EF TAKES THE YELLOW
Denmark’s Kasper Asgreen won the second stage of the Tour of California, edging American Tejay van Garderen who seized the overall leader’s yellow jersey. Asgreen, 24, notched his first World Tour victory with his triumph in the 214.5-kilometer stage that took riders over first and third category climbs from Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe.
The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider rode aggressively in the second half of the stage, joining what would be the winning break along with van Garderen Gianni Moscon and Tadej Pogacar. He surged with some 100 meters left to overtake van Garderen, with Moscon settling for third.
“It was a little longer than I wanted it to be and I had to go all the way to the line,” Asgreen said of his final spurt.
“It’s my first pro win so I’m very happy right now, and to take it on a stage like this, I’m really happy with it,” added the Dane who finished second in the Tour of Flanders last month behind Italy’s Alberto Bettiol.
Van Garderen, who won the Tour of California in 2013, said it was a “bit of a surprise” to find himself in the yellow jersey.
“Feels great,” he said. “I mean, it came as a bit of a surprise. I just would have assumed Kasper would have taken the jersey on the back of his stage win. I don’t know what happened to him yesterday.
“But it’s quite a surprise,” added van Garderen, who said it was “always an honor” to wear the yellow jersey in his home country.
The route for the second stage was initially planned for 194.5 km, but snow on the Mormon Emigrant Trail highway forced organizers to use a more lengthy detour.
Stage one winner Peter Sagan of Slovakia struggled in the mountainous route and slipped down the standings.
Van Garderen takes a six-second lead over Moscon, with Asgreen a further second back, into Tuesday’s third stage, which will take the field 207 kilometers between Stockton and Morgan Hill.