Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press Peter Sagan celebrates as he nears the finish line of Stage 2 in Aptos. He leads the Tour of California by eight seconds.

Slovakia's Sagan wins another stage

Published: Tuesday, May. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 15, 2012 - 10:50 am

APTOS – Peter Sagan of Slovakia won his second straight stage with a powerful and unchallenged sprint and retained the overall lead Monday in Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.

The Liquigas-Cannondale rider was timed in the 117.1-mile road race from San Francisco in 5 hours, 2 minutes. He leads the eight-day event by 8 seconds over Australia's Heinrich Haussler, a former Tour de France stage winner who was second for the second straight day, a half-dozen bike lengths behind.

Sagan was among 10 cyclists who crashed 73 miles into Stage 2. All of the fallen riders returned to the field.

"Today was very hard; the climbs went very fast," said Sagan, the former mountain junior world titlist who earned his fifth career win in the seven-year-old Tour of California.

Sagan also crashed with about 41/2 miles left in the opening stage, losing more than 20 seconds to the field, but returned to the front with teammates' help.

Leigh Howard of the Orica-GreenEDGE team was third in Stage 2, which took the starting field of 128 along the California coast.

Defending champion Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., finished safely in the main field for the second straight day.

The eight-day event continues today with 115.3-mile road race from San Jose to Livermore.

The route will include the race's first substantial climb, an ascent of Mount Diablo about halfway through the stage.

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