Heat Batters Tour of California

Three riders miss the time cut

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Three riders are out of the Amgen Tour of California after missing the time cut on the day’s first stage. Temperatures reached well over 90 degrees with readings on the pavement surpassing 100 degrees.

Two of Orica GreenEdge’s key domestiques, Michael Hepburn and Fumiyuki Beppu, along with Taylor Shelden of 5 Hour Energy/Kenda lost nearly 37 minutes after being distanced on the climbs.

“They had a really bad day, and a bad reaction to the heat. They’ve come from a really cold spring in Europe, where at its warmest was 20 degrees (Celsius) cooler than it was here today,” Orica GreenEdge team director Matt Wilson told CyclingNews.

Teams struggled to keep their riders hydrated, going through as many as 150 bottles on the day. The second stage into Palm Springs is expected to be even more challenging, with temperatures reaching 109 degrees on an uphill finish.

“It’s going to be brutal,” Bontrager director Axel Merckx told VeloNews. “Finishing uphill. It’s going to be really tough. But it is what it is. It’s the same for everybody. These young guys, they’re excited to be here, they’ll recover the best they can and make it a really good race.”

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