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2nd Amgen Tour of California - Stage 1 Report
By Staff
Date: 2/19/2007
2nd Amgen Tour of California - Stage 1 Report

Amgen Tour of California - Stage 1 Report
Another great day for the riders from "Down Under" Aussies Graeme Brown relegated Kiwi "Hendy Henderson to second in a photo finish with mate Allan Davis gaining the final step of the podium.

By Bart Hazen

Tour of California, Stage 1: Sausalito – Santa Rosa, 155,7 km
Stage 1 in the Tour of California is a relatively easy stage from Sausalito to Santa Rosa over 155.7 km. Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), winner of the prologue, arrived again in the leaders jersey to his hometown Santa Rosa. Last year in the same stage over 129 km it was Juan Jose Haedo, now riding for CSC, who won the sprint ahead of Olaf Pollack and Stuart O’Grady.

On the first climb of the day on Mount Tam the following riders tried to escape; Christopher Horner (Predictor-Lotto), Steven Cozza and William Frischkorn (Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Oliver Zaugg (Gerolsteiner) and Jurgen Van De Walle (Quick Step). Their maximum gap was about 25 seconds but in the descent they where reeled in by the bunch which was led by the Disco’s.

The next one who tried to escape was Alejandro Acton (Colavita Sutter Home). He managed to stay away but was a bit unlucky in that he attacked just before the first intermediate sprint. Acton was caught and Davis took the sprint ahead of George Hincapie and Karl Menzies. At the second intermediate sprint it was Davis who took the points and the boni seconds again, Hilton Clarke 2nd and Alejandro Acton 3rd.

After the second sprint and the feed zone there where several attacks by among others Gesink, Frischkorn, England, Frattini, World Champion Bettini, Peter Hatton and Jason McCartney but Discovery stayed at the front and didn’t any escape gain an advantage. But that’s not strange with the race leader riding to his hometown. He hopes to defend the jersey but that will be difficult with the time bonuses at the finish line.

The next one who attacked was Davide Frattini (Colavita Sutter Home). The Italian had a maximum gap of about 40 seconds but just before the next KOM he was swallowed up by the pack. But Frattini won the 3rd and final intermediate sprint of the day ahead of Alejandro Acton and Brian Vandborg.

On the second climb of the day four riders attacked. The quartet: Jurgen Van De Walle (Quick Step), Thomas Peterson (Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle), Theo Eltink (Rabobank) and Adam Hansen (T-mobile). In this order they passed the top of the climb claiming the KOM points.

After the climb Discovery and T-Mobile drove the chase on the four riders and the gap was came down fast. Hansen and Eltink sat up and waited for the pack while the Van De Walle and Peterson optimistically pressed their atttack. But with 20 km to go the brave duo were absorbed by a peloton now intent on setting up their sprinters for the finish.

Discovery Channel, Quick Step and T-Mobile set the pace in the bunch; a pace too fast to for any riders to launch an attack. Any attempt at escape at this speed would have been a suicidal effort against the pace of the three teams. . In the local circuit there where several crashes but there was one major crash in the penultimate lap where half the field went down.

About 50 riders escaped the crashes and formed the front group, while the rest of the mangled peloton got back on their bikes again. Race leader Levi Leipheimer did get caught up in the wreck but took up the chase hoping to save his golden jersey of race leader. Discovery Channel sent riders to the back to wait for Levi and escort him to the front. In the meantime CSC and Health Net were quick to join with Quick Step and T-Mobile driving  the front.

With 1 km to go, Leipheimer and his team mates came back in the back of the first bunch. The stage ended up in a bunch sprint and it was Rabobank rider Graeme Brown who takes the flowers ahead of T-Mobile’s Greg "Hendy" Henderson and Discovery’s Allan Davis. Levi Leipheimer remains in the lead for the effort of regaining the pack at the finish will start in the Golden Fleece for stage 2 in the morning.

Result: (Provisional)
1 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 4.17.20
2 Greg Henderson (NZl) T-mobile
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel

Official results and photos to follow when available.

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