After narrowly missing out on day one, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the victory on stage three of the Amgen Tour of California, beating Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) to the line. The race lead remained with Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), with George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) snapping at his heals, a mere two seconds back, with Ian Boswell (Sky) in third.
 
 
Stage three from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay was the longest of the 2017 edition of the Tour of California, at 192.5 kilometres. However, it was a fairly flat stage, which would be to the advantage of the sprinters, but for a nasty little kick up to the line, starting around the 500 metres to go mark.
 
 
Unlike the previous day where the break took a fair while to establish, it did not take long for a group of five to head up the road. Sean Bennett (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) and his teammate Ben Wolfe made the move, along with Danny Pate (Rally), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), and David Lozano (Novo Nordisk). The group built up a lead of over five minutes rather quickly, with Zurlo claiming honours at the intermediate sprints and the only king of the mountain sprint of the day as well. Back in the peloton, Bora-Hansgrohe was setting the pace, working not only for the yellow jersey of Majka, but with an eye on a stage win for Sagan as well. The QuickStep team showed some interest in controlling the break as well, hoping that the final rise to the line would not prove too daunting for stage one winner Marcel Kittel, and the break’s advantage started coming down rather quickly.
 
 
With some 20 kilometres to go, the break’s advantage had dropped under the minute mark, which prompted Wolfe to attack from the break, in a move similar to the one he had attempted in the first stage. He merely delayed the inevitable though, as he was eventually brought back by the peloton, but his heroics did earn him the most courageous rider jersey for the second stage out of three.
 
 
Now all attention shifted to the sprinters’ teams, as positioning would be crucial for the finish, which featured a right-hand turn in the final couple of hundred metres, and a steep little climb starting right after the turn. Anyone languishing a couple of rows back in the peloton was unlikely to see the front before the finish line. 
 
 
As the peloton rounded the final bend, it was Katusha-Alpecin in control for their man Alexander Kristoff, but behind them it was a messy affair as riders tried to find the right wheel. Sagan, who had been rather far back at the start of the climb, managed to find the wheel of Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac) who showed a very good turn of speed as he managed to move up alongside the Katusha train. However, that merely served as a launch platform for Sagan, who rocketed past Phinney, and then past the Katusha duo at the head of the peloton, to take yet another impressive stage win in the Tour of California – his 16th to date.
 
 
Zabel, who had been leading out Kristoff, crossed the line in second place, ahead of Consonni, with Kristoff in fourth. George Bennett finished at the head of a group that was credited with a time three seconds behind the stage winner, but fortunately his closest competitors in the overall standings found themselves in the same group as Bennett, which meant that he did not lose any time to overall leader Majka.
 
 
Stage four will be an interesting one, as it features a fair bit of climbing along its 160 kilometre length. However, it is likely to be a day for the sprinters, if they can drag themselves over the climbs. And with the major GC showdown on Mt. Baldy waiting on stage five, the contenders for overall glory will be aiming to conserve some energy rather than inflict damage on stage four.
 
 
Stage results:
Rank Name Nat. Team   Result
Peter SAGAN SVK BOH   4:53:26
Rick ZABEL GER KAT   +0
Simone CONSONNI ITA UAD   +0
Alexander KRISTOFF NOR KAT   +0
Jean-Pierre DRUCKER LUX BMC   +0
Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG RSA DDD   +0
Taylor PHINNEY USA CDT   +0
Ramon SINKELDAM NED SUN   +0
Travis MCCABE USA UHC   +0
10  Mike TEUNISSEN NED SUN   +0
11  Riccardo MINALI ITA AST   +0
12  Marcel KITTEL GER QST   +0
13  Robert GESINK NED TLJ   +0
14  Matti BRESCHEL DEN AST   +0
15  John DEGENKOLB GER TFS   +0
16  George BENNETT NZL TLJ   +3
17  Brent BOOKWALTER USA BMC   +3
18  Matteo TRENTIN ITA QST   +3
19  Kiel REIJNEN USA TFS   +3
20  Wouter WIPPERT NED CDT   +3
21  Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ ESP BMC   +3
22  Tom BOHLI SUI BMC   +3
23  Geoffrey SOUPE FRA COF   +3
24  Rafal MAJKA POL BOH   +3
25  Laurens DE VREESE BEL AST   +3
26  Martijn VERSCHOOR NED TNN   +3
27  Luis Angel MATE MARDONES ESP COF   +3
28  Sam OOMEN NED SUN   +3
29  Rúben GUERREIRO POR TFS   +3
30  Jhonatan RESTREPO VALENCIA COL KAT   +3
31  Andrew TALANSKY USA CDT   +3
32  Joshua BERRY USA JBC   +3
33  Vegard Stake LAENGEN NOR UAD   +3
34  Elia VIVIANI ITA SKY   +3
35  Zdenek ŠTYBAR CZE QST   +3
36  Floris GERFS NED BMC   +3
37  Colin JOYCE USA RLY   +3
38  Nicolas EDET FRA COF   +3
39  Tao GEOGHEGAN HART GBR SKY   +3
40  Ulises Alfredo CASTILLO SOTO MEX JBC   +3
41  Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE ESP TFS   +3
42  Sepp KUSS USA RLY   +3
43  Lachlan MORTON AUS DDD   +3
44  Artyom ZAKHAROV KAZ AST   +3
45  Benjamin KING USA DDD   +3
46  Enric MAS NICOLAU ESP QST   +3
47  Maximilian SCHACHMANN GER QST   +3
48  Daan OLIVIER NED TLJ   +3
49  Adam DE VOS CAN RLY   +3
50  Scott THWAITES GBR DDD   +3
51  Matteo DAL-CIN CAN RLY   +3
52  Antwan TOLHOEK NED TLJ   +3
53  Guillaume BONNAFOND FRA COF   +3
54  Martin ELMIGER SUI BMC   +3
55  Owain DOULL GBR SKY   +3
56  Michael SCHÄR SUI BMC   +3
57  Andrea PERON ITA TNN   +3
58  Javier Alexis ACEVEDO COLLE COL UHC   +3
59  Tiago MACHADO POR KAT   +3
60  Yousef MIRZA BANIHAMMAD UAE UAD   +3
61  Arman KAMYSHEV KAZ AST   +3
62  Miles SCOTSON AUS BMC   +3
63  Ian BOSWELL USA SKY   +3
64  Pawel POLJANSKI POL BOH   +3
65  Lennard HOFSTEDE NED SUN   +3
66  Serghei TVETCOV ROU JBC   +3
67  Jacob RATHE USA JBC   +3
68  Stéphane ROSSETTO FRA COF   +3
69  David LOPEZ GARCIA ESP SKY   +3
70  Javier MEGIAS LEAL ESP TNN   +3
71  Nathan BROWN USA CDT   +3
72  David LOZANO RIBA ESP TNN   +3
73  Brendan CANTY AUS CDT   +3
74  Jay MCCARTHY AUS BOH   +3
75  Mathias LE TURNIER FRA COF   +3
76  Greg HENDERSON NZL UHC   +3
77  Koen DE KORT NED TFS   +3
78  Joonas HENTTALA FIN TNN   +3
79  Floris DE TIER BEL TLJ   +3
80  Alberto BETTIOL ITA CDT   +3
81  Charles PLANET FRA TNN   +3
82  Romain GIOUX FRA TNN   +3
83  Nick DOUGALL RSA DDD   +3
84  Roy CURVERS NED SUN   +3
85  Alexey VERMEULEN USA TLJ   +3
86  Tanner PUTT USA UHC   +3
87  Daniel EATON USA UHC   +3
88  Filippo GANNA ITA UAD   +3
89  Gavin MANION USA UHC   +3
90  Michal KOLÁR SVK BOH   +3
91  Christopher WILLIAMS AUS TNN   +3
92  Truls KORSÆTH NOR AST   +26
93  Erik BASKA SVK BOH   +26
94  Jonas VAN GENECHTEN BEL COF   +28
95  Marko KUMP SLO UAD   +31
96  GREGORY DANIEL USA TFS   +31
97  Sean BENNETT USA JBC   +31
98  Daniil FOMINYKH KAZ AST   +31
99  Jordan CHEYNE CAN JBC   +31
100  Michael MORKOV DEN KAT   +31
101  Mads Würtz SCHMIDT DEN KAT   +31
102  Yoann BAGOT FRA COF   +31
103  Bert-Jan LINDEMAN NED TLJ   +36
104  Andrea GUARDINI ITA UAD   +36
105  Kristijan ÐURASEK CRO UAD   +36
106  Johannes FRÖHLINGER GER SUN   +36
107  Fabio SABATINI ITA QST   +39
108  Maciej BODNAR POL BOH   +39
109  Koen BOUWMAN NED TLJ   +45
110  Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU ESP TFS   +52
111  Bernhard EISEL AUT DDD   +54
112  Lawson CRADDOCK USA CDT   +1:00
113  Danny VAN POPPEL NED SKY   +1:02
114  Nils POLITT GER KAT   +1:11
115  Tyler FARRAR USA DDD   +1:11
116  Jack BAUER NZL QST   +1:15
117  Jonathan DIEBBEN GBR SKY   +1:19
118  Robert BRITTON CAN RLY   +1:41
119  Jonathan CLARKE AUS UHC   +1:41
120  Daniel Alexander JARAMILLO DIEZ COL UHC   +1:41
121  Ruslan TLEUBAYEV KAZ AST   +1:50
122  Peter KENNAUGH GBR SKY   +1:54
123  Juraj SAGAN SVK BOH   +2:07
124  Danny PATE USA RLY   +2:13
125  Martin VELITS SVK QST   +2:13
126  Evan HUFFMAN USA RLY   +2:13
127  Federico ZURLO ITA UAD   +2:13
128  Marco MATHIS GER KAT   +2:23
129  Ben WOLFE USA JBC   +2:41
130  Mark RENSHAW AUS DDD   +3:06
DNF Chris HAMILTON AUS SUN  

 

Photo:  Sirotti

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