Swift powers to stage win in California
Tue, 17 May 00:14:00 2011
Team Sky's Ben Swift won the second stage of the Tour of California in a rainy Sacramento and claimed the race leader's jersey.
The British rider crossed the line first after a bunch sprint at the end of the shortened 120km route to clinch his fifth victory of the season.
Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale pipped HTC-Highroad Matt Goss into second place at the line.
With Monday's first stage having been cancelled due to snow, the new start of the race was moved to last year's start town of Nevada City.
Originally stage two was scheduled to be 214km with a climb over Donner Pass, but the inclement weather resulted in a shortened stage, ending with three laps of a street circuit in Sacramento.
Laszlo Bodrogi (Team Type 1), James Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home), Timon Seubert (Team Netapp) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Cycling) formed an early breakaway but the first three were caught with 14km remaining, while Jacques-Maynes managed to hang on in the lead for a further kilometre.
That set things up nicely for the sprint teams as the rain began to come down, with Sky building the pace for team-mate Swift to roar across the line ahead of Sagan and Goss.
"When we came to the (final finishing) circuits the pace of the peloton really picked up and the team guided me the whole way," Swift said.
"When the race started it was even better because you have less people challenging you, and then the team for that last lap was there the whole time.
"The team was absolutely fantastic, everybody did their job down to the letter and I can't thank them enough."
Tuesday's stage three sees the peloton travel from Auburn to Modesto over 196.2km.
Tour of California: Stage report