Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won stage seven of the 2014 Tour of California in a bunch sprint.
The win is the 24-year-old’s 11th in the history of the Tour of California, but only his first of this year’s edition.
BMC led out the sprint for Thor Hushovd, however ran out of men too early, forcing the Norwegian to start his sprint early. Sagan stuck to his wheel, then passed him with ease to cross the line first. Hushovd held on for second, with Danny Van Poppel (Trek) trailing in third.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) did not contest the sprint having been dropped on the Angeles Crest climb some 50 kilometres from the finish. Cannondale ensured he failed to make it back on by setting the tempo for most of the rest of the stage.
A bunch sprint did not seem inevitable, however, as the break of the day held out diligently. Garmin’s Ben King was practically keen to see the break succeed, attacking on the Angeles Crest to split it in two and form a more select group of himself, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Chad Haga (Giant-Shimano) and Isaac Bolivar (UnitedHealthcare).
Heading into the first of three circuits in Pasadena, King attacked again, this time with Van Avermaet, and the pair attempted to hold on. The bunch kept them well within sight, however, and they were caught on the penultimate lap.
There was an embarrassing moment for Eloy Teruel (Jamis – Hagens Berman), who, finding second wind having been in the break earlier, attacked the bunch just as King and Van Avermaet were being reeled in, celebrated as he crossed the finishing line, unaware that there was a lap still to go.
He was soon himself reeled in, and, despite some disorganisation in the lead up to the sprint which allowed the occasional opportunist to attempt to break away, the race was altogether by the finish line for the Sagan-led bunch sprint.
Sky kept Bradley Wiggins out of trouble all day to safely retain the overall race lead ahead of Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp).
The 2014 Amgen Tour of California concludes on Sunday with a 135.2km circuit race around Thousand Oaks.
Tour of California 2014, stage seven: Santa Clarita to Pasadena, 146.5km
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
3 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
4 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) NetApp – Endura
5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
6 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
7 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
8 Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Belkin
9 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
10 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing all st
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 30 secs
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1-48
4. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 2-02
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-14
Bradley Wiggins fends off rivals on mountain-top finish as Esteban Chaves wins stage for Orica-GreenEdge