The opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California would see the expected bunch sprint with race favourite, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) taking the victory. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing) 3rd.
At just over 200km in length but with a pan flat profile, it was almost certain that the finish would be decided by a mass sprint. The 4 riders that broke away early on knew their efforts would only result in some T.V time and the chance to race for a few sprint primes. Etixx-Quickstep, Tinkoff-Saxo and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in control of proceedings all stage as they all had high hopes for their team sprinters. With 10km to go, the race was all together.
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were riding in support of Tyler Farrar today and the American would be our highest placed finisher in 8th place. The run in to the line was a little less than ideal as Tyler, Theo Boss and Johann van Zyl all punctured inside of 20km to go. Nevertheless our African team still had a strong presence during the finale with 4 riders right at the business end of the peloton with just 4km to go.
The wide open roads on the finishing circuit made it difficult to stay up near the front, also making the timing of the team leadout all that more important. Etixx-Quickstep would be the team that got it spot on today, delivering Cavendish to an easy win the end.
Tyler Farrar – Rider
Today was a hectic a finish, we got a little over ambitious and hit the front a couple of km’s too early. That is our lesson learned for tomorrow. Everyone is looking strong and so today was our day to work out the kinks.