Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Photo - Tour of California Finish

Peter Sagan took third by the narrowest of margins on Stage 8 to win the Tour of California
The 2015 Amgen Tour of California had a thrilling finish last Sunday. Before the race started, everyone thought the race would be decided on Stage 7, which had a mountain top finish on Mt. Baldy. Peter Sagan of Slovakia, known as a sprinter, did well enough on the climb that he was only two seconds behind the leader, Julian Alaphilippe of France. Stage 8 was relatively flat, which means that most of the field would finish with the same time. However, there were some bonus seconds available for winning sprints. Partway through the stage, there was a sprint with 3 seconds to the winner, 2 seconds for second place, and one second for third place. Mark Cavendish, Alaphilippe's teammate, won the sprint, preventing Sagan from getting the three seconds he needed to take over the lead. Sagan took second, which would have left him tied for the lead, except that Alaphilippe managed to take third, which allowed him to maintain the lead by a single second.

At this point, Sagan knew what he had to do. He had to finish the stage in one of the top three places, and ahead of Alaphilippe. If he did that, the bonus seconds would give him the overall victory. In a dramatic finish, Mark Cavendish won the stage, and Wouter Wippert was a clear second. Third place was nearly a dead heat between Sagan and American Tyler Farrar. For a few minutes no one knew who finished third, while the race officials checked the photographs to decide. As you can see from the photo above, it looks like Sagan took it by maybe an inch.

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