Swift wins opening stage of Tour of California | SierraSun.com

Swift wins opening stage of Tour of California

Associated Press
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated PressRiders turn the corner at the start of the Tour of California cycling race in Nevada City, Calif., Monday, May 16, 2011. The first stage of the race was canceled Sunday due to bad weather. and the start of the second stage, was moved from Squaw Valley, Calif., to Nevada City.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. and#8212; Ben Swift of Britain emerged from a massive sprint finish and took the lead Monday after winning the 76.7-mile, weather-shortened and rainy opening stage of the Tour of California.

Swift, 23, who competes for Team Sky, completed the road race from Nevada City to the state capital in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 12 seconds and earned his fifth win of the season.

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) of Slovakia was second, and Matthew Goss (HTC- Highroad) of Australia was third in the pack finish, about a bike length behind.

With 10 seconds of bonus time for his victory, Swift leads the overall competition by four seconds over Sagan. Goss is third, trailing by six seconds.

Originally scheduled as the second stage, the first day of competition in the seven-day race was reduced from 133.2 miles because of snowy conditions at high elevations near the planned start at Squaw Valley.

The original opening stage from South Lake Tahoe to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort was canceled Sunday because of snowy and wet road conditions.

The seven-day race continues Tuesday with a 121.9-mile road race from Auburn to Modesto.