SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Marcel Kittel took advantage of a textbook lead-out from his Quick-Step Floors teammates to hold off Peter Sagan and Elia Viviani and win the opening stage of the Tour of California on Sunday.
The German sprinter spent the 104-mile stage that began and ended in downtown Sacramento tucked safely in the peloton. And when the field brought back a four-man breakaway with about 15 miles to the finish, Kittel knew he would have a chance for his eighth win of the season.
Team Sky went to the front on the first of three 2.2-mile circuits, but it was Quick-Step that made the decisive move on the final lap with Fabio Sabatini launching Kittel to the finish line.
The second stage Monday takes riders 90 miles from Modesto to San Jose.
MADRID (AP) Chris Froome finished Spain’s Ruta del Sol race in 10th place behind winner Tim Wellens on Sunday.
The five-stage race in southern Spain was Froome’s first event since the four-time Tour de France winner was found to have failed a doping test at last year’s Spanish Vuelta.
Froome, who denies any wrongdoing, has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.
Wellens, a Belgian rider for Lotto-Soudal, defended his lead over the final day’s time trial.
Wout Poels, of Froome’s Sky Team, was second at eight seconds behind.
Froome, who won the event in 2015, finished 1 minute, 57 seconds behind. He started the time trial on the final day in 14th after a puncture toward the end of Saturday’s fourth stage.
MALAGA, Spain (AP) Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is returning to racing on Wednesday despite being under investigation by cycling’s world governing body for failing a doping test.
Froome is participating in the five-day Ruta del Sol in southern Spain, an event he won in 2015.
“I know I have done nothing wrong, that’s my starting point,” Froome said. “There is a process in place for me to be up to demonstrate that, and that’s obviously what I intend to do.”
Froome has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.
He said he has received a lot of support from other riders so far, and that he is trying to solve the issue as fast as possible.
“I do believe that when all the facts are out there I think people will see it from my point of view,” Froome said.
If found guilty of doping, the British rider could lose his Vuelta title and be suspended for a long period.