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Amgen Tour of California: Stage 1 to Peter Sagan of team Liquigas-Cannondale

With six miles of the grueling 116-mile Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California (Map: PDF) yet to go, Peter Sagan, 22,  of Slovakia experienced a flat tire. His mechanic had trouble replacing the wheel, which cost the world’s 4th-ranked rider time. Sagan’s teammates controlled the final miles, to help him win the opening stage of this eight-day event, the premiere cycling event in the United States.

Sagan won by two bike lengths in a wild finish, completing the stage in 4 hours, 42 minutes, and 36 seconds.

Fred Rodriguez, a Berkeley resident who came out of a 1 1/2-year retirement in June, took 3rd place behind  2nd-place finisher, Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler.

Santa Rosa‘s Levi Leipheimer earned the “most courageous rider” award today after finishing 46th of 128 riders for team Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Leipheimer returned to training only 2 1/2 weeks ago after suffering a broken leg on a training ride last month.

Watsonville‘s Ben Jacques-Maynes, 33,  placed 5th and earned the “most aggressive rider” award for the stage.

Monday’s Stage 2 (PDF) runs from San Francisco to Aptos.

Tuesday’s Stage 3 (PDF) runs from San Jose to my hometown of Livermore.

A RadioShack spokesperson said today that he couldn’t confirm whether manager Johan Bruyneel was issued a federal subpoena upon arriving at San Francisco International Airport for the race. Two outlets for cycling news reported that the former manager of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France teams had been met by federal agents.

-Bill at

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