Alaphilippe wins Tour of California as Mark Cavendish sprints to final stage victory
Mark Cavendish who won a richly deserved stage, beating both Sagan and Kristoff by two bike lengths. Alaphilippe finishes strongly in 11th to secure the yellow jersey
Sacramento, CA, May 22nd - Today's stage in Sacramento was very flat compared to some of the previous stages. Robin Carpenter (Holowesko Citadel) attacked from the start taking 6 riders with him including Christopher Jones (UHC), Taylor Sheldon (Jelly Belly), Krists Neilands (Axeon Hagens Berman), Emerson Oronte (Rally), Alan Maragoni (Cannondale) and Jake Kelly (Wiggins).
Angus Morton (Jelly Belly) and Dylan Groenewegen (Lotton NL Jumbo) crashed but got back to the peleton.
The break established a lead of 2 minutes over the peleton.
With only 50 miles to go the break had a lead of 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Katusha, Etixx and Team Tinkoff all setting the pace, to keep the breakaway in check.
All of Team Tinkoff came to the front and tried to split the peleton but Etixx shut it down.
At 25 kilometres to go, a flurry of riders needed wheel changes including Brent Bookwalter (BMC).
Tinkoff and Katusha expecting a bunch sprint drive the bunch into the finishing circuit.
With 6 miles to go Tinkoff put all their firepower on the front to close the gap to the leaders who had 45 seconds.
Katusha then came to the front, with Kristoff being led out being followed by Sagan and Cavendish.
In the sprint Mark Cavendish followed the right wheels and came round Kristoff and Sagan in the final metres winning by two bike lengths, a day after his 31st birthday.
Due to the harder course this year, Mark Cavendish really only had 2 chances to win a stage. Stage 1 he got boxed in - and today, the last stage 8. He's spent all week suffering on the harder climbs but got his revenge
Julian Alaphilippe took no risk, sprinting to 11th place, and so he won his first ever stage race with a 21-second advantage over Rohan Dennis (BMC). Brent Bookwalter was 22 seconds further adrift in third.
Sagan won the points competition and Evan Huffman (Rally) was the best climber. Neilson Powless (Axeon) lost time due to the late crash but still won the white jersey. BMC took a dominant win in the teams classification and rode strongly throughout, with many attacks including Rohan Dennis in yesterday's King stage.
With the Tour of California done and dusted, attention turns to the National Championships which are held on Friday and Saturday. The next major international race is the Tour of Utah in early August.
Tour of California Stage 8, Sacramento Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
4 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
6 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
8 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step
9 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
10 Travis McCabe (USA) Holowesko-Citadel
Tour of California Final Overall General Classification
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 31:47:50
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
3 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:43
4 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:52
5 Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:22
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
7 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:01:50
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team Katusha 0:01:53
9 Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:01:57
10 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:02:13
Points Jersey (Sprinter)
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
White Jersey (Best Young Rider)
Neil Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman)