The Amgen Tour of California's visits to Sacramento are taking on a British flavor.
A year after Great Britain's Mark Cavendish won a stage finish in the capital city, countryman Ben Swift rode to victory in Monday's second stage of the sixth annual pro cycling race.
Swift said the two are good friends and live in the same village in Italy.
"When I was young, growing up, you could count British riders on one hand," said Swift, a sprinter for Team Sky. "Now you can go to a race and chat with a lot of them."
Swift sounded like he wanted more from this year's Tour of California than just Monday's stage victory.
"We've got another three or four opportunities," he said.
Graduation time James Driscoll, one of four riders in a breakaway Monday, said he was missing his graduation from the University of Vermont to ride in the race.
"I passed all my classes," said Driscoll, a mechanical engineering major. "No, I do not have my diploma in hand."
Logistical headache Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, which owns and operates the race, said he slept for about three hours early Monday morning as race officials scrambled to move the start from Squaw Valley to Nevada City.
"I probably slept more than anybody on my team," said Messick, noting how teams, riders, volunteers and scores of others involved with the race had to be notified of the late change. "There's hundreds of people. You have to make sure everyone knows where they're going."
Despite all the weather problems, Messick said the Tahoe region remained a candidate for future Tour of California stages.
What about Sacramento's rain near the end of Monday's stage?
"After standing at the start (on Sunday) in South Lake Tahoe with a wind chill of 15, I couldn't care less if it was raining," he said.
Stage awards Runner-up Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale earned the best young rider jersey. Swift won the sprint jersey and his Team Sky held the team lead. Driscoll is set to wear the most courageous rider jersey today.
Festival fun Joe Lesh, 70, of Citrus Heights rode his bike from Carmichael to the pre-race festival along 10th Street with a dozen or so cyclists from his club, the Sacramento Bike Hikers.
"It's fun to see new technology," he said. "It's changing, growing."