Imagine racing 117 miles from San Francisco to Aptos. That's what 128 riders did Monday starting at 11 a.m. Day two of the moving spectacle focused on bikes and riders backed up by an army of support staff. The Amgen Tour of California is the biggest race in the United States, 715 miles in eight grueling stages on streets and highways with California Highway Patrol clearing the way.
On Highway 1, just north of Santa Cruz, the riders rounded a turn for eight miles of a 10 percent grade on Bonnie Doon Road. Asked how he gets through one of these things after 19 years as a pro, five-time Olympian George Hincapie with BMC Racing said, "Racing's just so hard, you know? It's stressful. You're always trying to stay in the front. You're trying to stay out of trouble. It's just pain. Your legs hurt and your lungs hurt."
Peter Sagan of Slovakia won his second straight stage with a powerful and unchallenged sprint and retained the overall lead. Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was provisionally timed in 5 hours and 2 minute and now leads the eight-day event by 8 seconds over Heinrich Haussler
Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) of Australia, a former Tour de France stage winner, was second for the second straight day, a half-dozen bike lengths behind. Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) was third in the stage.
Sagan was among 10 cyclists who crashed 73 miles into stage 2. All of the fallen riders returned to the field.
On Tuesday, the riders will do it all over again riding about the same 117-mile distance from San Jose to Livermore starting at Berryessa Community Center at 11:15 a.m.