For a full race recap and file analysis by Hunter Allen, visit the Team Sky 2011 Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 race page on TrainingPeaks.com.
A shortened Stage 2 at the Amgen Tour of California and a change in start location (from Squaw Valley to Nevada City) due to weather conditions saw an anxious field of riders finally able to begin their race, after the cancellation of Sunday's Stage 1. Many had expected adverse conditions over at least part of the nearly 100km trek and the teams seemed to be respectful of one another in the rain.
But "respectful" doesn't mean slow. The riders averaged 27.4 mph for the Stage and in the three exciting circuits through the streets of downtown Sacramento, the field closed the gap created in an earlier breakaway as the teams began to position their sprinters.
Team Sky's Greg Henderson was the final lead out for stage winner, Ben Swift. In his last 20 minutes, Henderson averaged 350 watts (365 Normalized) at an average speed of 30.3 mph. At about 650 meters, Jeremy Hunt took over to begin the final battle between Sky Procycling, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Liquigas-Cannondale. Then, at about 350 meters, Henderson took the final lead out. Because of head and cross-winds, Henderson and the team moved closer to the street gutter to block the oncoming wind. The team left just enough space for Swift to slip between and at about 120 meters, Swift clinched the stage win. A textbook leadout. Henderson said,
"It was a pretty complicated finish, actually. [It] started raining a bit and with the plan to take control with a lap to go, it didn't quite work out that way. But Jeremy Hunt took over at 650 meters or so and I took off at 350 meters to go. I felt great. And the first ride at sea level in five weeks and my legs felt great."
Video of the interview with Team Sky's Greg Henderson: