2018 Amgen Tour of California Kicks Off in Long Beach (Photo: Business Wire)

Gaviria Outsprints the Pack to Stage 1 Victory as 2018 Amgen Tour of California Gets Underway in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- It was an all-star dash to the finish as the 2018 Amgen Tour of California got underway in Long Beach, with Quick-Step Floors’ Fernando Gaviria (COL) outsprinting the world-class lineup that included World Champion BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan (SVK), Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel (GER) and Team Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish (GBR). Young Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan of Mitchelton-SCOTT claimed second place and Sagan, who took second place on last year’s opening stage, ended today in third.

Stage 1 presented by Breakaway from Cancer ® featured 12 laps of a 7-mile circuit that showcased crowds lining downtown Long Beach iconic locations including the waterfront, Bixby Park and Retro Row. An early breakaway pulled away to a 2-minute lead at the midpoint of the stage, containing Holowesko|Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources’ Andrei Krasilnikau (BLR) and United Healthcare Pro Cycling’s Tanner Putt (Boulder, Colo.) who was awarded the Breakaway from Cancer ® Most Courageous Rider Jersey for his inspiring ride.

“My legs felt really good during the race. I’m happy to do a good job for my team, and we’re happy to win the stage,” said Gaviria.

In addition to claiming the stage win, 23-year-old Gaviria, who is making a comeback from a hand injury earlier this season also closed today with the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey and the Visit California Sprint Jersey. Rounding out the top five for the stage were KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel (GER) in fourth, and UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff (NOR) in fifth.

Stage 1 Podium

1. Fernando Gaviria (COL), Quick-Step Floors (BEL) 3h02’23”

2. Caleb Ewan (AUS), Mitchelton-SCOTT (AUS) s.t

3. Peter Sagan (SVK), BORA-hansgrohe (GER) s.t

Stage 1 Jersey Winners:

Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Fernando Gaviria (COL), Quick-Step Floors (BEL)

Breakaway from Cancer ® Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Tanner Putt (USA), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Visit California Sprint Jersey – Fernando Gaviria (COL), Quick-Step Floors (BEL)

TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey – Fernando Gaviria (COL), Quick-Step Floors (BEL)

The Queen Stage comes early this year with tomorrow’s Stage 2 presented by Lexus leading cyclists 96.3 miles from first-time host Ventura to a fan-favorite finish atop Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County. The stage features 7,700’ in elevation gain and a 3,100’ climb over the final eight miles.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with today’s kick-off of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California,” said Kristin Klein, President, Amgen Tour of California and Executive Vice President, AEG Sports. “The incredible crowds, which were nine or ten deep along some parts of the course, were certainly treated to international cycling at its best. Between today’s sprint to the finish in Long Beach and tomorrow’s epic climb up to the top of Gibraltar Road, our fans this week are certainly going to see the most talented athletes in cycling today.”

The 2018 edition of America’s premier cycling stage race will cover 645 miles of roadways, highways and coastlines during seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento May 13-19, while the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM , showcasing the world’s best women cyclists, will run concurrently May 17-19, covering upward of 187 miles over three stages. The annual professional cycling events are the only U.S. races on the UCI WorldTour calendar and continue to attract some of the most renowned cyclists and teams in the world.

Returning as title sponsor for the 13th consecutive year, Amgen, a biotechnology company in the race to dramatically improve patients’ lives, is proud to sponsor the Amgen Tour of California. Similar to the cyclists who will compete intensely to win during the Amgen Tour of California, Amgen scientists and staff have a level of perseverance, determination and skill that is unmatched in the industry in order to help win the fight for patients worldwide.

“Today’s healthcare options for treating serious illness are more promising than at any other time in our history,” said Laura Hamill, senior vice president, U.S. Business Operations, Amgen. “And, now more than ever, patients living with serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease can look to the future with greater hope. Our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California gives us a platform to discuss, educate and empower patients to have hope and believe in innovation to live a longer, healthier life.”

For more information, visit www.amgen.com.

About the Amgen Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California and the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM are Tour de France-style cycling road races created and presented by AEG. Running concurrently, the races challenge the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along demanding courses that traverse hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions, and award important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.

About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.

About AEG

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including STAPLES Center, The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands, AXS.com ticketing platform, AXS cable television channel and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com .