Peter Sagan took his 17th stage victory at the Amgen Tour of California, crossing the line just ahead of American Travis McCabe
SACRAMENTO, California (VN) — It’s now 17 stage wins and counting for Peter Sagan.
Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) surfed the wheels of Team Ineos and Deceuninck-Quick Step during the chaotic finale of Sunday’s opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California, before unleashing a winning sprint with 150 meters to go. Sagan crossed the line in the shadow of the California State Capitol building just ahead of American Travis McCabe (USA Cycling) to take his 17th career stage victory at the California race.
It was Sagan’s first victory in California since 2017.
“Last year I didn’t win, but I’m very happy that I could catch another one,” Sagan said. “It’s going to be nice to hold some record here at the Tour of California.”
Sagan’s win came after a straightforward 143-kilometer stage that sent riders spinning from downtown Sacramento into the rural farm communities east of town. The race saw four riders form an early escape: Michael Schar (CCC Team), Tyler Stites (USA Cycling), Laurens de Vreese (Astana), and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk).
The peloton kept the group on a one-minute gap for much of the day, until riders from the group began to fall back. First was de Vreese, who pulled off with 70km remaining. Next was Schar, who fell back with 60 miles to go.
Planet was the final breakaway rider left, and he was swept up inside 30km to go.
Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team took turns at the front with Deceuninck-Quick Step, which looked to set up its fast man Fabio Jakobsen. But confusion in the final kilometers saw Sagan surge into a key position in the push to the final.
Sagan said he does not expect to hold the yellow race leader’s during Monday’s climbing stage to South Lake Tahoe, however he’s hopeful that his teammates Felix Grosschartner or Max Schachmann can take the lead.
“It’s important to have the yellow jersey with maybe Felix or Schachmann, but if its not necessary tomorrow then we will see,” Sagan said. “For sure we are not going to hold it with me.”
Birthday present for McCabe
McCabe also surfed wheels in the chaotic finale, and sprung onto the wheel of Sagan inside 200 meters to go. The American was gapped by Sagan’s initial acceleration, but clawed back space in the final kick to the line to finish within a bike length of the three-time world champion.
The result is McCabe’s best ever finish at the Amgen Tour of California, and it came on the day he celebrated his 30th birthday. Prior to the start, race announcers presented McCabe with a birthday cake.
“I came with speed and I came in two wheels back from Peter and I’m happy with second,” McCabe said. “It’s a great birthday present to me.”
McCabe is racing for USA Cycling’s men’s national team, which is comprised of young riders from various trade teams. McCabe was chosen for the squad as a veteran to help lead the squad at the race. McCabe said he had strong relationships with all the riders on the team, including Stites, who he trained with in Tucson, Arizona.
“I train with Tyler all the time—he’s a Tucson boy,” McCabe said. “I was riding with him when he was 12 years old.”
The Amgen Tour of California continues on Monday with a 214.5km stage to South Lake Tahoe.