Last year's Tour of California winner Peter Sagan sprints to win the opening stage of the 2016 race as Mark Cavendish is ruled out

World champion and last year’s Amgen Tour of California overall winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) took the opening stage of the 2016 race on Sunday.

Sagan was given a lead-out by British team-mate Adam Blythe to propel himself past his rivals and secure the early race lead and his 14th ToC career stage victory.

Wouter Wippert (Cannondale) placed second in the bunch sprint, with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) in third. Andy Fenn (Team Sky) was top-placed British rider in 11th.

>>> Tour of California 2016: Latest news, reports and info

British hope Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) suffered from being boxed in during the scrappy finale and finished outside the top 10. Despite Katusha’s early work, Alexander Kristoff also did not figure in the sprint.

Peter Sagan wins stage one of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California

Peter Sagan wins stage one of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California

The day’s break consisted of seven riders: British rider Daniel Patten (Team Wiggins), Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare), Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly), Michael Sheehan (Jelly Belly), Oscar Clark (Holowesko), Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk) and Danny Pate (Rally Cycling).

The gap moved out to over five minutes, but work largely from the Katusha team made sure they didn’t get too much of an advantage.

The first category climb of Honey Springs Road was a feature at the mid-way point of the stage. Cavendish was among those dropped as the climb was navigated, but caught back up to the bunch on the descent.

As the peloton got within a minute of the break, Patten, Rathe and Clark struck out for one last stretch out front. Irishman Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data) joined Katusha at the front to help out with the chase for team-mate Cavendish.

Patten then got dropped, leaving Patten and Clark. With time running out, Sky and Tinkoff also collaborated with the chase inside 5km to go. The catch was made with 3km to go to set up a bunch sprint.

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on stage one of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on stage one of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California

Sagan leads Wippert by four seconds overall thanks to his winner’s time bonus, with Michael Sheehan (Jelly Belly) in third also at four seconds after he collected bonus seconds from the intermediate sprints out in the break.

On Monday, the peloton travels from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita on stage two. Four categorised climbs are included in the day’s action, with the first ascent to Angeles Crest Highway starting right from the gun. The eight-day race concludes on Sunday, May 22.

>>> Tour of California 2016 route: Stage by stage

Result

Amgen Tour of California 2016, stage one: San Diego to San Diego, 170.5km

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 4-20-41
2. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
5. Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Novo Nordisk
6. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Axeon Hagens Berman
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep
9. Jempy Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing
10. John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare all same time
Other
11. Andy Fenn (GBr) Team Sky
15. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins
18. Andy Tennant (GBr) Team Wiggins
22. Tao Geoghagen Hart (GBr) Axeon Hagens Berman
29. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data

Stage 1, Amgen Tour of California

Stage 1, Amgen Tour of California

General classification after stage one

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 4-20-41
2. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale at 4 secs
3. Michael Sheehan (USA) Jelly Belly at 4 secs
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 6 secs
5. Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 7 secs
6. Joonas Henttala (Fin) Novo Nordisk at 8 secs
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie at 10 secs
8. Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Novo Nordisk at 10 secs
9. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 10 secs
10. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Axeon Hagens Berman at 10 secs

  • Sutton Atkins

    True.
    But he’s trying too do both track and road in one season. Many said it couldn’t be done… and apparently … it can’t.

  • Wilson

    It really is looking like the magic has gone, would be great if he could prove the doubters wrong tho!

  • dourscot

    Cav looks so off form it’s barely believable he’s the same cyclist to terrorised the world not that long ago.

  • Sean

    Cav is having a stinker this year compared with the other big sprinters

  • what’s with that interview???