Acevedo Victorious in Stage 2 of Tour of California 2013
Day two this year’s Tour of California exposed the riders to sunny skies and temperatures which reached no less than 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) as they fought their way to the uphill finish of the 200 kilometer route from Murrieta to the desert of Greater Palm Springs on Monday.
A stage destined for climber success saw Team Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Columbian rider Janier Alexis Acevedo attack in the final kilometer, leaving BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen behind, to claim the stage victory and overall race lead. Van Garderen remained persistent and crossed the finish line in second position, 12 seconds behind the stage winner.
“I knew Tejay was the rider to beat. I knew when to attack and felt strong enough to beat him today,” stage winner Acevedo commented after being celebrated on the podium. “I think of the yellow jersey every day, and I’m happy to have this win today.”
“He (Acevedo) was super strong out there. When he attacked, I was scared to go into the red because in this heat sometimes if you go over your limit just a little bit, you just can’t recover,” van Garderen explained when asked to describe the final moments of the stage.
A pre-race favorite for the overall Tour of California title, the first two days of racing have fared well for him and his BMC Racing Team leaving him still in good position to challenge for the overall victory.
Ireland’s Philip Deignan of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team rounded out the podium with his third-place stage finish today after having shown great form and persistence in today’s stage. Deignan has also shown impressive performance in earlier races this season.
2010 Amgen Tour of California champion Michael Rogers (AUS) of Team Saxo-Tinkoff came across the line in fifth after leading his group up most of the final climb.
“It’s never been this hot in Ireland,” Deignan joked of today’s blazing desert temperatures. “The heat reminds me of the Vuelta a Espana, but when you race that in August and September, your body is more used to it. The conditions today were a bit of a shock to the riders.”
“The guys did a great job protecting me all day, they were basically force feeding me water,” Deignan added. “I made a big mistake yesterday not drinking enough. I felt good on the climb and thought I'd have a go at it, I didn't expect to stay away that long.”
The tough day of heat and climbing was evident in the time gaps as the peloton continued to fight its way uphill to the finish line, stretched out on a thin line one by one with the final riders finishing more than 37 minutes behind the stage winner.
Temperatures soared to 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius), the hottest temperatures for a major U.S. stage race. Exhausted riders were in need of assistance from soigneurs who helped their various riders to the dedicated team areas where they could recoup with fluids. Some riders sat on the pavement wherever they could find a spot near the finish to receive immediate relief from ice packs and cold cloths on their heads and backs.
The heat was too much for some, including Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team’s Belgian Pieter Serry, who hadn’t hydrated sufficiently and therefore paused on the final ascent to be cooled with ice in hopes of recovering enough to finish within the time limit to be allowed to continue racing in stage 3 on Tuesday.
After the first two stages which featured challenging climbs, BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Carter Jones (Boulder, Colorado) continues to hold onto the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey. Though the Aerial Tramway finish led to a yellow leader jersey change, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team’s Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands) still has the most sprint points and will begin tomorrow’s race in the Visit California Sprint Jersey.
Other jerseys awarded include the Most Courageous Rider Jersey to France’s Sylvain Chavanel of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team and the Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey to Bontrager Cycling Team’s 21-year-old cyclist Lawson Craddock of Austin, Texas.
“Being a Best Young Rider is definitely a big goal. We’re a really young team and some couldn’t keep up, but we definitely want to take it to the finish,” Craddock commented. “[Today was] brutally hard, and the heat definitely played a factor. [I’m] happy with how I rode and how the whole team rode.”