‘Like sitting on the indoor trainer for seven hours’: Mark Cavendish survives brutal day in Tour of California

The British sprinter was dropped from the peloton a long way from the line and had to battle to stay in the race

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish survived a brutal day of climbing on stage two of the Tour of California that was “like sitting on the indoor trainer for seven hours.”

The Dimension Data sprinter slipped out the back of the peloton with 80km still to race on the road to Lake Tahoe.

Stage two of the seven-day race covered 214.5km from Rancho Cordova near Sacramento through the Eldorado National Forest and finishing at the southern edge of the lake, taking in more than 4,000 metres of climbing.

The consist rise in the parcours caused huge time gaps on only the second day of racing, as Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Kasper Asgreen rode to victory.

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Cavendish finished 36-09 down on the stage winner, alongside team-mate and faithful lieutenant Bernhard Eisel.

The Brit said on Twitter after the stage: “Well glad that’s out the way. Always the stage I dread most in the cycling season.

“Racing up to Lake Tahoe in the Tour of California was like sitting on the indoor trainer for seven hours. Half of it with just Bernhard Eisel for company. Like a re-run of our day in 2016.”

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Cavendish was the second from last rider to cross line, as Novo Nordisk’s Fabio Calabria rounded out the day 47-35 down on the front group.

The race organisers set the time cut at 60 minutes to avoid a mass departure of riders.

Trek-Segafredo’s Tom Skujinš also suffered on the stage, finishing in a group of 27 riders 26-19 down.

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Skujinš said: “Not the day I was expecting at the Tour of California.

“Really disappointed that I couldn’t be there for my team, but turned into the hardest day since racing the Tour of the Gila in 2014 with Hincapie Racing.”

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Asgreen, Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) and Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) were the only riders left to battle for the win at the line, with Asgreen riding away to take stage victory.

Van Garderen’s strong showing puts him into the leader’s jersey with a six-second advantage over Moscon overall.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.