2013 Amgen Tour of California
Words and Photos by Adam Bendig
It may have just been wishful thinking on my part, but after the difficult and extremely hot first two stages of the Amgen Tour of California, the third stage seemed to be a welcomed deviation. A rest day of sorts. Starting in Palmdale, the peloton veered north into Lancaster before making a loop through the eastern most edges of Los Padres National Forest, just north of LA, finally making their way into Santa Clarita, home of Magic Mountain.
Despite hosting four separate King of the Mountain points locations, the sprinters were out for blood today. Unfortunately, Omega Pharma-Lotto was short a rider this morning after Pieter Serry did not start, and time trial monster Bert Grabsch abandoned only 5km into the stage, for a total of three riders lost to the team. The effects of yesterday’s heat and mountain combo surely impacted the riders. With five more stages, including the ominous Mt. Diablo, yet to play out, attrition could hamper team plans for success.
Attacks started immediately, though the peloton did solid work of reeling them in, as well as fighting the effects of severe crosswinds that could have torn the peloton apart. 23 riders broke away to challenge for the first KoM points, but were reclaimed shortly after the points were picked up. Finally, a group of four broke free for the long haul. Andy Schleck (RST), Chad Beyer (CSS), Lieuwe Westra (VCD) and Gavin Mannion (BCT) were on the move for the better part of the stage, only being absorbed 9 miles from the finish.
In the end, the sprinter teams took control with Cannondale delivering Peter Sagan to his first victory of the Tour. Chad Beyer of Champion System Pro Cycling Team was awarded the Most Courageous jersey after giving a final push as the last remaining member of the breakaway. Lawson Craddock retained the Best Young Rider jersey, as did Carter Jones with the King of the Mountains jersey and Lieuwe Westra the Sprinters jersey with Peter Sagan hot on his heels after today’s win. Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling controls the General Classification team leaders board, just ahead of 5 Hour Energy, and BMC. Janier Acevedo retains his overall lead gained after yesterdays final attack up the Palm Springs Tramway.
Stage Three – Official Stage Results
1. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, in 4:20:31
2. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
3. Tyler FARRAR, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
4. Gianni MEERSMAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
5. Boy VAN POPPEL, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :00
6. Thor HUSHOVD, BMC Racing, at :00
7. Alexander CANDELARIO, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at :00
8. Sylvain CHAVANEL, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
9. Zakkari DEMPSTER, NetApp-Endura, at :00
10. Michael MORKOV, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00