The first stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California is complete, and the stage one victory went to 22-year-old Peter Sagan (Liquigas). The young man suffered a flat in the closing kilometers, but with the help of two teammates was able to storm his way back to the front of the peloton and easily jump out in the last hundred meters for the win.
Southern California's representatives in the race, Chris Barton of Ojai, CA (Bissel Pro Cycling) and Ken Hanson of Santa Barbara (Optum) both finished in the main bunch.
Stage one played out like a typical grand tour stage, with a breakaway of young riders motoring away from the peloton and putting a serious gap between themselves and the main bunch. Eventually the main bunch says enough is enough, and they turn the speed up and chase down the breakaway. That's exactly what happened on Saturday, and once the bunch was all together again things began setting up for a sprint finish. Team Rabobank looked to be in a good position to deliver sprinter Michael Matthews to the finish, but an unfortunate crash in the final kilometers took him out of things. That left Oricagreenedge in good position, but Peter Sagan's effort made their position irrelevant. With only a few hundred meters to go he put the hammer down and there was no catching him.
The stage one results and defacto overall standings:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:42:35
2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda
3 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
4 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
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
Stage two is on Monday, and we can expect more young riders trying to make a mark, as well as the veterans in the race asserting their tactics through experience.