Sagan left little doubt with his third straight stage win. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com
Omega Pharma did more work than earlier stages, and Tom Boonen nearly came through. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com
LIVERMORE, California (VN) — Peter Sagan registered a hat trick Tuesday, winning the stage 3 bunch sprint at the Amgen Tour of California. Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) out-kicked Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to the line and extended his overall lead with a 10-second time bonus.
“It’s also a surprise for me (to win 3 days in a row),” said Sagan. “I want to say thank you to my team because they did very good work today.
“This race is very hard for me. The long climbs and the time trial are not so good for me. I’ll try very hard to stay in the jersey for another day. But I don’t think I’ll keep it after the time trial.”
The day’s long breakaway escaped early on in the 185.5km stage, headed for the first KOM at Calaveras Road. Sebastian Salas (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) led the four-man group over the climb, ahead of Pat McCarty (Spidertech-C10), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Wilson Marentes (Colombia-Coldeportes). The Optum rider was out for the climbers’ jersey on the day and also took top points at Mount Diablo, 87km into the stage.
“From the beginning of the race, one of our team goals was to win the KOM jersey,” said Salas. “I’m glad to have it.”
Marentes earned some honors of his own, as the most courageous rider for the day. “Muy contento,” he said about the honor. “It’s an important jersey in any race, but especially in California.”
Salas lost contact with the group on the descent, but soon caught back on. It wouldn’t last long, however, as Vennell attacked the group, drawing out Marentes, and the pair set out toward Patterson Pass together.
Garmin took over on the point of the bunch when a solid crosswind kicked up approaching the base of the climb. The move split
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