Cycling – Westra wins Tour of California stage one
Dutchman Lieuwe Westra won the opening stage of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California in searing heat, holding off Franciso Mancebo in a two-up sprint in Escondido.
The Vacansoleil-DCM rider made his move in 100 degree heat five kilometres from the finish, passing the fading early movers Carter Jones (Bissell), James Stemper (5-hour Energy-Kenda) as Mancebo took off in hot pursuit.
The duo soon found themselves with clear air ahead of the peleton and Mancebo took the lead with 300 metres to go. But Westra ducked out of Mancebo’s slipstream cruised in for a victory that marked the Vacansoleil-DCM team’s second win of the season and first for the team in California.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) led home the chase bunch six seconds in arrears of Westra, having recovered from a rear derailleur issue with around five kilometers left to race.
“I was actually dropped on the last climb, the legs were not so good,” said Westra afterwards. “But I came back and saw a lot of teams with only one or two riders. I said why not, I’ll attack. I was lucky to have Mancebo with me, he was really strong. In last kilometer, I played it hard, but you will win when you play it hard,” said Westra following his win.
“It’s very good for me and also the team, Vacansoleil-DCM, that we won and we have the yellow jersey.”
1 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 4:31:33
2 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:06
4 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Cycling Team
6 Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7 Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9 Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling
10 Tanner Putt (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team