George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) came within a couple of centimetres of taking the win in stage two of the Amgen Tour of California, only bested on the line by Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe). The two finished seven seconds clear of their former breakaway companions Ian Boswell (Sky) and Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data), with the rest of the main contenders crossing the line a further 30 seconds back. The stage win put Majka in the leader’s jersey, two seconds ahead of Bennett in second, with Boswell in third, 14 seconds off the race lead.
 
After a first stage suited to the sprinters, the 144 kilometre stage two promised to be much more suited to the climbers and overall contenders, with a very lumpy course featuring the out of category Mt. Hamilton, along with two category two climbs, and two category three climbs.
 
It took some 40 kilometres of racing before the first significant move managed to get clear of the front of the peloton, with Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Danny van Poppel (Sky), Christopher Hamilton (Sunweb), and Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data) fighting hard to open a gap. They were soon joined by the United Healthcare duo of Tanner Putt and Daniel Jaramillo, with Jaramillo quickly showing his intentions by taking the first KOM sprint of the day.
 
Hamilton was the first rider to be dropped from the break, as Jaramillo took maximum points at the second KOM sprint as well. At the third KOM point it was Jaramillo again, but this time Thwaites and Skujins were the only riders able to go with him as the break disintegrated. 
 
With the break’s lead slowly coming down, Bennett saw his opportunity and attacked, with Majka, Boswell, and Morton for company. As the quartet closed in on the leading trio, it was Skujins who took maximum points at the top of Mt. Hamilton, besting Jaramillo and claiming the KOM jersey. On the descent, the quartet including Bennett caught up with Skujins who was leading the race. Skujins claimed the final KOM of the day over Quimby Road, but he overcooked it on the descent and crashed. Although he remounted, he was eventually forced to abandon the race.
 
The leading quartet now had a fight on their hands, with a lead of under a minute over a chasing group of some 20 riders. Bennett claimed the final intermediate sprint of the day, ahead of Morton and Majka, giving him an edge in the battle for the leader’s jersey, if the break could stay clear of the chasing group. 
 
With some ten kilometres to go, the leading quartet had a minute in hand over the chasers, with the chasing group reducing in numbers all the time as they pushed to get back to the leaders. 
 
As Bennett and the other three riders in the break hit the final climb to the line, with some two and a half kilometres to go, they still held around a minute over the chasers. Although the gap started to come down slightly as they closed in on the line, it was clear that the stage win, and with it the race lead, would be contested between the four leaders. As a marked man, Majka was forced to take the lead in the final kilometre, but Boswell was first to attack. Majka closed him down, only for Morton to attack. This time it was Bennett who responded, attacking past Morton, with only Majka able to hang on.
 
Majka came past Bennett as they rounded the final bend on the way to the line, but Bennett fought all the way to the line, only just failing to come past Majka for the win. Bennett was credited with the same time as Majka, ahead of Boswell and Morton. Bennett’s teammate Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) led the chasing group across the line, 37 seconds behind the stage winner.
 
Majka now leads the overall classification by two seconds from Bennett, with Boswell in third.
 
Stage three will see another day for the sprinters, with the 192 kilometre stage from Morro Bay to Pismo Beach featuring only one category three climb, some 110 kilometres from the finish.
 
 
Stage results:
Rank Name Nat. Team   Result
Rafal MAJKA POL BOH   3:43:46
George BENNETT NZL TLJ   +0
Ian BOSWELL USA SKY   +7
Lachlan MORTON AUS DDD   +7
Robert GESINK NED TLJ   +37
Brent BOOKWALTER USA BMC   +37
Tao GEOGHEGAN HART GBR SKY   +37
Sam OOMEN NED SUN   +37
Enric MAS NICOLAU ESP QST   +37
10  Andrew TALANSKY USA CDT   +37
11  Maximilian SCHACHMANN GER QST   +37
12  Vegard Stake LAENGEN NOR UAD   +37
13  Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE ESP TFS   +42
14  Nicolas EDET FRA COF   +44
15  Luis Angel MATE MARDONES ESP COF   +44
16  Serghei TVETCOV ROU JBC   +47
17  Javier Alexis ACEVEDO COLLE COL UHC   +51
18  David LOPEZ GARCIA ESP SKY   +1:00
19  Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ ESP BMC   +1:14
20  Jhonatan RESTREPO VALENCIA COL KAT   +1:14
21  Michael SCHÄR SUI BMC   +3:00
22  Adam DE VOS CAN RLY   +3:37
23  Scott THWAITES GBR DDD   +4:31
24  Greg HENDERSON NZL UHC   +4:36
25  Jay MCCARTHY AUS BOH   +4:36
26  Javier MEGIAS LEAL ESP TNN   +4:36
27  Pawel POLJANSKI POL BOH   +4:36
28  Tiago MACHADO POR KAT   +4:36
29  Stéphane ROSSETTO FRA COF   +4:36
30  Benjamin KING USA DDD   +4:36
31  Brendan CANTY AUS CDT   +4:36
32  Peter KENNAUGH GBR SKY   +5:00
33  Nathan BROWN USA CDT   +5:20
34  Matteo TRENTIN ITA QST   +5:42
35  Robert BRITTON CAN RLY   +10:55
36  Sepp KUSS USA RLY   +10:55
37  Evan HUFFMAN USA RLY   +10:55
38  Peter SAGAN SVK BOH   +10:55
39  Floris DE TIER BEL TLJ   +12:34
40  Daan OLIVIER NED TLJ   +12:34
41  Matti BRESCHEL DEN AST   +12:34
42  Alberto BETTIOL ITA CDT   +12:34
43  Matteo DAL-CIN CAN RLY   +12:34
44  Yoann BAGOT FRA COF   +12:34
45  Guillaume BONNAFOND FRA COF   +12:34
46  Jack BAUER NZL QST   +12:34
47  Nils POLITT GER KAT   +12:34
48  Daniel EATON USA UHC   +12:34
49  Daniel Alexander JARAMILLO DIEZ COL UHC   +12:52
50  Geoffrey SOUPE FRA COF   +15:10
51  Miles SCOTSON AUS BMC   +15:10
52  Rúben GUERREIRO POR TFS   +15:53
53  Artyom ZAKHAROV KAZ AST   +16:14
54  Alexey VERMEULEN USA TLJ   +17:45
55  Roy CURVERS NED SUN   +17:45
56  Rick ZABEL GER KAT   +17:45
57  Charles PLANET FRA TNN   +17:45
58  Joshua BERRY USA JBC   +17:45
59  David LOZANO RIBA ESP TNN   +17:45
60  Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU ESP TFS   +17:45
61  Colin JOYCE USA RLY   +17:45
62  Kiel REIJNEN USA TFS   +17:45
63  Andrea PERON ITA TNN   +17:45
64  Floris GERFS NED BMC   +17:45
65  Laurens DE VREESE BEL AST   +17:45
66  Koen BOUWMAN NED TLJ   +17:45
67  Danny VAN POPPEL NED SKY   +17:45
68  Tanner PUTT USA UHC   +17:45
69  Alexander KRISTOFF NOR KAT   +17:45
70  Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG RSA DDD   +17:45
71  Nick DOUGALL RSA DDD   +17:45
72  Michael MORKOV DEN KAT   +17:45
73  Tom BOHLI SUI BMC   +17:45
74  Owain DOULL GBR SKY   +17:45
75  Jonathan DIEBBEN GBR SKY   +17:45
76  Jonathan CLARKE AUS UHC   +17:45
77  Gavin MANION USA UHC   +17:45
78  Antwan TOLHOEK NED TLJ   +17:45
79  Mike TEUNISSEN NED SUN   +17:45
80  Lennard HOFSTEDE NED SUN   +17:45
81  Sean BENNETT USA JBC   +17:45
82  Zdenek ŠTYBAR CZE QST   +17:45
83  Mathias LE TURNIER FRA COF   +17:45
84  Daniil FOMINYKH KAZ AST   +17:45
85  Arman KAMYSHEV KAZ AST   +17:45
86  Kristijan ÐURASEK CRO UAD   +17:45
87  Simone CONSONNI ITA UAD   +17:45
88  Travis MCCABE USA UHC   +17:45
89  Danny PATE USA RLY   +17:45
90  Truls KORSÆTH NOR AST   +17:45
91  Bernhard EISEL AUT DDD   +20:46
92  Fabio SABATINI ITA QST   +20:46
93  Lawson CRADDOCK USA CDT   +20:46
94  Jean-Pierre DRUCKER LUX BMC   +20:46
95  Jonas VAN GENECHTEN BEL COF   +20:46
96  Christopher WILLIAMS AUS TNN   +20:46
97  Federico ZURLO ITA UAD   +20:46
98  Martin ELMIGER SUI BMC   +20:46
99  Marco MATHIS GER KAT   +20:46
100  Andrea GUARDINI ITA UAD   +20:46
101  Mads Würtz SCHMIDT DEN KAT   +20:46
102  Marko KUMP SLO UAD   +20:46
103  Erik BASKA SVK BOH   +20:46
104  Bert-Jan LINDEMAN NED TLJ   +20:46
105  Marcel KITTEL GER QST   +20:46
106  John DEGENKOLB GER TFS   +20:46
107  Yousef MIRZA BANIHAMMAD UAE UAD   +20:46
108  Elia VIVIANI ITA SKY   +20:46
109  Taylor PHINNEY USA CDT   +20:46
110  Martin VELITS SVK QST   +20:46
111  Romain GIOUX FRA TNN   +20:46
112  Riccardo MINALI ITA AST   +20:46
113  Joonas HENTTALA FIN TNN   +20:46
114  Ramon SINKELDAM NED SUN   +20:46
115  Filippo GANNA ITA UAD   +20:46
116  Martijn VERSCHOOR NED TNN   +20:46
117  Michal KOLÁR SVK BOH   +20:46
118  Maciej BODNAR POL BOH   +20:46
119  Ulises Alfredo CASTILLO SOTO MEX JBC   +20:46
120  Tyler FARRAR USA DDD   +20:46
121  Jacob RATHE USA JBC   +20:46
122  Koen DE KORT NED TFS   +20:46
123  GREGORY DANIEL USA TFS   +20:46
124  Ruslan TLEUBAYEV KAZ AST   +20:46
125  Johannes FRÖHLINGER GER SUN   +20:46
126  Jordan CHEYNE CAN JBC   +20:46
127  Juraj SAGAN SVK BOH   +20:46
128  Chris HAMILTON AUS SUN   +20:46
129  Mark RENSHAW AUS DDD   +20:46
130  Wouter WIPPERT NED CDT   +20:46
131  Ben WOLFE USA JBC   +20:46
OTL Eric YOUNG USA RLY   +26:49
DNF Toms SKUJINS LAT CDT    
DNF Søren Kragh ANDERSEN DEN SUN    
DNF Taylor SHELDEN USA JBC  

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