The Amgen Tour of California traveled down the California coast and through the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains in constant drenching rain that Levi Leipheimer likened to an all day cold shower.
Fans lined the roads all through Santa Cruz County in spite of the heavy rain and a mudslide that briefly closed Highway 17. Santa Cruz favorite Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) said he was very pleased to see the local turnout.
As the cyclists approached the city of Santa Cruz, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on the fans and the race. A breakaway of Tom Peterson (Garmin-Chipotle) and Levi Leipheimer (Astana) raced through town as cowbells clanged, with Levi leading and Tom Peterson sucking on Levi’s wheel until they were about 50 yards from the finish line, when Tom zipped to the side and pulled away For The Win.
Levi’s second place finish on the heels of Peterson earned him the Yellow Jersey, which he intends to hold on to through Escondido.
Michael Rogers of Team Columbia-High Road rounded out the podium for third place.
The blue and gold of Astana dominates in the GC rankings, with Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong (!) in fourth place, and Chris Horner in fifth. Michael Rogers is in second, while Dave Zabriskie (Garmin Slipstream) is in third place overall. My vote is for Levi but these are all very strong riders.
In last place today was Phil Southerland of Team Type 1. I talked with Phil last year and I’m really impressed with his effort, especially because he has Type 1 Diabetes. Major props to Phil for what he’s doing!
DNF’s today are Kirk O’Bee (Bissell), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1), Jonathan Clarke (Fly V Austalia/Successful Living), Scott Davis (Fly V Austalia/Successful Living). I don’t know about the others, but Andy Jacques-Maynes — Ben Jacques-Maynes’ brother — crashed and reportedly hit a parked car. He was transported to a Santa Cruz hospital but he’s doing fine.
View more photos from today’s stage in my Tour of California Stage 2 set. I’m still uploading them as of 7:30 PM so give it some time, please! I appreciate any and all comments and questions.
Tomorrow: San Jose to Modesto.