Team Sunweb’s Max Walscheid sprinted to 8th place on the first of seven tough stages at the Amgen Tour of California today.
Whilst two riders went clear on the opening lap, Team Sunweb remained tucked safe in the peloton awaiting the expected bunch sprint in Long Beach. Holding onto their lead of two and a half minutes for the majority of the race, the two out front were reeled in by the peloton in a timely fashion on the closing lap.
With nine kilometres to go the peloton regrouped and the sprinters teams began to line up their fast men for the finale, with the Team Sunweb train fighting to bring Max Walscheid into position. Team Sunweb could fight to position Max to take his chances in the sprint, where he finished the day in 8th place.
Max said: “I was very well protected today, the guys delivered me and Nikias perfectly in to the last kilometre but I hesitated one second too long when we got an opening to move to the front. I could never sprint freely as I was boxed after this. Too bad because I felt really good in the final.”
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “It was a fast stage and despite the break, it was always destined to be a bunch sprint. We knew timing would be everything in the final because of the high level sprinters with lead out trains here in California. We can be happy about our performance, the guys communicated well and Max did a good sprint in a chaotic last kilometre. The guys showed their focus during the three days before the race started and have prepared well, this paid off for us as all of the riders were sharp and on point today. Tomorrow a difficult mountain stage awaits us where we will once again try our chances.”