Peter Sagan Sprints to Stage 1 Victory in 2012 Amgen Tour of California
Peter Sagan overcame a flat tire five kilometers from the finish only to have teammate Ted King tow him back up to the pack at more than 40 miles per hour to pass his stage victory challengers within the last 100 meters to win stage 1 of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California.
eight minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the peloton as they rolled down River Road. Boily picked up the day's first King of the Mountain (KOM) points on Cazadero Highway, followed by Salas and then Atkins. This same group crossed the second and third KOMs of the day, both on Fort Ross Road, in the exact same order.
With 60 kilometer to go, the break still held a lead of eight minutes and 15 seconds over the peloton, with Team RadioShack-Nissan working the most to reel them back in. Turning inland, the riders headed toward their fourth and final KOM of the day on Coleman Valley Road, where the peloton began to stretch out with Team Garmin-Barracuda putting in the most effort at the front and some mad spectators working hard to get in the way of the riders. Boily crossed the KOM line first, followed by Salas and Bouet. Stretching to a single line, the peloton trailed the breakaway by only 40 seconds.
As the peloton closed in, Boily was absorbed, leaving only Jacques-Maynes, Bouet and Louder. Team Rabobank continued to drive the chase and eventually caught up with the three leaders. Shortly thereafter, Sagan's bike flatted, but Sagan was able to work his way back up to the front. Just outside of the 3 kilometer, there was a crash that took out notable sprinter Michael Matthews (AUS) of Rabobank. Sagan managed to avoid the trouble and sprinted to the finish. Haussler finished second and Rodriguez crossed the line in third position.
Commenting on his 2nd place finish Haussler said "It's always a bit up in the air about how my form is after altitude. And I'm just coming off a big altitude block. So second today shows my form is there, and that's a good sign. We're very motivated here in California, and we'll keep looking for
"It was great to be here in my hometown in Santa Rosa," Leipheimer commented after the stage and continued "Today was a huge success. The course was beautiful, and I knew every meter of the road. To be honest, I suffered a little, and suffering on your own roads isn't fun, but I am just happy to be here. The Amgen Tour of California is important in order for me to get to the Tour de France and London Olympics. There's a lot of racing left and this is my motivation to improve, be as fast as possible and train as much as possible."
2012 Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Results:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 04:42:35
2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda
3 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
4 Leigh Howard (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Team BMC Racing
6 George Hincapie (USA) Team BMC Racing
7 Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
8 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
9 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
10 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
11 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
12 Gavin Mannion