BMC Racing Team Safely Through Bunch Sprint on Stage 1 in California13. May 2018, Long Beach, California (USA) — Road Team
The AMGEN Tour of California kicked off today with a fast and furious circuit race which saw Patrick Bevin testing his legs in the bunch sprint while the rest of his BMC Racing Team teammates finished safely after a relatively straightforward opening day of racing.
The 12-lap course around Long Beach provided the sprinters in the race with their first opportunity to battle for victory with a breakaway unlikely to be able to hold off a chasing bunch in the closing kilometers of the pan flat stage.
Two riders did go clear almost as soon as the flag dropped but, as expected, the peloton kept them within reach, holding their advantage at around the two-minute mark for the majority of the day.
The main bunch started to steadily pick up the pace approaching the 50km to go mark with the leaders pulled back to around one minute before the catch was eventually made, and the battle for position began, inside 8km to go.
The speed of the bunch neutralized the chance of any late attacks, and the race remained all together going under the flamme rouge before turning onto the finishing straight at full speed with Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) taking the honors ahead of Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) and Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe).
After sticking together all day, BMC Racing Team’s seven riders crossed the line safely, with Bevin the best-placed in 13th position, heading into stage 2 and the summit finish up Gibraltar Road.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"It was nice to get the ball rolling in California finally. It's always a bit stressful on a circuit like today after sitting around all week waiting to get going. In the end, it wasn't a great finish for me but it was good to get back into race mode before we really step into our work tomorrow."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was a good day and all the guys rode well. Everyone expected the day to come down to a bunch sprint and that's what we saw. Our guys stayed safe and it was a good start to the race for us. The GC starts tomorrow and it was good to have a flatter stage to open up the legs and get used to the feeling on the bike in a race after a long haul flight. We didn't have any trouble during the race and so now all eyes are on stage 2 where the race really begins for the overall win."
AMGEN Tour of California
Stage 1: Long Beach > Long Beach, 134.5km
Top 3: 1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 13. Patrick Bevin 47. Michael Schär 55. Brent Bookwalter