Argentinian sprinter Juan José Haedo of the freshman Toyota-United Pro team won the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California in a sprint finish in Santa Rosa on Monday, as hometown boy Levi Leipheimer held onto the leader's golden jersey.
With Davitamon-Lotto, HealthNet, and Phonak controlling the front of the peloton for their sprinters, it's interesting to see a sprinter win it from another team. Actually, the win could certainly help the career of Haedo as directors from major Euro pro cycling teams witnessed this 25-year-old take a sprint from their teams.
Two T-Mobile riders took second and third: Scott Davis and Olaf Pollak. Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile finished second and Stuart O'Grady of Team CSC finished third, reported CyclingNews in the final results.
(Haedo beat the legendary O'Grady in the sprint? Yikes!)
The overall standings didn't change much from as all the riders finishing in the sprint, such as Leipheimer, get the same time.
The Gerolsteiner team from Germany controlled the peloton through most of the 80-mile race that left Sausalito about 11 a.m. (PT), as their man Leipheimer was wearing the golden jersey.
Jackson Stewart (Kodak-Sierra Nevada) and Frenchman Jean Marc Mario (Credit Agricole) attacked a couple of miles before the sprint at Point Reyes, less than half-way into the race. They gained a 3-minute advantage, but were pulled back on the outskirts of Santa Rosa.
The race ended on three circuits of 3.1 miles each around Santa Rosa. Variously Discovery, Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto, HealthNet and Phonak were all reported to be controlling the peloton through the twisty criterium-like course.
Freddy Rodriguez had moved to the front for Davitamon-Lotto, as had Nathan O'Neill for HealthNet. Haedo emerged in the last few hundred yards.
Who is Haedo?
Haedo rode for the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home cycling team last year. Although Euro cycling fans might not be familiar with him, he won two stages of California's Redlands Classic last year, a Tour de Toona stage, the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic, and best overall at the Bank of America classic.
This is the first year for Toyota-United Pro, led by team directors Frankie Andreu and Harm Jansen. You might remember Andreu, a former cyclist, with a microphone in his hand during the OLN's Tour de France broadcasts.
Levi Leipheimer (1, US) Gerolsteiner
Bobby Julich (2, US) Team CSC
George Hincapie (3, US) Discovery Channel
Floyd Landis (4, US) Phonak
David Zabriskie (5, US) Team CSC
Fabian Cancellara (6, Swi) Team CSC
Jason McCartney (7, US) Discovery
Hayden Roulston (8, NZ) HealthNet
Vladimir Gusev (9, Rus) Discovery
Paolo Savoldelli (10, Ita) Discovery
Jackson Stewart, US, Kodak-Sierra Nevada
Best young rider:
Zachary Grabowski US, Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home