Tour of California celebrates swift finish after delay

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A British cycling speedster earned the overall leader's jersey at the Amgen Tour of California on Monday by winning the mass sprint finish in Sacramento.

No, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) didn't return this year. He's battling for stage wins at the Giro d'Italia this week.

This is another sprinting phenom from the UK, Ben Swift for Team Sky. The victory in Sacramento marked the 23-year-old's fifth win this season.

Delay and move

After a Stage 1 snow cancellation at Lake Tahoe on Sunday, the weather continued to threaten trouble on Monday. Early in the morning, organizers decided to delay the start by about three hours and moved the starting line 20 to 30 miles downhill from the abandoned host city of North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley.

It's all very ironic, since the Tour of California owners moved the Tour dates to May so they could feature high mountain cycling and finishes.

Since the Nevada City start shortened the race, organizers added two more circuits around Sacramento to create a 77-mile race. In spite of the time and location changes, observers reported a decent-sized crowd for the send off.


The peloton still faced inclement weather as showers occasionally swept the course, making the road and streets in Sacramento slippery in spots.

A four-man breakaway developed on the downhill run from Nevada City.  The quartet of Laszlo Bodrogi (Team Type 1), Timon Seubert (Team Netapp), James Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Cycling) stayed out front until the outskirts of Sacramento.

The peloton swept up the last of the attackers about 8 miles from the finish, before the first circuit.

Tuesday stage

Stage 3 rolls out of the foothill town of Auburn at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday and heads to Modesto, 122 miles away. The route starts with a big downhill from Auburn at elevation 1,400 feet, then heads across slightly rolling terrain to the town that boasts from the entry arch, “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health.”

Top 10 overall

1. Ben Swift (Great Britain) Sky
2. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Australia) HTC Highroad
4. Kevin Lacombe (Canada) Team Spidertech
5. Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina) Saxo Bank
6. Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Argentina) Jamis-Sutter Home
7. Thor Hushovd (Norway) BMC Racing
8. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing
9. Oscar Freire (Spain) Rabobank
10. Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda

See and for more race details and results.

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