Stage 1 Ends In A Sprint to the Finish Line
After nearly 120 miles, the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California turned into a sprint to the the finish line.
Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Cannondale made an intense push the last 100 meters to win Stage 1 before tens of thousands of cheering fans in Santa Rosa, which officials called a record crowd.
The Stage 1 route took cyclists through the Sonoma wine country before winding up and over to the Pacific Coast, and then back into Santa Rosa, where Sagan outsprinted Heinrich Haussler (AUS) of Garmin-Barracuda and Fred Rodriguez (USA) of Team Exergy to take the Stage 1 victory.
“I want to thank my teammates for helping me win this stage,” Sagan said. “Ted King, who helped me with 3km to go and Daniel Goss who piloted me to the front so I was able to win. It’s going to be really tough to hold onto the yellow jersey. This race will definitely get harder and harder as we go.”
Santa Rosa was the the first of eight states which take cyclists more than 750 miles throughout much of California’s most scenic territory, including the Pacific Coast, Mt. Diablo and Big Bear Lake. It concludes Sunday, May 20, with a ride from Beverly Hills through Hollywood and finishing at LA Live across from Staples Center.
A big crowd came out in Santa Rosa’s Northern California location, an area that has a lot of mountain bikers, and the people turned out to cheer on the 128 riders from around the world.
“I want to thank Santa Rosa and Sonoma county for a fantastic overall start for 2012 Amgen Tour of California,” said Kristin Bachochin, Senior Vice President, AEG Sports and Executive Director of the Amgen Tour of California. “Just when we think we can’t produce more fans here in Santa Rosa, we see the largest turnout ever. Today, we saw the peloton change a few times which kept it very exciting, and it was an intense race straight to the finish.”
After two neutral laps around Santa Rosa, the riders attacked immediately, resulting in six riders off the front. Just outside of the 3km from the finish, there was a crash that took out notable sprinter Michael Matthews (AUS) of Rabobank. Sagan managed to avoid the trouble and sprinted to the finish. Haussler finished second and Rodriguez crossed the line at third.
Throughout the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, Amgen will honor and celebrate cancer survivors through a variety of events including official race starts and jersey presentations. In addition, Amgen will host four Breakaway Mile events, a special one-mile walk that crosses the finish line to honor millions of cancer survivors.
Stage 2 starts at Marina Green in San Francisco at 11 a.m., and finishes in Aptos.
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