South Lake Tahoe (California, USA), May 13.- Dane Kasper Asgreen, of the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, won the second stage of the fourteenth edition of the Tour of California on Tuesday when crossing the finish line with a time of 6 hours, 17 minutes and 11 seconds that was what took him to cover a route of 214.5 kilometers.
The second place was for the American Tejay van Garderen, from the EF-Education First team, who did the same time as the winner and is presented as one of the favorites for the final triumph of the traditional cycling race par excellence in the United States.
Italian Gianni Moscon of Team Ineos entered third, four seconds behind the winner, while Slovakian Tadej Pogacar, of the UAE-Team Emirates formation, finished fourth after 10 seconds.
The fifth place went to the German Maimillian Schachmann, of the Bora-Hansgrohe team, who crossed the finish line 16 behind Asgreen.
The Colombians, Segio Huguita and Rigoberto Urán, both of the EF-Education First team, entered the eighth and ninth places, respectively, with the same time of 31 seconds behind the winner.
After completing the stage, Van Garderen became the new leader of the general with a time of 9 hours, 31 minutes and 19 seconds, followed by Moscon to six seconds.
The third place of the general is for Asgreen, to seven seconds; the fourth is occupied by Pogacar at 16 and the fifth Schachmann at 22 seconds.
Spaniard David De La Cruz of the Team Ineos team ranks eighth in 34 seconds and Higuita is the first Latin American in the twelfth position, 37 seconds behind the new leader.
The stage that ran from Sacramento to the tourist center of South Lake Tahoe was always moving with several getaways that starred first the sprinter and then the climbers and in the end van Garderen, who burned his energies before time for the final stretch can not control to Asgreen, who overcame it.
Although the great prize for van Garderen was that he stole important seconds runners like the Slovak Peter Sagan, winner of the first stage and who fell to 67th place after losing more than 17 minutes.
“It feels very good,” said van Garderen, who won the general race in 2013, but has overcome many ups and downs in his career since then. “I mean, it was a surprise, I would have simply assumed that Kasper (Asgreen) would have to be the leader now if yesterday, Monday, he had made better time.”
Van Garderen predicted that many runners were not going to have their best performance in the second stage, with higher elevations still to come in the race for a week.
The start of the stage began in the Rancho Cordova area and took runners to the Heavenly Mountain Resort, a stretch well known to the Tour de California participants.
But the long stage and full of small climbs still allowed the cyclists to break the monotony of the 143 kilometers of a flat course that occurred in the first.
After several attempts to escape that failed, finally formed a group of 10 runners who managed to separate from the rest of the peloton to do the sprint.
The Italian Davide Ballerini of Astana was the first to attack at the base of the final climb of about two kilometers, but quickly backed off.
Van Garderen then stood up and took four of the last group of runners behind him, then stopped again and allowed three more runners to join the peloton.
“I made the initial attack and generally, if they have legs, they will jump on me,” said van Garderen. “I kept looking back and, when they did not jump, I thought: ‘well, they may not have the best legs'”.
Moscon came forward slightly in a short flat section, then van Garderen tried to pedal hard once more to go to the last corner.
But after reclining during the climb, Asgreen mustered enough strength to beat her American rival and win the stage.
“It was a little longer than I wanted and I had to go to the line,” Asgreen explained about the route of the last leg of the stage. “It’s my first professional victory, so I’m very happy at the moment, and to achieve it on a stage like this, I’m really happy.”
Asgreen won a 10-second bonus for his first victory in WorldTour, while the van Garderen finalist gave him a six-second bonus, time that could be crucial in the scenarios that are yet to come.
Moscon, who finished third, stressed that the stage had been very tough and although I try to get the victory in the end there was no strength left in my legs.
The third stage of Wednesday will take the cyclists to a route of 208 kilometers, which will go between the towns of Stockton and Morgan Hill, with several increases of interest and then finish on the plain.