Tour of California - 2.1
USA, February 19-26, 2006
Results & report
Stage 2 - February 21: Martinez to San José, 152.7km
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
Complete live report
Welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage
of Stage 2 of Tour of California. This stage is said to be the toughest stage
of the race and one that could possibly decide the race along with tomorrows
time trial. Starting in Martinez the course heads south to San Jose taking in
quite a lot of climbing along the way. The early climbs are shorter and not
so steep but later in the day, at the 122km mark they hit the Category 1 climb
up Sierra road which is a crusher. We caught up with Michael Barry (Discovery)
this morning. He has ridden this climb as says its as bad, if not worse than
it looks on the profile.
It is between three and four miles long and straight
up. From the peak of the climb home is 30km of flat roads making it very important
to be there on the climb.
With the race ending in a bunch kick in
yesterdays stage, JJ Haedo (Toyota United Pro) taking the victory, the general
classification remains the same with Levi Leipheimer donning the golden leaders
jersey. He was very instrumental is designing some of the courses of this tour
and expects to be a very tough day.
Following him in second place
on GC is Bobby Julich (CSC) with George Hincapie (Discovery) in third. Discovery
and CSC have a slight advantage at this early point in the race, both having
three or more riders in the top ten so far. This gives them men to play with
and a variety of tactics to use. The time differences however are very small
and anything can happen on a climbing day like today. Leipheimer is confident
his team is strong enough to defend his lead.
Its another nice day for racing. Temperatures
in the low 50's so far (12-15 degrees Celsius) so a bit chilly but the sun is
out. Another big crowd gathers at the start line despite the fact that its a
working day and no doubt we'll see big crowds on the climb towards the end of
Riders are starting to line up and
they'll go through the call ups and the National Anthem before starting in about
ten minutes. Again they'll have three neutral laps through the town of Martinez
for a total of 8km before they head out on Alhambra Valley Road for the start
The riders are off for their neutral
laps. The crowd cheers them on as they go by. Another nice welcome from the
people of California.
The riders are all a bit nervous about
this climb today. Phil Zajicek (Navigators) who recently broke his hand say
that is not bothering him anymore. He is feeling good. He hasn't seen the climb
himself but a number of his teammates have and they also say its as hard as
The riders are in their third neutral
lap. Lots of school kids are lining the roads.
One non-starter today is Ivan Dominguez
(Toyota United Pro). He got hit my a car last week and still has a big haematoma
on his leg and is still not walking well.
The race proper has now started. Gerolsteiner
hit the front immediately.
Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery) is
back at the team car getting service. Perhaps a puncture.
11:20 PST 2km/150.7km to go
The school kids are
going crazy screaming at the riders as they go by. The road is winding as they
head toward the first climb of the day. Clothing is being shed as the temperature
is rising a little. There is a little breeze today. Nothing major.
The first KOM comes after only 19km
of racing and there are already a couple of climbs before they hit this one.
Its only a cat 4 climb and from all accounts its not all that steep. Our local
source is John Koslosky who is the owner of Castro Valley Cyclery. He's been
riding these roads for 25 years and knows them well. Today he's decided to hire
a helicopter and watch the race from above. Our photographer Jonathan Devich
is going up with his so there's bound to be some cool photos at the end of todays
John has a very cool story. He started
riding through these roads years ago as a kid and he says he often used to get
passed by the 7-Eleven team. "They used to pass us like we were standing still,"
he said. When he was a junior he went to a camp at the Olympic Training centre
in Colorado Springs but didn't make the cut. A few years later he ended up back
there at a mechanics course run by Calvin Jones who is the owner of Park Tool.
"I had no talent for bike riding but I was a good mechanic and became the youngest
certified mechanic for the US National Team." He has spent a lot of time racing
downhill and now owns a bike shop that the race passes today.
We're climbing now. Gerolsteiner and
T-Mobile are near the front. Spectators already line the side of the climb.
There are signs that say "Go George" and "Go Eki" (Ekimov).
climb is about three kilometers long but not very steep near the bottom. Its
winding through the trees.
We've got somebody playing a Banjo
sitting in an old pickup truck. There are also a lot of cows out here. They
don't seem to be all that interested in the race.
11:37 PST 10.4km/142.3km to go
They have just
made a left turn on to Bear Creek Rd towards the cat 4 climb.
We have an attack by Mark McCormack
We caught up with Mark this morning
who was very surprised with the speed of the race yesterday. Especially the
final part of the race. He commented that everyone here is taking this race
Mike Sayers tried to join McCormack
which got the field chasing and they were both caught. Michael Barry is up near
the front with some Gerolsteiner boys. They are midway up the Cat 4 climb right
now and Mike Creed (TIAA CREF) has attacked and holds a small gap.
11:46 PST 16km/136.7km to go
The road goes down
a little bit now before heading back up to the KOM. Mike Creed has 11 seconds
on the field now.
They are making a hard left hand turn
now onto Happy Valley Rd. which is the main part of the climb.
11:48 PST 11km/141.7km to go
One and a half km
to the KOM now. A few switchbacks here. Its easy to get out of sight here so
its a good place to break away.
Its really windy near the top. The
road is a little rougher too and narrow. Lots of fans line the side of the road
cheering Creed on. There is a Belgian flag on the side of the road and lots
of Cowbells. The Specialized Angel is also at the top of the climb.
11:51 PST 19km/133.7km to go
At the very top
of the climb there is a sign that says 5km to the sprint sign. So riders going
for the sprint category have to stay up there to contend the sprint at the very
bottom of the hill. Creed hits the top of the KOM. He must be going for KOM
points. He'll have the lead after this.
The field is now 200m to the KOM.
The descent is also very winding with lots of sharp off-camber corners.
Ben Jaques-Maynes is attempting to
bridge now. More school kids on the side of the road. The road is getting a
little bit smoother as we enter the town of Lafayette.
Tim Johnson (Health Net) is also trying
to bridge a little behind Jaques-Maynes (Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada).
Johnson has caught Jacques-Maynes
and they are working together now. They'll take a hard left towards Lafayette
and they have 200m to the sprint.
11:58 PST 24km/128.7km to go
Creed is crossing
the sprint line now. The field is 45 seconds behind him with the two chasers
12:02 PST 25.6km/127.1km to go
The gap is now
1'10" between Creed and the field.
The three riders are together now.
12:04 PST 28km/124.7km to go
their lead to 1'20".
The results from the first sprint
of the day are:
Mike Creed, Tim Johnson then Ben Jacques-Maynes.
There has been a change in the riders
in the break. Officials couldn't see the number correctly. Its not Tim Johnson
in the break (who is number 83), it is actually number 63, Mads Kaggestad (Credit
They trio have increased their lead
12:11 PST 30km/122.7km to go
have passed and they are entering the town of Moraga. They have another couple
of climbs to contend before they hit the next sprint of the day in Castro Valley
Two minutes gap now and the three
breakaway riders are working well together. Back in the field the Gerolsteiner
team sit the front of the bunch setting the pace. This break away is good for
a lot of riders in the bunch because it makes their ride to the bottom of the
major climb a little easier.
We caught up with the Phonak director
Rene Savary this morning. He said "Its tough with this hard stage before the
time trial tomorrow. I expect the race to stay together until the climb today.
It would be nice if there was a small break of non climbers up the road to make
things easier in the lead up to the climb, but I think they’ll keep it together."
So he'll be happy with this break.
They are climbing again now. This
Pinehurst road climb is about four miles long and has sections of 10% grade.
Its quite tough.
12:18 PST 36km/116.7km to go
is a local boy. He grew up near the start of today's stage in Berkley and currently
lives 15 min bike ride away from the foot of today's monster climb...Sierra.
Apparently, according to reader Rob, "Ben showed up to a few local cross races
this season in preparation of the Tour, he was literally riding circles around
the competition. Expect a good show from Ben today, he has army's of fans waiting
for him on Sierra!"
Another reader has written in about
Mads Kaggestad. Georg Reidarsen writes "[Mads] is a very close friend of Thor
Hushovd and started the season quite well when he got sixth place overall in
Etoile de Besseges. A fairly good climber. But useless in sprints :)
12:22 PST 39km/113.7km to go
The gap continues
to increase. The three riders in the break working well allowing the bunch to
cruise behind at this stage. TIAA Cref is on the front blocking for Creed. Its
a very windy climb right here.
There are heaps of people on the top
of the climb. Our reporter Mark has even seen Winnie the Poo up here. TIAA team
director, Jonathan Vaughters has come back from the break to watch his team
doing a good job on the front of the field.
Mike Creed is a good climber so the
bunch won't want to see this break get too far up the road. Despite the fact
there are no other KOM's until the main climb, there is a lot of climbing in
between and Creed will be using this to his advantage.
After Pinehurst they do Redwood which
is also tough and then a bit later comes Palmares which is another ten minute
climb with some very steep pinches.
One reader has just written in. He
is following the Cyclingnews coverage on his blackberry. The URL is http://live8.cyclingnews.com/wap/.
He says "I'm sitting at the KOM point, Blackberry in hand, reading your updates.
There's already several hundred people here. The climb is definitely a monster
and this road is definitely the place to be to watch the peloton get ripped
12:38 PST 44.8km/107.9km to go
The gap is now
four minutes and they climb Redwood. Gerolsteiner is on the front. They are
not pushing the pace too hard as they field us spread across the road as they
We've just had an email from Ben Jacques-Maynes'
wife Goldi. She's reading the live coverage from the finish line. She says "go
Again when they crest this climb they
have to be prepared for another sprint at the bottom of the descent. Its not
such a big deal now that their is a break up the road but it would have been
interesting if the bunch was all together as the descent from Redwood is also
winding and quite gnarly.
Mike Creed's father just wrote in
to say that he talked to his son last night and he was nervous. "Thats a good
sign," he said.
The riders have just gone through
the sprint line in Castro Valley. Mads took the sprint from Ben and Mike. The
sprint was on the top of a little hill. Alot of kids are out in the town with
their American flags.
12:50 PST 56km/96.7km to go
The gap is now 5'50".
Gerolsteiner is on the front again
setting the pace. Not panicking about this five minute breakaway but they'll
make sure it doesn't get too far away.
The family of Mick Rogers in Italy
(Mick is from Canberra in Australia but recently married an Italian girl, Alessia
and now spends most of his time in Italy. They say "Forza Michael!!!" from Fabrizio,
Stefania, Alessia, Jodie, Giampy and Angelo.
12:57 PST 61km/91.7km to go
The leaders are now
on Palmares Rd, the field are 4km behind them. They are still working very well
together. The road starts going up again as they start the climb to Palmares.
We've just heard from our photographer
Jonathan Devich who is up in the helicopter with John Koslosky. He says it looks
very cool from up there. Its a very clear day. They can see the blue of the
Gerolsteiner team on the front of the peloton and the three riders in the break
working well together.
We've just heard from the older brother
of Levi, Rob Leipheimer. He says, "We are very excited to see the enormous amounts
of crowds in California - this is what America needs - like the Tour de France
- the passion & festive environment that lures in the public. We are very excited
that Levi is leading the first Amgen Tour of California! We are also impressed
with the crowds that turned out in Santa Rosa yesterday - the crowds were great!
Thanks for your great updates.....Cheering all the way from Montana...."
Another reader, Chris Coble from Fremont
Freewheelers has written in, "As a Cat 3 racer from southern Fremont by San
Jose, I have seen Ben screaming up Sierra three or four times in the past month.
The peloton would be wise not to let him go too far, especially with help.
Hi to Phil Ligget who has just written
in, he says, "I am thoroughly enjoying the cyclingnews.com coverage. I may even
stay at home this year, and follow the Tour on CN." ha ha
This is a tough climb that they are
on. Strange that this is not categorized, but not all of them can be. Very consistent
10% grade here and the last kilometer gets very steep.
The crowd continues to gather on the
Sierra Rd climb. Its going to be a great atmosphere up there when these guys
roll by. They'll need the support too by all accounts. People have been riding
their bikes up to be there for the race to go by. A great atmosphere.
A reader Ben wants us to say hi to
US National Women's RR champion, Katheryn Curi, from Webcor. "She's a Bay Area
resident these days and a regular at many of the local training rides. She has
a LOT of friends around here. Unfortunately, she was injured in a freak training
accident - hit by another cyclist - last week and is out with broken ribs and
a (now fixed) collapsed lung. Please wish her a speedy recovery so we can see
her Stars and Stripes jersey and bike later in the season."
The leaders have gone over the top
of Palmares. The bunch is still climbing. Lots of people cheer them on. Gerolsteiner
still on the front.
13:21 PST 76km/76.7km to go
The bunch have started
descending now and its single file going down. At the bottom they'll come to
the feed zone and refuel for the next climb and then the Sierra. Before hitting
the major climb they have another climb called Calveras.
On the way down there was unfortunately
a few protesters holding a sign saying "Not on our roads." Apart from this there
has been nothing but support for the race.
At the bottom of the climb there are
some very sharp turns.
13:24 PST 78.4km/74.3km to go
All of the guys
in the breakaway have been working well together on the climbs. Creed seemed
to be on the front a little bit longer that the other two but overall it seems
The field are still descending single
file. These are beautiful roads that they are riding through.
Katheryn Curi just wrote in and in
the middle of writing in she saw the update from her friends. She says thanks!
She also says "these guys gives me inspiration. The course they are racing today
is on roads that I train on weekly. Pretty cool to see a world class field on
13:30 PST 81km/71.7km to go
The field are not
on flat roads and its still strung out. The break are just getting to the feed
zone. Their lead is 6'10".
Gerolsteiner still man the front on
the bunch. Up in the break Mike Creed is asking for his team car.
Its about 60 degrees now (about 15
Celcius). Its sunny with no read wind to speak of. After the feed zone they
head slightly uphill for a while before hitting Calaveras.
The gap is falling now. Its back down
Its cool to see the whole Gerolsteiner
team strung out at the front. They've really picked up the pace. Still 35km
to the bottom of the main climb so they have plently of time but this long flat
stretch of road is a good chance for them to up the pace.
The Credit Agricole car is also headed
back up to the break again to be behind Kaggestad.
A middle School band is playing on
the side of the road as they head through Scotts Corner.
They have just crossed under Hwy 680.
The road is pretty straight for a while until it gets to the Calaveras climb
passing Calaveras Resevior, then its fairly windy again.
The gap is 4'45" now, falling again
slightly. The bunch slowed a bit as they went through the feed zone.
A couple of Toyota United Pro riders
are up near the front of the peloton now. We talked to Tony Cruz this morning
who said "The team is excited about yesterdays win, being our first major race
win." Tony says that so far things on a domestic team aren't all that different
from what he's been used to on Discovery due to the quality of the field here
and the racing. Its just like racing in Europe he says.
Still flat roads here. Fairly open
with farmland on either side. Gerolsteiner still has the whole team on the front.
Another excellent result yesterday
was young Bradley Huff (Team TIAA-CREF). He was US National Amateur Crit Champion
last year and yesterday he took fourth place in that fast finish. Not a bad
13:51 PST 93km/59.7km to go
They are Calaveras
Rd climb now. At this point the climb is not that windy. Its under trees so
quite shady. The gap is 4'50" and holding.
The pace is picking up a little bit
now. One of the Toyota United Pro riders went down on the uphill. Not sure how
that happened. The road is narrowing here. There is a very steep drop off on
the left side of the road. Phonak riders are moving up towards the front.
13:55 PST 96km/56.7km to go
The gap is holding
at 4'55" right now. Getting near the top now.
The descent is very narrow and quite
gnarly. When they get to the bottom they'll be in the town of Milpitas and will
head straight for the big climb of the day.
The main bunch is descending now.
Its tight around a few of the corners and they are single file going down.
Its beautiful terrain here as they
descend. They'll all be a bit nervous now for the climb.
They are going along the flat road
now. Not long until the climb. The field is still strung out single file.
A few Toyota United Pro riders are
up helping out Gerolsteiner in the chase.
14:13 PST 106km/46.7km to go
The gap has fallen
under four minutes. These breakaway riders have done an amazing job so far and
they will still have a three minute advantage going onto the climb. Lets see
if that will be enough when the climbers put the hammer down.
The gap is down to 2'45". Its really
14:17 PST 110.4km/42.3km to go
They are making
a hard left now to head towards the next climb. The break is still working hard
trying to keep some advantage for the climb.
They actually do a loop from here
to climb up Sierra and then descend back to Milpitas before heading to San Jose
for the finish.
They are going through a wide open
road through town with the gap holding at 2'45".
14:22 PST 114km/38.7km to go
The riders in the
break are still doing equal turns. The gap is 2'10". They still look strong
but its tough to keep that gap after being out there all day.
The crowds are getting excited on
the climb. The break has made the left turn onto Sierra. It goes straight up
after they turn left. The road narrows and there are people lining the road
three deep on this section. Very steep, looks very similiar to the Manayunc
wall in Philadelphia.
It has to be a 12% grade. It just
keeps going and going. Its unbelievable.
The field has just turned onto the
road too. It looks like they're going to catch them. They are about 6km to the
KOM right now. At 5km to the KOM it turns a switchback and then kicks up even
steeper. This is tough! They weren't joking.
The riders in the break are out of
the saddle. They're working hard.
The riders in the bunch are also out
of the saddle. Its still about an 8% grade at this point. You have an amazing
view all over the city from here.
The break is down to two riders. Ben
Jacques-Maynes is just off the back.
He's catching back on as it flattens
out but its going to kick up again soon.
It keeps winding around and kicking
up in parts. Lots of "Go Levi" signs.
Creed and Kaggestad have a gap on
A Saunier Duval rider sits on the
front of the peloton leading the way, they are in and out of the saddle.
Discovery hit the front. A CSC rider
is also up there.
Up front Creed is alone and has dropped Kaggestad
as well now.
They three break riders are all riding
solo now but none have them have been caught by the bunch yet.
The field is single file and there
are lots of splits developing. Jacques-Mayne has been caught by the field.
Its kicking up really steep again.
Kaggestad has also been caught by the field.
Creed is just about to get caught.
It looks like about 20 guys are still
holding onto the front off the group.
Only 12 guys left up front. They're
still climbing. It flattened out a bit but it goes up again now.
More riders are getting dropped. Only
Gerolsteiner rider on the front setting
pace followed by CSC probably Julich, then Saunier Duval.
Only three left. One gerolsteiner,
CSC and Phonak.
It looks like Levi, Julich and Floyd
are up there with Levi setting the pace.
Floyd is losing the wheel as Levi
and Julich ride away.
A fourth rider is not far off the
back. Its Saunier Duval. Probably Simoni.
Julich hits the front now. Levi on
his wheel. Floyd chasing hard as it flattens out a bit.
On the descent now.
Its fast and wide open country here.
Floyd made it back on.
One Saunier Duval rider chasing solo
and then a group of 12.
The officials are saying that its
not Julich, its Bernard Kohl from T-Mobile. So the lead group is Leipheimer,
Landis and Kohl.
14:51 PST 127km/25.7km to go
When they get to
the bottom of this descent they hit travel along the same road as they did when
they came off Calaveras and head back to the town of Milpitas. From here they
have about 20km to the finish.
Kohl won the KOM followed by Leipheimer
and Landis. These three still have a 15 second gap over a group of four that
includes Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto), Ricardo Ricco (saunier Duval) and Jean
Marc Marino plus one other.
14:54 PST 132.7km/20km to go
There are quite
a few groups on the descent. The second part of it was narrow and winding with
some dangerous sections.
Danielson is also up there and Zabriskie
is not far behind that. A group of nine are not far behind.
Zabriskie and Ricco are together at
25" from the lead three. Then another small chase group followed by a group
of 11 riders. Some of the small groups are gathering together.
14:58 PST 134km/18.7km to go
The leaders have
made a left hand turn and are in Milpitas.
15:00 PST 137km/15.7km to go
Zabriskie and Ricco
have been caught by the large group of 12 riders. They are now 30 seconds behind
the three leaders.
The leaders have seen 15km to go.
There are three Saunier Duval riders
in the chase group. Discovery have a Danielson up there, CSC are up there too.
The gap is still holding.
The chase group is growing. They now
have 19 riders and they have the three leaders in sight.
15:04 PST 140km/12.7km to go
Still 12km from
the finish. It will be hard for them to keep the gap with that large chase group.
Michael barry and Tom Danielson are
setting the pace in the chase group.
The gap is still holding.
15:06 PST 142.7km/10km to go
Ten kilometers to
The gap has fallen to only 6" now.
It will be a bunch of 22 for the finish.
The break is now caught.
There's an attack now. Bobby Julich,
Michael Barry and Gomez Marchante have a small gap.
They were chased immediately but Julich
still has a small gap. Prodir are right on him though.
It will be an important sprint as
there are time bonuses. Leipheimer will have to be up there.
Dicovery and CSC have guys on the
Christian Vandevelde (CSC) has attacked
and has a small gap.
Discovery is on the front chasing.
He still has 30m
He's been caught. Discovery is on
the front followed by CSC. Levi is up there.
Its single file, they are coming into
town. A T-Mobile rider has come to the front. They're making a turn.
15:15 PST 149.7km/3km to go
3k to go. discovery
rider leading. It looks like Tom Danielson then Barry.
Barry now on the front driving hard.
Hincapie is up in that group.
They are making a hard right turn.
Discovery is completely in control driving this break. Left hand turn now.
15:17 PST 151.7km/1km to go
Under the 1km to
go banner. A small gap in the group. Its single file.
Hard right and then a sweeping left.
500 to go - riders falling off the back.
Barry driving hard, Levi is in third
place. Julich is up there.
Hincapie takes it followed by four
Davitamon Lotto riders.
George gets a six second bonus for
winning which puts his on equal time with Levi!
The Davitamon Lotto riders were Chris
Horner and Josep Jufre Pou.
George will be the leader going into
tomorrows stage now.
More groups are slowly coming in minutes
The time bonus is actually ten seconds.
George takes over the lead.
Thanks for tuning in to our coverage
of stage 2. We'll be back tomorrow for the Time Trial.
1 George Hincapie (Discovery)
2 Chris Horner (Davitamon Lotto)
3 Josep Jufre Pou (Davitamon Lotto)
Back to top