PETER SAGAN OPENS THE TOUR OF CALIFORNIA. Sensational sprint wins opening stage
Impressive lead-out by Daniel Oss and Sagan took the win
The Tour of California is like a magnet for Peter Sagan. Two victories in 2010, one in 2011 and now the first for 2012 in yesterday’s stage (European night-time). Liquigas-Cannondale’s Slovakian champion produced a show of power at the finish in Santa Rosa (where the race also started) that gave his opponents no chance (Haussler second, Rodriguez third). Sagan was outstanding and so too were his teammates who first helped him to get back into the group after a puncture with 8 km to go, and then an impressive Daniel Oss provided the perfect lead-out for the sprint.
«I didn’t know how good I’d be because I hadn’t raced for nearly a month. » Sagan explained. «And the big unknown was how I’d handle the final climbs. But the more miles I covered, the better I felt. Everything imaginable happened at the end of the race: first the puncture, which I recovered from thanks to my teammates, and then the crash that caught King and almost took me down too. The group split after the crash and there was some confusion. Daniel Oss piloted and led me out perfectly, I just accelerated as hard as I could. It was a massive team win. Now we’ll see how long I can hang on to the leader’s jersey but it’s going to be very hard. On the other hand, there are other stages that might suit me. »
By winning this opening stage, Sagan now heads up the overall as well as the points and young rider classifications. Finally, an update on the condition of Ted King; he has a sore knee after being knocked to ground just a few kilometres from the finish.