The 2010 Amgen Tour of California continued on Tuesday, sweeping through over 113 miles of California roadways from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Sacramento-area residents are familiar with the route, vacationing along the coast themselves or simply visiting for a quick day trip.
The beautiful scenery many locals rush to for a getaway became the scene for another battle in Stage 3 of the Tour, as American David Zabriskie of Garmin Transitions took the top spot with the stage win. His victory in the single event also pushed him to first overall in the Tour of California, with an opportunity to stretch the lead even more today.
The picturesque route took the riders south down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage included three long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Rd., La Honda Rd. and Bonny Doon Rd. packed with local cycling fans, which was followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish followed W. Cliff Dr. along Monterey Bay to an exhilarating conclusion to Stage 3 at the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
As the morning fog burned off in San Francisco to reveal blue skies l day, the riders lined up at the start line on The Great Highway and got Stage 3 off to a great start. After a few failed breakaway attempts at the start of the stage, the peloton approached the first sprint in Pacifica, which was taken by Stage 1 winner Mark Cavendish (GBR) of HTC-Columbia, putting him in the lead in the points competition. The first hour of the stage was marked by little attacks, mainly from QuickStep and HTC-Columbia, but the riders weren’t able to get anything to stick.
The next sprint in Half Moon bay was taken by Karl Menzies (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, followed by Alexander Kristoff (NOR) of the BMC Racing Team and Cavendish. As the riders continued on from the sprint a five-man break formed, which included Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) of BISSELL), Will Routley (CAN) of Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda, Eric Boily (CAN) of SpiderTech Powered by Planet Energy, Davide Frattini (ITA) of Team Type 1 and Ryan Anderson (CAN) of Kelly Benefit Strategies. With fans lining the street shoulder-to-shoulder on the lead up to the first King of the Mountains competition (KOM) on Tunitas Creek Road (Cat. 2 – 1,562 ft.), Frattini took the KOM win, followed by Anderson.
After going through the feed zone, the riders were quickly hit with another climb, Highway 84 (Cat. 3 – 1,427 ft.), which provided identical results to the first KOM – Frattini in first and Anderson is second. After a quick descent, the cyclists faced the third KOM of the day, Pescadero Rd. (Cat. 4 – 1,053 ft.), which, once again, saw Frattini take the KOM, followed by Anderson.
Team RadioShack, with assistance from the Cervélo TestTeam, drove the field for most of the day and eventually swallowed up the break en route to the final climb of the day. With the end of the race drawing near, several teams began to make their move and created a breakaway that consisted of three riders – Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack, Michael Rogers (AUS) of HTC-Columbia and Zabriskie. With just under 20 miles to go on the route to Santa Cruz, the riders faced the largest climb of the day, Bonny Doon/Pine Flat Road (Cat. 2 – 2,135 ft.). After many unsuccessful attempts by several teams to pull the break back, Zabriskie took the stage win in an all out sprint to the finish before thousands of fans at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
“I’ve been a runner up, but I’ve never won a stage here,” said Zabriskie. “I’ve never touched the Amgen Leader Jersey since the Amgen Tour of California started. Just to touch this jersey is quite an honor.”
In the awards ceremony for Stage 3, Zabriskie took the Amgen Race Leader Jersey; Cavendish claimed the Herbalife Sprint Jersey; and Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 took the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas retained the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey for the second consecutive day. And for his performance in the main breakaway of the day Routley was awarded Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
“Today proved to be another competitive day of racing in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “The level of competition was impressive, the views were breathtaking, the crowds were enthusiastic and the stage finish was as good as they come. As we head into Stage 4 tomorrow, the riders are going to continue to face challenging terrain that showcases the beauty of California, and we all are looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.”