Words: AMGEN Tour of California; Pics: Darrell Parks
Sagan broke three-time Champion Levi Leipheimer’s Amgen Tour of California stage win record of seven last year when he took five stage wins. His stage wins at America’s largest cycling race now total nine, including today’s dramatic victory.
“The last three kilometers were crazy with all the sprinters who wanted to win,” said Sagan of today’s finish. “When I won I knew it was a good stage for me.”
After several breakaways on the windy 110-mile course, the peloton came back together in the final 10 kilometers culminating in a tightly packed bunch sprint over the line after several leader changes. Team Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar (Wenatchee, Wash.) claimed third place in the fast finish. There was no change to the overall standings after today’s stage with Team Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Janier Alexis Acevedo (COL) continuing on in the Amgen Race Leader Jersey tomorrow.
“I felt very tired today after yesterday. The legs never felt good, I just tried to stay in the group, eat, and drink, and recover,” said Acevedo.
Sprint points leader Lieuwe Westra (NED) of Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team was part of the early breakaway that also included RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’S Andy Schleck (LUX) and Chad Beyer (USA) riding with Champion System Pro Cycling in their debut Amgen Tour of California appearance. Beyer’s role in the breakaway and hold on the lead earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey following the stage.
The peloton caught up to the breakaway with less than 20 kilometers to go, and the final 8 kilometers saw attempts by several teams to bring their sprinters to the front, including Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda Racing Team, BMC Racing Team and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
In the final 5 kilometers, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’s Markel Irizar Aranburu (ESP) made a move to the front, with Team Garmin-Sharp and a formidable line of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team members on his heels. Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ultimately succeeded in propelling their team leader the top of the podium.
My favorite part of this photo? Baden Cooke in the background experiencing an ‘Oh No’ moment behind when he sees Sagan flashing past his sprinter Matthews.
BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo.) continues to hold onto the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey for the third day, with Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team’s Lieuwe Westra (NED) also donning the Visit California Sprint Jersey again tomorrow. The Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey will continue to be worn by Bontrager Cycling Team’s 21-year-old cyclist Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas).
Peter Sagan was a popular man at the stage start.
The peloton approaches the first of 4 KOM climbs for the day.
Climbing the second KOM
Stage 3 Results:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 4:20:31
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
7 Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura
10 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
General Classifcation After Stage 3:
1 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman 13:59:50
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:12
3 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
4 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:45
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:55
6 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda 0:01:03
7 Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:13
8 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:15
9 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team 0:01:32
10 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:40