The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took on the 2nd of 8 stages in the Amgen Tour of California today. The peloton raced 120.4 miles from the gold rush town of Nevada City, through Grass Valley, and then down past the town of Auburn. They then went on to tackle the king of the mountains competition atop the Highway 49 climb and then descended into Lodi for two finishing circuits on the streets of downtown.
Along the way, the course featured three intermediate sprints in Meadow Vista, Cool, and El Dorado Hills. A breakaway of six riders escaped the peloton early on the stage, one of which was the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Tanner Putt. The peloton was able to close the early gap, sending new solo attacks and small groups up the road attempting to build an advantage. A group finally formed roughly 20 miles south of Nevada City and would stay away for most of the windy day before falling to the peloton on the first lap in downtown Lodi.
A crash just outside of town caused breaks in the field and removed several riders from the day’s action. Daniele Ratto went down in the incident but sustained no injuries and was able to finish the stage. With the breakaway absorbed and the race reset on the streets of Lodi, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team assembled to help position John Murphy for the sprint. Sprinting against Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Wouter Wippert at the line, Murphy placed 4th once again for the team, narrowly missing the podium by a matter of inches.
John Murphy thanked his team for the support again today. “Our UnitedHealthcare boys did another awesome job putting me in a great position for the final. I knew that before the last turn, with 500 meters to go, position would be crucial. We had a brief moment before the last turn where we had to hit the brakes, so I had to come from a bit further back than we’d like, but I had good legs for the sprint and came in 4th. Excellent teamwork today. Now we’ll rest up for a hard day in the hills tomorrow.”
The team will race 105.5 miles on tomorrow’s stage 3, beginning in San Jose. They will race through Livermore for a quick sprint before climbing Mines Road, Mount Hamilton and Quimby Road. There will be a total of six king of the mountains competitions across more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain.
Visit the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team’s website for updates on their progress throughout the race.