SANTA ROSA  (AP) — Peter Sagan overcame a punctured back tire in the final five miles to chase down the field and capture the first stage of the Tour of California on Sunday.

The Liquigas-Cannondale team rider lost about 20 seconds during a mechanical change in the last sprint. Sagan survived a crash ahead of him and masterfully guided through a technical descent in serene Sonoma wine country to finish just ahead of Heinrich Haussler and Fred Rodriguez.

The stage victory was Sagan’s fourth in the Tour of California.

The 115.9-mile opening stage of North America’s most prominent cycling race began the eight-day, 733.5-mile journey that ends in downtown Los Angeles.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.