Race report

Michael Storer on the offensive during tough second stage in California

Amgen Tour of California

The second stage of the Tour of California saw the riders take on a tricky parcours, with the majority of the route from Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe heading predominantly uphill. Starting from just above sea level, the highest peak of the day was located at Carson Pass where the riders would climb to an altitude of over 2600 metres.

Initially the stage followed a formulaic pattern, with a few unsuccessful attacks before a breakaway of seven managed to establish itself at the head of the race. Team Sunweb’s Michael Storer was alert to the early moves and made the split.

However, the race leader’s team were keen to keep the attack in check, meaning that the breakaway’s advantage never went above three minutes. The gap fluctuated quite a lot, coming down to only 30 seconds before increasing to two minutes again as tactical games ensued in the peloton in regards to who was going to chase the break. It didn’t take long for some of the GC teams put the hammer down once the race reached high altitude and soon the break was caught with over 70 kilometres still remaining. The peloton blew to pieces and the GC contenders would fight it out for the rest of the stage, with Asgreen taking the win on the day.

“Our goal today was to put someone in the breakaway and Michael Storer was the designated guy for that,” explained Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek at the finish. “We managed to do it through good teamwork and also protecting the break once it had gone. However, it then became a bit of a game in the peloton with Bora not giving the break a lot of time. In the end, EF blew the bunch to bits at high altitude and that derailed our chances in the break.

Taking the positives from the day Visbeek continued: “We did what we wanted to do: we got Michael in the break and we achieved it in a really good way, through some strong teamwork from the guys. After that we didn’t have things in our own hands but that’s bike racing and we can only be happy with our own work. We’ll look for other opportunities in the breaks throughout the rest of the week.”