Sacramento, CA. (May 11, 2014)
Mark Cavendish, “the fastest man on earth,” has won the first stage of the Tour of California.
The 2014 Amgen Tour of California began and at the State’s Capitol building in Sacramento, with the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team’s coming to the finish in what has been described as one of the closest victories in nine years at the event.
“I’ve won a sprint by 10 cm before, and I’ve lost a sprint by 3 [cm], and both of them I knew the outcome. That was the first time in my career I really had no idea who’d won…I’m super happy,” said Cavendish of his seventh win of 2014.
With 120 miles in the flat stage, it was the longest day of racing that ended with three two-mile laps around the State Capitol building.
Cavendish who was the 2011 World Champion and holds the third most Tour de France stage wins, came from behind in the very final meters over the finish line, just a tire rim past Team Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb (GER).
It was the Cav’s fourth career Amgen Tour of California stage win. Belkin-Pro Cycling Team’s Moreno Hofland (NED) came in fractions of a second behind the two leaders to claim third place.
In the second circuit the green train of Cannondale Pro Cycling could be seen forming in an attempt to lead out sprinter Peter Sagan (SVK).
But in the final circuit the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team and Team Giant-Shimano had battled for control for the final run up to the line, and swept past the Cannondale rider who has won this stage four years in a row, and holds the most Amgen Tour of California stage wins.
Cavendish won the overall green jersey five years ago. Degenkolb’s second place finish will put him in the ‘Visit California’ Sprint Jersey tomorrow.
Earlier in the race, 128 professional cyclists composed of 16 teams vied for an early hold on the race: Six riders including the peloton’s youngest member, 19-year old Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) of the Bissell Development Team, (who was later awarded the day’s ‘Crunchies Best Young Rider’ jersey for his efforts,) took off and held the peloton off by more than five minutes at times, until about 30 miles to go.
That’s when Team Sky upped the tempo to close down the breakaway.
Another breakaway took hold with 15 leaders at the front of the pack during a flat, farmlands section, but most of them fell back into the peloton after battling the heavy crosswinds.
But coming into downtown Sacramento, three still leaders held a 10-second advantage over the peloton as they entered the three 2-mile circuits lined with thousands of cheering spectators.
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Kiel Reijnen (USA) held onto a 20-second advantage until the final lap.
Other jerseys awarded today include: the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey to Team Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet (FRA) and the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey to Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Will Routley (CAN).
2014 – Overall Standings (at end of Stage 1)
|4.||156||GBR19950330||GEOGHEGAN HART Tao*||BDT||04:44:13||00:00:06|
|6.||35||NED19930726||VAN POPPEL Danny*||TFR||04:44:17||00:00:10|
|9.||51||AUS19861105||GOSS Matthew Harley||OGE||04:44:17||00:00:10|
|19.||141||ARG19810126||HAEDO Juan Jose||JSH||04:44:17||00:00:10|
2014 – Team Standings (at end of Stage 1)
|2.||Bissell Development Team (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|3.||Team Giant-Shimano (NED)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|4.||Trek Factory Racing (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|5.||Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|6.||UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|7.||BMC Racing Team (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|8.||Orica GreenEDGE (AUS)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|9.||Belkin Pro Cycling Team (NED)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|10.||Team NetApp-Endura (GER)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|11.||Team Optum By Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|12.||Jamis – Hagens Berman (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|13.||Team Novo Nordisk (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|14.||Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis (USA)||14:12:51||00:00:00|
|15.||Team Sky (GBR)||14:12:51||00:00:00|