Sagan wins Tour of California opener

Mon, 14 May 00:52:00 2012

Peter Sagan overcame a flat tyre in the final few kilometres to win the opening stage of the Tour of California in a sprint finish.

Team Liquigas-Cannondale rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia is kissed after winning Stage 1 of the Tour of California bicycle race in Santa Rosa, California May 13, 2012 - 0

The Slovakian, one of the most promising riders in professional cycling, further enhanced his growing reputation when he won the 186 kilometre stage, that started and finished in Santa Rosa.

The 22-year-old got back in the saddle after changing his rear wheels and timed his run to perfection to win the stage by about two bike lengths.

"It was a really confusing sprint because it was a small field," said Sagan, a former junior world mountain cyclist who turned to road cycling in 2008.

"With 10 kilometres to go I flatted, but I knew there was time to get back in.

"Thanks to the work of my teammates I didn't panic, and we were able to get back on easily."

Australian Heinrich Haussler finished second in the opening stage while American Fred Rodriguez crossed the line third, both in the same time as Sagan.

Sagan lost around 25 seconds to the field while mechanics changed his rear wheel but two of his team-mates towed him back to the main field in quick order.

News: Tour of California S

It was Sagan's fourth stage win at the Tour of California, the most prestigious cycling event in the United States, and the 27th overall of his professional career, but he did not expect to win the eight-day Tour.

"It is going to be very hard to hold onto the yellow jersey," said Sagan.

"I'm okay on the smaller climbs, but it's only going to get harder and harder as the week goes on."

Tom Boonen of Belgium, the world's number one ranked road cyclist, suffered a puncture just before the spring to the line and was unable to make an impact.

As the pace increased before the sprint to the line, several riders crashed near the front of the peloton. Last year's winner, American Chris Horner, survived unscathed and finished in the middle of the pack.

The opening stage came to life early. Eight riders broke from the field of 128 just after the neutralized start.

Almost halfway through the stage, they led by more than 11 minutes, but were swallowed up by the chasing pack after four and a half hours of hard pedalling.

The Tour continues Monday with a 189km stage from San Francisco to Aptos.

Reuters

Comment 1 - 10 of 10

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  1. is he a possible gc contender in the future or would he­ be more suited to the green jersey in the tour or the­ vuelta???

    From Owen, on Mon 14 May 21:05
  2. Nathan, a proofreader would have used much red ink on­ your post. If you're going to pick others up, be­ sure to be correct yourself. Better still, don't­ pick others up.

    From Terry, on Mon 14 May 20:11
  3. "after changing his rear wheels"? ­ PROOFREAD!!

    From Nathan, on Mon 14 May 16:06
  4. Sagan is more like a Sean Kelly or Laurent Jalabert­ type of rider

    From Elisabeth, on Mon 14 May 12:52
  5. He's not an out & out sprinter & he's­ not quite a Gilbert yet but he's more in that­ mould. He's likely to ruin things for the likes of­ Hushovd & Boonen (cobbles aside so far). For me­ he's a future Milan San Remo winner.

    From RiChArD, on Mon 14 May 11:12
  6. Nice Podium girls. No wonder he has a smile on his face

    From Dee d, on Mon 14 May 9:46
  7. Wait a minute....A review video on Eurosport that has­ more than 4-5 pixels??? This must be heaven

    From KarlsMoody, on Mon 14 May 9:40
  8. Sagan is very impressive. Could he be regarded as an­ out and out sprinter like cavendish or more or a rider­ in the shape of gilbert???

    From Owen, on Mon 14 May 8:16
  9. excuse me .... this article says ´´ changed his rear­ wheels´´ ...was he on a tri cycle ???

    From Me, on Mon 14 May 8:00
  10. this guy is the real deal, so young and so amazing­ already, what a machine.

    From Lord Nelson'S Arsenal, on Mon 14 May 4:42
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