SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--German speedster Marcel Kittel of Quick – Step Floors collected his first career Amgen Tour of California stage victory and the Visit California Sprint Jersey as the weeklong, 583-mile stage race began today in Sacramento, Calif. World Road Race Champion Peter Sagan (SVK) of BORA-hansgrohe, known as the “King of California” for his race record 15 stage wins, crossed the line in second today with Team Sky’s Elia Viviani (ITA) rounding out the podium in third.
“It's a nice start to the [Amgen] Tour of California. Some teams tried to go for the crosswinds but the wind was not strong enough. I'm very happy with how my team handled the sprint,” said Kittel. “It gives us confidence for the races to come. We got rid of a lot of pressure today, and we can look forward to the rest of the race and go relaxed in the next days.”
A breakaway of four rode out in front of the peloton for much of the 103.8-mile stage, including Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis’ Ben Wolfe (Greenville, SC), who took a turn at a solo lead and earned the Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
Tomorrow’s Stage 2 presented by Visit California will stretch 89.5 miles from Modesto to 11-time Host City San Jose. With six King of the Mountain climbs, including the categorized climb up and over Mt. Hamilton, it will be clear after this stage which riders will be in contention for the overall win. The 583-mile race concludes in Pasadena May 20.
Stage 1 Podium
- Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
- Peter Sagan (SVK) – BORA-hansgrohe (GER)
- Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky (GBR)
Stage 1 Jersey Winners
Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Ben Wolfe (USA) – Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
Visit California Sprint Jersey – Marcel Kittel (GER) – Quick – Step Floors (BEL)
TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey – Floris Gerts (NED), BMC Racing Team (USA)
Earlier in the day, the four-stage Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Women's Race empowered with SRAM concluded with Boels-Dolmans’ 2016 Olympic Games road race gold medalist Anna van der Breggen (NED) taking the overall win. Van der Breggen rode into the final race day one second behind UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Katie Hall (Saratoga, Calif.) and earned valuable Sprint points during today’s Sacramento circuit race to take the overall race victory by one second. Today’s result also keeps Van der Breggen at the top of the UCI world rankings.
“For me it was not a nice day, I mean I’m not a sprinter and I had to sprint for those seconds. And it was scary…of course the UnitedHealthcare team was really up for me not taking meter seconds and they tried hard to avoid it, so I’m really happy my team was with me and they gave me the confidence that I could sprint for seconds, and I got the seconds,” said Van der Breggen. “It was a really tough victory – we really fought for it. I needed my team so badly here this day … this is really one [a victory] from the team, and that makes this victory really special.”
There were two important chances today for riders to earn time bonuses – the first three across the line at the intermediate Sprint during the 15th of 20 laps around the California Capitol Building, where Van der Breggen picked up time, as well as at the finish line.
24-year-old Cuban cyclist Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women's Team) placed third for the race overall after claiming a podium spot and the Visit California Sprint Jersey yesterday. Sierra will go home with the prestigious green jersey as well as the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey.
For today’s stage, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s sprinter Giorgia Bronzini (ITA) barreled over the finish line first today to close out the 2017 race after placing third in yesterday’s stage. Team Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.), who claimed the Stage 3 win in Sacramento yesterday, took second today (6th overall). Cylance Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild (NED) rounded out the stage podium in third place.
“It’s really important because America is the biggest crowd ever, and I’m really proud to be here,” said Bronzini of her stage win. “I was a bit more confident today…I eventually found the left side which was also covered by the wind, and that gave me the right moment to go over. The sprint is just when you think it’s too late so you need to go by instinct, and instinct gave me a reason today.”
At the conclusion of the 4-day, 256.6-mile race, Hall’s UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took top team honors for their spirited ride supporting her on the podium this week.
Presented by Amgen, Stage 4 included 20 blazing fast circuit laps around the State Capitol Building. Today’s Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Most Courageous Rider Jersey went to UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Rushlee Buchanan (NZL), who led the field in the final three laps to protect teammate Hall, who will take home the Lexus Queen of the Mountain Jersey.
Breakaway from Cancer® / Breakaway from Heart Disease™
Returning as title sponsor for the 12th consecutive year, Amgen, a biotechnology company in the race to dramatically improve patients’ lives, is proud to sponsor the Amgen Tour of California.
“The Amgen Tour of California allows Amgen to raise awareness of some of the world’s most serious illnesses, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as connect with patients through programs running in tandem with the race,” said Laura Hamill, senior vice president, US Business Operations, Amgen. “Amgen is headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California, and we are proud to sponsor this event that promotes the beautiful state of California, encourages a healthy lifestyle and stimulates the local economy.”
Leveraging its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, Amgen is raising awareness and connecting with patients through their Breakaway from Cancer® and Breakaway from Heart Disease™ initiatives.
Breakaway from Cancer®, created by Amgen in 2005, is a national initiative to raise awareness of the important resources available to people impacted by cancer – from prevention to survivorship. Through its four independent, non-profit partner organizations – Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Patient Advocate Foundation and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship – Breakaway from Cancer® helps connect patients and caregivers to important resources.
As part of the Breakaway from Cancer® initiative, Amgen will honor and celebrate cancer survivors and their support networks at each stage of the 2017 Amgen Tour of California. Additionally, award-winning journalist Joan Lunden was back in her hometown, Sacramento, today to take part in the Breakaway from Cancer® activities.
Throughout the week, cyclists will wear Breakaway “I Ride For” bibs recognizing someone in their life impacted by cancer or heart disease.
Concluding a successful four days of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Women's Race empowered with SRAM, Amgen’s newest initiative, Breakaway from Heart Disease™, encourages Americans to take charge of their risk of heart disease and represents a partnership between Amgen and the American Heart Association. The initiative is dedicated to empowering everyone to take action for good heart health through diagnostic screenings, courtesy of the American Heart Association, as well as providing information and tools related to physical activity and healthy eating. Amgen also has a partnership with the bike company Schwinn to encourage heart-healthy activities like bike riding.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions, and awards important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.
The first-ever U.S. UCI World Tour course will cover more than 583 miles through 12 Host Cities May 14-20, including Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, Big Bear Lake, Mountain High and Pasadena. The Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease™ Women's Race empowered with SRAM May 11-14 covered 256.6 miles through South Lake Tahoe, Elk Grove and Sacramento.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world's leading sports venue and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world, including The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world's largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships, including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.