Travis McCabe may not have won the opening stage at the Tour of California, but placing second to three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was good enough for the American sprinter. Racing for the USA National Team, McCabe started his final sprint from further back, hitting out in pursuit of Sagan, and finishing second by less than a wheel length in Sacramento. "I felt great," said McCabe, who celebrated his 30th birthday on the WorldTour podium. "I was in a perfect position with one kilometre to go, and I knew that this finish was slightly uphill with a bit of a headwind. I was on the right wheel, following Peter, and was able to open it up. I had the legs, so I'm ecstatic to get second place and represent USA Cycling." McCabe told the press following the race that he hadn't expected to challenge for the final of stage 1 because it was better suited to the pure sprinters, and he instead was eyeing lumpier stages later in the week. His teammate, Tyler Stites, represented the national team in the all-day breakaway, winning the first intermediate sprint and then securing the Best Young Rider jersey, which allowed McCabe the luxury of sitting in the field and conserving his energy for the three finish circuits in downtown Sacramento.ADVERTISEMENT Asked if he thought he could beat Sagan, given that the finish was close, McCabe said, "Maybe. I thought that I could beat him. I had good legs, a lot of speed, but I was a little bit further behind,and was maybe coming from two wheels back from Peter. "I'm happy with second. It doesn't matter where you start the sprint; it only matters where it ends. I'm happy with second. It's a great birthday present for me." The Tour of California made the jump up to the WorldTour in 2016, and no longer supports Continental teams. Allowing USA Cycling to field a roster provides valuable opportunities for American riders who would not otherwise earn a starting spot at the seven-day race.
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