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Tour of California - 2.HC

USA, February 17-24, 2008

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Stage 2 - February 19: Santa Rosa - Sacramento, 116 mi / 187.2km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Sue George and Laura Weislo, with reporting from Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins

Tune in at 10:00 PST for the live call from stage two of the 2008 Tour of California. Starting in Santa Rosa, the day will be a repeat of last year's stage to Sacramento, over the category two Trinity Grade. The riders will face several uncategorized climbs before hitting the last KOM on highway 128, and plummeting down into Sacramento.

09:36 PST   
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of Stage 2 of the Tour of California. We'll be beginning shortly, so stay tuned!

09:52 PST   
This morning is one of those mornings that makes you think twice about wanting to be a pro cyclist. It is cold (about 45 degrees F) and raining lightly before the start in Santa Rosa. It's raining enough so that most of the riders have rain capes on. The weather is predicted to be like this for most of the morning.

09:57 PST   
The race will roll off here at 10:00 am - in just a few minutes, in front of a good crowd despite the weather. There is a 2.4km neutral start for today's stage. Racers will encounter two climbs relatively early in the stage followed by two intermediate sprints. Given the large amount of time after the climbs, the race is expected to end in a sprint.

10:01 PST   
The racers just started!

10:05 PST   
Comm 1 is calling the Rock Racing team car back for a little chat. Apparently, they were not happy with them yesterday. Team director and retired pro Mariano Frederick is new to driving the team car.

10:11 PST   
The race has officially started. Apparently, Comm 1 gave Rock Racing's Frederick a little reminder about how to drive the team car. Yesterday, the team was fined for allowing its riders to draft the team car after they were dropped.

10:13 PST   
One rider, Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole), did not start today due to illness. The riders who are out there will have to deal with seriously wet roads, complete with large puddles and wet painted lines. The peloton is currently cruising at 20 mph (32.2 km/h).

10:14 PST    3.2km/184km to go
Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) has called for service.

10:16 PST   
Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team) and Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30) are off the front, with about a 75m gap. Nydam attacked and Cozza is chasing him.

10:18 PST   
BMC is probably trying to protect the KOM jersey, worn by Jackson Stewart. Slipstream is going to be trying to help Tyler Farrar, who did well in yesterday's intermediate sprints and now sits just 2 seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

10:20 PST   
Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30)is back in the field which leaves Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team) off the front alone at 30 seconds. Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast) is chasing.

10:22 PST   
So, Nydam is off the front. Behind him is Sundt at 30 seconds. The field is at 1'05", just cruising along at 18 mph (28.9 kph).

10:26 PST   
The gaps are continuing to grow, with the field one minute and 20 seconds back. Sundt is still in between, 35 seconds behind the leader. Riders will hit the first and most significant climb of the day, Trinity Grade (category 2). It comes about 16.6 miles into the race.

10:28 PST    9.6km/177.6km to go
The gaps are holding and the main group is now taking a nature break. Our leader Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team) is going up the first climb, not the KOM climb, but a climb before it.

10:32 PST    11.2km/176km to go
It's time to give a shout out to our driver Chris, who's doing an excellent job handling our Media 2 car so we can follow what's going on and share it with you. The gap between leader Nydam, who's off the front solo, and the field is now at 1:15.

10:37 PST    16km/171.2km to go
Nydam has grown his lead three minutes on the field. Chaser Sundt is still in never never land in between, on his own, down 1:15 from Nydam.

10:39 PST   
Team High Road's Gerald Ciolek of Germany took second yesterday in Stage 1, which ended in a field sprint. The young sprinter pulled off his second place with no help from team-mates. The team's Mark Cavendish was in an accident yesterday and therefore not in the front group. George Hincapie might have led out Ciolek, but Hincapie and Tom Boonen collided with each other and crashed on the finishing circuit leaving Ciolek on his own. Ciolek said after the race that he thought he did as well as he could on his own and would likely be able to better with more help next time around. On an interesting note, Hincapie crashed last year on a finishing circuit at the Tour of California. It's where he hurt his wrist - an injury that kept him out of racing for much of the spring 2007 season.

10:42 PST    19.31km/167.89km to go
The racers are on a descent now, with about 5km to go to the KOM line. Nydam's gap on the field is up to 4:15. Sundt is at 2:10 behind our leader. That means the field is about two miles (3.21 km) behind the leader. They must not have had time for their coffee this morning!

10:44 PST   
The road has narrowed to about a single lane and it's quite twisty. We don't think Nydam is going to be able to hold his lead, but we'll have to wait and see.

10:47 PST   
It's very steep (8-10% grade for the first half then levels off to 2-4% for awhile) and twisty now with some tight switchbacks. There are some nice crowds. There is a woman along the road wearing a veil with a sign that says "Marry me, Cipo". We wonder if he'll notice that during his climb.

10:49 PST   
Correction to what we said earlier. It's not that we think Nydam won't be able to hold it until the KOM, but instead, we think is that Sundt won't make it up to Nydam. He's been out there for awhile on his own and is not really closing in on the leader. At the top of the KOM, the grade pitches up again and becomes steeper.

10:54 PST    25.7km/161.5km to go
Following the KOM, riders will negotiate at technical descent with a good bit of fog - it could make the cornering quite tricky as the roads are still wet, too. There is 1km to go to the KOM for leader Scott Nydam, who has a 3:20 gap over the main peloton. The crowds are good up top - and busy cheering on the soggy solo leader.

10:56 PST   
Riders will descend into the Napa Valley, with its many famous wineries. Only today, there won't be any time to stop for samples or a tour. And there won't be any time to daydream either as riders will have to pay attention to keep from getting gapped on the challenging terrain. The flat miles don't come until the second half of today's stage.

11:01 PST   
Scott Nydam just went over the KOM, taking the maximum points. He's got 3'20" on Jonathan Sundt and a whopping six minutes on the field, which is breaking up substantially as it climbs. Racers will face about six or seven 180 degree switchback turns on the descent, which is reportedly very slippery in today's wet conditions.

11:04 PST    27km/160.2km to go
BMC's Scott Nydam is a known climber. Last year, the 30 year-old took first in the KOM Competition at the Cascade Cycling Classic. Some of you may also remember him from our Tour of Georgia coverage. He ended up sixth overall in Georgia.

11:08 PST   
Riders will likely be in rain for awhile although there is a chance of a dry finish. The rain seems to be stopping about 25 miles from Sacramento with blue skies visible off in the distance.

11:14 PST   
Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team) is effectively a local racer. He has been living in the Santa Rosa area, so he probably knows this descent like the back of his hand. He's on the descent and standing up a bit to stretch his legs on the short uphill bits. He looks strong and is riding well, making it look easy. Doing the descent on his own is no doubt safer and less sketchier than doing it with the pack, which has 1 km to go until the KOM line. Sundt has already crested the KOM and is headed down now, too. Sundt is at about three minutes and the field is back at about 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

11:16 PST   
The gap is about 7 minutes between Nydam and the field with Sundt in between. Sundt is looking pretty good - not quite as good as Nydam, but he's moving along well enough. The field has crested the KOM and is on the treacherous descent. We'll have results for you in just a moment.

11:18 PST   
First KOM results:
1 Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team)
2 Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast)
3 Jackson Stewart (BMC Racing Team)
4 Jens Voigt (Team CSC)
5 Alexandre Moos (BMC Racing Team)

Note that Stewart was the KOM leader going into today's stage. With his third place on Trinity Grade, he'll probably keep his lead for now.

11:23 PST   
Scott Nydam, who sometimes trains with Levi Leipheimer, is riding with perhaps a bit more motivation than some of the other riders today. In his very moving blog, he talks about his dad's bout with an acute form of leukemia. Nydam wrote that he had "better to try to get my grill up on the camera..., maybe have our surname kicked around on the airwaves" in an effort to help motivate his dad. The rider shaved his head out of solidarity with his dad's ongoing battle.

11:26 PST    40.23km/146.97km to go
We're with Sundt, who is descending still - now on a more open, wider descent in the form of a two-lane road after the KOM. He's got seven minutes on the field. Sundt is at 5:20.

11:27 PST   
We have reports that another race motorcycle went down - this time a photo moto - but the crash was probably not as bad as yesterday. All reports are that it is back up and rolling again. It's interesting that even the motorcycles are having trouble with the conditions.

11:30 PST   
Vladimir Gusev (Astana) gets a bike change. Meanwhile, the rest of the field is rolling by vineyards like Napa, Mondavi, and Opus One. Nydam's gaps are still growing - he may have been helped by being able to do the technical descent solo instead of negotiating it with other riders. He's got 6:15 on Sundt and 9:45 on the peloton.

11:36 PST    46.7km/140.5km to go
We are approaching the Silverado bike trail which runs through Napa Valley. We just spoke with Jonas Carney, the director of Team Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast. Carney originally told his rider Jonny Sundt to attack and try to bridge up to Nydam. They had hoped that some other big-name riders would go too, and join up with Sundt, but it just didn't happen. Now Carney is telling Sundt to ride his own pace and see what happens. Sundt may be feeling right at home. Living in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area he is used to riding through Virginia's wine country.

11:38 PST   
Sundt goes by the nickname El Gato (Cat in Spanish). Carney said Sundt is his best bike handler on the team, but that even with his excellent skills, Sundt had to clip out several times to be ready "just in case" on the gnarly descent off the Trinity Grade KOM.

11:40 PST   
Temperatures have warmed up by ten degrees F since the start of the race today. It's 55 degrees F. We're in the heart of Napa country now, with the rain stopped and low clouds. Chances are looking good for a drier finish to today's stage.

11:43 PST   
Some of the world's best mountain bikers will be returning to Napa on August 23-24 for the Singlespeed World Championships. Last year, they happened in Scotland in September and were won by Americans Adam Craig and Kelli Emmett. Organizers are recommending on their website that visitors learn to identify poison oak and say "oak-ey tannins" in preparation. Oh yes, and to start training, too.

11:47 PST    55.4km/131.8km to go
Back in the peloton, which seems to be riding along easily and chatting, Team Quick Step is at the front. Scott Nydam had increased his lead to 14 minutes!

11:57 PST   
The riders have less than 20 miles to go until their next and final KOM for the day. This one will be more mellow as a category 4. It comes just before the town of Winters, which will also feature the day's first of two intermediate sprints.

12:04 PST    57.9km/129.3km to go
Nydam has 15:00 on the field now and Sundt is at 7:25 from Nydam.
We turned off of Napa Valley and are following the Napa river. We're heading uphill a bit into the hills. BMC and High Road are at the front of the pack, but they are not chasing. They'll probably start the chase more earnestly as they go up and over the KOM.

12:06 PST   
The lead rider is travelling 21 mph with field at 24 mph. The difference is probably due to the fact that the leader is already starting the climbing leading up to the second KOM.

This stage is a little reminiscent of some of the long stages from last year's Tour of Missouri and Tour of Georgia when some breaks got up to 29 minutes. However, because we've got a solo rider this time around, it's less likely that the gap will end up so large at the finish.

12:07 PST   
The peloton has decided to start riding now. They are strung out at the front. We'll see if the time gap is affected.

12:10 PST    69km/118.2km to go
CSC leading the field with one of its rider followed by Crédit Agricole and Bouygues Telecom. BMC is following them but of course is not helping chase their own rider.

12:12 PST   
The riders will get a chance to freshen up at the feed zone coming up about nine kilometers before the second KOM.

12:28 PST   
Last year's Tour of California winner, Levi Leipheimer, spoke at a press conference yesterday after Stage 1 about what it was like to not have the jersey this year riding into Santa Rosa. He said, "Although I really loved last year coming into my hometown in yellow, this year there was no pressure on me or my team. Last year, we had to control the whole race from the beginning." He added that yesterday he felt no pressure. "The team just had to sit in and cover moves." Yesterday Leipheimer finished in the front group, which he said helped make it a more relaxing way to start the Tour.

12:32 PST   
Yesterday, it was a different BMC rider off the front for much of the day - Jackson Stewart. After the stage, Stewart said, "I don't think it was our plan to be off the front for that long. It was our plan to be in the moves and to be involved in the race. But I don't think it was planned for me to do it alone! Anyway, that's how it worked out and we had our sights set on the KOM jersey so that worked out great." The team, which is based in Santa Rosa, was trying to put in a good showing. Going out of Santa Rosa today, no doubt Nydam benefited from some local knowledge. The Boulder, Colorado, resident has spent a good chunk of time training based out of Santa Rosa leading up to the Tour of California.

12:38 PST    82.88km/104.32km to go
The main peloton is in the feed zone getting their lunch - they seem to be slowing up to eat their food. Solo leader Scott Nydam is getting close to the second and final KOM for the day while second-placed, also solo rider, Jonny Sundt is getting 5km to go to the field. The average speed for today is on 19.4 mph (31.22 kph), and believe it or not, that represents an increase in recent miles.

12:44 PST    84.7km/102.5km to go
Nydam still has 11:10 on the field, but Sundt is 9:00 behind Nydam and almost in sight of the field. Sundt seems to have called it a day and has backed off, waiting to be caught by the main peloton as the climb the KOM. He's had a long time out here on his own in no man's land between Nydam and the rest of the bunch. The large gap to Nydam means he has just gone over the top and collected top KOM points for the second and final time today.

12:47 PST   
The peloton is at 10:15 and approaching the top of the KOM. After the second KOM, riders will descend considerably and face a few ups and downs before descending the rest of the way to Winters, the site of today's first intermediate sprint. It will be a net gradual downhill to the second intermediate sprint and then level terrain all the way to the finish.

12:56 PST    96.5km/90.7km to go
Sundt was finally caught just past the top of the KOM, so he managed to hold on to second placed KOM points. The gap between Nydam and the pack is down to 9:50. It's starting to come down as the teams get more serious about chasing.

12:56 PST   
The descent off the KOM is not too difficult. Team CSC is driving the field with several of its riders up there.

We have results from the second KOM.
1 Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team)
2 Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast)
3 Jackson Stewart (BMC Racing Team)
4 Alexandre Moos (BMC Racing Team)

12:58 PST   
We continue to be driven by our excellent chauffeur, Chris Nolver. We are at about the halfway point of the race. With the flatter terrain coming up, it will be harder for Nydam to stay off the front and we're likely to see the peloton start to narrow the gap.

13:01 PST   
With Jackson Stewart in third place and Nydam in first on that last KOM, BMC is really showing its determination to hold on to the mountains classification jersey. Stewart was leading the competition after stage 1 and if anyone were to overtake him, it would be his own team-mate Nydam.

13:05 PST   
Stewart also held the points jersey after yesterday. His jersey collection is due to his long break yesterday (starting in the first kilometer) - during which he collected KOM and intermediate sprint points. Stewart was caught just before the finishing circuits. It seems like team-mate Nydam is following a similar path today even though Stewart said after yesterday's effort, that his legs hurt and his team would not try that kind of move again.

13:08 PST   
We drove the course before the race and found it to be absolutely spectacular. It went through little canyons and by a green lake and along Highway 128 by the river. It feels like much of the course is in a rainforest, covered in greenery. We've seen lots of people out riding their bikes and while we noticed that the KOMs were congested with people, the rest of the country roads in the Napa Valley were pretty sparsely populated with cyclists and fans.

13:09 PST   
However, we are expecting good crowds at the finish in Sacramento, where it is overcast and roads are drying off. Sacramento is California's state capital and the seventh largest city in California.

13:13 PST    104.6km/82.6km to go
The main peloton is about to go through the first intermediate sprint of the day. They're not really chasing too hard right now. The peloton seems content to let Nydam sit out there on his own for awhile. Having been off the front almost since the start of the race by himself, he sure is having a long day and a solid effort. Teams Slipstream, Quick Step and CSC are at the front of the pack. The gap is at 11:40.

13:15 PST   
The gap is back up to 11:40. The peloton seems to be taking its time to eat and swap clothing. In fact, riders are shedding clothing now that it is 55 degrees F. It also seems like a clear sign that the peloton is getting ready to work a bit harder and maybe get more serious about sprinting and chasing Nydam. They have 5km to go until the sprint.

13:16 PST   
The gap is back up to 12:25. We wonder if Nydam is getting lonely out there.

13:22 PST    111km/76.2km to go
The peloton is now traveling 19 mph (38.62 kph). The gap is at 11:25 and they aren't chasing seriously as they peloton is spread from curb to curb through the flat roads lined by almond trees.

13:23 PST   
There is one kilometer to go until the sprint. They are starting to race now. Credit Agricole is at the front, then Team CSC takes over. The road into Winters is lined with school children out watching the race. The gap sits at 12:45.

13:27 PST   
The area around us is clearly all about agriculture. For the first sprint, we have results. Of course, it was won by Nydam off the front, but the battle was for second place.

1 Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team)
2 Gerald Ciolek (High Road)
3 Tyler Farrar (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30)

13:28 PST   
Tyler Farrar (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30) gets a one second time bonus with his third place sprint. That moves him to within one second of the GC lead, still held by Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

13:31 PST   
The second intermediate sprint and the final sprint both offer more time bonus opportunities. The second sprint also awards 3, 2 and 1 seconds respectively. The final sprint is good for 10, 6, and 4 seconds. That said, the leader's jersey could very well change hands today depending on the outcome of those sprints, even if Nydam manages to hold on to the lead for a stage win.

13:32 PST    120.7km/66.5km to go
The gap is up to 15:00 again after the sprint. The peloton must have sat up for another break. Clearly they did not get any coke or coffee in their bags at the last feed zone!

13:33 PST   
We are seeing some signs of initiative again. The peloton is up to 27 mph (43.45 km/h). If they can keep that up, we will see the gap to leader Scott Nydam come down.

13:36 PST   
Next up is the second and final intermediate sprint - this one is into the town of Davis in about 10 km. It's starting to sprinkle again - that could make the four railroad crossings after the second sprint rather more challenging.

13:41 PST   
The peloton is barely chasing. Maybe they are not motivated by the dark and gray weather conditions today. It's certainly not a typical sunny California day.

13:42 PST    123km/64.2km to go
Time for a change of pace apparently. The peloton is now chasing more seriously at 32 mph (51.5 kph) on flat roads with 90 degree turns. There is no wind to slow them down. The gap is at 12:05.

13:43 PST   
We're entering Davis, where there are nice crowds awaiting the intermediate sprint.

13:47 PST   
At the finish line in Sacramento, it's dark and cold and grey. It's 50 degrees and raining. The crowds are starting to form in anticipation of the finish although so far, they are not nearly as big as in Santa Rosa yesterday; but it's still a bit early - they have time to amass. The weather may be a bit of a deterrent for less enthusiastic fans.

13:48 PST    129.1km/58.1km to go
The main peloton is rolling onto the University of California - Davis campus and is getting the one kilometer to go until the sprint sign.

13:57 PST   
Nydam has collected top intermediate sprint points again. The peloton will be sprinting for second place points and more time bonus seconds.

13:58 PST   
The peloton continues to keep the pace high and has dropped the gap from 15 minutes to eight minutes and five seconds as they speed toward the sprint line.

14:01 PST   
Our leader Scott Nydam is in full time trial mode, but it is clear he is hurting. It seems very unlikely he'll be able to hold his lead until the end.

14:04 PST    140km/47.2km to go
The results of the second intermediate sprint are below:
1 Scott Nydam (BMC Racing Team)
2 Tyler Farrar (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30)
3 Gerald Ciolek (High Road)

14:04 PST   
Tyler Farrar (Slipstream Chipotle p/b H30) picked up two more seconds in that last sprint, which makes him the virtual leader on the road - now ahead of Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

14:07 PST   
Leader Scott Nydam appears to be cracking hard on the road. He's slowed to 10mph and is taking a nature break while the Slipstream team drives the peloton chasing him. Nydam doesn't seem too concerned about his slowing. We should see the time gap start to plummet.

14:12 PST    141.6km/45.6km to go
David Millar of Team Slipstream is clearly directing his men to action in the main pelton. His team is now defending the potential lead of its rider Tyler Farrar on the road - if they catch Nydam now. They will be highly motivated to take over the leader's jersey, and in fact, they have six men on the front of the peloton, driving the chase.

14:14 PST   
The gap has shrunk by more than one-half. It is down to 5:45. It is raining steadily.

14:16 PST   
The racers are heading toward Sacramento where they will finish. At the Capitol Mall, near 9th street, they will enter onto the finishing circuit. When they cross the line the first time, they'll see three laps of the finishing circuit to go. The last eight miles or so of the race will happen on the circuits. Getting there will consist of mostly flat and fast roads.

14:20 PST   
We went over an interesting bridge after the second sprint. It was a little stone bridge with graffiti all over it. Every bit of stone on the bridge had been graffitied with paint. The whole bridge was colorful, with pink and red and white.

14:24 PST    146.5km/40.7km to go
The peloton is on a wide road paralleling I-5. It was being driven by Slipstream and managed to narrow the gap to 4:30, but now they've slowed up and are riding curb to curb, at less than 20 mph (32.1 kph). They don't want to catch Nydam too soon, so he is left to dangle off the front for a bit longer.

14:24 PST   
The pack is picking up more speed now with Quick Step and Slipstream and Team CSC back at the front.

14:30 PST   
The chase is back up to 30mph, but organization is clearly lacking within. The rain continues to be on and off again. The mechanics will be busy cleaning bikes tonight! Officials just warned TV moto against being too close so as to allow drafting.

14:32 PST    156.1km/31.1km to go
The gap is down to two minutes and officials are clearing the cars in between the lead rider Scott Nydam and the chasing peloton. Nydam is loading up on bottles to hand out to his team-mates - he knows he will be caught soon and the BMC car is going back. It won't be long now.

14:33 PST   
The gap is down to 1:20.

14:36 PST   
The gap is down to 40 seconds. Team Slipstream and Rabobank are on the front. This is the first time we've seen Rabobank up there. The peloton is approaching a wet railroad crossing as it's raining again. Let's hope they get across it safely. They'll have three more after this one to negotiate in the next few miles.

14:39 PST    164kmkm/23.2km to go
The catch has been made!

14:40 PST    160km/27.2km to go
We are riding along what is technically a levee. The road is on top of it. We're on the rural outskirts of Sacramento right now and approaching the I-80 overpass, and the city's skyline is visible.

14:45 PST    162.2km/25km to go
The race, still altogether as it speeds toward the finish, is in the city of West Sacramento.

14:47 PST   
Mavic is giving service to Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing), who appears to have some bike problems.

14:48 PST   
Sébastien Turgot (Bouygues Telecom) attacks and quickly gets 100m.

14:50 PST   
Sébastien Turgot (Bouygues Telecom) has grown his gap to 30 seconds.

14:51 PST    167.2km/20km to go
With 20km to go, Turgot's gap is 35 seconds.

14:53 PST   
Turgot has a flat and Mavic is quick to attend him.

14:54 PST   
What bad timing for Turgot to get a flat while off the front on his attack. After the change, his lead is at 100m.

14:58 PST   
Slipstream is setting the pace, now CSC.

15:02 PST   
Turgot is still off the front with a 20 second gap. His move reminds us of Danny Pate, who tried a similar move last year. Pate didn't hold it and this year he'll presumably be working for team-mate Tyler Farrar.

15:03 PST    174km/13.2km to go
The peloton is downtown and turning onto the circuit. Turgot has been caught and all are together now. They'll see three laps to go when they cross the finish line. Team CSC is leading.

15:04 PST   
Jason Mccartney (Team CSC) is at the head of the field. Slipstream is also up there. They will be looking to protect Farrar's virtual leader's jersey after he scooped up time bonus points, but CSC will want the stage win.

15:06 PST    176.9km/10.3km to go
The field is all strung out, with CSC still at the front driving the pace. Three laps of the finishing circuit to go.

15:08 PST   
Now Slipstream is at the front, but CSC is still there. These two teams are dominating the run-up to what is apparently shaping up to be a sprint finish.

15:08 PST   
We wonder how Scott Nydam's legs are feeling now - after he had such a long day off the front!

15:09 PST   
Underneath the Maxxis banner, JJ Haedo is chasing on after suffering a flat tire. A Slipstream rider has taken a flyer.

15:10 PST   
Quick Step is on the front again, with CSC just behind. They're through the finish for two laps to go! Bettini is up front.

15:11 PST    180.1km/7.1km to go
The roads

15:11 PST    180.1km/7.1km to go
The roads are rain soaked and the water is spraying up all over the peloton as they speed through the streets of Sacramento.

15:12 PST   
We've got more Quick Step and High Road riders heading up to the front as the peloton slows a bit on a long straightaway.

15:12 PST   
The peloton is starting to line out, with Saunier Duval, High Road and then 3 Quick Steps on front.

15:13 PST   
High Road is up there for Ciolek, but Cipo is third wheel!

15:14 PST    183km/4.2km to go
Fred Rodriguez is in front of Cipollini, with Bettini on the Lion King's wheel and Hincapie moving up.

15:14 PST   
Another train led by Astana is moving up on the left.

15:14 PST   
An attack! Saunier Duval, and Millar is moving Slipstream up.

15:15 PST   
Lots of Gerolsteiner up here, with one lap to go - Boonen is up there on the Gerolsteiner train.

15:15 PST   
Cipo still up front, Toyota United, and it looks like Haedo has made it back on?

15:15 PST    184.2km/3km to go
The riders have three kilometers remaining and Saunier Duval and High Road are now at the front.

15:16 PST   
Cipollini is still up there, right behind our best young rider. Quick Step is moving up with Boonen - they take the turn wide.

15:17 PST   
There is a line of ten riders single file, Cipo fifth wheel two ahead of Bettini. High Road is on the front.

15:17 PST   
Cipo goes around, fighting for Boonen's wheel!

15:17 PST   
Bettini finds his QS wheel, he's moving up, and there's some bumping going on.

15:18 PST    186.4km/0.8km to go
The lead out starts, and the Quick Step train has the front.

15:18 PST   
High Road takes the lead now, and one of the riders sits up and lets his teammate have the gap - it's Cavendish

15:18 PST   
It's too far out for Cavendish, though, and the sprint starts and passes him. Coming to the line, the white jersey of... it's Boonen!

15:19 PST   
Tom Boonen gets his first American win - and seems pretty pleased with that.

15:20 PST   
The High Road tactic didn't quite work. Cipollini looked like he got third, and a Gerolsteiner in second. Maybe Haussler again. We'll get confirmation.

15:21 PST   
There was a lot of disgusted gestures at the end of that sprint. Seems that they didn't appreciate the High Road rider opening the gap to try and give his team-mate the advantage.

15:21 PST   
Tyler Farrar came through safely and will take over the yellow jersey! Great news for the 23-year-old who had his first professional win in Portugal last year.

15:21 PST   
Haedo may have lost the points jersey - perhaps to Haussler if that was him in second.

15:22 PST   
Tyler Farrar gets a big hug from his directors and support crew - it's a great day for this team.

15:23 PST   
Unofficially, here's the top three:
Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner)
Mario Cipollini (Rock Racing)

15:27 PST   
Haedo most likely didn't get enough points to keep his jersey. Haussler gets 12 points for second, putting him with 22 total. Haedo would have had to have been fourth to tie, and would keep the jersey on stage finishes.

15:31 PST   
The King of the Mountains jersey may stay with Jackson Stewart, who took third in the two mountain primes of the day. All that will change tomorrow, as the riders head up the HC climb to Mt. Hamilton (provided it's not snowing), and then over the Sierra Grade.

Tune in for our live coverage at 10AM PST tomorrow for the epic stage to San Jose!

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