2nd Amgen Tour of California - Stage 2 Report
A brave day long break once again closed down in the final kms of the race with
a sprinters trains launching their riders to victory in the shadow of the
California Capital building in Sacramento. CSC and J.J.Haedo after race
By Bart Hazen
of California, Stage 2: Santa Rosa – Sacramento, 186,4 km
Stage 2 in the Tour of California is a relative easy stage from Santa Rosa to
Sacramento over 186.4kms with two difficulties as the riders faced two
climbs over the coastal mountains into the central valley river delta on the way
to the California State Capital finish. Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) started the race
in the leader jersey. The other jerseys are for Allan Davis (points), Thomas
Peterson (Mountains) and Taylor Tolleson (Young rider).
After 1 km of racing there was an attack of Omer Kem (Priority Health) and
Ireland's National road Champion David
McCann (Colavita/Sutter Home). Christophe Laurent (Credit Agricole) bridged
across, so we had an early break of three riders. On the first KOM of the day at Trinity Grade
climbing through the hundred year old California Oak trees, it
was Christophe Laurent who took the maximum points. The two others were dropped
by the French rider but in the descent they rejoined Laurent who waited
after collecting the mountain points. The trio took the task in hand to keep
their now 5 minute gap and shared the work in the escape at times looking like a
well oiled team time trial.
Levi and Paolo Bettini enter the finishing circuit.
In the back of the peloton there was a crash on this descent with Edward King
(Priority Health Cycling Team), Scott Zwizanski (Priority Health Cycling Team),
Chad Beyer (USA National team), Emile Abraham (Priority Health Cycling Team) and
Leonardo Scarselli (Quick Step). But the Italian Scarcelli was the only one to abandon.
After 60 km of racing with 126 km to go the gap of the leaders was 4.50 on the
bunch led by Tony Cruz of Discovery Channel; in fact it looked at the moment the
peloton was willing to Disco to take on the burden of the chase as wind played
havoc with the riders. The peloton spread out across the country road laid
out in a echelon pattern. On the second KOM of the day after
80 km of racing it was Laurent again, who took the maximum points again ahead of McCann
and Kem. From now on the roads to Sacramento will be mainly flat as they ride
through the rich farmlands and orchards of the Sacramento Delta region.
After 100 km in the race, 86 km to go, the gap came down to 3.40 as the Discovery Channel
machine drove the peloton with Jonathan Vaughter's Slipstream lads who were
always near the front testing the peloton for opportunities to escape.
Slipstream attempted to launch Peterson on the KOM trying to secure his lead in
the climbers jersey as the peloton went over the last climbing test of the day.
6 km later with 80 km to go the first intermediate sprint in the small
farming hamlet of Winters loomed ahead. Laurent drove ahead of Kem and
McCann to pocket the points. Laurent also collected the second the second
intermediate with the same tactic ahead of McCann and Kem. Laurent did an
impressive job taking
all the first places during the stage at the KOM and the intermediate sprints.
So much so that at the end of the day he stepped to the podium to receive the
most aggressive riders jersey from none other than a smiling Governor Arnold
Race leader Levi Leipheimer in the pack in Sacramento.
Shortly after the second intermediate sprint Omer Kem dropped out of the trio
of escapees, while the bunch continued to close down the gap. T-mobile joined Discovery
in the chase as well as Liquigas, CSC and Slipstream. With about 40 km to go the
gap to Laurent and McCann was down to less then 1 minute.
With 32 km to go Danny Pate attacked out of the bunch and bridged the gap
with in a show of power too fast for the lumbering giant to follow, behind Pate Kem was swallowed up
and disappeared into the rolling ribbon of speed and colors. Pate wasted no time
for fine hello's and conversation with Laurent and McCann and left as quickly as
he joined them slipping into time trial postion and powering up the road to gain
a minute on the chase behind.
Shortly after Pates exit to the front, the Disco and CSC led bunch,
which reeled in Laurent and McCann. Now the peloton set to the task of chasing
with Discovery setting the pace with T-Mobile, Quick Step and Navigators.
about 10 km to go they caught Pate who reluctantly gave up the effort at the
entrance into Sacramento and the sprinters teams moved to the front of affairs
to ready their sprinters for the inevitable bunch sprint.
Navigators, T-Mobile, Quickstep, Rabobank and Predictor/Lotto sprint trains take
charge on the first circuit in Sacramento.
First CSC, then Navigators led as they entered the finishing circuits, with
Discovery active at the front and escorting Levi in Yellow. A few attacks to
test the sprinters Paolo Bettini quickly brought back as the sprinters moved
through the riders with T-Mobile, CSC, Liquigas in play but on the run into the
finish it was Argentina's Juan José Haedo (CSC) who launched a blistering
sprint and won the stage, his 3rd in this event. Haedo won two stages in 2006
while riding for Frankie Andreu's Toyota/United squad. Liquigas rider Luca
Paolini finished 2nd and Thor Hushovd 3rd. Levi Leipheimer remains in the yellow
with a perfect escort by his Discovery Channel team mates to the finish.
Fast Freddy Rodriguez being led by Chris Horner on the final circuit.
Haedo was perfectly launched by his team mates. Especially Jens Voigt did a
great job for the rider of Argentina. It’s his first race for the Danish team
and delivers a stage win, a good omen for the year considering the competition
he faced today. What beautiful start for Haedo and CSC in the new
season after losing David Zabriskie in yesterday’s stage. Zabriskie was brought
to a hospital; he suffered a concussion, but is OK.
The sprinters are launched by their teams and it is...
J.J. Haedo Delivers for CSC.
Team CSC Comments
Juan José Haedo only needed three race days to get his first victory as a Team
CSC rider, when he on Tuesday took advantage of great teamwork in the
186-kilometer second stage of the Tour of California from Santa Rosa to
Sacramento. Haedo convincingly won the bunch sprint ahead of Luca Paolini (Liquigas)
and Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole).
"I'm proud to have secured our team this beautiful victory and I would like to
dedicate it to the two riders who crashed in yesterday's stage; David Zabriskie
and Karsten Kroon. It was a tough day for us, following the crashes, but that
just makes it even more satisfying to be able to come out on top the day after,"
said the Argentinean rider after his victory.
It was Jens Voigt, Bobby Julich and Stuart O'Grady who made sure Haedo was
extremely well positioned for the sprint, which he won by a solid margin of 5-6
"I couldn't have been in a better position during the final stretch, so I
more or less just had to keep up," said a modest Haedo, who continued: "From day
one it's been a positive experience being on this team, so it was nice to be
able to give something back to the team."
The victory came after a fairly easy stage for Team CSC, as other teams made
sure to neutralize the break aways.
"We followed our tactics perfectly. In the end we moved forward, trying to
keep a high pace and our riders up front, and it was nice to see “JJ”, who was
in a league of his own in the sprint, which he really deserved to win," said
sports director Kim Andersen.
Karsten Kroon was able to finish the stage despite still being sore after
Santa Rosa Sacramento - 186km
1 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC
2 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
5 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) T-Mobile
6 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
7 Greg Henderson (NZl) T-Mobile
8 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota United Pro
9 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
10 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
Overall standings after stage 2
1. Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel 4.22.08
2. Jason Donald, Team Slipstream +0.01
3. Benjamin Jacques-Maynes, Priority Health +0.05
4. Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC +0.06
5. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel +0.06
12. Jens Voigt, Team CSC +0.10
14. Stuart O'Grady, Team CSC +0.10
20. Bobby Julich, Team CSC +0.14
29. Christian Vande Velde, Team CSC +0.17
30. Karsten Kroon, Team CSC +0.17
58. Juan José Haedo, Team CSC +0.26
Official results to follow...