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Tour of California Stage 2: Live Coverage — See how the race unfolded

09:40 AM: Good morning . . .. . . And welcome to stage 2 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, a 115.8-mile leg from Santa Rosa to Sacramento. We're due to get rolling at 10 a.m. local time.

  • 09:40 AM: Good morning . . .
    . . . And welcome to stage 2 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, a 115.8-mile leg from Santa Rosa to Sacramento. We’re due to get rolling at 10 a.m. local time.
  • 09:42 AM: Arm warmers and rain jackets
    There’s light rain in Santa Rosa this morning, with more of the same expected along the entire race route. Right now, according to the National Weather Service, it’s cloudy and 49 in Sacramento, with 77 percent humidity. Dress warmly, guys.
  • 09:44 AM: Making the grade
    Just 12 miles or so into today’s stage, the riders will tackle the ascent of Trinity Grade, a rough grind followed by a technical descent into the Napa Valley wine country.
  • 09:47 AM: Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Once safely down from the grade, the pack will roll east past Lake Berryessa and through the cities of Winters and Davis. After turning north, the route will follow the Sacramento River and cross the Tower Bridge before arriving at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento sometime around 2 p.m. There, the riders will race three laps of a downtown circuit whose finish line is in front of the state’s Capitol building.
  • 09:49 AM: Then and now
    In 2007, Argentinean ace J.J. Haedo – who won yesterday’s sprint into Santa Rosa – proved fastest in an all-ProTour sprint finish to win stage 2 into Sacramento ahead of Luca Paolini Liquigas and Thor Hushovd. Can JJ repeat? Stick around, folks, and we’ll all find out together.
  • 09:56 AM: The editor chimes in
    VeloNews editor in chief Ben Delaney has a few thoughts on today’s stage. Check ’em out here.
  • 09:59 AM: Jersey contenders (for today, anyway) . . .
    . . . include Tyler Farrar (Slipstream), just two seconds off the lead of CSC’s Fabian Cancellara, and High Road’s Gerald Ciolek, who sits nine seconds back. If one of them can grab some sprint bonuses, he might get a pretty yellow shirt to go with ’em.
  • 10:02 AM: Sunny California?
    Not today, folks. Toss in some cobbles and a sack of pommes frites with mayo and it could be Belgium.
  • 10:04 AM: We’re off and rolling
    Once again, we have a neutral start to get everyone safely out of Dodge (or in this case, Santa Rosa). We’re seeing lots of rain jackets, knickers and even complete leg warmers on some of the guys.
  • 10:11 AM: Pretty country around these parts
    We’ve done a little cycling around the Santa Rosa area and found it delightful. Today, however, we might have opted for a nice, dry winery tour.
  • 10:12 AM: But the locals are made of sterner stuff
    We’re seeing the occasional spectator cheering the guys on from underneath an umbrella. Chapeau!
  • 10:15 AM: BMC on the jump
    Scott Nydam has a go.
  • 10:18 AM: Johnny Sundt launches
    The Kelly Benefits man is trying to bridge. The bunch is on cruise control.
  • 10:24 AM: Nydam still alone
    The BMC man is still up fron on his own. Sundt is working and still at around 35 seconds. The peloton is content to watch these two suffer on their own, and remains at about 1:10.
  • 10:27 AM: CSC at the front
    The CSC squad is up front in the peloton, with Jens Voigt chatting with his teammates. We also see some of the Rock crew there. They’re back in the Green-highlighted kit, after yesterday’s black with barbed-wire highlights, a design used to protest the exclusion of Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero.
  • 10:30 AM: The gap
    Nydam – who rode in this year’s Tour of Qatar – is now 1:20 ahead of the main field with Sundt out there in no-man’s-land at 30 seconds. Ahead is the Trinity Grade climb. It’s a Cat. 2, unless you’re like the Live Update Guy, who has to haul an hors categorie load up climbs like that these days.
  • 10:39 AM: Nydam
    is now working on a 4:00 lead. We have not heard much about Johnny Sundt’s status. After half-an-hour of racing, Nydam has covered about 9.7 miles. There is more than 100 miles ahead, if he wants to steal a win today.
  • 10:41 AM: Nydam
    is making the turn on to the lower slopes of Trinity. It’s a tough, tough climb, but that descent is something truly frightening. Word is that Sundt has given up the chase and is in with the peloton.
  • 10:46 AM: Feeling the effort
    Nydam is pulling off his jacket. This climb is tough and only gets tougher as it gets close to the top.
  • 10:46 AM: Feeling the effort
    Nydam is pulling off his jacket. This climb is tough and only gets tougher as it gets close to the top.
  • 10:49 AM: Nydam
    is working his way up the climb, ensuring that the KOM jersey will stay in the hands of the BMC team. His teammate, Jackson Stewart scored that by grabbing top points on yesterday’s Cat. 3 Coleman Valley climb, near the end of his long, long, solo break.
  • 10:56 AM: With 1km
    to the top for Nydam, he has a lead of about 3:30.
  • 11:00 AM: Up and over
    Nydam is over the top. That comes at the 50:43 mark in today’s stage. We’ll get a time check when the rest of the bunch comes over.
  • 11:05 AM: The peloton is still climbing
    And it’s been four minutes since Nydam crested. We may have been wrong in saying that Sundt had been reabsorbed. Nydam is working his way down a dicey descent. He has the advantage in that he’s able to ride this by himself… much better than riding this wet road with 100 of your closest friends.
  • 11:08 AM: The peloton is
    nearing the top of the climb and that means Nydam has more than 7:00 on the field. Sundt, meanwhile, is in between at 3:20.
  • 11:10 AM: Caution
    No one is taking any risks on this descent.
  • 11:12 AM: Nydam
    Has a gap of just around 8:00. After slightly more than an hour in the saddle, he’s covered just 24 miles and has about 99 remaining.
  • 11:14 AM: Race Radio
    reports that a couple of riders have gone down on the descent. We don’t have word on their condition, but it looks like both are back up and riding.
  • 11:18 AM: The peloton is near the bottom
    The gap is now around 7:30.
  • 11:20 AM: The roads
    are still wet, but the rain isn’t quite as heavy as it was earlier in the day.
  • 11:29 AM: Nydam
    continues to hold a 3:00 lead over Johnny Sundt. The peloton is another 4:00 back. BMC has certainly been aggressive in the Tour of California so far. Ahead, he faces rolling terrain until the Cat. 4 climb on Highway 128, at the 52-mile mark. After that it will be downhill and then mostly flat into Sacramento. Word from the finish is that the governor will be congratulating the stage winner and jersey wearers again this year. Last year, Gov. Schwarzenegger showed up as well. He was on crutches last year, after suffering an injury in a skiing accident. He’s obviously recovered this year and like he promised, He’s Back.
  • 11:31 AM: That gap
    We’re getting spotty reports, so we apologize. The gap is actually up beyond 9:00 now. He’s going to need more than that if he wants to stay away all the way to the finish. The peloton is taking it easy, but when they kick it in, it will be tough to hold them off.
  • 11:36 AM: Nydam
    Looks good on the bike today. He’s heading back into the rolling terrain that will culminate with the Highway 128 climb at mile 52. Behind him Sundt remains in no-man’s-land.
  • 11:39 AM: Just a reminder
    Keep an eye on the buttons to the right. We’re continuing to add photos throughout today’s stage. Speaking of photos, word from race radio is that one of the bikes that went down on the descent was a photo moto. No word who was on board. We’re hoping our guys — Graham Watson and Casey Gibson — escaped the carnage.
  • 11:42 AM: The roads
    Appear to be drying up a bit. It’s not raining and at the finish the sun is even peeking through the clouds.
  • 11:47 AM: The “chase”
    hasn’t really kicked in. The gap to Nydam is now up to 12 minutes, after 55km of racing.
  • 11:53 AM: A word from the Peanuts Gallery
    We got a quick note from one of our readers who took issue with a bit of the local color we mentioned earlier:

    “Hometown of Charles Schultz? I suppose, if you mean where he lived and worked for the last 30 years of his life. He was, however, born in Minneapolis, and grew up in St. Paul. So we, naturally, refer to St. Paul as his ‘hometown.'”
    -Ken

  • 11:57 AM: A quarter-of-an-hour?
    Word from the road is that Nydam’s lead is approaching the 15-minute mark. Sundt is still out there, trailing the BMC man by about five minutes.
  • 12:10 PM: CSC
    Is still keeping things on the mellow side. The gap is growing. Sundt remains in the gap, stuck almost at the halfway mark between BMC’s Nydam and the peloton.
  • 12:12 PM: Just as we
    remarked about the CSC team taking it easy, they proved us wrong and finally decided to up the pace.
  • 12:20 PM: Heading to the feedzone
    Nydam is heading toward the day’s feedzone. He gets lunch and then he’ll be working his way to the day’s second KOM, the Cat. 4 climb up Highway 128.
  • 12:23 PM: As Nydam grabs lunch
    the CSC-led peloton is making up a little bit of time, but he’s still 12:30 up the road.
  • 12:29 PM: The peloton
    is ticking along, but the pace is not furious. Riders are cruising along two-abreast and several of them are tucked in and chatting. We see Fred Rodriguez and Chris Horner enjoying a pleasant conversation. Up the road, Nydam has about 4.5km to reach the summit of the day’s second KOM, the Highway 128 climb that summits at 52 miles.
  • 12:33 PM: Current situation on the road
    We have today’s 115-mile stage currently led by BMC’s Scott Nydam. He is about 12 minutes ahead of the main field and working his way up the Highway 128 climb, which summits at 52 miles. Behind him, by about 7:00, is Kelly Benefit Strategy’s Johnny Sundt. The peloton is slowly ramping up the pace, content with the knowledge that it won’t be so tough to reel in two escapees with another 63 miles to go after the summit.
  • 12:38 PM: And there he is
    We see the Big Hair Superfan running along side Nydam as he approaches the summit of the climb. We should get clean time checks at the summit.
  • 12:40 PM: Sundt
    is working his way up the climb. We’re going get a good time check when he reaches the summit. It sure would be nice if these two could team up, but it’s unlikely.
  • 12:42 PM: If we were
    betting men on this side (and we’re not), we’d have to predict a sprint finish for today’s stage.
  • 12:45 PM: CSC looks serious
    The Danish team has Stuart O’Grady and Jens Voigt setting a strong tempo at the front.
  • 12:47 PM: There’s Graham
    Well, if he did crash on the descent of Trinity Grade, he got up. We just spotted the white helmet of photographer Graham Watson on the back of the moto. Our time check at the summit, gives Nydam about 7:30 on Sundt.
  • 12:49 PM: The peloton
    crests the summit at about 9:12. Yesterday’s escapee, Jackson Stewart, snags 2 KOM points as he leads the group over the top.

    Up front, Nydam has around 55 miles of mostly flat road ahead of him. Any bets that he’s going to make it?

  • 12:55 PM: The pace
    is picking up in the main field. We can expect Sundt to be caught soon and Nydam to be reeled in well before the field reaches Sacramento for the meeting with the Governator.
  • 12:57 PM: Nydam
    is heading into the day’s first – of two – intermediate sprint mark at 62 miles.
  • 01:03 PM: Nydam has nine
    He’s still out there on his own, with about 4k to go before the sprint.

    Behind him, the peloton is led by Stuart O’Grady, but things have slowed as several riders stopped for a nature break. Good timing for Mario Cipollini. He has a flat, so he won’t have a hard time chasing back.

  • 01:07 PM: It’s raining at the finish
    Out on the road, the riders are feeling a bit damp, as well.
  • 01:09 PM: Nydam
    takes the points at the sprint mark. Behind him, Johnny Sundt has been pulled back into the peloton.
  • 01:12 PM: Nydam signals
    his team car and gets a bit of water and a few words of encouragement.
  • 01:17 PM: Jackets on
    Jackets off… the weather is turning riders into quick-change artists. The jackets are off again and we can actually see the yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara.
  • 01:19 PM: With the rain
    and the nature break, the pace has slowed and Nydam’s lead has stretched back out to around 12:00. He still has 48 miles to go, so there is still time to pull him back, but that time is evaporating.
  • 01:23 PM: High Road
    and Slipstream are moving up to the front of the peloton and upping the pace again, as the sprint mark approaches. We have to assume their working for Cavendish and Farrar. They’re bound to keep the pace up. We’ll keep an eye on the gap.
  • 01:25 PM: It looks like
    Cipollini snuck up there and contested the remaining points, but it was High Road’s Ciolek ahead of Slipstream’s Farrar.
  • 01:32 PM: 12:45
    Nydam is extending his lead, but we can’t imagine that it will last. He’s 44 miles from the finish and the peloton is riding in single-file, suggesting the pace is picking up.
  • 01:34 PM: The rain has stopped
    and the roads are dry. Nydam is plowing along. The weather may hold to the finish as the stage leader is passing by a very Italian-looking olive grove.
  • 01:42 PM: Current situation
    Nydam is still out there on his own. CSC is driving the chase, but the gap is still more than 12 minutes. And the rain has started again.
  • 01:46 PM: Quick Step and CSC
    are up front in the peloton. Nydam is closing in on the sprint in Davis.
  • 01:49 PM: Nydam
    picks up three bonus seconds as he hits the Davis sprint. Just 35 miles to go, after 3:39:58 of racing.
  • 01:51 PM: CSC and Quick Step
    are driving the pace at the front of the peloton, but they’ve just passed the 5km-to-go to the sprint mark, meaning that Nydam has a heck of a lead at this point.
  • 01:55 PM: Slipstream
    is moving up as the peloton heads into Davis. Tyler Farrar has earned enough time to move within just one second of the yellow jersey.
  • 01:57 PM: Frararr gets it
    Fararr gets a two-second time bonus, which puts him ahead of Cancellara on GC. The peloton crossed through the sprint mark about 7:35 behind Nydam.
  • 02:00 PM: He’s looking tired
    Slipstream is still up front and the time gap is coming down. Nydam is beginning to look a bit tired and can you blame him? He’s been on his own since the 2-mile mark of today’s stage.
  • 02:03 PM: Nydam
    is getting his picture taken by Graham Watson right now. His pace is such that we can expect him to be caught well before the race reaches Sacramento. There are 29 miles remaining in today’s race.
  • 02:07 PM: Rain again
    The Slipstream team is up front, setting the pace. Ahead, Nydam is loading up his jersey with bottles… a sign he expects to be caught here soon. Officially, the gap is 7:05, but we have to say it’s less than that.
  • 02:13 PM: Out in the flats
    On the approach to Sacramento, Nydam has been on the attack for more than four hours now. The Slipstream team is setting the tempo at the front of the field and getting a bit of a hand from Quick Step.
  • 02:16 PM: Tick tick tick
    TThe gap is coming down and our last check was just around 5:30. Nydam has 26 miles to go.
  • 02:19 PM: Slipstream
    has eased off and it’s a mix of teams at the front of the peloton.
  • 02:21 PM: Dry at the finish
    The rain has stopped again and the roads are drying up. Let’s hope that the weather doesn’t come back and affect the safety of today’s finish.
  • 02:24 PM: The Governator
    has to be at the finish. The security detail is at the podium, so it’s a sign that the Governor of Kahhhlifornia is around.
  • 02:27 PM: The gap
    is down to less than 4:30. With 22 miles to go, it’s going to be hard to stave off the hounds. Nydam seems resigned to his fate.
  • 02:31 PM: Quick Step and High Road
    Are taking up chasing duties. Once Nydam is caught, we’ll see a lot of jockeying for position. There’s a bit of a crosswind and so we see echelons forming up on the road. Remember CSC’s Haedo won in Sacramento last year. If he wins today, he’ll match his two-stage-win pattern he’s established in the first two tours.
  • 02:37 PM: The end is near
    It’s raining afgain at the outskirts of Sacramento. The peloton has Nydam in it is sites. He’s just a few hundred meters up the road. He sees them, too.
  • 02:39 PM: He’s caught.
    Scott Nydam is in the field and he wins today’s Jacky Durand headbanger award.
  • 02:41 PM: With 17 miles to go
    The peloton is heading toward the finish. Ahead are three trips around the 2.2-mile finishing circuit at, which finishes near the California state house.
  • 02:45 PM: Rain at the finish
    It’s raining again at the finish in Sacramento. That may make for a dicey trip through the finishing circuit.
  • 02:49 PM: Bouygues TelecomBouygues Telecom
    Sebastian Turgot has scampered off the front in an effort to get into Sacto first.
  • 02:52 PM: More bad news for Astana
    We’ve just received word from our European correspondent Andrew Hood that the Astana team has now been excluded from this year’s editions of Milan-San Remo and the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race.
  • 02:54 PM: How is that for bad luck
    Turgot was powering along… looking good and suddenly he hears Psssssssssssst. He’s received a wheel chang from Mavic, but that has to take a bit of the oomph out of his effort.
  • 02:54 PM: Thinking ahead?
    For those of you making your early travel plans, Tour de France officials said that the 2010 edition will start either in Dusseldorf, Germany, or in either Rotterdam or Utrecht in the Netherlands. A decision is expected before the end of the year. Tour officials told VeloNews last month that it boasts a long list of cities hoping to host a Tour grand depart, thanks in part to be massive success of last year’s opening in London. Holland last hosted the Tour departure in 1996 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch while Germany hosted it in 1987 in Berlin ahead of the reunification of Germany. This year’s Tour starts in Brest while Monaco plays host to the 2009 Tour start.
  • 02:57 PM: CSC driving at the front
    With 10 miles remaining, the CSC squad is driving hard at the front of the main field. The tireless Jens Voigt is powering at the front.
  • 02:58 PM: Turgot
    Despite his bad luck, Turgot is holding a 20-second lead as the race charges through the streets of Sacramento. CSC is driving the chase.
  • 03:00 PM: Turgot
    may have a slight advantage. The roads are slick and the peloton is being cautious on the turns. Now on the straight, they are chasing hard, though. Turgot is crossing Tower Bridge into town.
  • 03:02 PM: Slipstream
    is moving up. Turgot is only 12 seconds ahead of the main field as he heads to the state house. He has three laps ahead of him, though.
  • 03:04 PM: He’s caught
    and it’s CSC and Slipstream up front. High Road is moving up, too.
  • 03:05 PM: Three laps to go
    The peloton has crossed the finish line, signalling the start of the three finishing circuits.
  • 03:07 PM: Fast
    Folks seem to be throwing caution to the wind. These roads are wet, so we’re hoping that the rubber sticks to the road out there.
  • 03:08 PM: Haedo flats!
    He got a quick wheel change from his teammate, but he’s chasing with a long way to go.
  • 03:08 PM: Haedo flats!
    He got a quick wheel change from his team mate, but he’s chasing with a long way to go.
  • 03:10 PM: Attack
    As the peloton nears the end of the first lap, we see a Slipstream rider off the front, with High Road and CSC giving chase… he’s caught.
  • 03:11 PM: Haedo is in the field
    But the peloton is quite long. He has just four miles to work his way back to the front.
  • 03:12 PM: Haedo is working
    his way up to the front, but Quick Step, Slipstream and High Road are really driving hard at the front of the field.
  • 03:14 PM: One lap to go
    The speed is quite high. In the main field we see Cipollini up there with Rodriguez. Bettini is in there with Boonen.
  • 03:15 PM: Haedo has worked his way back!
    With one lap to go, Haedo is tucked into the tenth spot in the main field.
  • 03:16 PM: One mile to go
    Heado is close to the front.
  • 03:17 PM: 1km to go
    We see some serious horsepower at the front of the field.
  • 03:19 PM: Cavendish goes for it
    He starts his sprint early … and a new sprint begins with 300 meters to go. Tom Boonen!!! Tom Boonen gets the win.
  • 03:21 PM: It looks like Tyler Farrar
    is the new overall leader, moving up past Fabian Cancellara on the strength of the bonus seconds he earned on the road.
  • 03:23 PM: Boonen
    is being mobbed by the media. We see Dave Towle and Bob Roll tussling for position.
  • 03:27 PM: Unofficial top three
    1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step
    2. Heinrich Haussler (G), Gerolsteiner
    3. Mario Cipollini (I), Rock Racing
  • 03:31 PM: Thank you for checking in today
    We had fun and we hope you did, too. Be sure to check in soon for a quick race report, results and more news from the full VeloNews crew on the ground at the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. Until then, have a good evening and see you tomorrow.