Cavendish leads Tour of California

Britain’s Mark Cavendish earned his second straight win over Peter Sagan of Slovakia and extended his race lead Monday after the second stage of the Tour of California.


Cavendish, riding for the Etixx-Quick Step team, earned his 11th win of the season with a late surge in the 194-kilometre road stage from Nevada City in 4 hours, 47 minutes and 2 seconds.

“There were four of us (teammates) at the last corner and I had to come around Peter,” said Cavendish.

“I was a bit nervous and I didn’t know if I had it.”

Sagan again bolted to the front of the mass sprint, but was passed by Cavendish by a quarter-wheel. Wouter Wippert of the Netherlands finished third in the stage.

Cavendish leads Sagan by eight seconds in the eight-day race. American Rob Carpenter is third overall, 11 seconds behind.

“Today, I did better,” said Sagan who moved to the front earlier in the opening stage sprint. “There was a gap and everyone was fighting for position. Cavendish is a pure sprinter and he is faster. Maybe tomorrow I will do better.”

For the second straight day, a breakaway developed early in the stage.

Carpenter, Daniel Oss of Italy, Markel Izizar Aranburu of Spain and Luis Romero Amaran of Cuba established a five-minute lead after 25 miles.

Amaran fell back in the waning miles and the main field began the final two circuits together.

The eight-day race, which began Sunday in Sacramento, will continue Tuesday beginning and ending in San Jose. The 170-kilometre third stage has six climbs, including the first substantial ascent of the event, a 5.8-kilometre effort up Mount Hamilton.