Putt seals on most courageous jersey at Amgen Tour of California
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Sometimes the best strategy is to just go for it and don’t look back. On the opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California, Tanner Putt did just that. The ‘polar bear’ burst out of the peloton at kilometer one and spent the rest of the 134.5km circuit race up the road with Andrei Krasilnikau (Holowesko Citadel).
“Polar Bear’s” breakaway performance sets the positive tone for the week
While leading the race with Krasilnikau, Putt scooped up the maximum points available during the two intermediate sprint opportunities, giving him enough bonus seconds to start tomorrow’s stage in third place on the general classification, six seconds back on the eventual winner, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
Despite getting caught a few kilometers from the finish with his breakaway companion, Putt’s efforts were awarded with the first Amgen Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous jersey of the week.
“The stage today went according to plan,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Director Seba Alexandre. “We wanted to have someone represented in the break, so we really wanted Tanner to go for it and he did a good job. We knew it was going be a hard day, especially with many of the teams wanting a field sprint. We are pleased going into tomorrow. We have good morale.
“Everything is going great so far,” Alexandre said. “The boys feel good, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
After the stage, Putt said it was a long, hard day in the saddle, but he’s satisfied with the outcome.
“The plan was to get in the break, and I did so with a rider from Hincapie. I was able to get some points and time bonuses,” he said. “I’m happy the main objective of the day was successful.”
Stage 2 will be the first test in the mountains at the Amgen Tour of California. The 157km stage features five categorized climbs, ending with the feared HC ascent up Gibraltar Road. This is where the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling GC riders will come out to play. Alexandre said Gavin Mannion and Serghei Tvetcov are feeling good and up to the task.
“Personally, Gibraltar is the first crucial day for me,” Mannion said. “It’s a very tough climb and the first GC shakeout. I haven’t thought too much after that but every stage has tough points and the Morgan Hill TT is long so that will be crucial as well. I lived in Morgan Hill for a while in 2016 so I know the course there very well and am looking forward to that stage.”