Now in its 11th edition, the Amgen Tour of California is the premier stage race in the United States. Taking a South to North route this year, the 8-Stage, 800 mile ToC attracts the worlds best road racers, many who are still on good form from the Spring Classics as well as those looking to do well later at the Tour de France and Olympics. Record number of spectators were treated to exciting, up-close international racing. The ToC gives smaller Continental Teams the ability to race against the bigger World Tour Teams often showcasing budding talent. Also U.S. fans of Team Dimension Data got to see their favorite riders on home tarmac.
In what was one of the more difficult stages, Team Dimension Data was one of the most aggressive teams. The hilly 134 mile stage 3 saw Mark Cavendish in an early breakaway group that contained a lot of horsepower. Working together, the group had a 5 minute maximum lead on the peloton as they rolled closer to the finish at Laguna Seca Raceway. Under the watchful eye of Peter Sagan’s Saxo Bank team, the break was brought back leading to a flurry of attacks. Team Dimension Data rider Daniel Teklehaimanot, wearer of the polka-dot jersey in last years Tour de France, tried his hand in escaping giving his friends and family who made the trip from Eritrea much to cheer for. Dimension Data’s Nathan Haas attacked just before the iconic corkscrew with only a handful of riders making up the leading group on the descent. Haas continued to dig deep but he eventually led out the sprint allowing Sagan his 15th career win in the race. Greg Van Avermaet finished second, with Haas rounding out the podium.
Not content to leave the Tour of California without a stage win, Team Dimension Data worked tirelessly to bring back a breakaway on the final stage in Sacramento and hopefully set up Cavendish for a sprint finish. The breakaway was strong and the team was going to have to use their resources to reel in the break, not leaving any men for a lead-out for Cav. The Manxman found Sagan’s wheel and jumped past the world champion to take the team’s first stage win on the Tour’s last stage.
Congratulations to the overall race winner Etixx–Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe. Look for Team Dimension Data at upcoming races and at the 2017 edition of the Amgen Tour of California.