Amgen Tour of California: Sir Bradley Wiggins takes time trial victory to capture race lead
Sir Bradley Wiggins took a resounding time trial victory at the Tour of California to move into the race lead.
Last Updated: 13/05/14 8:16am
The Olympic champion powered across the 20.1-kilometre course around Folsom in a sensational time of 23 minutes and 18 seconds to win the stage by 44 seconds over nearest rival Rohan Dennis.
Averaging 51.5km/h on a sweltering day, Wiggins quickly got into a rhythm and sent a message to his rivals on the out-and-back course, catching two riders as he motored towards the finish.
The Brit now holds the yellow jersey with the same 44-second advantage over Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), with another pre-stage rival, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), a further eight seconds back.
The fight for the general classification continues on Tuesday with the first summit finish of the race on Mount Diablo.
After the stage Wiggins told TeamSky.com: "I didn't plan to have taken as much time as that but it was a great course for me and I'd prepared well for it. I've been here for a few weeks now and now the real stuff starts tomorrow.
"We've checked tomorrow's stage out so we know it. I'm in a good position and I'm climbing well. We're used to being in this position now as a team after the last few years so we know what to do. It's going to be quite a long week for the boys and it's going to get a lot hotter these next few days. But it's a great position to be in.
"I've said all year that Paris-Roubaix and heading into California were my goals. I've worked hard towards this and on a day like today it all clicks into place and comes together as a true test of where you're at. You set out with a plan and hope to be in that position, but for it all to happen and to follow the process it's nice when it all falls into place."
With just an opening sprint stage in the books there was very little to separate the field heading into the key test against the clock.
Unseating compatriot Jack Bobridge (Belkin) on the hotseat, Dennis set a strong early time of 24:02 despite a crash 24 hours earlier.
Wiggins set off into the stage and immediately went 19 seconds quicker at the intermediate before laying down the winning time. All eyes were then on Phinney, yet the American was 32 seconds back at the same dead turn, indicating the quality of the ride from the Team Sky leader.
Mark Cavendish wore the yellow jersey in the time trial and was the last man down the ramp following victory on the opening stage. The Manxman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) crossed the line 27th to hand over the lead.