What the riders in the breakaway first imagined would be a rather futile ride out front for a day soon turned into a reason to try to win stage 2.
Three remaining escapees during the Stage 2 of the Tour de California almost made it to the podium after a breakaway that lasted almost a day. Taking advantage of the mayhem in the peloton, at one point, the escapees remained at the lead almost up to the end. It’s not unusual for this to happen as breakaway riders won 3 stages in the 2014 Tour de California.
However Etixx-QuickStep thwarted hopes for a similar breakaway win on Monday. BMC Racing’s Daniel Oss, Trek Factory Racing’s Markel Irizar and Hincapie Racing’s Robin Carpenter had all cycled 5 kilometers ahead of the peloton. This had Etixx-QuickStep and Tinkoff-Saxo teaming up to end the escapees hope to win Stage 2.
Breakaway cyclists form group of 4
The breakaway got a grip on the race after surfacing a six-rider shift that attempted to lead in the first 20km of the 193.7km stage from Nevada City, where online internet casinos can bet on cycling, to Lodi. Oss was then joined by Irizar who both pumped away to bridge the gap.
Oss then jumped alone followed by Irizar. Irizar said of his exploit “I thought we would be four or five riders, but we were only two. So when we got word that two more were coming, we slowed up to make a group of four. That was a pretty good group.”
Unusual to have 4 escapees grouping up
Carpenter was left be-goggled at the numbers up front as he rode up to the group According to US gambling news reporters, Luis Amaran of the Jamis-Hagens Berman team, was the last to make up the 4-member group after about about 28 kilometers into the day.
Carpenter said of his exploit “Contrary to what you saw today, we wouldn’t really want to be riding in a breakaway of four or five. We really want to look for the breaks of seven or 10 or even 15 guys. I bridged pretty early in the race thinking more guys were up the road. But when I got there, there were only three, so I adjusted expectations pretty quickly.”
Excitement reined in the last 35km of the Stage 2
Oss, who is an experienced leader of sort, had aided Jempy Drucker to get a place on the podium on Monday, where he won 3rd place. He admitted that spending the day out front was a good way to hone his condition for future races. He said “It was good for me because this race is good for looking for shape and looking forward to Dauphine and Tour de France. So I’m good.”
Carpenter thought that by the time he was at the last 15 or 20 kilometers that some teams would have caught up with him by then. However, the breakaway group noticed that after a while, no one was really close behind them. They picked up speed, stamina and hope; which made for an exciting 35 kilometers race to the finishing line.
Overtaken by QuickStep
As the leaders approached the Lodi under a minute to go, they sped leaving Amaran behind, which perhaps would influence very little the outcome of the day. The escapees had luck once again on their side as they were able to side-ride a huge crash in the peloton with just 10 kilometers to go. However, they ran out of luck between there and the finishing line.
Cavendish’s QuickStep team quickly overtook the escapees, much to the delight of cycling fans who bet on the team under US gambling laws, to win Stage 2. Brian Holm, team director of QuickStep said “The required work of today on the front was about the same as yesterday,Today Martin Velits did a very good job, and then Stijn Vandenbergh took over. With the riders we had controlling the race it was going pretty well”.
Cutting it close to overcome the breakaway
QuickStep’s Guillaume Van Kiersbulck said that from where the team was they couldn’t see the time boards. By the time they did have a look they still had 3 minutes to go so they rode on with two extra riders and 1 from Saxo. Etixx-QuickStep was able to overtake the escapees in the last lap by some miracle. The breakaway group was applauded for their team work and QuickStep’s team admitted that they had underestimated the escapees determination.
However, they managed to keep their leadout guys ahead and away, making them relieved winners. But the breakaway riders were content too, even if they didn’t get the stage win. Carpenter currently is the leadout guy for the mountains competition and won the best young rider category, while Irizar, who recovered from cancer, was rewarded with a ‘Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous Rider’ jersey. Oss for his part just got physically fitter for more difficult races ahead.