Overnight leader Brett Lancaster (Cervelo TestTeam) couldn't stay with the front group on the final climb.
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Team has another stage win in its sight
Cervelo TestTeam will refocus its goals at the Amgen Tour of California on achieving another stage victory, after Brett Lancaster lost the race leader’s jersey. The Australian was never expected to lead California in the first place, but after his stage win on the event’s second day gave him the leader’s jersey Cervelo vowed to do all it could to defend it on Stage 3.
Cervelo fought valiantly throughout the stage, putting its riders on the front to reel in the breakaway when it could have simply left the task to overall favourites Radioshack. Its rider Heinrich Haussler also rode offensively in the chase group, attempting to break the stronghold of Radioshack and Garmin-Transitions – both of which had a rider in the leading group of three. Despite the showing Lancaster wasn’t able to stay in the race, instead conceding nearly nine minutes to the leaders.
“I gave it my best shot and the team tried for me, we knew we had far to go but I’m satisfied,” said Lancaster. “We got the jersey, the stage win and the bonus. We’ll try and get another stage win this week. Tomorrow we’ll take it easier, the legs are a bit tired and then we’ll hit it again later in the week.”
Cervelo sport director Jean Paul van Poppel highlighted that the team wanted to respect the jersey it held, regardless of whether it had the strength to retain it. “I remember the climb from last year and I guess that’s one of the reasons Leipheimer topped the general classification last year. So we know it was a super hard climb,” said Van Poppel. “So first of all we were respectful of the jersey in our riding.
“Secondly, we had Heinrich in good shape with good legs so in the back of our minds we thought we could go for another stage win so that’s why we didn’t want the five men breakaway group to go too far,” he added. “It was all perfect - we get them back before we take a left turn up the last climb and then it spilt up completely.”
Cervelo has a strong lineup for the sprint stages in California, with Theo Bos and Haussler all in its squad. Van Poppel hopes to unleash some of that firepower for another stage victory before California concludes on Sunday. “I’m proud of the job the team did,” said Van Poppel. “We go day to day and look for another stage win. We have a few more irons in the fire. Theo Bos for the sprints and Heinrich is in super condition and we have Brett who is better than ever but this climb, it may be the hardest climb of this tour.
“We have to be careful of riders who are just back in competition we don’t want to overdo it so we go day to day now,” he added.
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