything to go the distance, my legs felt like they were exploding. In my mind I was always thinking that Henao could come back. But I was doing my best to stay away. It wasn’t until the final 200 meters when I finally understood I had won the stage. I enjoyed the moment, but I kept going 100 percent until the finish line.
It was a great emotion for me because this is the second victory of my career. But, what makes me so happy is the way I won. I won a mountain stage in the Tour of California, the first stage race of eight days in my professional career. For me that is really special. I worked for Mark Cavendish on the flat stages and took my chances here when possible. I really rode with good legs this week after the Ardennes Classics. To have this performance with such momentum going into it is really great.
Now I am in the leader’s jersey. Of course tomorrow won’t be easy to defend my position. There are intermediate time bonuses, and time bonuses at the finish line of the stage. It is clear Sagan is faster than me, so we will see tomorrow what will happen. I don’t want to put pressure on myself for the GC. For the stage of tomorrow, I think we have to go with our original plan to try and win with Mark. He’s won three stages already and is going really well. Then we will see if we can defend the yellow jersey.
If not, it won’t be the end of the world. We won four stages here so far out of seven. I had the best young rider jersey going into this stage, and Mark has the points jersey. So, we’ve already done plenty here and we are simply trying to add to what we’ve already accomplished. The 2015 Amgen Tour of California will be a race I never forget.”
– Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx-QuickStep
It was a very hard stage with a tough final climb. I wanted to be in the front in order to secure my position in the GC as much as I could, in view of Sunday’s fast stage. I did my best and everything will now be decided in the sprints. We will aim at the overall victory and we will give our best to achieve it.”
– Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
I said before the race that I thought Julian was the wildcard, because obviously he’s young rider and he’s had a really impressive Spring Classics campaign. But we haven’t really seen him climb at altitude on a stage like this and obviously today he came through. Looks like he’s secured the tour.
Our team was fantastic today. We had all 8 riders up until the last 25k in the race and we knew we had to take it on pretty early because I think Tinkoff-Saxo wanted to keep it a bit more controlled for [Peter] Sagan and not make it too difficult. But the guys were doing the work before the cameras came on. Xabier [Zandio Echaide] and Nathan Earle and Danny Pate were really impressive today coming up over the top. Unfortunately we didn’t win the race overall, but I think it’s impressive to see Sergio [Luis Henao Montoya] doing what he’s doing after his crash less than a year ago.”
– Ian Boswell, Team Sky
Stage 8: Los Angeles to Pasadena
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the Amgen Tour of California by two millimeters at the line on the last day of the eight-stage race.
Starting the day 2 seconds behind Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep), the intermediate sprint on the first lap of the finishing nine-lap circuit at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena saw Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) take first and the top time bonus, with Sagan crossing second and Alaphilippe third. The result pulled Sagan to a single second behind Alaphilippe in the overall.
Heading to the finish line, Sagan needed to be on the podium and to see Alaphilippe out of one of the top three spots. At the line, it was Cavendish crossing first, Drapac Racing Team’s Wouter Wippertsecond and, in a photo finish, Sagan crossed by less than a tire rim ahead of MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s Tyler Farrar.
I’m very happy, and I want to pay a big thanks to all my teammates for doing an incredible job. We lost two riders on the third stage, as Michael Kolar had allergy while Maciej Bodnar suffered a bad crash. I’m very happy and relieved as it was so close right until the end. I never would have thought that I could have won the GC, when I started the race so it’s also a surprise for me.
I didn’t have any further strategy in the final sprint, and I just had to go for it, it’s not just Tinkoff-Saxo and Etixx-Quikstep as there were many others trying to get a result and we had to pay attention to many factors and teams today in order for us to secure this win.
All the stages have been incredible and especially yesterday on the queen stage to Mt. Baldy, where I must admit that I felt really good and had to dig really deep. For me the last kilometers yesterday on Baldy were so hard, my legs were burning but I had to continue on the climb, as I knew that it was still within reach of Alaphilippe.
I believed that I could do it. I don’t know if it was the hardest effort that I’ve ever done, but it was tough. It was just 129k, while the Classics for instance are much longer and drain your energy slowly. But yes, yesterday I was in pain almost throwing up. But now everything is OK”, finishes the winner of Tour of California with a big smile.”
– Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
I’m happy to finish off a strong Amgen Tour of California with my 4th win, and the 5th for the team out of eight stages. Really it’s about the team and how we rode all week. We were on the podium every day. We rode so strong. We went for the stage today and still protected Alaphilippe in the GC with some great racing all day, leaving it up to a photo finish in the sprint. In the end we got two jerseys, yet another stage win, and a 2nd place overall. I’m super proud of what we’ve done here and think things are going in the right direction ahead of the Tour de France.
I really have to congratulate Julian for how he performed this week going for the overall. He is really talented. I didn’t actually know how talented he was in the big mountains until yesterday. We already saw him in the Ardennes Classics finishing 2nd behind guys like Alejandro Valverde. But to do what he did yesterday really shows his form. But even more, it is about his personality on and off the bike. He’s got a winner’s attitude. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he’s going to go for it anyway, and that is someone who is going to go far in life. He’s a good kid too, a super nice kid.
As for me, I’ve been happy with my form all year, which to me is the same as my form last year at this time. Had I not crashed in the first stage of Le Tour in 2014 I am fully confident I could have gone for multiple stages. So we’ll see what I can do this year. I’m feeling really good. My team is fully committed and focused. I go next to Tour de Suisse and the British National Championships, and we’ll see what I can do to improve my form even more before July.”
– Mark Cavendish, Etixx-QuickStep
I must say I am a little frustrated with the finish but at least we were right in the mix and it was still our best result of the race. It would have been great to be on the podium though. We did a good job during the race as a whole.
The team was active in the breaks and we were trying our hand in all of the sprints. The performance we put in this week is certainly one we can build on in the future. It was good to be racing in the United States with MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, people showed that they are excited about the team and what the team stands for.”
– Tyler Farrar, MTN Qhubeka
This was strange for me because I was always in the breakaways, accumulating points. But I am not a climber. I weigh 80 kilos. But I was looking for this jersey after the first breakaway and getting some points. I said, ‘this is something we have to do,’ so we went after it.
I didn’t know what I could do. This was my first race after the classics season. I felt fresh and I felt good and I was just looking to see what I could do to build my shape up for the second part of the season.”
– Daniel Oss, BMC Racing Team
Women’s cycling continues to gain momentum in 2015 following announcements from sponsors of several men’s events to continue or expand their support of women’s racing. The 10th Anniversary edition of The Amgen Tour of California fits in the latter category as the Women’s race will grow from what has historically been a single stage into a four-day event, making it North America’s biggest stage race for women. Fourteen teams will take to the California byways May 8 – May 15 in what is sure to be an exciting event for fans, spectators, and the riders.
The first three days, May 8, 9 and 10, will make up a stage race that precedes the start of the men’s Tour of California that starts on Sunday, May 10. The fourth day is an Invitational Time Trial that will precede the men’s time trial on Sunday, May 15th.
Amgen Tour of California 2015 Women’s Race Stage 1
Starting in South Lake Tahoe on Friday, May 8, the Women will contest three stages over three days. Friday’s stage starts and ends at the Heavenly Mountain Resort high above South Lake Tahoe. The 74-mile route will follow the perimeter of Lake Tahoe in a clockwise direction and includes two QOM’s, winding mountain descents and all of the stunning scenery that surrounds Lake Tahoe. The finale, not for the faint of heart, culminates on the brutal climb up the 15 percent grades of Keller Street back to Heavenly. Look for teams vying to set-up their team captain on the run into the base of the climb where fireworks are sure to ensue.
Day: Friday, May 8, 2015
Start: 11:00 AM
Estimated finish: 2:00 PM
Overall Stage Start/Finish: South Lake Tahoe / Heavenly Mountain Resort
Festival: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Miles: 74.5 mi
Kilometers: 120 km
Elevation Gain: 5,300 ft
Amgen Tour of California 2015 Women’s Race Stage 2
Stage 2 also claims Heavenly Mountain Resort as home where the race will again start and finish. The 25-mile circuit that makes up Stage 2 winds its way into the beautiful canyons and forests that surround Lake Tahoe. Traversing the course twice will provide several opportunities for spectators to see the race pass.
After reaching the far end of the circuit on Highway 89, the race heads back to Heavenly on a demanding path that includes the QOM on Apache Avenue followed quickly by the climb back up to Heavenly on Ski Run Boulevard to the finish line. The elevation and the lumpy profile of the first two days will make for some tough racing and the women who emerge wearing leaders jerseys will have earned them.
Day: Saturday, May 9, 2015
Start: 10:30 AM
Estimated finish: 12:30 PM
Stage Start/Finish: South Lake Tahoe / Heavenly Mountain Resort
Festival: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Miles: 49.7 mi
Kilometers: 80 km
Elevation Gain: 3,300 ft
Amgen Tour of California 2015 Women’s Race Stage 3
After two days of difficult climbing comprised of nearly 9,000’ of elevation gain, the race heads for the lower and flatter grounds of Sacramento for Stage 3. The flat and fast 2-mile circuit through the streets of Sacramento is the familiar circuit seen in the men’s race over the years and is designed with the sprinters in mind.
The women’s race will make 17 laps of the course with time bonuses available throughout, giving a break or an eager sprinter an opportunity to move up the overall standings. The men’s race will hit the same circuit later in the day after the women’s race has been decided and podiums presented. Plan on spending your day watching all of the women’s and men’s action.
Day: Sunday, May 10, 2015
Start time: 11:15 AM
Circuit Race: Sacramento
Miles: 34 mi
Kilometers: 54.7 km
Ale Cipollini, BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental, Canada National Team, Colavita | Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking, Mexico National Team, Itaú Shimano Ladies Power Team, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Pearl Izumi – Sports Tours International, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth, Team Tibco – SVB, Twenty 16 p/b SHO-AIR, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Velocio – SRAM and Xirayas de San Luis.
Amgen Tour of California 2015 Women’s Race ITT
With the Stage Race decided following Sunday’s Stage 3 in Sacramento, a handful of ladies will head south to Big Bear Lake where they will contest a separate Invitational Time Trial on Sunday May 15th coinciding with the men’s ITT later that same day. Twenty-three women from seven countries will assemble in Big Bear for a throw down amongst the sports best female athletes.
The talent rich field is headlined by the reigning individual and team time trial world champion Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) of Germany. Two-time Tour of California TT winner and Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air) will also be on hand despite her ‘retired’ status. Other notables joining Brennauer and Armstrong are Amber Neben (Visit Dallas Cycling) (USA), Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) (USA), Alison Tetrick (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) (USA) and Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM) (USA).
Women’s Invitational Time Trial start list
Maria Carla Alvarez (Xirayas de San Luis) (Arg)
Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air) (USA)
Maddie Boutet (USA Cycling) (USA)
Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) (G)
Laura Brown (UnitedHealthcare) (Can)
Karol Ann Canuel (Velocio-SRAM) (Can)
Ana Teresa Casa (Mexico National Team) (Mex)
Jackie Crowell (Breakaway from Cancer) (USA)
Allie Dragoo (Twenty16-Sho-Air) (USA)
Jasmin Glaesser (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) (Can)
Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) (USA)
Amber Neben (Visit Dallas Cycling) (USA)
Rhae Shaw (BMW-Happy Tooth Dental) (Can)
Carmen Small (Twenty16-Sho-Air) (USA)
Lauren Stephens (TeamTIBCO-SVB) (USA)
Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) (USA)
Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi Sports) (GB)
Alison Tetrick (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) (USA)
Anika Todd (TeamTIBCO-SVB) (Can)
Linda Villumsen (UnitedHealthcare) (NZ)
Emma White (USA Cycling) (USA)
Tara Whitten (Canada National) (CAN)
Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM) (USA)
Day: Friday, May 15, 2015
Women’s Start Time: 11:00 AM
Time Trial: Big Bear Lake
Miles: 15.1 mi
Kilometers: 24.2 km
Elevation Gain: 750 ft
The AToC is certain to provide ten days of great bike racing with the women’s stage race May 8-10, offering a great prelude to the men’s action and then rounding out their racing with the Invitational Time Trial on May 15. Don’t miss it. Slather on your sunscreen, grab your favorite elk horns and hit the roadside or follow the action on TourTracker!