A hundred mile ride through Sacramento County ended with five Quick-Step Floors teammates pushing the pace and opening the door for stage favorite Marcel Kittel to win stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California men's race.
Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe took on half of the entire Quick Step team by himself and beat four of them to the line. But, that's what teams are for -to put the strongest rider in the best position to win. The Quick-Step Floors team did just that.
Elia Viviani of Team Sky finished third. John Degenkolb of Trek Segafredo finished fourth. Jean-Pierre (Jempy) Drucker of BMC Racing finished fifth.
An early breakaway put Floris Gerts of BMC, Jonathan Clarke of United Healthcare, Charles Planet of Novo Nordisk and Ben Wolfe of Jelly Belly up on the peloton by two minutes. Gerts and Clarke would alternate winning the two in-race sprints.
Wolfe would attempt a breakaway of his own. It failed, but he earned the Most Courageous jersey in the process.
All riders in the breakaway were caught with about five miles to go.
Kittel's sprint to the finish gives him the green sprinter's jersey during stage 2.
Teams Katusha-Alpecin and United Healthcare are tied for the team lead.
Stage 2 will begin in Modesto on Monday. Though stage 1 favored the sprinters, the climbers will exact revenge during stage 2. It will feature six climbs, including an uphill finish.
Worthy of note, Peter Sagan has 15 stage victories in the Amgen. That's the most ever.
In the women's race, a mid-race sprint bonus was the difference as Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen of Boels-Dolmans overcame a one-second deficit to win the Amgen Tour of California Women's division by a second over American Katie Hall with the United Healthcare team. Cuban Arlenis Sierra of Astana, American Kristabel Doebel Hicok racing for Cyclance, and American Ruth Winder of United Healthcare rounded out the top five.
American Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) showed herself to be a force to be reckoned with in future tours as she was on the podium for a second consecutive stage on Sunday. She won the stage 3 race from Elk Grove to Sacramento. She finished sixth overall.
Italian Georgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) won the 43.5 circuit race on the women's final day.
Dutch rider Kristen Wild of the Cylance team finished third in stage 4.
This was the first year AEG held all of the women's stages in one general location. The first two stages were held on different courses at Lake Tahoe.