Two sizeable climbs defined stage two of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, and while a breakaway made it alone over the first one, by the top of the second one the peloton had reeled them in and it was all together to the sprint finish in downtown Aptos. The result was Team Liquigas leading things from the top of that second climb to the finish line, setting a blistering pace to discourage any other teams from getting ideas about attacks. It worked perfectly, as current race leader Peter Sagan put in a huge effort in the final 100 meters and tightened his hold on the yellow leader's jersey. Sagan was in a close contest entering the final turn, with Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) and yesterday's runner up Henrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) right with him. Once they came around that corner, though, Sagan put the hammer down and there was no doubt. He won by several bike lengths, with Haussler again taking second and Howard in third.
The stage was designed to break up the GC standings a bit, with the thinking that the stronger riders would make it over the climbs well in advance of others. It didn't quite work out that way, with the peloton largely intact going into the finish. The GC standings are still close, and it's anyone's race going forward.
Southern California's representatives in the race were quiet again, with Chris Barton of Ojai, CA (Bissel Pro Cycling) and Ken Hanson of Santa Barbara (Optum) both finishing in the main group.
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