Peter Sagan put in an incredible effort, surging ahead on a long, uphill sprint, to take his sixteenth stage victory in the Tour of California.
After the testing, mountainous terrain of stage 2, the third day of the Tour of California took on a more gentle character. The single third category climb – the Tepusquet Road Summit – came at the 84km point. This was too far out to have much impact on this 192.5km stage, while the flat run to the finish made sure the sprinters would have their chance to go for the win after the terrain of yesterday’s stage put them well out of contention. However, a slight uphill for the last 500m meant there was every chance that the pure sprinters would struggle maintaining the pace on such a finale.
From the drop of the flag, a group of five went on up the road. While their lead quickly reached the five minute mark, none of the escape group was a threat to the GC riders, and so the peloton was in no hurry to reel them back in – instead taking in the ocean views on the California coastal roads before the race headed inland. In spite of this, the speeds were high and it was clear nobody was taking it easy.
While the speeds were high, the winds were high too, and while the break was holding its advantage, the blustery weather was taking its toll, and the strength in numbers that the peloton provided was giving the chasers the advantage. As the race hit its final 50km, the gap had dropped from four minutes to just two, and this dropped to just a minute with 30km remaining.
Peter Sagan changed from support duties to what he does best – winning sprints. Moving his way up the sprint trains before his final kick pushed the Slovak rider from sixth rider back to the front of the sprint, taking his sixteenth victory at the Tour of California with clean air between him and second place.
“I’d like to thank the entire team for their effort today and in particular my brother Juraj”, said Sagan. “He was probably the most visible rider on TV today – he was pulling all day. They all did a great job – they positioned me in the front in the last moment and then I had an amazing finale. I’m very happy with our performance of yesterday and today. This Tour of California has been very good for BORA-hansgrohe so far but we still have to see how it finishes. I didn’t feel very well yesterday in the climbs – maybe because I came from a high altitude training camp and I have to get used to lower altitudes. I feel my condition improving and again I’m happy with this result. I was a little back in the last 600m but I had a strong finale and took the win.”
Tour of California 2017 – stage 3 results (Pismo Beach – Morro Bay):
|1||Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)||4:53:26|
|2||Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin)||,,|
|3||Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates)||,,|
|4||Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin)||,,|
|5||Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC)||,,|
|6||Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data)||,,|
|7||Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac)||,,|
|8||Ramon Sinkeldam (Team Sunweb)||,,|
|9||Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare)||,,|
|10||Mike Teunisse (Team Sunweb)||,,|
General classification after stage 3:
|1||Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|2||George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|3||Ian Boswell (Team Sky)|
|4||Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data)|
|5||Robert Gesink (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|6||Brent Bookwalter (BMC)|
|7||Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb)|
|8||Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)|
|9||Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors)|
|10||Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates)|