Brett Lancaster of Cervélo TestTeam yesterday continued what is turning out to be a fantastic few days for Australian cycling by winning Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California in Santa Rosa, crossing the line inches ahead of the hugely talented young rider from Liquigas, Peter Sagan. The win puts the 30-year-old into the race leader’s yellow jersey.
The former Olympic Team Pursuit champion’s victory follows a trio of his compatriots – Cadel Evans, Matthew Lloyd and Matt Goss – winning three of the last four stages in the Giro d’Italia, where Evans and Lloyd hold, respectively, the points and mountains jerseys, while Richie Porte is in white as best young rider.
Similarities with the race currently unfolding in Italy continued with the weather, with heavy rain meaning that organisers abandoned plans to conclude the stage with a circuit in Santa Cruz with surface water making the corners too dangerous, the race finishing as riders crossed the line for the first time.
With the aircraft that relays pictures from the race grounded, TV coverage was only available for the last few hundred metres of what sounds like it was an absorbing day’s racing, however.
The day’s third big climb, the Oakville Grade in Napa Valley, which came 41km before the end of the 176.2km stage which had begun in Davis, recently voted the USA’s best city for cycling, saw the field split apart, leading to the formation of a 27-man front group.
That included not only Lancaster and Sagan, but also a strong Team RadioShack contingent comprising overall favourite and local resident Levi Leipheimer, who has won the last three editions of the race, Lance Armstrong and three other team members.
Also present were other contenders such as Garmin-Transitions' David Zabriskie and Andy Schleck of Team Saxo Bank, but the latter's colleague Fabian Cancellara, viewed as a threat for the overall title despite not being fully fit as he tries to shake off an illness, finished almost eight and a half minutes down.
After the leaders had crossed the line, further groups arrived at periodic intervals until, 17 minutes and 20 seconds back, by which time Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had packed up for the day, the remnants of the main peloton came in, including overnight leader Mark Cavendish.
The forecast for the rest of the week is for brighter weather, and racing resumes later today with a 152.3km stage from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.
2010 Tour of California Stage 2 Results 1 LANCASTER Brett CTT 04.38'48" 2 SAGAN Peter LIQ 00.00'00" 3 BOOM Lars RAB 00.00'00" 4 SUTHERLAND Rory UHC 00.00'00" 5 STEENSEN Andre SAX 00.00'00" 6 PARISIEN Francois CSM 00.00'00" 7 LEIPHEIMER Levi RSH 00.00'00" 8 HESJEDAL Ryder GRM 00.00'00" 9 BAK Lars Ytting THR 00.00'00" 10 ROGERS Michael THR 00.00'00" 11 BELLOTTI Francesco LIQ 00.00'00" 12 MENZIES Karl UHC 00.00'00" 13 ZWIZANSKI Scott KBS 00.00'00" 14 VOIGT Jens SAX 00.00'00" 15 HORNER Christopher RSH 00.00'00" 16 MORABITO Steve BMC 00.00'00" 17 BRAJKOVIC Janez RSH 00.00'00" 18 ARMSTRONG Lance RSH 00.00'00" 19 ZAJICEK Phil VAU 00.00'00" 20 DANIELSON Thomas GRM 00.00'00" Overall standings after Stage 2 1 LANCASTER Brett CTT 08.43'24" 2 SAGAN Peter LIQ 00.00'04" 3 MENZIES Karl UHC 00.00'04" 4 BOOM Lars RAB 00.00'06" 5 RABOU Thomas TT1 00.00'06" 6 DE MAAR Marc UHC 00.00'07" 7 MACH Paul BPC 00.00'08" 8 ROGERS Michael THR 00.00'10" 9 BRAJKOVIC Janez RSH 00.00'10" 10 HESJEDAL Ryder GRM 00.00'10" 11 STETINA Peter GRM 00.00'10" 12 LEIPHEIMER Levi RSH 00.00'10" 13 DANIELSON Thomas GRM 00.00'10" 14 ZABRISKIE David GRM 00.00'10" 15 STEENSEN Andre SAX 00.00'10" 16 SUTHERLAND Rory UHC 00.00'10" 17 RUBIERA VIGIL Jose Luis RSH 00.00'10" 18 ARMSTRONG Lance RSH 00.00'10" 19 BELLOTTI Francesco LIQ 00.00'10" 20 SCHLECK Andy SAX 00.00'10" 21 HORNER Christopher RSH 00.00'10" 22 BAK Lars Ytting THR 00.00'10" 23 ZAJICEK Phil VAU 00.00'10" 24 PARISIEN Francois CSM 00.00'10" 25 MORABITO Steve BMC 00.00'10" 26 VOIGT Jens SAX 00.00'10" 27 ZWIZANSKI Scott KBS 00.00'10" Next riders at 00.01.27"
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.