Boels-Dolmans' Anna van der Breggen cut her three second deficit to overall Amgen Women's Race leader Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) to just one second on the penultimate stage of the WorldTour race to ensure it's all to play in Sunday's Sacramento finale.
While Sunweb's Coryn Rivera took the stage win ahead of Arlenis Sierra (Astana) for maximum bonifications in the line, van der Breggen stole in for two seconds at the day's intermediate sprint point in Clarksburg. The Olympic champion van der Breggen was 12th in the line in Sacramento after 118km of racing while Hall placed 17th.
"I'm not a sprinter, so I didn't love this stage. The team worked hard to set me up for the sprints. I'm happy I could take back two seconds," said van der Breggen who was second on stages one and two.
With the stage profile suggesting a sprint finish was the likely outcome, van der Breggen explained the team was hoping for a change in wind to blow the race apart to put Hall and UnitedHealthcare under pressure. However, Hall proved capable of matching van der Breggen forcing Boels-Dolmans into a change of tactics.
"It wasn't as windy as we hoped. In the most windy sections before the intermediate sprint, we worked with Sunweb and we split the peloton, but both times Katie and her teammates made the split, and the group was too big. We decided to save our energy for the seconds," added van der Breggen.
The fourth and final 70km stage of the race is again one for the sprinters on a city criterium circuit in Sacramento. However, with time bonuses available on the 15th lap and finish line, there is an opportunity for van der Breggen to steal the yellow jersey and for Boels-Dolmans to defend the title that Megan Guarnier won in 2016.