Tour of California: Bunch Sprint on Stage 721. May 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team
Amgen Tour of California Stage 7 started and finished in Santa Rosa, the home of BMC Racing Team Headquarters, and there was no lack of BMC representation at the front of the race.
Greg Van Avermaet was one of the few riders who was able to stay out in front despite constant changes in the breakaway composition. It was only after 80 killometers of racing that a group of five riders including Van Avermaet were able to gain an advantage over one minute and start to create some space between themselves and the peloton.
After the fifth categorised climb of the day Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) launched a solo attack of the front of the leading group but eventually the peloton came back together ahead of the final three laps around Santa Rosa and a bunch sprint for the line saw Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) take the win.
Despite spending most of the day out in breakaway, Van Avermaet dug deep to challenge in the sprint, finishing just out the top ten, in eleventh place.
There was no change at the top of the General Classification following today’s stage with Rohan Dennis and Brent Bookwalter finishing safely in the main bunch. They will now head into the final stage second and third respectively on the General Classification behind Julian Alaphilippe (Ettix-Quick-Step)
Quotes of the day
Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: “It was a hard day today. Everyone knew that the roads would be narrow with really steep climbs and a lot of people had a lot of motivations to get into the breakaway and move up on GC. Everyone just really threw it down and rode really aggressively. We had Greg [Van Avermaet] in the mix and [Danilo] Wyss but unfortunately Wyss got a double puncture came out of that group. When that first group splintered, Greg was able to ride into another group and stay out in front for a bit longer.”
“The pressure was really on today for Alaphilippe’s team today and we tried some attacks but it just didn’t play out for us. We gave it everything we could today. It was a strong showing from our team, we have a really good run and everyone riding really aggressively. In the end there were some big sprinters who had made it over the climbs and, like [Peter] Sagan when he sat up on his solo ride, we knew it would come down to a bunch sprint.”
Greg Van Avermaet said: “It was a pretty hard day today. I was in the breakaway and we tried to do something with our GC guys to break it up all the time but it was not easy because everybody was defending their own spots in the top ten so everybody was riding after each other so it was hard to do something. We tried a couple of times and in the end it all came together for the bunch sprint.”
“In the sprint I tried hard to make another good result but after being in the breakaway it was not that easy, my legs were not that fresh but for me it was going really good until the final 300 meters. I think I was in a good position and then as soon as the sprint got properly started I was a little bit boxed in and after that it’s hard to catch up with the front guys. Although I wasn’t too happy about my sprint, I was happy about my form over the whole day so that is something to focus on.”
Tour of California (UCI 2.HC)
Stage 7: Santa Rosa - Santa Rosa, 175.5km
Top 3: 1. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) 2. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 3. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3:
11. Greg Van Avermaet
15. Brent Bookwalter
18. Samuel Sànchez
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.