For Benjamin King (Cannondale Pro Cycling) of Charlottesville, VA, the third time was the charm during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California cycling race Monday.
After leaving Pasadena, King joined or launched two breakaway attempts before the third – about an hour into the race. That group created a gap of seven minutes from the peloton at one point, which allowed King and Elk Grove's Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), to trade sprint and King Of The Mountain races along the way. King won the first sprint, Huffman won the next two KOMs, and then King won the final two sprints, including the race to the finish in Santa Clarita. Each top-five finish in the mountain or sprint stages is worth points.
“I knew Evan was a pretty quick sprinter. He smoked me in both of the King of the Mountain sprints, so I was hesitant to let it come down to a sprint,” King says. “I couldn’t drop him on the climb, so in the end we both fully committed to make the breakaway stick to the finish, and in the end, Evan let out the sprint, and I was able to come around him in the finish.”
King is the overall leader, followed by Huffman, then stage one leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) of Solovakia. Alexander Kristoff (KATUSHA) of Norway and Daniel Eaton (United Health Care) of the United States is fifth overall.
Eight riders required service for flat-tires during the race.
Stage three will take riders from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara.