Francisco Mancebo Rocks California Racing Winning Stage 1 of 2009 Amgen Tour of California
Team Astana dominates all-star chase group of more than 20 riders including both two-time defending race champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) and Lance Armstrong (USA).
the safety of the riders,” said Jim Birrell, race director. “This will not be protocol for the rest of the race; if we have blue skies we will race as it’s written in the rule book.”
In an amazing sweep of the jerseys, Mancebo claimed not only the Amgen Leader Jersey, but also the Herbalife Sprint Jersey and the California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey. Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey went to Ivan Basso (ITA) of Liquigas and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey was awarded to last year’s overall Best Young Rider Robert Gesink (NED) of Rabobank.
“So far, the race has been fantastic; exceeding expectations,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We are just two days into the race and already we’ve seen an amazing degree of competition from these world-class cyclists.”
The top-three general classification leaders after today are Mancebo, Leipheimer in second and David Zabriskie (USA) of Team Garmin-Slipstream in third.
Two-time defending champion, Leipheimer rode into a hometown welcome from the cheering crowds lining the roads in Santa Rosa. Leipheimer heads into Stage 2 with high hopes for his team’s performance over the rest of the week.
After the stage Mancebo told Roadcycling.com that "After today, my legs are going to be dead, but I’m going to try and maintain and hold off until the end; just maintain the jersey as long as I possibly can."
Additionally, the second day of competition in the 2009 race also featured the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. Using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the category Pro 1,2 Women’s Criterium was enthusiastically welcomed by the fans lining the course. Emilia Fahlin (SWE) from Team Columbia-Highroad was part of an early breakaway and won the race. Congrats.
Emilia told Roadcycling.com that "When I was here last year, I finished third. I really enjoyed the race last year with the big crowds, so I wanted to do better. Getting to win here was really fun and great way to start the season; very motivating. I think I tried to ride up front from the beginning of the race. It’s a technical course, and with the rain, I wanted to ride in front. After a few laps, some of the riders caught up to us, and then we were a little group riding up front."