Peter Sagan wins stage one of Tour of California 2019

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) sprinted to victory on stage of the Tour of California in Sacramento

The Bora-Hansgrohe man beat Travis McCabe (United States) and Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) in a sprint in the state capital of Sacramento.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) were some of the fancied sprinters who failed to contest the finish, the former 30 seconds down on Sagan.

It is Sagan’s 17th win in the race, but only his second of 2019. The last time he raised his hands in triumph was stage three of the Tour Down Under on January 17.

The three-time world champion will be relieved to have returned to winning ways after coming close at Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo.

Victory for the Slovak means that he takes the leader’s jersey but he is unlikely to be able to repeat his result from four years ago when he won topped the general classification after eight stages.

Stage two of the 14th edition sees the riders gradually climb from sea level to 2,616m before finishing at South Lake Tahoe. An uphill finish will tempt the rouleurs.

How it happened

Starting in Sacramento, the peloton headed for the northern Central Valley. Almost immediately, four men swelled to form a breakaway: Laurens de Vreese (Astana), Tyler Stites (United States), Charles Planet (Novo-Nordisk) and Michael Schär (CCC Team).

The quartet were never allowed to extend their lead to more than a few minutes, and perhaps aware of the inevitable, De Vreese sat up to be swamped by the peloton with 76km of the 143km stage still to race.

A peloton hungry for a bunch sprint caught Plant, the last surviving member of the breakaway, with 19km still to race, setting up the finish.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step set the pace initially as the sprinting teams organised ahead of two laps in the city’s downtown which were watched by large crowds.

Team Sunweb rode superbly at the front in the final few kilometres, Sagan noticeably sitting in the middle of their lead-out train that was intended for Walscheid.

As they entered the final kilometre, both Deceuninck-Quick Step and Ineos were at the front of the race, the peloton behind splitting across the road leaving only a half-a-dozen riders to battle it out in the finale.

Owain Doull hit the front, working for his teammate Kristoffer Halvorsen. But behind the Welshman was Sagan who was making the most of the slipstream.

At 150m to go, Sagan darted into the vacant space to the right of Doull, with Michael Morkov of Deceuninck-Quick Step quick to follow. The Dane, however, couldn’t match the speed of Sagan.

Sagan powered to the line but McCabe put in a valiant effort to match Sagan and almost snatch victory on the line. Doull rolled home sixth, the rest of the peloton four seconds behind, led by John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo.

Results

Tour of California 2019, stage one: Sacramento > Sacramento (143km)

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-14-10
2. Trevor McCabe (USA) United States
3. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos
5. Michael Morkov (Den) Deceuninck-Quick Step
6. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos, all at same time
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo, at 4 secs
8. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
9. Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE-Team Emirates, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3-14-10
2. Trevor McCabe (USA) United States, at 4 secs
3. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb, at 6 secs
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos, at 10 secs
5. Michael Morkov (Den) Deceuninck-Quick Step
6. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos, all at same time
7. Tyler Stites (USA) United States, at 11 secs
8. George Bennett (NwZ) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 13 secs
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo, at 14 secs
10. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida, at same time

Read more at https://www.cyclingweekly.com

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