Wiggins Wins Stage 2 and Takes Overall Amgen Tour of California Lead
A new race leader thereby emerged as a result of Wiggins crushing the individual time trial event to capture the stage win with a dominant margin of 44 seconds, as well as the yellow leader's jersey.
Stage 2 held in the first-time host city of Folsom presented the riders with a fast and flat 12.5-mile, 8-corner time trial course that, apart from a ramp in the finishing meters, was purely made for speed.
Despite involved in a serious crash in stage 1, Team Garmin-Sharp-POC’s Rohan Dennis (AUS), who finished third in last year’s Amgen Tour of California time trial, posted the time to beat early on, which held until Wiggins took the platform. The 2012 Tour de France champion, who won Olympic gold in the time trial the same year, turned in a spectacularly fast performance and became the only rider of the day to complete the course in less than 24 minutes for a final time of 00:23:18. Wiggins averaged a speed of 32 mph, a full mile per hour faster than the second-place Australian rider, who finished the day 44 seconds behind Wiggins.
“You have a plan in your head as to how you imagine you’re going to come out at the end of today, and so far it’s probably a bit better than I imagined,” Wiggins told RoadCycling.com before being celebrated on the podium. “I think it’s going to be a tough week now. I think tomorrow the race can really start. As big as the gaps may be now, everyone is in with a chance.”
Dennis used the opportunity to thank POC for producing the helmet, which saved his head in yesterday's crash. Dennis also thanked his team's staff for making today's performance possible and for enabling him to keep his hopes high for the coming stages. "Nothing but praise for the team staff since my crash yesterday. They have bent over backwards to give me every chance possible this week."
Wiggins is the second British rider to wear yellow this year, with the coveted leader jersey changing hands from Team Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s former world champion Mark Cavendish, who dropped to 18th place overall after today, but retained the Visit California Sprint Leader Jersey. BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney, an early favorite for today’s stage and tenth overall after yesterday, settled for a strong third place finish (+:52).
"It was not my best ride. I wasn't feeling amazing the whole time. It was an interesting distance. It's not as aerobic as a longer, 40- or 50-minute time trial and not as anaerobic as a prologue. So it was kind of an interesting distance to wrap your head around," Phinney told RoadCycling.com.
“I thought it would be a bit closer but when [Wiggins is] flying, he’s really flying, and he showed that today. Kind of in a class of his own. I think I could have had a better result but I gave it everything I had, and that’s really what it’s all about, so I guess I have to be satisfied,” added Boulder, Colorado native Phinney.
Other jerseys awarded today include the Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey to Team Giant-Shimano’s Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas), while the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey remains with Team Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet (FRA) and the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey remains with Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Will Routley (CAN).