Liquigas/Cannondale - talk about domination!
Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas- Cannondale made Amgen Tour of California history today by winning the Stage 3 of the 2012 race, marking his third consecutive stage win in as many days. The 22-year-old rider, once again, outsprinted Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler (AUS), and Tom Boonen (BEL) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep crossed the line in third place. Sagan also retained the Visit California Sprint Jersey and Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey.
“I don’t know what to say because it’s also a surprise for me,” said Sagan when asked about his third consecutive stage win. “I’d like to thank my team because they did very good work today.”
Sagan, who won his sixth stage in the three years he has raced in the Amgen Tour of California is now tied for total number of stage wins with three-time Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
The final flat sprint into Livermore was a battle at more than 40-miles-per hour with a sweeping right-hand turn into the finish, contested by three of the world’s top sprinters including Sagan, Haussler and Boonen, the world’s No. 1-ranked rider.
“This race is very hard for me because it’s a very long climb and the finish in the mountain is very hard as well,” said Sagan. “But, I did very good today and this suits me. Maybe I will try harder to win the yellow jersey one more day and after the time trial we’ll see.”
Stage 3 began earlier today in San Jose and traveled 115 miles before ending in Livermore to huge crowds and beautiful weather. About 1 kilometer from the first King of the Mountain (KOM) at Calaveras Road, the attack began, and at the end of the KOM, it was Sebastian Salas (USA) of Optum Powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies; Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) of Spidertech Powered by C10; Jeremy Vennell (USA) of Bissell Pro Cycling; and Wilson Marentes Torres (COL) of Colombia-Coldeportes who crossed the line first.
It was these four riders who opened the first gap on the peloton, extending their advantage to three minutes and 25 seconds about 25km into the stage. Fans greeted the quartet as they passed through Livermore for the first time during Stage 3 of the race, and Torres, Vennell and Salas scooped up the first sprint points of the day. After 32 miles of racing, the break’s lead had stretched to five minutes.
Coming out of the feed zone, the break had extended their lead to six minutes and 30 seconds, while Liquigas-Cannondale kept pace at the front of the peloton. As the break began heading up the climb of Mt. Diablo, they had stretched their lead even further to eight minutes. The break continued to work together on the Category 1 climb, but it was Salas who reached the KOM line first, followed by McCarty and Vennell. As Salas began his decent, he moved out in front of the break, but was quickly rejoined by the others. With the breakaway’s advantage at seven minutes and 40 seconds, Frantisek Rabon (CZE) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep, leading for Leipheimer, set the tempo in the peloton with Liquigas-Cannondale behind him.
With 37km to go, the break’s lead had dropped to three minutes, but the peloton continued to work hard, and Vennell and Torres were caught with 25km to go. BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Barracuda and Rabobank sat at the front of the peloton, with Jens Voigt (GER) of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek setting tempo at the very front. It was Fabio Andres Duarte (COL) of Colombia-Coldeportes and Nicolas Roche (IRL) of AG2R La Mondiale who reached the second KOM of the day first.
With defending Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner (USA) being escorted to the front, Rabobank took the lead at the head of the peloton with Argos-Shimano moving up. Haussler was led out to the sprint but, once again, Sagan outsprinted him to claim victory.
“Today was a hard day,” said Vennell. “Bissell’s plan was to be in the break today, so I am the lucky one to be here. I’m very happy with the way I rode considering the stage. There was a moment there that I thought we would stay away, and we were withholding them for a while, but we turned out in the plains there and the wind really zapped the last bit of energy we had.”
Showing he will not be beaten easily, Sagan retains the Amgen Leader, Visit California Sprint and Rabobank Young Rider Jerseys. Because Sagan will wear the Amgen Leader Jersey at the start of Stage 4 tomorrow in Sonora, Haussler will be in the Visit California Sprint Jersey and Josh Atkins (NZL) of Bontrager Livestrong will remain in the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey. Vennell will wear the Exergy Most Aggressive Rider Jersey, Torres will be in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey, and Salas will sport the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey.
“From the beginning of the Amgen Tour of California, one of our goals was to get the KOM jersey,” said Salas. “I was in the breakaway in Stage 1, and David Boily and I had a battle over one of the climbs. I was going into the day with a five-point deficit and, once I got to the break at the start, I took the opportunity that he wasn’t there and drove the break and got some points over the tail end and over Mt. Diablo as well.”
In honor of cancer survivors everywhere, today cancer survivor Bob Hammer, Danville, Calif., was recognized and celebrated as the Breakaway from Cancer® Champion. Hammer founded the “Have a Ball” Foundation, which has raised more than one million dollars since its start and benefits 20 cancer organizations, sends kids with cancer to camps, and has established and granted scholarships for students.
Hammer led Amgen’s Breakaway Mile – a special one-mile walk that crosses the finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. During the event, Hammer was joined by approximately 150 community members – cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and advocates – and
Amgen’s Steve Young, executive director, Research, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.
Today’s Breakaway Mile was the second of four Breakaway Miles that will take place during the Amgen Tour of California in support of Amgen’s national Breakaway from Cancer initiative, which was created in 2005 as a complementary component to its sponsorship of the inaugural race. The Breakaway from Cancer initiative is designed to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention to survivorship. For access to resources or to learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
Today’s Breakaway from Cancer activities also featured Los Altos, Calif. resident and cancer survivor Peggy Liou who fired the official start gun to begin the stage. Hammer awarded the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey to Torres.
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/Liquigas) 4hrs, 50mins, 49secs
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS) s.t.
3. Tom Boonen (BEL) s.t.
4. Alexander Candelario (USA) s.t.
5. Lloyd Mondory (FRA) s.t.
6. Freddy Rodriguez (USA) s.t.
7. Hugo Houle (CAN) s.t.
8. Koen De Kort (NED) s.t.
9. Michael Matthews (AUS) s.t.
10. Wesley Sulzberger (AUS) s.t.
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/Liquigas) in 14hrs 34:54
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS) at 12
3. Jeffry Louder (USA) 24
4. Freddy Rodriguez (USA) 26
5. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) 26
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE REPORT...
After three stages in the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Jeff Louder (USA) and Marc de Maar (CUR) sit in 3rd and 6th place respectively in the General Classification, both riders jumping one spot in the overall today. Louder and de Maar are part of a fiercely determined UnitedHealthcare squad that remains undaunted and continues to battle through injury and race aggressively in the 7th edition of the Golden State’s largest event.
The third stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California took the peloton 115-miles between San Jose and Livermore. For the first time in the history of the race, the riders faced Mt. Diablo, one of the most revered climbs in the state of California. Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan (SVK) crossed the finish line first taking his third stage win of the 2012 race and making Amgen Tour of California history by winning three consecutive stages. Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler (AUS) took second for the third straight day while Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen (BEL) rounded out the top three.
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “Today looked like a sprint day. We wanted to make sure we were able to help Rory Sutherland (AUS) and Chris Jones (USA) recover from the crash, so we were looking for an uneventful day. We got that and were able to keep Jeff and Marc’s position in the GC intact.
Rory Sutherland (AUS) and Chris Jones (USA) were both able to start and finish the stage despite significant injuries each sustained from crashes during yesterday’s Stage 2.
Team Doctor Michael Roshon, M.D., provided a status on each rider’s health.
On Jones (who received 20 stitches to seal the wound), Dr. Roshon said, “Chris had a pretty extensive laceration on his knee yesterday and it was questionable whether he would be able to start this morning. When he woke up he felt pretty good and had good range of motion, so the plan was to give it a try. Throughout the day, he had a little bit of swelling and some pain, but he managed to get through it pretty well.”
Dr. Roshon added, “Rory had a wrist sprain and a finger dislocation. We were certain he was going to go today, the question was how do we support him through the injury and with a little bit of tape and some extra support on the injury he was able to get through it.”
Both riders are expected to start tomorrow. Stage 4 will be the longest stage of the race, covering 130 miles from Sonora to Clovis.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California:
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Jeff Louder (USA)
Philip Deignan (IRE)
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Brad White (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
The 2012 Amgen Tour of California:
Running eight days, from May 13-20, 2012, the Amgen Tour of California will showcase more than 750 miles of scenic California roadways, coastlines and iconic settings. The 14 official stage start and finish communities selected for the 2012 race included: Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz County, San Jose, Livermore, Sonora (new for 2012), Clovis, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Big Bear Lake, Ontario (new for 2012), Mt Baldy, Beverly Hills (new for 2012) and Los Angeles.
The Amgen Tour of California Airs on the NBC Sports Network:
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
SONORA TO CLOVIS - 2PM PDT/5PM EDT (LIVE)
THURSDAY, MAY 17
BAKERSFIELD - 2PM PDT/5PM EDT (LIVE)
FRIDAY, MAY 18
PALMDALE TO BIG BEAR LAKE - 2PM PDT/5PM EDT (LIVE)
SATURDAY, MAY 19
ONTARIO TO MT. BALDY - 4PM PDT/7PM EDT
And on NBC Sports:
SUNDAY, MAY 20
BEVERLY HILLS TO LOS ANGELES (L.A. LIVE)
10AM PDT/1PM EDT (LIVE)
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Photo: Jonathan Devich epicimages.us