HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish wins Stage One of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California

Cavendish Takes Stage 1

Enthusiastic Crowds in both Nevada City and Sacramento
Welcome Pro Riders Back to California for Fifth Year

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (May 16, 2010) – Under sunny skies, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California kicked off to the roaring cheers of cycling fans from around the world in the picturesque town Nevada City. In an exciting sprint to the finish, Mark Cavendish (GBR) of HTC-Columbia took his third stage win in the history of the race after three high-speed circuits around the State’s Capitol building in Sacramento. Cavendish was followed by Juan Jose (“J.J.”) Haedo (ARG) of Team Saxo Bank in second and Alexander Kristoff (NOR) of the BMC Racing Team in third.

Cavendish beat out top cyclists, including nine past world champions, 11 current national champions and six Olympic medalists to take the win. The enthusiastic crowd, comprised of shoulder-to-shoulder fans, cheered on the cyclists as they made their way through downtown Sacramento.

The 104.3-mile/167.8 km stage, which also will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nevada City Classic, to Sacramento took the riders through Grass Valley and across the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California and the third highest in the U.S. A mostly downhill stage, which certainly favored the sprinters, the route also included a grueling climb from the American River to the town of Cool. The point-to-point race from Nevada City to Sacramento was a change from the previous edition’s opening prologue.

In the first big move of the day Maarten Tjallingii (NED) of Rabobank, Chad Beyer (USA) of the BMC Racing Team, Mark De Maar (NED) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis and Paul Mach (USA) of BISSELL broke away from the pack and quickly gained a one minute gap on the field. In a short-lived attempt to catch the breakaway, three riders formed a chase, but were quickly swallowed up by the peloton. After only 20 minutes, the breakaway’s lead grew to more than two and a half minutes and eventually expanded to more than five minutes, giving the group a considerable lead over the pack, which was led for the majority of the race by HTC-Columbia.

“Our strategy was to ride aggressively and try to get in the breakaway. That was goal number one and it worked out,” said Mach.

The first sprint at Meadow Vista was won by Tjallingii, ahead of Mach with DeMaar in third. At 1 km from the KOM climb on Highway 49, De Maar and Mach attacked the other two riders in the break and then Mach soloed away to take the KOM, followed by De Maar. After a descent of four miles at an average speed of 38 mph and a mostly downhill finish into Sacramento, the break of four riders came back together, but was swallowed up as they head for the three finishing circuits around the State Capitol building.

Two crashes during the finishing circuits took some of the race favorites out of contention for this stage, including Tom Boonen (BEL) of QuickStep, leaving Cavendish in the perfect position to take the stage and the overall lead heading into day two of the race. “The Amgen Tour of California is a hard race,” said Cavendish. “This is a big thing for us. It’s always an important race. Hopefully we can win more stages.”

After an amazing performance, Cavendish claimed not only the Amgen Race Leader Jersey, but also the Herbalife Sprint Jersey. California native Mach claimed the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey went to Tjallingii and the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey was awarded to Kristoff.

“In only one day, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California has already exceeded our expectations with regards to fans, host cities and overall enthusiasm,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We’ve already seen an amazing degree of competition from these world-class cyclists and we’re looking forward to seeing how the race unfolds.”

Title sponsor Amgen is continuing its complementary Breakaway from Cancer® initiative in 2010.

“Amgen is proud to join AEG for the fifth year as the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California. This race provides Amgen the opportunity to be part of the top cycling event in the U.S. that attracts the interest of millions of people while promoting health and wellness in Amgen’s headquarters state of California,” said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology.

“Our involvement allows Amgen the opportunity to raise awareness of our company, our mission to serve patients and the promise of medical breakthroughs through biotechnology,” Arbuckle added. “It also allows us to support those impacted by cancer through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative.”

Amgen created the national Breakaway from Cancer® initiative in 2005 as a complementary component to its sponsorship of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California. Breakaway from Cancer represents a partnership between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope. The Breakaway from Cancer partners – Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community (formerly The Wellness Community), Patient Advocate Foundation and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship – collectively offer people affected by cancer a broad range of support services, complementing those provided by a patient’s team of healthcare professionals.

For access to resources or to learn more, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.

More News Amgen Tour of California;

  • Amgen Tour Of California 2010 Stage 1 | Mixx Buzzers – Mark Renshaw have been rocket by Brit Mark Cavendish. Mark is Brit Mark’s HTC/Columbia lead out man, Mark Renshaw to take opening stage of the 5th edition of the Amgen tour of California victory, over saxo bank’s Argentine sprinter …
  • Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 » Cyclelicious – My random thoughts on today’s finish in Sacramento. The crowds were huge and amazing enthusiastic. There was a ton of energy both for the earlier Grand.
  • Amgen Tour of California – California news | USA News – U.S. national champion George Hincapie and Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff will hunt for stage wins while the BMC Racing Team will look to Hincapie and Swiss Steve Morabito for the overall at the Amgen Tour of California. …
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