Racers depart Nevada City on the Amgen Tour of California (video)

Cavendish wins Stage 2 from Nevada City to Lodi

Our lifestyle magazine has a keen interest in the Amgen Tour of California, because it is like a virtual postcard for California, including our region. Now in its 10th year, the race has come to the Sierra Foothills, Auburn, Nevada City, Grass Valley, Truckee and Lake Tahoe. On Monday, May 11, 2015, Nevada City was a host city for the third time.

With just one climb and elevations of 2,500 feet in Nevada City, and a more gentle climb of 55 feet in Lodi, this was another sprinter-friendly stage.

At the end of the 124.5 mile race, Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish (GBR) rocketed to his 10th stage win of the 2015 season — and his second stage win in a row in the 10th annual Amgen Tour of California. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan (SVK) finished second and Drapac Professional Cycling’s Wouter Wippert (NED) finished third.

“To be fair, on the line, I didn’t even know if I’d got it,” said Cavendish. “I’m happy I could win after the hard work of Etixx – Quick-Step today.”

The 8-stage race, traversing hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring, continues until May 17.

We were perched on the corner of Broad and South Pine streets to watch the race and capture the start on video. After a short circuit on the historic Nevada City Classic course, the riders headed into Grass Valley where another warm reception awaited. From Grass Valley, the peloton headed due south on two race favorites: Rattlesnake Road and Dog Bar Road.

The route passed just east of Auburn over the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California. From here, the riders looked over their shoulders to the American River some 730 feet below and the start of the Highway 49 climb.

Once they reached the KOM, it was a fast downhill route into Lodi. On the way, the stage crossed several railroad crossings and past several vineyards that have established Lodi as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.”

The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions.

It was shootout between some of the top sprinters in the world as the peloton reached the finishing circuits downtown.

This year, the men’s course traverses more than 700 miles and wind through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena.

The women’s three-day stage race will travel more than 150 miles through South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, followed by a 15-mile Invitational Time Trial in Big Bear Lake.

—Amgen Tour of California and SierraCulture.com

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