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Tour of California - 2.HC

USA, February 14-22, 2009

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Stage 2 - February 16: Sausalito - Santa Cruz, 186.6 km/115.9 mi

Complete live report

Live commentary by Peter Hymas and Laura Weislo with reporting from Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins

08:33 PST    Good morning and welcome to coverage of stage 2. It's another wet, windy day in California and the riders just set out on their neutral start in Sausalito.

08:34 PST    The neutral section, originally slated for 12km, has been shortened to approximately 10km in order to give the riders every opportunity to warm up quickly.

08:36 PST    Sausalito is hosting the Tour of California for the fourth straight year. The riders are on the streets of Sausalito now, bundled up in rain jackets, gloves, and leg warmers, with a rather brisk, raw temperature of 44 degrees F.

08:37 PST    Hayden Roulston (Cervélo TestTeam) has suffered a mechanical in the neutral section.

08:39 PST    The riders will soon be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on their way down the coast to Santa Cruz. This is the first time that a bicycle race has been allowed to cross the iconic bridge.

08:40 PST    The riders are getting antsy, trying to push the pace already in order to warm up as they climb out of Sausalito, but the lead vehicle is keeping them in check until the race officially begins after the peloton crosses the Golden Gate Bridge.

08:41 PST    The Golden Gate Bridge is not shrouded in fog, so the riders should be able to take in the spectacular view of the bay and San Francisco before racing commences.

08:43 PST    Plenty of riders are already experiencing mechanicals in the neutral zone. The lead vehicle is trying to keep the pace slow in order for the riders to make their way quickly back to the peloton.

08:44 PST    The peloton has begun its crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge. The riders are spread across two lanes.

08:47 PST    There are no other vehicles on the bridge, just the peloton and race caravan. The stage is starting earlier than normal, 8:30am, in order to minimize the affect to traffic of running a bike race through San Francisco. It's also a federal holiday today, Presidents Day, which may also help alleviate traffic issues.

08:49 PST    Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank) has had a bike change. The peloton has crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and has entered San Francisco.

08:51 PST    Many of the riders in the peloton have had some good racing experiences in San Francisco over the years. In 1999, the US 'cross nationals were held in the Presidio and a certain Tim Johnson, riding for OUCH p/b Maxxis and very active yesterday, finished third in the elite men's race which also garnered him the U23 'cross title since the U23 did not race separately.

08:52 PST    The race has reached kilometer 0 and has officially begun! Now it's time to up the pace and try to warm up in the frigid, damp weather.

08:53 PST    We've heard from Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) this morning. "We are really motivated to race well on this stage because both Ben (my twin brother) and I live in Santa Cruz, where the stage finishes today. We have our entire family here to watch us, wives, kids, friends. They will all be wearing t-shirts that say Jacques-Maynes on them."

08:54 PST    Also riding in the 1999 'cross nationals were the Jacques-Maynes brothers, Andy and Ben. Andy won two bronze medals, in the U23 and collegiate races while brother Ben finished 4th in the U23 race.

08:56 PST    San Francisco also hosted the San Francisco Grand Prix from 2001-2005. Two race winners are in the peloton: George Hincapie and Chris Horner. Many other riders racing today have raced in that event including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Tim Johnson, Davide Frattini, Aaron Olson, Fred Rodriguez (2nd in 2004), Chris Baldwin, Jose Luis Rubiera, and the Jacques-Maynes brothers.

08:57 PST    The weather was so inclement at the start in Sausalito that OUCH p/b Maxxis team director Mike Tamayo was allowed to sign his riders in so they could keep warm in the team vehicles.

08:58 PST    2mi/113.9mi to go Pieter Weening (Rabobank) has attacked and opened up a small gap on the peloton.

08:59 PST    Alexandre Moos (BMC Racing Team) is bridging up to Weening.

09:00 PST    Moos and Weening have joined forces and are now working together, holding a 10 second gap on the peloton.

09:00 PST    Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) is making his move to bridge to the two leaders.

09:02 PST    Bad news for Team Columbia-Highroad. Michael Rogers is way off the back with a flat tire and teammate Michael Barry is with him to assist in joining the peloton.

09:04 PST    There is a strong cross wind coming from the riders' right off the ocean. The peloton is in the gutter on the left of the Highway 1.

09:04 PST    5mi/110.9mi to go The initial break has been absorbed. The race is all together on its trip down the California coast.

09:05 PST    Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team) is on the attack.

09:06 PST    Rogers and Barry are still chasing and haven't made their way through the caravan yet from Rogers' flat tire.

09:07 PST    We heard from race leader Francisco Mancebo this morning, "Yesterday's stage was so hard. It was so wet and so cold and my effort was so big that last night I was feeling it but we are going to go into today prepared to race."

09:08 PST    Steven Cozza (Garmin - Slipstream), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly Cycling Team), Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) have attacked.

09:09 PST    Jonathan Garcia (BMC Racing Team) is bridging to the break.

09:10 PST    7mi/108.9mi to go Steven Cozza (Garmin - Slipstream) and Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) have attacked the break and have 5 seconds to the remainder of the break. The peloton is 30 seconds back.

09:15 PST    9mi/106.9mi to go Steven Cozza (Garmin - Slipstream), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) are off the front. Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) and Stef Clement (Rabobank) have just made contact with the break. The break has a 25 second gap to the peloton.

09:20 PST    We now have a break containing Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Steven Cozza, Thomas Peterson (Garmin - Slipstream), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Stef Clement, Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling).

09:21 PST    9mi/106.9mi to go Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) has joined the break as well.

09:24 PST    11.5mi/104.4mi to go The first sprint line of the day is approaching in Pacifica at the 17.3 mile mark.

09:26 PST    Local favorite Ben Jacques-Maynes is in the break which will surely please his friends and family. The break is working well together at the moment so he may be off the front for some time today.

09:27 PST    There are scatterings of people out on Highway 1 with umbrellas, not nearly as many people as were anticipated to show up. The weather is fairly grim, keeping all but the die hard fans indoors.

09:28 PST    Jonathan Clarke (Jelly Belly Cycling Team) is having some mechanical issues in the peloton. The break has extended its lead to 45 seconds over the peloton.

09:33 PST    We have our own Kirsten Robbins riding in the OUCH p/b Maxxis vehicle today. The team has Cameron Evans in the break and he is very familiar with today's route having ridden the course in training. For now OUCH is content to let Evans roll along in the break with the rest of the team riding together in the peloton.

09:34 PST    The break has 1km until the first sprint line. The lead group has just passed the Sea Bowl bowling alley in Pacifica.

09:36 PST    The break has now extended its lead to 1'25 over the peloton and the team cars of riders in the break have been granted permission to leave the race caravan and head up to support the riders off the front.

09:40 PST    17.3mi/98.6mi to go The sprint results in Pacifica: Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team) in that order.

09:41 PST    There's definitely some horsepower in the break. Kobzarenko was in a couple long breaks at Tour de Georgia last year while Zberg has plenty of Euro experience.

09:43 PST    Another tidbit of information about Ben Jacques-Maynes. He was the victim of the 2007 Santa Rosa "Levi rule" - he would have been in yellow but the judges decided that even though Levi crashed outside the final kilometer, he would still get same time. Maybe he'll ride himself into yellow today?

The peloton rolls along during stage two
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

09:45 PST    21mi/94.9mi to go There have been plenty of mechanicals today. Hayden Roulston (Cervélo TestTeam), Phil Southerland (Team Type 1) and Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly Cycling Team) are currently off the back, trying to regain contact with the peloton.

09:50 PST    The break has settled in with a 1'30 gap to the peloton. At this moment some of the riders in the field have decided to take a "nature break" on the side of the road along Highway 1.

09:52 PST    We've heard from one of our Canadian readers today and he feels for his fellow Canadians racing in the miserable weather along the California coast. Just a reminder, you can send your comments to me at commentator@cyclingnews.com. I'll do my best to keep tabs on the commentary!

09:53 PST    Hayden Roulston (Cervélo TestTeam) has suffered a rear flat while Michael Grabinger (Fly V Australia) has abandoned the race.

09:57 PST    25.5mi/90.4mi to go Another rider, Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly Cycling Team), has abandoned the race. The break is now approaching the second sprint of the day in Half Moon Bay with their lead extending out to 2'00 over the peloton.

09:59 PST    Here's something for all you surfing fans out there concerning Half Moon Bay. At the north edge of Half Moon Bay is the famous big wave surf area, Mavericks, off Pillar Point, where pro surfers challenge waves over 50 feet tall. Wow. I wonder what the waves look like today?

10:00 PST    26.2mi/89.7mi to go The break has crossed the second sprint line of the day in Half Moon Bay. The finishing order is Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank) and Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1).

10:03 PST    Levi Leipheimer has suffered a flat and is currently being assisted by three Astana teammates, including Lance Armstrong, to regain contact with the field.

10:05 PST    Carlos Sastre has dropped back to the team car and is looking none too pleased with the weather. It appears he's trying to get some warmer clothing to combat the elements.

10:07 PST    30mi/85.9mi to go The Rock Racing controlled peloton is letting the gap to the break inch out even further to 2'40.

10:10 PST    Yesterday's victory by Francisco Mancebo was certainly a bonanza for Rock Racing. They had to contest last year's Tour of California without a full compliment of riders and their best result was from Mario Cipollini, who finished third on stage 2. Now we'll see how well they're able to control the peloton for Mancebo.

10:12 PST    31mi/84.9mi to go The peloton has called a temporary truce and stopped for a mass call of nature break. The leading group has now extended their lead out to 2'55.

10:15 PST    33mi/82.9mi to go The rain has slowed which will be welcome news to a damp, chilly peloton. The next order of business for the break will be the first KOM line. It's a 6-mile long, Category 2 ascent of Tunitas Creek Road with the 1562 ft. summit coming 46.7 miles into the stage. It's a popular test for Silicon Valley cyclists and this climb has two miles of between nine and eleven percent in its mid-section.

10:20 PST    The Tour of California's general classification battles in years past have always been close, with last year's winning margin of 49 seconds by Levi Leipheimer the largest in race history. In 2006 Landis won by 29 seconds and in 2007 Leipheimer has a narrow 21 second win. Mancebo's current gc lead of 1'02 is the largest ever by any rider in race history. Will today's stage perhaps re-write the record books again?

10:24 PST    36mi/79.9mi to go The break is making steady progress and has put even more time on a complacent peloton. Their lead is now 3'30 as they're working well together on Highway 1, heading south along the California coast.

10:25 PST    Highway 1 is truly a stunning road chock full of amazing vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The rain has eased up and perhaps the riders can take in the view on occasion to warm their spirits.

10:27 PST    Ben Jacques-Maynes is currently replacing his water-logged gloves with a fresh set. It's of the utmost importance to keep warm, as well as properly nourished and hydrated, on the road to stave off the dreaded bonk.

10:31 PST    Several members of the Tour of California peloton, as well as their team support staff, have embraced Twitter as a means to tell the world what's going on. Astana DS Johan Bruyneel and Garmin-Slipstream guru Allen Lim are currently Twittering during the stage. Last night we found out from Lance Armstrong what Chris Horner did for dinner. Here's what Armstrong relayed: "'I was at In and Out Burger'. What?? He ordered a double-double (xtra onions), fries, coke, and a strawberry shake. Wow."

10:32 PST    And when in Europe, Horner has been know to down the occasional "Royale with cheese". Not quite your typical pro cyclist diet, but then again, Horner is hardly your typical pro cyclist.

10:37 PST    The break is on the Tunitas Creek Road ascent and they're staying together. It looks like they're more interested in keeping a steady rhythm for the good of the break and not let loose with KOM aggression.

10:38 PST    From a reader in Sausalito: "I spoke with Addy Engels (Quick Step) at the start in Sausalito. Even though rain and cold are pretty normal in the Netherlands this time of the year, he couldn't believe how cold and miserable it was. 'My friend Anna has been trying to get me to California for the sun and this is what I get?'

10:42 PST    Rock Racing is leading the peloton up the Tunitas Creek Road climb. There are some spectacularly huge redwood trees lining the ascent. Borredo is setting the pace for the break which is still all together.

10:45 PST    Some hardy fans are out on the KOM ascent offering ecouragement to the break and peloton. Borredo continues to set the pace for the break as they get closer to the Category 2 KOM line.

10:49 PST    43.5mi/72.4mi to go The break and peloton are still climbing. The break is still completely intact churning out a steady tempo. Rock Racing is heading the peloton with only a few riders unable to keep pace. There should be enough time to regain contact assuming they don't lose too much time.

10:53 PST    Race leader Francisco Mancebo of Rock Racing has quite a career palmares in Europe. He's finished in the top-10 of Tour de France general classification on five separate occasions and has finished third overall in the Vuelta a Espańa twice. He also won the best young rider jersey in the Tour de France on one occasion. We'll see how his teammates handle the pressure today of setting tempo for the peloton. The gap is still manageable, but time will tell what their tactics and abilities dictate.

10:56 PST    The break is now 1.5 km from the KOM on Tunitas Creek Road. The sun is peeking out and the crowds are getting more numerous and boisterous as the summit approaches. We've had some sightings of tifosi decked out in gorilla suits and chicken suits which may put a smile on the riders' faces if they're not too focused on pain management and following the wheels in front of them.

11:01 PST    The break is still together on the climb and the time gap has now topped 4'00 to the peloton, at 4'05. Carlos Borredo is still setting tempo in the break.

11:02 PST    There is a huge crowd amassed at the summit for the KOM. The break is now inside of 1km to go to the summit. The peloton is splitting up under Rock Racing's tempo.

11:04 PST    Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) has had a flat on the climb and is getting help from a teammate.

11:07 PST    When the peloton descends off of the KOM it will pass through the town of La Honda. Evidently, the peloton will pass by the residence of Neil Young. No word on whether he's at home.

11:12 PST    You never know what can happen during a stage race. Ted King, currently riding for Cervelo TestTeam, happened to take his cell phone with him by accident during stage 3 last year and took a few photos during the race. He's a blogger, but we're not sure if he's joined Twitter aficianados such as Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel. And we're not sure if King will be doing a repeat this year with the peloton-view photos.

11:15 PST    We're still awaiting word on the KOM situation. The break at least should be on the descent right now, making its way back to Highway 1 along the coast. The peloton made a left hand turn to head inland for the Tunitas Creek climb and will soon loop back to Highway 1 to continue its trek along the California coast towards Santa Cruz.

11:16 PST    A reader informed us that Neil Young does not live on the race course, but on Bear Gulch road nearby. However, he may be out among the teeming masses on top of the KOM offering encouragement to the peloton.

11:19 PST    Some more Ben Jacques-Maynes info for you. Ben attended college at UC Santa Cruz and was a former collegiate National Cyclo-cross champion. He knows the climb of Bonny Doon (the day's second KOM) and the descent of Empire Grade(which ends at US Santa Cruz) very well. He informed one of our writers that he would attack on this stage and wasn't going to wait for the 'big guns' to fire on Bonny Doon.

11:20 PST    When the peloton passes through the town of La Honda on Highway 84 on its way to the coast at San Gregorio, about 2 miles south of La Honda is a house that Ken Kesey, who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, lived.

11:25 PST    The break and peloton are on the descent. We've received word that 3-time world champion Oscar Freire was dropped on the Tunitas Creek climb, but is now making his way back through the caravan. Many riders have suffered flats and mechanicals on the descent due to the amount of debris, particularly tree branches, littering the road.

11:33 PST    Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) is the highest placed rider in the break, sitting in 26th place overall 5'05 behind Francisco Mancebo. Another rider in the break, Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), lies in 33rd overall 5'10 behind Mancebo. At our last time gap of 4'10, Mancebo still held his overall lead on the road, but we'll see what damage Tunitas Creek did to the distance between the break and peloton.

11:35 PST    Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) is also 5'10 behind Mancebo, and picked up a few seconds with his win at a sprint line today.

11:39 PST    65mi/50.9mi to go The break is still together and the Rock Racing led peloton has reduced the gap to 3'35. The sun is coming out, the roads are drying up which is good news for the riders. The break is working well together.

11:40 PST    Just a reminder of the riders comprising the break: Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Steven Cozza, Thomas Peterson (Garmin - Slipstream), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Stef Clement, Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) amd Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1).

11:41 PST    No word yet on KOM results, unfortunately. We'll pass that information along as soon as we find out.

11:45 PST    Finally, we have some KOM results! 1. Steven Cozza (Garmin - Slipstream), 2. Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), 3. Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1), 4. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) and 5. Carlos Barredo (Quick Step)

11:46 PST    67.5mi/48.4mi to go The break has now covered 67.5 miles of the 115.9 mile stage. Uh oh...more rain! Not much of a respite from the weather and a chance to dry out.

11:50 PST    The peloton is now back on Highway 1 after making the loop inland for the KOM. Just before making the left back onto Highway 1 many riders were back at the team cars getting food, bottles, and dry clothes. There appears to be a relaxed mood in the peloton at the moment with the gap to the break now at 3'10.

11:51 PST    One of the quirks of coastal weather...it's raining on the peloton, but just to their right over the ocean is blue sky.

11:54 PST    We just heard from Sean Weide of Team Type 1 regarding their rider in the break: "Working for others – sometimes riding for miles on end at the front – is only one of Valeriy Kobzarenko’s strengths. He also speaks fluent English and Italian (in addition to his native Russian tongue) and is frequently called upon to translate. As a past national road race champion (1997), who also has a silver medal from his spot on the Ukrainian team pursuit squad at the 1998 World Championships, Kobzarenko honed in on his talent on the hard roads of Eastern Europe. In 2008, he proved to be a valuable member of Team Type 1, helping the squad score team classification wins at the Tour de Beauce and Vuelta Mexico while also finishing in the top 10 overall himself at the Tour de Beauce and the Joe Martin Stage Race." Thanks for the info!

11:56 PST    Some news from the break. Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank) suffered a flat while Steven Cozza (Garmin - Slipstream) had to have a bike change. Both are in the caravan following the break and should soon regain contact. The break is at mile 70.5 with a 2'55 lead over the Rock Racing led peloton.

11:59 PST    We just heard from esteemed cycling historian Owen Mulholland regarding our information about the Tour of California being the first bicycle race to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Evidently we passed on some incorrect info earlier. Here's what Mr. Mulholland had to say: "That honor goes to the 1971 Tour of California, which began at Mr. Reba/Bear Valley in the Sierra, crossed the state to San Francisco and returned via Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Nevada City, and Lake Tahoe. It was won by Augustin Alcantara (Mexico), who was also the first "western hemispherean" to win a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir." Again, thanks for all who are writing in to us during the live feed!

12:01 PST    And while we're on the topic of the Golden Gate Bridge, here's something our crew found out this morning. Evidently, Astana apparently paid for the race to go over the bridge so they could get scenic footage for a video of Lance Armstrong, but we're not sure how the weather affected their efforts.

12:03 PST    Coming up later in the stage is the second, and final, KOM climb, the Category 3 Bonny Doon Road ascent, topping out at 2135 ft. at the 102.6 mile mark. It features an initial two-mile section averaging ten percent, with pitches up to 14 percent, followed by four miles of four to seven percent. Most importantly, at the top of the climb, a sharp right-turn sends the racers straight down to the finish line in Santa Cruz in a high-speed, ten-mile descent. Levi Leipheimer has called this one of the race's decisive stages and has ridden it in training, as have Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson.

12:09 PST    Shortly the peloton will be passing a home where baseball great Ty Cobb lived in the later years of his life. In sunny, normal weather conditions there is usually a very strong (20+mph) tail wind along Highway 1 while heading south. But, much like last year's stage to San Luis Obispo, when it rains, the wind shifts to the south and so they have a strong headwind instead. Ten riders are currently off the back of the peloton, having to deal with the headwind right now.

12:15 PST    78mi/37.9mi to go Just to refresh everyone's memory, here's the makeup of the leading break: Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Steven Cozza, Thomas Peterson (Garmin - Slipstream), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Stef Clement, Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1). We're at mile marker 78 and the field trails at 3'35.

12:19 PST    79.5mi/36.4mi to go Lance Armstrong has just crashed, evidently hit by a race photographer's motorcycle!

12:21 PST    Armstrong is back on a spare bike, being paced back to the peloton by Chechu Rubiera. However, there is also word that a massive 50-rider crash has affected the peloton.

12:24 PST    Correction, that's 15 riders who went down. OUCH riders and Quick Step riders were affected. One of the riders ended up under a parked car. Both crashes occurred on wide-open, flat stretches of road.

12:29 PST    Torrential rain is now pelting the break. All of the riders who went down in the peloton are back on their bikes and are in the process of bridging back to the field. One rider is receiving aid from the race doctor.

12:35 PST    85mi/30.9mi to go The break is at mile 85 with a 4'15 lead over the peloton. Several riders in the break have headed the call of nature, but have regained contact. Everyone's still cooperating and working well together off the front. There's still torrential rain, but up ahead the sky is clearing.

12:37 PST    The break has about 13 miles to go before they begin the ascent of Bonny Doon Road, the race's second KOM. Will the break cooperate still, or will the attacks commence approaching the decisive course feature ahead?

12:42 PST    All of the riders involved in the 15-rider crash have resumed contact with the field, except for Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) who has abandoned. Bad news for the Jacques-Maynes family, while brother Ben is off the front. Evidently, Andy is being transported to a hospital right now.

12:49 PST    90mi/25.9mi to go The sun is out and the roads are drying out! There's a 4'15 minute gap from the break to the peloton. The Schleck brothers have both dropped off their jackets in the team car and are back in the peloton. Almost on cue, many other riders in the peloton have also dropped back to shed excess clothing. Will the fireworks soon commence?

12:50 PST    Armstrong, too, has made the trip back to the team car to shed heavy clothing and grab some food. He's being paced back by teammate Chechu Rubiera.

12:52 PST    Rock Racing continues to set tempo at the head of the peloton. They've been at the front all day.

12:54 PST    92.5mi/23.4mi to go An ambulance has just passed the peloton, possibly carrying Andy Jacques-Maynes. There aren't any side roads off of Highway 1 here, so the vehicle had to make its way through.

12:57 PST    The speeds in the peloton have increased approximately 5 km/h as the Bonny Doon climb approaches.

12:59 PST    It's time for our regular Cyclingnews live feature "Guess the catch". Any thoughts about whether the break will get caught, and when?

13:01 PST    We've seen a couple riders from the breakaway performing the somewhat dangerous task of removing leg/knee warmers while riding. It's definitely a "don't try this at home" pro rider skill! They unclip, reach down and pull the warmer down in a bunch and then slip it over the shoe. Jason McCartney and Carlos Barredo were able to complete this task successfully.

13:05 PST    We've received confirmation that Andy Jacques-Maynes was indeed in the ambulance which passed through the race. The break is all together still, working well, and with a 3'55 gap over the peloton.

13:06 PST    We've got some thoughts regarding "Guess the catch". The general consensus is 2km to go on the Bonny Doon climb. We'll see if you're correct shortly!

13:07 PST    The break has turned off of Highway 1 and is making its way inland for the Bonny Doon KOM.

13:08 PST    Bad news for Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton. He's flatted as the peloton ups the pace approaching Bonny Doon climb.

13:10 PST    Barredo attacks the break! The lead group of ten is starting to split up.

13:11 PST    Astana is now taking over at the front of the peloton on the ascent. Their gap to the break is 3'15.

13:12 PST    Bonny Doon features an initial two-mile section averaging ten percent, with pitches up to 14 percent followed by four miles of four to seven percent. That's got to hurt after approximately 100 miles in your legs.

13:13 PST    Leipheimer attacks the field and is ascending on his own. He's starting to pick off some riders formerly in the break.

13:15 PST    Leipheimer's got some company. A Liquigas rider has bridged to Levi.

13:17 PST    Barredo is being pursued on foot by a very speedy man in a devil suit. Barredo keeps looking back, wondering what's going on. He's keeping a steady tempo at the front on his own.

13:18 PST    A fan runs alongside Barredo with a UC Santa Cruz flag. Go Banana Slugs!

13:20 PST    The riders may have made a tactical mistake to shed their rain gear as it has started pouring again. The motorcycling in front of Leipheimer is kicking up more water, adding insult to injury.

13:20 PST    Leipheimer is alone again on the ascent, having dropped Nibali of Liquigas. Leipheier is putting in a massive effort. He's on the drops and out of the saddle. It's pouring rain again, too.

13:21 PST    The peloton has split into three separate groups under the increased tempo on Bonny Doon.

13:22 PST    Barredo is looking comfortable at the front, climbing both in and out of the saddle.

13:23 PST    Barredo's on a milder part of the grade, out of the saddle, in the big ring.

13:24 PST    No time gaps yet regarding the gap between Barredo, the remainder of the break, and Leipheimer.

13:26 PST    It's now hailing on the KOM line! A group containing Armstrong is now 5km from the summit.

13:26 PST    Leipheimer certainly looks as if he's making up plenty of time on the breakaway. He already passed Cameron Evans and Ben Jacques-Maynes. We haven't seen if he's passed any of the other riders from that early move, however.

13:33 PST    Barredo has been caught...and dropped! Jason McCartney and Tom Peterson are now leading the ascent of Bonny Doon.

13:36 PST    The leaders have passed through the KOM and are now descending towards Santa Cruz.

13:36 PST    102.9mi/13mi to go The leaders are over the KOM and now have just over 20km to go - a very fast drop down into Santa Cruz. And Jason McCartney has rejoined Peterson and Leipheimer.

13:38 PST    Leipheimer put in a massive attack on the climb of Bonny Doon Rd, and joined Peterson and McCartney as they had just caught and dropped Barredo. McCartney couldn't quite hold on as Leipheimer attacked to take the KOM ahead of Peterson, but he rejoined as they began to go downhill.

13:38 PST    Vincenzo Nibali (Liguigas) hasn't given up. He's riding alone, trying to make contact with the leading trio of Leipehimer, McCartney and Peterson.

13:40 PST    Leipheimer is driving the leading trio, trying to gain back as much time as possible.

13:41 PST    Nibali has just passed and dropped Barredo.

13:41 PST    The question remains, where is our morning's leader Francisco Mancebo? He's got to be chasing to keep that yellow jersey as Leipheimer is bombing this descent and dropping his two companions.

13:41 PST    Leipheimer is bombing the descent, getting a gap on McCartney and Peterson.

13:42 PST    KOM #2 1 Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 2 Tom Peterson (Garmin - Slipstream) 3 Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank)

13:44 PST    Nibali and Barredo have just been caught by the Armstrong led peloton.

13:45 PST    Levi is still applying the pressure and has dropped Jason McCartney. Peterson is able to hold Leipheimer's wheel.

13:47 PST    Thomas Peterson (Garmin-Slipstream) is sitting comfortably on Leipheimer's wheel not doing any work. Could be a stage win for Peterson if Leipheimer takes over the yellow jersey.

13:50 PST    107.9mi/8mi to go We have a chase group at 1'20: Lance Armstrong, Janez Brajkovic, Christopher Horner, José Luis Rubiera (Astana), Fränk Schleck, Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank), Thomas Lövkvist, Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad), Thomas Danielson (Garmin - Slipstream), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Inigo Cuesta (Cervélo TestTeam), Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing).

13:51 PST    109.9mi/6mi to go That little bump that Jason McCartney was dropped on was about 8 or 9 miles to go, and they're back on the descent to Santa Cruz now. Leipheimer is still doing all the work and has pulled out a 1'20 advantage on the chasing peloton. Peterson is wisely doing no work, even though his team manager Jonathan Vaughters said he is "a special kind of diesel engine."

13:53 PST    The finish is approaching soon! Leipheimer is towing Peterson and the Armstrong group is now at 1'15

13:55 PST    112.9mi/3mi to go Leipheimer and Peterson have 4km to go! Leipheimer doing all the work. The Armstrong group is at 1'00. Mancebo is in the 3rd group on the road with only one teammate to help.

13:56 PST    113.9mi/2mi to go Two miles to go! Leipheimer still driving it at the front with Peterson in tow.

13:56 PST    113.9mi/2mi to go Two miles to go as the leaders hit Mission Street and end their descent into Santa Cruz. The crowds are growing as we get nearer to the finish line.

13:57 PST    Leipheimer is in the drops, pulling out all the stops, with Peterson tucked on his wheel.

13:57 PST    We're now at the 2km to go mark with a 51 second gap to the Armstrong group behind the leading duo.

13:58 PST    Now we're at 1km to go!!! Leipheimer is driving it, Peterson on his wheel still.

13:58 PST    114.9mi/1mi to go One km to go and Leipheimer is still pulling, but looks behind to see where Peterson is - waiting for him to make a move.

13:59 PST    They're on the finishing stretch. Leipheimer is thinking about gaining as much time as possible on gc.

13:59 PST    Thomas Peterson jumps!

14:00 PST    Peterson takes the stage win ahead of Leipheimer who did all the work approaching the finish.

14:01 PST    The chase group has finished, led in by Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) and Christopher Horner (Astana).

14:08 PST    What a day of racing, and it's only the second stage of the Tour of California! After sitting in the field for approximately 95 miles, Levi Leipheimer went on the offensive on the final climb of the day, Bonny Doon Road, and rode straight through the break which had been off the front since the opening miles. Thomas Peterson (Garmin-Slipstream) attoned for his flummox in the opening prologue (he missed his start time) with a fine stage win as Leipheimer towed him to the line all the way from the upper slopes of the Bonny Doon climb.

14:11 PST    Thank you for joining us for today's live coverage. Tomorrow's stage kicks off at a more reasonable 12pm PST for the riders and we'll be on board to bring you the day's events once again.

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