After the peloton reeled in the final three riders of an original eight rider breakaway with 10km to go, it became clear that the 185.5km Stage 1 of AMGEN Tour of California would likely come down to a field sprint. However, a crash with more than 3km to go affected the chances of several riders — including Bert Grabsch — and an unfortunate flat tire for Tom Boonen with 600 meters to go cost him the chance of contesting the stage.
“It was an hard stage but I really fought to try to do the sprint,” Boonen said. “I came back in the peloton at about 9 miles to go thanks to Vandenbergh who helped me a lot. At that point I started thinking about the sprint. I was in good position, ready to take off but I had a flat tire at about 600 meters from the finish, crossing the railroad. Fortunately I didn’t crash, but I lost my chance to make the sprint. We will try again.”
“The course was beautiful and the fact I know every meter of the Rosa makes it enjoyable,” Levi Leipheimer said of racing in his home town, Santa Rosa. “But to be honest I suffered a little bit, so that always stinks. Especially when you’re suffering on your own roads. Good and bad, but i’m happy to be here. I think participating in the AMGEN Tour of California is of the utmost importance to be good in July for the Tour de France and hopefully the Olympics. There’s Tour of Utah, hopefully the USA Pro Cycling Challenge — there’s a lot of races left in the season and that was a lot of my motivation to recover as fast as possible and train as much as my leg would allow me to in order for me to be fit enough to take the start here, finish, and then benefit from the race and not just get blown out the back within one or two days.”