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Hunter hangs back

Robbie Hunter has dropped down to 88th position overall after Monday’s second stage of the Amgen Tour of California cycle race in the United States.

After a fine fourth in the first stage of the race, the South African Garmin-Transition rider ended well off the pace in Monday’s stage of 177.2 kilometres between Davis and Santa Rosa.

The race was ridden in wet conditions, making for plenty of thrills and spills.

Hunter also ended 88th in the stage, one position behind ace Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen who had taken a tumble in Sunday’s first stage. The two were 17min 20sec off stage winner Brett Lancester after the Australian Cervelo Test Team rider clocked 4hr 38min 48sec for the ride.

Hunter’s two South African counterparts overshadowed him in the overcast conditions. Both riding for the Fly V Australia outfit, Darren Lill ended in 54th (7:53 down) and Jay Robert Thompson 68th (10:34). Thompson was involved in the days’ first breakaway, five kilometres out from home.

In the overall standings Hunter is 17:30 back while Lill and Thompson have overtaken him to hold 54th (8:03) and 65th (10:44) respectively.

In the team standings Hunter’s Garmin Transition bunch are fourth, behind Unitedhealthcare Presented by Maxxis (26hr 10min 42sec) while the Fly V Australia team lie eighth.

Hunter later said on his Twitter page: “What a day in sunny California .. oh right there was no sun, just pissing rain & cold! Hard climbs… just rolled in with the groupetto.”

It’s Lancaster’s first stage win since the prologue of the Deutchsland Tour in Kitzbuhel, Germany in 2008. He told “It was so cold and windy today and I was super cold. But I took a jacket and started feeling comfortable. In the final I made it to the front group and was able to sprint… I wasn’t sure about my form, I’ve been high altitude training in Boulder and it’s been a long time since my last win,” he added.

It was also the second year running that Santa Rosa, hometown of four-time winner Levi Leipheimer, was drenched by unseasonal rain for the stage finish. Tuesday’s action is a shorter 113.3km ride between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

By Mark Etheridge