The results from stage one of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California featured Bay Area native Ben Jacques-Mayne in a breakway that almost escaped, a peloton that had to give it everything to chase them down, and an unpredictable sprint finish that saw Peter Sagan flat in the final kilometers only to storm back for the win.
Jacques-Mayne and teammate Andrew Dahlheim represented Bissel Pro Cycling in the first breakway of the Tour of California, with Jacques-Mayne putting in the bigger effort and staying with the break almost to the end. The gap between the peloton and the breakaway got as high as 11 minutes, but with less than 10km left in the race the peloton caught up with them and swallowed them up. The others in the last of the break, Maxime Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Jeffry Louder (UnitedHealthcare), saw the break coming and the three men shook hands as they gave up their dreams of winning the stage.
With the peloton all together again it came down to a sprint finish, and things were looking grand for Rabobank. They were driving hard at the front of the peloton to set up their sprinter Michael Matthews, but with just three kilometers left to go in the race a crash brought down a half dozen riders, Matthews among them. Oricagreenedge was the next team to set up for a sprint win, but none of them had counted on Team Liquigas' Peter Sagan.
22-year-old Peter Sagan had flatted with about 5km left to go in the race, and a bit of fumbling by the mechanic cost him precious seconds in getting a fresh wheel. Sagan wasn't giving up, though, and with the help of two Liquigas teammates he stormed back to the front of the peloton, eventually jumping off in the last hundred meters and making it look easy, taking the stage win.
Santa Rosa based Team BMC was at the front of the peloton towards the finish, looking for an opening for Greg van Avermaet or Tejay van Garderen. Nothing presented itself, but the team is well represented in the top 10. The stage results and default GC standings:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:42:35
2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda
3 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
4 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
8 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
9 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
10 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
The Tour of California is a relatively short race, so expect team to come out firing starting in Monday's stage two.