The 2016 Amgen Tour of California continued on Monday with a climb-filled second stage from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita.
The ascending started from the gun, as the peloton left South Pasadena and immediately hit the category one Angeles Crest Highway. The second category Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road summit followed after, then a long, steady descent into two encounters with the Little Tujunga Canyon Road summit before dropping down into Santa Clarita.
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, the day’s break formed after Angeles Crest Highway as Benjamin King (Cannondale) instigated the escape.
King was joined by Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Giant-Alpecin) and William Barta (Axeon Hagens Berman). The quartet worked well together throughout the tough day, but only King and Huffman had the energy to evade the peloton in the final kilometres.
The relentless climbing prvoed too much for many riders, with both Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) dropping out of the bunch.
In the two-up sprint for victory, King prevailed – not only claiming the win but also taking the overall race lead away from world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
The 2016 Amgen Tour of California continues on Tuesday with the first proper test for the overall classification contenders. Stage three features a long ascent to the finish line on Gibraltar Road which should provide the fireworks. The race concludes on Sunday, May 22.