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Tour of California 2012, Stage 2: Getting First Over Santa Cruz Mountains Key For Victory In Stage 2

Stage two of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California is a 117 mile trip from downtown San Francisco to Santa Cruz County. The riders spend Monday heading a long ways down the coast on Highway One before turning inland, heading over two substantial climbs, and finishing with a tricky descent and a run through Aptos.

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The first climb is a stiff one, and in previous editions the rider who makes it up that hill first has had a good shot at standing atop the podium at the end of the day. Don't be surprised to see attacks and counter-attacks from the GC contenders. No one with a shot at winning the race is more than 10 seconds back from the lead, so it's anyone's game in stage two.

Bissel Pro Cycling's Ben Jacques-Mayne will be riding close to home today, so he may make a repeat of Sunday's breakaway effort. Santa Rosa based Team BMC has a number of strong riders near the top, and you can expect them to continue looking towards propelling Tejay Van Garderen up the standings. The riders start in San Francisco at 11:05am, and television coverage begins at 2:00pm on NBC Sports Network.

Stay tuned to this storystream for updated, previews and more throughout the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. As always, SB Nation's cycling blog Podium Cafe is your source for quality news and analysis.