PALM SPRINGS Javier Acevedo of Colombia bolted to the front with about 700 yards left in a final steep climb Monday to win the second stage and take the overall lead in the Tour of California.
As temperatures neared 110 degrees, Acevedo completed the 124.3-mile leg from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs in 5 hours, 7 minutes and 40 seconds.
Acevedo leads American Tejay van Garderen, the stage runner-up, by 12 seconds with six stages left.
Acevedo and van Garderen began the day 16 seconds behind overnight leader Lieuwe Westra and moved to the front in the final stretch of the 3.7-mile climb, which included an average 8.5 percent gradient.
"I waited for the moment when I felt the strongest," said Acevedo, who collected his seventh career professional stage win and second in 12 days. "For me, it was about the same as (Sunday), although the altitude was higher. I was lucky I stayed away."
The intense heat and dry desert conditions ravaged the field.
Acevedo, who won the opening stage of the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico on May 1, was among many riders who collapsed into the arms of support staff at the finish.
Marco Pinotti, who completed the stage, and Pieter Serry, who collapsed about a half-mile from the end, were taken to a hospital with heat-related issues.
"It was probably the hottest race that I've ever done," said van Garderen, the race favorite. "Insane. It was unlike anything I've ever done."
Westra lost nearly 10 minutes in the stage and dropped to 37th overall.
Early in the stage, Scott Zwizanski, Jason McCartney, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Sylvain Chavanel escaped from the field and built nearly a 12-minute advantage. The foursome pedaled at the front for five hours before seeing their lead shrink approaching the final climb.