The sun was radiant on a comfortable spring day on Sunday in San Diego to welcome the start of the 11th Amgen Tour of California, which for only the second time in race history is taking a south-to-north route. Picking up right where he left off last year, the reigning race and UCI Road World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) triumphed in a convincing group gallop ahead of Wouter Wippert (Cannondale) and Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo). For the charismatic Slovak, who will wear yellow on Stage 2 as the GC leader of the 782-mile, 8-day race, it was his record 14th Amgen Tour of California stage victory and third win of the season. Fans lining the 108-mile circuit were delighted to see the dynamic and uniquely talented rider in the rainbow jersey win the first stage. It was the first time America’s Greatest Race ever visited San Diego.
It’s just over two weeks until the start of the second Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, which is part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. For lay people, that means the best women’s teams and most accomplished riders in the world will gather in the Golden State May 19-22 to put on a thrilling four-stage cycling spectacle not to be missed.
Last year’s inaugural Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered by SRAM was a sensational success showcasing a peloton filled with the world’s fastest female cyclists competing in a three-day stage race followed by an invitational time trial event. The ante is being upped in a big way in 2016 as the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered by SRAM, taking place May 19-22, is part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour and will include the first ever women’s team time trial as Stage 2 of America’s Greatest Race.
This week, we finally got a look at the challenging route for the 2016 Amgen Tour of California, which was revealed at a media event presented by Visit California. From top to bottom – actually that should be from bottom to top since for only the second time ever, the race will travel south to north – the courses for the May 15-22 event will showcase California’s breathtaking beauty while taking the breath of the world’s most accomplished cyclists in a stage race that could be described as long and tall. The route for the eleventh edition of America’s Greatest Race is one of the longest in race history at nearly 800 miles and one of the tallest with almost 65,000 feet of climbing.
What a difference a day makes. Stage 2 of America’s Greatest Race, a 120.4-mile pedal from Nevada City to Lodi, culminated in another group gallop that saw the Amgen Tour of California yellow jersey leader Mark Cavendish (Ettix-Quick-Step) win in a photo finish over rival Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Drapac’s Wouter Wippert. Unfortunately there were some casualties out on course.
When the UCI changed the rules last year about the equipment riders can use on the velodrome in an attempt to ride the magic hour, it opened the flood gates on attempts and put the sexy back in the pursuit of the world hour record. The ever popular Jens Voigt got the party started last September a few weeks after his final road race when he set the new benchmark bettering Ondřej Sosenka’s 2005 mark of 49.7 km riding 51.115 km. Last October, Matthias Brändle upped the ante by covering 51.852 km. 2014 Amgen Tour of California runner-up Rohan Dennis eclipsed that distance by 639 meters last Sunday (Feb. 8) at the Velodrome Suisse when the Australian became the first to ride over 52 kilometers setting the new world hour record at 52.491 km.