Peter Sagan has won stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California.  The BORA-Hansgrohe 3x world champion took his 17th win at the race ahead of Travis McCabe of the USA and Max Walscheid of Team Sunweb.  George Bennett of Jumbo-Visma got his GC campaign off to a safe start, finishing 23rd.

The 143km that comprised stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California couldn’t be much flatter.  The stage finished with three laps of a short circuit and was primed for the fast finishers like Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data, Peter Sagan, Max Richeze and Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-Quick Step, Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis, Solutions Credits and more.  

Four riders formed the breakaway of the day, spearheaded by CCC Team’s Michael Schär with Laurens De Vreese of Astana, Tyler Stites of the USA and Charles Planet of Team Novo Nordisk.  The break were kept on a tight leash with just a 1.15min advantage with 103km of racing remaining.  Deceuninck-Quick Step and Dimension Data were among the primary teams setting the tempo at the front of the peloton that was quite strung out in pursuit of the leaders.  

Despite the break’s small advantage over the peloton it was a patient bunch who bided their time in catching them.  Stites took the points over the first sprint of the day before De Vreese sat up and allowed himself to drift back to the peloton.  In the peloton the pace was looking comfortable and still the peloton allowed the break a lead of 1.05mins with 72km to go.  Dimension Data and Bahrain Merida took up the pace at the head of the peloton as up ahead the three leaders continued to soldier on well together.

With 60km to go the gap between break and bunch had dropped to 45 seconds as Schär also sat up, leaving Stites and Planet together to fend off the impending pack.  The long, flat, dead-straight roads did little to help their cause but the duo nevertheless lasted a good while longer as Deceuninck-Quick Step lent their support again to the chase.  With 31km to go Stites also sat up, leaving Planet to await the inevitable catch alone.  Deceuninck-Quick Step, BORA-Hansgrohe and Dimension Data continued to head up the chase, which by now were just 35 seconds behind the lone leader.

Planet would last until 19.8km to go, by which time the peloton were beginning to heat up with Team Sunweb, Hagens Berman Axeon, Trek-Segafredo, EF Education First and BORA-Hansgrohe were all contesting for the front of the race.  Interestingly for the field was the fact that a final intermediate sprint awaited with 10.5km to go, and as they approached the intermediate sprint Jumbo-Visma led George Bennett to the fore to try and grab a few bonus seconds in the run up to the more significant GC stage on day 2.  The sprint saw Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo and Felix Großschartner get the better of him, but Bennett took a 1 second time bonus that could prove vital later on.

The pace continued to be hot at the head of affairs, with the peloton now on the finishing circuit.  With 6.8km to go Katusha-Alpecin were in control of the bunch with Team Ineos on their wheels and trying to line up Kristoffer Halvorsen.  As the bell for the last lap went with just 3.4km to go Team Sunweb and Bahrain-Merida took over on the front and looked in perfect control as Deceuninck-Quick Step moved into position.  Peter Sagan followed them, and with 2km to go was about 15-20 riders back as the wolf pack put in a big turn of pace.

It looked like everything was coming together for Deceuninck-Quick Step as they went through 1km to go and Peter Sagan looked a little out of position as they went through the last corner.  Tim Declercq led out Fabio Jakobsen but Team Ineos were poised and ready to strike.  On their wheel was Sagan who waited as Owain Doull led out the sprint, hitting for home with Travis McCabe launching a powerful kick to challenge the Slovakian.  The 16-time stage winner wasn’t going to be stopped from making it number 17 though, as he celebrated only his second victory of the season.

The six leaders broke clear of the rest of the peloton to take a 4 second time gap to John Degenkolb and Phil Bauhaus who led the rest of the field home.  George Bennett was in the big peloton, but his 1 second time bonus sees Bennett place 8th overall, 13 seconds behind Sagan on the eve of a more challenging second stage tomorrow.  Hamish Schreurs of Israel Cycling Academy finished alongside Jumbo-Visma’s Timo Roosen.

Stage results:

RankLast NameFirst NameCountryTeamResult
1SAGANPeterSVK       BORA – HANSGROHE3:14:10
2MCCABETravisUSA       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA+00
3WALSCHEIDMaximilian RichardGER       TEAM SUNWEB+00
4HALVORSENKristofferNOR       TEAM INEOS+00
5MØRKØVMichaelDEN       DECEUNINCK  –  QUICK – STEP +00
6DOULLOwainGBR       TEAM INEOS+00
7DEGENKOLBJohnGER       TREK – SEGAFREDO+04
8BAUHAUSPhilGER       BAHRAIN – MERIDA+04
9BASKAErikSVK       BORA – HANSGROHE+04
10PHILIPSENJasperBEL       UAE TEAM EMIRATES+04
OTHERS




23BENNETTGeorgeNZL       TEAM JUMBO – VISMA+04
125SCHREURSHamishNZL       ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY+59

General classification after stage 1:

RankLast NameFirst NameCountryTeamResult
1SAGANPeterSVK       BORA – HANSGROHE3:14:00
2MCCABETravisUSA       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA+04
3WALSCHEIDMaximilian RichardGER       TEAM SUNWEB+06
4HALVORSENKristofferNOR       TEAM INEOS+10
5MØRKØVMichaelDEN       DECEUNINCK  –  QUICK – STEP +10
6DOULLOwainGBR       TEAM INEOS+10
7STITESTylerUSA       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA+11
8GROSSSCHARTNERFelixAUT       BORA – HANSGROHE+12
9BENNETTGeorgeNZL       TEAM JUMBO – VISMA+13
10DE VREESELaurensBEL       ASTANA PRO TEAM+13
OTHER




125SCHREURSHamishNZL       ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY+01:09

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