Ben Swift (GBR), First Place, Stage 2
On winning today's stage
"Bobby (Julich; race coach) showed a lot of faith in me this week. Today was my opportunity to go for the win. The team was absolutely perfect."
On the shortened circuit and weather
"The shortened circuit we raced today meant fresh riders and a quicker finish. Because it was raining, guys respected each other and gave each other enough space. The whole circuit was lined with fans, even with the rain."
"The rain helped me a little bit. Coming from Britain, you get to experience riding in rain. It puts a fear in some people and helps you control things more."
On Stage 1
"Unfortunately, yesterday we couldn't race, which is a shame and a lot of guys were disappointed, but the conditions were too dangerous."
"I know a lot of guys were really disappointed not to race in Tahoe yesterday. It would have been such a nice race to watch on television. Unfortunately the snow came in. In hindsight, if the race had started two days before, we would have missed the snow. I think everybody was quite relieved to finally get started. Everyone's kind of done their preparation, and I think everyone was just really motivated to get going again. Luckily, we got to start today."
On the team's strategy for today
"We had a plan to hit the front of the circuit with one lap to go. It was a pretty long circuit and you needed to ride fast. We were able to come over the top and take control on the final lap. You need to ride together and everyone did the job 100 percent."
James Driscoll (USA), Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey Winner
On the his duties in the breakaway
"It was my duty today to try and get in the breakaway and fortunately four of my teammates were able to join me. It was my rotation and that was the move that stuck. We were working well together as team; it was a classic formulaic sprint and we knew the pro teams would reel us in. It was good to race aggressive like we were told to do."
On winning the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider jersey
"It's a huge deal to get the jersey that I got today during a sprinter stage, especially racing in the backyard of our sponsor Sutter Home. It was great exposure for our sponsors and I am looking forward to wearing the jersey to the sponsor dinner tonight."
On missing commencement at University of Vermont
"I am missing my commencement this week; however it was worth it because this jersey is a good replacement for my cap and gown. I checked online and I passed all of my classes, so my Mechanical Engineering degree should be mailed to me soon. One day, I hope to use this degree in the cycling industry, working towards something that I love."
On the weather
"All the cyclists were really bummed about not racing yesterday because we are used to riding in adverse conditions. Seeing the pictures from yesterday's conditions and knowing that there was ice on the pavement, it was in our best interest that yesterday's stage was canceled and today's stage was truncated. I think it is just the weather and with cycling being an outdoor sport you always have to adapt to it."
On the team's strategy for this week
"We have great riders to hit different stages. For the faster stages, we have the brothers - Alejandro Alberto Borrajo and Anibal Andres Borrajo. Tyler Wren should be good at Mt. Baldy and the climbs. Overall, we have a pretty good group of riders to show our perspective strengths as a team."
Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports, presenter of the race
On making the decision to move the start of Stage 2 to Nevada City, California
"We started looking at alternatives to move the Squaw Valley start late yesterday afternoon. As we started moving our finish crews to Sacramento, we were notified that Donner Pass was on chain control. We had some delays getting the crews to Sacramento and that is when we decided that we needed to seriously contemplate options if Donner Pass remained closed. The ability to race and the safety and security of the athletes always remained our top priority. Another concern was making sure that we could complete the stage in Sacramento. We deployed our team to assess the race route around midnight and determined that it wouldn't be safe to ask the athletes to go over Donner Pass. From there, we put the call into Nevada City shortly after midnight. It is a place we know well and a place that historically has a deep passion for cycling. They promised us to be ready by the morning, and sure enough, when we arrived, the roads were blocked and volunteers were in place. We all feel disappointed that we didn't get the starts we wanted in South Lake Tahoe and in Squaw Valley. We cannot control the weather. Unfortunately the weather we experienced over the weekend was a game changer."
On the fans in Nevada City
"We weren't surprised by the number of fans that showed today in Nevada City. There were a lot of people. Broad St. downtown was packed. It is a testament to the depth and history Nevada City has. It was beautiful and both the riders and fans were happy."
On the weather
"It is important to point out that most of the teams and staff arrived to Tahoe earlier in the week. The teams trained and rode their bikes Tuesday through Sunday and the conditions were fantastic. Up until Sunday morning, the experience the athletes had in Tahoe was incredible. We all felt welcome. It is hard to plan for such severe weather. Yesterday was a great powder day; it just happened to be in the middle of our race."
"We are glad we had a good, safe finish even though it rained."
"We have an eight-day race. Statistically, when you race in the north and south for that many days, you are going to have a rainy day or two. What we saw with Ben (Swift) today is proof that it can rain a little bit and still be a great race and the best guy still wins."
Photos by Stephanie Gutowski