Amgen Tour of California Stage 2: A Day for the Breakaway16. May 2016, Santa Clarita, California (USA) — Road Team
Stage 2 didn’t go as might have been expected with the breakaway able to hold off the charging peloton in a thrilling showdown on the streets of Santa Clarita.
Despite taking over an hour of racing before a breakaway was able to establish itself, four riders were able to work together to extend a lead over the peloton that reached a maximum of 7 minutes 30 seconds after the second categorized climb of the day.
With 30 kilometers to go, the BMC Racing Team started to apply pressure at the front of the chase but eventually the peloton were unable to catch the two remaining riders from the day’s breakaway.
While the bunch could be seen chasing hard in the background, it was Benjamin King (Cannondale Pro Cycling) who out-sprinted Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) in the final straight to take the stage win and the leader’s jersey.
Quotes of the day
Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: “It was a short but a really hard stage today and we were almost always climbing. We new it would be a good breakaway stage so early in the race we had Jempy [Drucker] and Michael [Schär] in the 22 rider break but it was a really strong group with a couple of GC guys in there and eventually it all came back together before the four guys went out in front.”
“At that point we weren’t that nervous as we thought the sprinter teams would control the race and maybe pass the climbs to try to go a sprint finish. In the end that kind of fell apart, it seemed to be too much climbing for them so we ended up having to start chasing in the last 30km as we didn’t want the breakaway to get to the finish line with such a big gap.”
“We didn’t really want to catch them, we just wanted to make sure that the gap wasn't over a minute and then eventually they made. It was definitely a good day for a breakaway and you don’t see that all the time. Of course we want to win in the race but it was definitely an exciting race to be part off today.”
Greg van Avermaet said: “It was a really tough stage today, especially at the beginning when breaks were going off the front and being pulled back in quite quickly before one breakaway eventually stuck.”
“At 30 kilometers to go, we really started to push hard at the front to close the gap as much as possible. We weren’t able to catch them but, as usual, we worked really well as a team and brought the gap down to less than ten seconds.”
“I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’m happy with my shape and I’m getting better every day. Today, on the climbs, I was feeling strong and I was really really happy about that.”
Tour of California (UCI 2.HC)
Stage 2: South Pasadena - Santa Clarita, 148.5km
Top 3: 1. Benjamin King (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 2. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) 3. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha)
BMC Racing Team Top 3:
14. Brent Bookwalter
16. Greg Van Avermaet
22. Taylor Phinney
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.