Amgen Tour of California's third stage from Auburn to Modesto was bittersweet for the Professional Continental Team NetApp. Breakaway rider Jan Barta secured the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous rider jersey, however two of his teammates Jesus Del Nero Montes and Andreas Schillinger, crashed and sustained an unknown degree of injuries.
"Jesus Del Nero Montes slipped on the yellow line and was the first one to crash," said a team NetApp representative. "He hit his head on the pavement and got back on his bike to race. So far he is OK but we are monitoring him. Andreas Schillinger crashed on the second lap of the finishing circuits and has multiple abrasions."
Barta entered into an all-day breakaway with Christian Meier (UnitedHealthcare), Will Dickenson (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), Mike Creed (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5-hour Energy) and Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home).
"The worst was the wind," Barta said. "It was wind that took all my strength. It wasn't really the rain, it is not that cold, it was the head wind that was the toughest thing to get through. At the end everyone gets tired and can't really help. It was a long stage and we didn't have any more strength."
Barta won the first two intermediate sprints, the first worth $1000USD and the second was rewarded with a gift basket. He attacked after the third intermediate sprint, followed by Jacques-Maynes and the pair remained out front until caught by the peloton just prior to entering the finishing circuits in Modesto. He earned the most courageous rider jersey for his efforts.
"I wanted to attack right after the third sprint because that was the time to do it," Barta said. "I just took my chances and was surprised that Andy could follow. We agreed to give it a try with the teams in the back pushing the speed. We tried hard and well aware that the chances were small but there is always a chance."