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Tour of California 2012

Date range:
May 13-20, 2012

May 15, Stage 3: San Jose - Livermore 185.5km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Peter Hymas

Hello and welcome to stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California, 185.5km from San Jose to Livermore and featuring the first ascent of Mt Diablo in the California race's history. Racing will commence at 2:15 PDT with a brief neutral section (1.3 miles/2.0km) and then the peloton will begin the day's action.

  1. 11:14:34 PDT

    Hello Amgen Tour of California race fans! It's a beautiful sunny day in San Jose at the start line. There's a cool breeze now but it will get pretty warm later this afternoon.

  2. 11:15:54 PDT

    The peloton is now in motion, but in the short neutral section to get out of town.

  3. 11:17:05 PDT

    This year, the typical downtown start has been moved to north San Jose, just a few miles from the infamous Sierra Road climb. The Sierra Road climb, scene of Chris Horner's stage win last year which paved the way for his overall victory, will be bypassed this year, however in favor of the more rider-friendly Calaveras Road.

    But the climb to Calaveras Rd. includes a steep wall of probably >15%. It's going to be a pretty tough little how do you do it.

  4. 11:17:38 PDT

    The first KOM is at 8.4km in - wakey wakey legs!

  5. 11:18:09 PDT

    Oops, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Barracuda) must've missed the start, he was motor pacing behind the neutral support car at about 35mph

  6. 11:18:48 PDT

    San Jose is the only city to be included in all seven editions of the Amgen Tour of California either as a host for either a stage start or finish.

  7. 11:20:18 PDT

    A bit more about today's route from San Jose to Livermore: The peloton will pass through Livermore for the first time 28 miles into the stage, with sprint points awarded downtown. The riders will then make an 87-mile clockwise loop north of Livermore which features Mt Diablo, a popular Bay Area climb, that awaits as a new addition to the race.

    While the final climb at 9.3 miles to go, Patterson Pass, appears as a tame 5 percent on the profile, it�s usually into a rushing headwind. Climbing through a sea of wind turbines, a breakaway group will most likely be doomed and Livermore�s first ever stage finish will probably be a bunch sprint by the whole peloton.

  8. 11:21:17 PDT

    While all 128 riders finished yesterday's stage into Santa Cruz, unfortunately for a pair of Bissell Racing riders, Patrick Bevin and Eric Young, they crossed the finish line outside of the time cut and were eliminated from the race.

  9. 11:22:39 PDT

    We have two non-starters today, BMC Racing's Steve Cummings and Steve Morabito. after yesterday's crash with 4km to go. Jim Ochowicz said Cummings re-injured the same wrist he broke 6 weeks ago, and Morabito hurt his shoulder. They're getting X-rays today.

  10. 11:24:30 PDT

    It was also a rough day yesterday for UnitedHealthcare's Rory Sutherland and Chris Jones, who also were involved in a crash earlier in the stage, the same incident which brought down race leader Peter Sagan. Read all about it here.

  11. 11:25:49 PDT

    So far in the Amgen Tour of California it's been the Peter Sagan show. The 22-year-old Slovak champion leads overall after winning both of the stages contested thus far. Additionally, he leads the points and young riders classifications too. It hasn't been a completely smooth affair for Sagan, however, as on the opening stage he flatted with 10km, managed to chase back on and then avoided a crash with 3km to go en route to a field sprint victory.

  12. 11:26:31 PDT

    In yesterday's stage into Santa Cruz, Sagan crashed on a climb, but showing considerable poise and composure for such a young rider he calmly picked himself off the tarmac and rejoined the peloton. Sagan handled the route's final corner, about 200 meters from the finish, perfectly and opened up a several bike length lead in the dash to the finish line for the victory.

  13. 11:28:10 PDT

    Here's the top of the general classification after two stages:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 9:44:15
    2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:08
    3 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:13
    4 Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:14
    5 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 0:00:16
    6 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling
    7 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:17
    8 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:19
    9 Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team
    10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:20

  14. 11:32:26 PDT

    Two riders are on the attack and are about 1km from the first KOM: Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling), Michael Friedman (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)

  15. 11:32:53 PDT

    There's a small chase group behind them and the field is at 40 seconds

  16. 11:38:08 PDT

    Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo spoke to Jonas Carney, director of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Stategies, prior to the stage and he thinks that Mt. Diablo won't do much on the GC, he expects the guys will mark each other there because it's so far from the finish. The last climb on Patterson Pass is closer to the finish than the climbs of the previous two stages, so he thinks it will be a smaller group sprint, but says Sagan won't have any trouble getting over it.

  17. 11:39:08 PDT

    Carney also stated that the team's main goal now is to move Sebastian Salas into the KOM jersey, he's second behind David Boily.

  18. 11:40:59 PDT

    And with that, let's take a look at the top of the Amgen Tour of California mountains classification standings:

    1 David Boily (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 27pts
    2 Sébastian Salas (Can) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 22
    3 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos - Shimano 10
    4 Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team 10
    5 Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 9
    6 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 8
    7 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling 7
    8 Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 7
    9 Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Cycling 7
    10 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 6

  19. 11:44:59 PDT

    We have results for the day's first KOM on Calaveras Road:

    1. Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)
    2. Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10)
    3. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling)
    4. Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes)

  20. 11:47:23 PDT

    Those four riders, plus Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team), have opened up a gap on the peloton.

  21. 11:50:33 PDT

    It appears that there are only four riders in the lead group, Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling), Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes), and they're now 1:10 over the peloton, which is intact.

  22. 11:50:47 PDT

    It appears that there are only four riders in the lead group, Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling), Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes) , and they're now 1:10 over the peloton, which is intact.

  23. 11:51:31 PDT

    It appears that there are only four riders in the lead group, Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling), Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes), and they're 1:10 ahead of the peloton.

  24. 11:56:32 PDT

    The leaders have extended their advantage to 3:25 over the peloton.

  25. 11:58:33 PDT

    Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo also spoke to Ben King (RadioShack-Nissan) prior to today's stage and he said he's ready for another day of clawing back breakaways, but said it's not really his team's responsibility since they're not in the jersey. "10 minutes, 12 minutes, it hasn't been that much of a problem yet."

    It might be another day of pace-making for the former American pro champ...

  26. 160.5km remaining from 185.5km

    12:01:25 PDT

    The break is 25km into the stage

  27. 12:03:39 PDT

    We've seen the top of the GC and mountains classifications, so here's the point classification leaders:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 30pts
    2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 24
    3 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 22
    4 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 16
    5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 11
    6 Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 10
    7 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 8
    8 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano 7
    9 Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 6
    10 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling 6

  28. 12:05:06 PDT

    We have an update about the two Bissell riders who missed the time cut yesterday. Patrick Bevin was having back problems while Eric Young has been fatigued from a heavy early schedule this year.

  29. 12:07:02 PDT

    And now race radio stated that Andrew Dahlheim (Bissell Cycling) has abandoned, so it's a bit of a bad patch for the American Continental squad as they're now down to five riders.

  30. 12:08:29 PDT

    In addition to leading overall and the points classification, Peter Sagan leads the young riders classification:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 9:44:15
    2 Josh Atkins (NZl) Bontrager Livestrong Team 0:00:19
    3 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team 0:00:20
    4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano
    5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
    6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    7 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
    8 Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
    9 Ian Boswell (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
    10 George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:44

  31. 12:09:53 PDT

    It's thusly no surprise that Orica-GreenEdge's Matt Wilson told Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo today that he considers Peter Sagan "the most freakish talent in the bunch right now".

  32. 12:11:25 PDT

    There are three categorised climbs in stage 3: Calaveras Road (Cat. 4) at 5.2 miles (8.4km), Mt. Diablo (Cat. 2) at 54.3 miles (87.4km) and Patterson Pass (Cat. 3) at 105.9 miles (170.5km). Canada's David Boily (Spidertech Powered By C10) led the classification at the start, but Sebastian Salas (Optum Pro Cycling), who started the day second overall, is in the break and already won the first climb.

  33. 151.7km remaining from 185.5km

    12:15:28 PDT

    The break is down on flat terrain now, rolling through wide-open countryside on their way for the first pass through Livermore. The quartet are 21 miles (33.8km) into the race and their gap is holding steady at three minutes.

  34. 12:16:49 PDT

    Riders in the peloton are feeding now, and the gap to the break is rising.

  35. 149.8km remaining from 185.5km

    12:18:26 PDT

    The leading quartet of McCarty, Salas, Vennell and Marentes have extended their advantage to four minutes.

  36. 12:21:41 PDT

    Mike Creed (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) was in yesterday's break and spoke with Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo before the start of today's stage. Regarding the break, he said he was bummed that they didn't get more time. There was one point where he heard there was no chase behind and he tried to get everyone to ride harder, but they wouldn't agree to it.

    Regarding Geniez, Creed said the Argos-Shimano rider wasn't really contributing much to the breakaway and then he attacked on the first climb and got most aggressive rider award. "98% of the time when you do that you get nothing, 2% of the time you look like a ****ing genius," said the ever-quotable Creed.

  37. 145km remaining from 185.5km

    12:23:24 PDT

    The break has 5km to the intermediate sprint in Livermore. Their lead is now 4:25 as they roll past the Fenestra Winery.

  38. 12:26:19 PDT

    Cyclingnews' Pat Malach spoke to the Bissell team prior to the Amgen Tour of California and they stated that their mission was to to on the attack. Indeed, they're living up to that plan. Read the article here.

  39. 12:26:55 PDT

    The leaders have reached Livermore proper with a lead of 4:30 over the peloton.

  40. 12:28:17 PDT

    Livermore is out in force to great the peloton. Fans are lining the four-lane road into town.

  41. 12:31:41 PDT

    By the way, if you have any questions or comments you can reach me, Peter Hymas, on twitter via my Italian alter ego @pietrohymasini.

  42. 12:33:23 PDT

    And we have results of the intermediate sprint in Livermore:

    1. Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes)
    2. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling)
    3. Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)

  43. 12:37:31 PDT

    Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo spoke to a well-known member of the Colombia-Coldeportes team, Victor Hugo Pena, about his role in ushering in the next generation of Colombian cycling talent, including Wilson Marentes who's currently in the break. You may remember that Pena was a domestique for Lance Armstrong during his Tour de France reign and the Colombian spent several days in the yellow jersey himself. Read the news article here.

  44. 134.1km remaining from 185.5km

    12:40:37 PDT

    The break's lead has stretched to five minutes after 32 miles (51.4km) of racing. Our Pat Malach, who's in the caravan, says of the terrain "it's cow country!"

  45. 12:44:27 PDT

    Next up for the peloton is the ascent of Mt. Diablo, with its summit situated 54.3 miles (87.4km) into the stage. Earlier this year Bruce Hildebrand wrote a nice item for Cyclingnews about the climb, making its Amgen Tour of California debut shortly.

  46. 129.5km remaining from 185.5km

    12:48:15 PDT

    The break has entered Contra Costa County with the gap holding at 5:00 to the peloton.

  47. 12:54:01 PDT

    It's good to see Pat McCarty (Spidertech Powered by C10) on the attack. The 30-year-old American has had a rough start to his season due to illness, but his form is coming around. McCarty won the KOM classification at last year's Amgen Tour of California. Read about McCarty and his team, a Canada-based Pro Continental squad, here.

  48. 126km remaining from 185.5km

    12:55:37 PDT

    The riders in the break are working well together as they roll through Contra Costa County amidst rolling farmland. They're on smooth roads at 59.5km into the stage.

  49. 13:00:12 PDT

    Regarding the other riders in the break, Wilson Marentes (Colombia-Coldeportes) is a 26-year-old Colombian who's had a European campaign thus far this season prior to the Amgen Tour of California. He finished 21st in Italy's Strade Bianche, rode Tirreno-Adriatico and Criterium International and most recently completed the Tour of Turkey. He finished second in Colombia's time trial national championship last year and won a stage of his home Vuelta a Colombia in 2008

  50. 13:02:06 PDT

    The break has gone through the feed zone and their lead has grown to 6:30. The Liquigas-Cannondale team of race leader Peter Sagan is setting tempo in the peloton.

  51. 13:06:38 PDT

    The children of Tassajara Hills school are out along the race route greeting the Amgen Tour of California riders. You never know from where future champions may emerge, perhaps some of those children will be inspired enough to take up the sport.

  52. 13:08:58 PDT

    We have an update on the condition of UnitedHealthcare's Chris Jones and Rory Sutherland: Chris Jones started today with 20 stitches in his knee. When the crash on Empire Grade happened yesterday he fell into the wheel of a BMC rider, which was still spinning, and with the aero spokes used in wheels today it sliced his knee clean open to the kneecap.

    Luckily it only sliced the skin open and missed any important ligaments or tendons. We think he should be voted most courageous.

    Rory's hand is really swollen, so he won't be shaking any hands in the VIP tent after the stage.

  53. 116.3km remaining from 185.5km

    13:10:09 PDT

    The break is at mile 43 (69.2km) while the peloton has just exited the feed zone. The break's lead has continued to grow and now stands at seven minutes.

  54. 13:15:27 PDT

    Jeremy Vennell (Bissell), a member of the four-man break, was on the attack yesterday as well and claimed the Amgen Tour of California Most Courageous Rider Jersey. He's a 31-year-old New Zealand native and has been on the Bissell squad since 2008. Some highlights from this season include a third-place finish in the New Zealand road championships and a third-place finish in upstate New York's Tour of the Battenkill, the first UCI race in the United States of the 2012 season.

  55. 13:16:17 PDT

    The peloton slowed during and after the feed zone to take on sustenance and as a result the break's lead edged up to 7:40.

  56. 13:19:32 PDT

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) has finished in second place on each of the two Amgen Tour of California stages contested thus far. Will he top the podium today? Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo conducted a video interview of the Aussie after yesterday's stage.

  57. 13:20:18 PDT

    The break has started the climb of Mt. Diablo with an eight-minute lead over the peloton.

  58. 13:24:45 PDT

    Some information about Mt. Diablo, from the Bruce Hildenbrand article earlier this year:

    "The stage will miss the summit, which can be seen from across the San Francisco Bay, climbing only 1600 vertical feet up South Gate Road (average grade 4.5%) before heading down North Gate Road.

    Local pro Roman Kilun (Kenda-5-Hour Energy) provided this commentary about the ascent of Mt. Diablo on South Gate Road: 'South Gate is a beautiful climb and has some steep sections but should not be decisive. At race speed it should not take much more than 20 minutes. While there are some steep sections they are split up by faster flat sections that will provide recovery. There is also a little downhill stretch in the middle. The last 2km is the hardest for sure, but with such a long descent after I expect it would come back together'."

  59. 106.7km remaining from 185.5km

    13:26:46 PDT

    There are plenty of fans wielding US and California flags on the side of the road as the break ascends Mt. Diablo. The four leaders are at mile 49 (78.8km).

  60. 13:28:40 PDT

    The break, consisting of Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling) and Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes), have a lead of 8:40. There are HUGE crowds on the upper slopes of Mt. Diablo.

  61. 105.9km remaining from 185.5km

    13:29:41 PDT

    The break is hanging together on this category 2-rated ascent.

  62. 103.1km remaining from 185.5km

    13:33:02 PDT

    The four leaders have 5km to go to the Mt. Diablo summit.

  63. 13:33:55 PDT

    The peloton is climbing at 13mph (20.9 km/h).

  64. 13:40:07 PDT

    Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) is the highest-ranked rider on general classification in 78th @14:19. Sebastian Salas is in 90th @ 18:08, Pat McCarty holds 94th @ 18:49, while Wilson Marentes is in 121st @ 26:53, so none of these riders are overall GC threats.

  65. 13:41:21 PDT

    The four leaders are together in the approach to the Mt. Diablo summit while the peloton is all together lower down the slope. Nobody's been droppped from the field yet.

  66. 13:43:08 PDT

    The break passes the 1km to go sign for the KOM.

  67. 13:50:21 PDT

    Salas has topped Mt. Diablo first and the break is now negotiating the screaming descent off the KOM line. We'll provide full KOM results for the KOM shortly.

  68. 13:52:07 PDT

    The peloton trails the break by 8:00 as they see 1km to the Mt. Diablo KOM.

  69. 13:55:01 PDT

    Salas has lost contact with the break on the descent.

  70. 13:57:16 PDT

    Results for the Mt. Diablo KOM:

    1. Sébastian Salas (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)
    2. Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered By C10)
    3. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Cycling)
    4. Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes)
    5. David Boily (Spidertech Powered By C10)
    6. Scott Zwizanski (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)
    7. Lucas Euser (Spidertech Powered By C10)

  71. 13:58:28 PDT

    It's quite a battle between Team Optum p/ Kelly Benefit Strategies and Spidertech powered by C10 for mountains classification supremacy.

  72. 13:59:46 PDT

    The race is currently running behind the slowest schedule, which is for a 22mph average speed.

  73. 14:02:36 PDT

    Bruce Hildenbrand has supplied a bit more information about Mt. Diablo: "South Gate Road used to have huge potholes on it's lower slopes and looked like a bombed out airfield. Thanks to the Amgen Tour of California the road was repaved just before the race. Yet another benefit of the race coming to town.

    Former World Dual Slalom Champion (MTB) Keith Defiebre holds the Strava crown for the fastest descent of Mount Diablo."

    Thanks!

     

  74. 82km remaining from 185.5km

    14:04:46 PDT

    The break is back together as Salas has made contact. They've got 82km to go and have a lead of 8:00.

  75. 14:06:37 PDT

    Laurens Ten Dam (Raboank) has flatted in the peloton, but has bridged back. Meanwhile, Vennell is taking a pull at the head of the break.

  76. 14:07:39 PDT

    Liquigas-Cannondale is firmly planted at the head of the peloton, tapping out the tempo.

  77. 14:09:04 PDT

    There seems like there's momentarily some disagreement in the break as Vennell took a slight lead, but they're back together.

  78. 14:09:39 PDT

    Marentes now takes a pull as Vennell slips to the back of the rotation in the break.

  79. 78.6km remaining from 185.5km

    14:11:04 PDT

    Frantisek Rabon (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is now setting tempo in the peloton with Liquigas-Cannondale lined out behind him. The break's advantage is 7:40.

  80. 14:16:31 PDT

    It seems that the break is once again working smoothly, but the peloton is starting to slowly chip away at their advantage which is now down to 7:05.

  81. 14:18:45 PDT

    Liquigas-Cannondale is flexing their muscles at the head of the peloton and the field is getting stretched out in their wake. The break's lead has dropped down inside of seven minutes.

  82. 14:20:08 PDT

    Frantisek Rabon (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is also at the head of affairs in the peloton in service of team leader Levi Leipheimer.

  83. 14:24:30 PDT

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda), race runner-up for two days running, sports number 13 on his back. Frequently a pro will turn one of the numbers upside down for good luck, but Haussler hasn't opted for that configuration, running them both normally. Maybe he needs to flip one upside down to reverse his fortunes...

  84. 69.4km remaining from 185.5km

    14:26:04 PDT

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) looks very comfortable near the head of the peloton as he chats with some teammates.

  85. 14:30:32 PDT

    Jeremy Vennell and Wilson Marentes have now attacked their breakaway companions.

  86. 14:33:06 PDT

    The peloton is continuing to chip away at the break's lead which is now at 5:45. Wilson Marentes has a chat with his team manager at the head of affairs.

  87. 62km remaining from 185.5km

    14:35:48 PDT

    Bram Tankink (Rabobank) rides tail gunner in the peloton as they roll along on smooth, perhaps recently paved, tarmac.

  88. 58.8km remaining from 185.5km

    14:40:19 PDT

    Domestiques are dropping back to team cars for bottles to re-fuel their team members as the race edges closer to its endgame.

  89. 14:44:59 PDT

    For the moment the break's lead has stabilized at about 6:00. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Wilson Marentes (Colombia-Coldeportes) continue to share the workload at the head of the race.

  90. 52.5km remaining from 185.5km

    14:49:07 PDT

    At the front of the peloton Frantisek Rabon (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) sets the pace, followed by a Liquigas-Cannondale rider and then several UnitedHealthcare team members. There's 52.5km remaining and the break's lead is at 5:40.

  91. 14:50:46 PDT

    Argos-Shimano has also placed a main near the head of the peloton to assist in the pursuit of the break.

  92. 50km remaining from 185.5km

    14:52:40 PDT

    The break is now on Camino Diablo getting close to Byron.

  93. 47.4km remaining from 185.5km

    14:57:16 PDT

    Vennell and Marentes are in their little rings, negotiating a slight ascent on the rolling parcours. It's beautiful weather, with sunshine and no clouds. Vennell is now having a chat with his director in the team car.

  94. 15:00:13 PDT

    Frantisek Rabon is certainly earning his paycheck today for Omega Pharma-Quickstep as he continues to drive the pace in the peloton. The break's gap is now at 4:15, largely due to the work of the powerhouse Czech.

  95. 15:02:32 PDT

    Pat McCarty is back in the peloton after his stint in the break and is chatting with Spidertech teammate David Boily, who's wearing the mountains classification jersey but may have to surrender it at the end of the stage.

  96. 42km remaining from 185.5km

    15:05:00 PDT

    With 42km remaining, Vennell and Marentes's lead is now at 3:35.

  97. 15:06:42 PDT

    Sebastian Salas (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) has earned enough points today to take over the mountains classification jersey at stage end.

  98. 38.8km remaining from 185.5km

    15:09:53 PDT

    Vennell is dousing his head with water for repite from the warm weather. No shade out there now.

  99. 38.8km remaining from 185.5km

    15:10:08 PDT

    Vennell is dousing his head with water for respite from the warm weather. No shade out there now.

  100. 15:11:39 PDT

    The break continues to work smoothly in the race lead on a stretch of wide-open terrain. In the distance scores of wind turbines can be seen on the ridge line.

  101. 37km remaining from 185.5km

    15:12:28 PDT

    With 37km to go the break's lead has dropped to three minutes.

  102. 15:13:34 PDT

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep now has five riders at the head of the peloton setting the tempo. Is today a day for Tom Boonen?

  103. 32.5km remaining from 185.5km

    15:18:39 PDT

    The peloton is on a flat, dead-straight section of road, with farmland on both sides of the road as well as the occasional electric power station. With 32.5km to go the break's lead has been chopped down to 2:20

  104. 15:21:59 PDT

    The climb to Patterson Pass will be upon the riders soon. The category 3 climb's summit is at 9.3 miles (15km) to go and the break may be reeled in before the climbing commences.

  105. 27km remaining from 185.5km

    15:27:36 PDT

    There's quite a few wind turbines directly to the left of the peloton. The break's lead continues to drop and stands at 1:15 with 27km remaining.

  106. 25km remaining from 185.5km

    15:31:46 PDT

    The peloton has Vennell and Marentes in sight. The two escapees have shook hands and it's all over with 25km to go.

  107. 23.4km remaining from 185.5km

    15:33:35 PDT

    Garmin-Barracuda is setting a strong tempo at the head of the field as the peloton has begun to split behind.

  108. 15:35:26 PDT

    The race has turned onto Patterson Pass Road.

  109. 21.5km remaining from 185.5km

    15:36:29 PDT

    The peloton has fanned completely across the two-lane road as some riders are coming back on.

  110. 15:36:56 PDT

    The wind is picking up at the finish.

  111. 15:37:38 PDT

    A Colombia-Coldeportes rider has attacked and has a slight gap.

  112. 15:38:30 PDT

    BMC, Garmin and Rabobank are on the front of the peloton and the Colombia-Coldeportes rider's gap isn't much.

  113. 20km remaining from 185.5km

    15:39:03 PDT

    The peloton is back together with 20km remaining.

  114. 15:40:22 PDT

    Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) is slipping off the back of the peloton.

  115. 15:40:58 PDT

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) sets tempo at the head of the peloton

  116. 15:43:33 PDT

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R) and Fabio Duarte (Colombia-Coldeportes) have opened a gap on the peloton.

  117. 17.4km remaining from 185.5km

    15:45:58 PDT

    Duarte sets the pace on the Patterson Pass climb with Roche on his wheel. The peloton is at 20 seconds.

  118. 15:46:52 PDT

    Roche now takes his turn setting the pace. Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondlae) is at the head of the peloton leading the chase.

  119. 16.5km remaining from 185.5km

    15:47:33 PDT

    Duggan is out of the saddle, powering the pursuit. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Barracuda) is on Duggan's wheel.

  120. 15:48:24 PDT

    Duggan did yeoman's work in the finale of yesterday's stage to set up teammate Peter Sagan, and once again he's at the front.

  121. 15:49:13 PDT

    The turns on the climb are gently sweeping and the break is still within sight of the field.

  122. 16km remaining from 185.5km

    15:49:51 PDT

    Duarte and Roche see the 1km to go sign for the KOM

  123. 15:51:20 PDT

    Plenty of tifosi await the riders atop the Patterson Pass climb. Duarte and Roche are still holding off the peloton which hasn't been reduced too significantly on the climb.

  124. 15:51:42 PDT

    An Argos-Shimano rider is trying to bridge to Roche and Duarte.

  125. 15km remaining from 185.5km

    15:52:39 PDT

    Duarte leads Roche over the KOM.

  126. 15:53:35 PDT

    The peloton trails Duarte and Roche by 18 seconds over the KOM. Robbie McEwen has been dropped on the climb.

  127. 12.8km remaining from 185.5km

    15:55:17 PDT

    The peloton is re-grouping on the descent.

  128. 11km remaining from 185.5km

    15:56:13 PDT

    Roche and Duarte are on Cross Road. The Argos-Shimano rider in no-man's land has been absorbed by the peloton.

  129. 15:58:15 PDT

    Not sure if this jinxes Roche, but can he finally earn AG2R-La Mondiale's first win of the season? Laura Weislo spoke to the Irishman earlier.

  130. 10km remaining from 185.5km

    15:58:50 PDT

    Roche and Duarte continue to lead the peloton by 20 seconds with 10km to go.

  131. 8.5km remaining from 185.5km

    16:00:01 PDT

    And a shake of the hands between Roche and Duarte signals the break is done.

  132. 7.8km remaining from 185.5km

    16:00:53 PDT

    And with Roche and Duarte swept up, several more riders launch an attack.

  133. 16:01:25 PDT

    ...which has come to naught. Peloton all together gearing up for a field sprint.

  134. 6.5km remaining from 185.5km

    16:02:51 PDT

    Liquigas-Cannondale sets tempo in the peloton with 6.5km remaining to the finish in Livermore.

  135. 5km remaining from 185.5km

    16:05:14 PDT

    While the routes of the first two stages featured finales of approximately half the peloton, today it looks like we'll be treated to a full-on bunch gallop with most if not all the peloton's fast men present and accounted for.

  136. 4km remaining from 185.5km

    16:06:30 PDT

    Peloton has passed 4km to go marker...

  137. 16:07:07 PDT

    Defending Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) is being escorted by teammates up to the front.

  138. 3km remaining from 185.5km

    16:07:32 PDT

    Rabobank is now on the front...

  139. 16:08:19 PDT

    Argos-Shimano is moving their train up next to Rabobank, and AG2R-La Mondiale is now setting the pace.

  140. 16:08:52 PDT

  141. 1.5km remaining from 185.5km

    16:09:14 PDT

    1.5km to go!

  142. 1km remaining from 185.5km

    16:09:48 PDT

    Rabobank leads the peloton under the red kite with Argos-Shimano close behind.

  143. 16:10:02 PDT

    No one team has control of the sprint now

  144. 16:10:27 PDT

    Through the last corner!

  145. 16:10:28 PDT

    Through the last corner!

  146. 16:11:07 PDT

    Haussler led out the sprint, but once again Peter Sagan has claimed victory. Amazing.

  147. 16:11:53 PDT

    Looks like Haussler may have been runner-up for the third straight day, followed by Boonen.

  148. 16:13:58 PDT

    Confirmed, Haussler in second, followed by Boonen. Alex Candelario (Optum) took fourth, followed by Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) in fifth. And in celebration Sagan has popped a wheelie on his way to the podium.

  149. 16:21:54 PDT

    Provisional top-10 results for stage 3:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:50:49
    2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda
    3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
    4 Alexander Candelario (USA) Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
    5 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    6 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
    7 Hugo Houle (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
    8 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano
    9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
    10 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team

  150. 16:22:35 PDT

    Peter Sagan, of course, continues as general classification leader at the Amgen Tour of California.

  151. 16:29:18 PDT

    Provisional top-5 for general classification:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 14:34:54
    2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:12
    3 Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:24
    4 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 0:00:26
    5 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Cycling

  152. 16:30:09 PDT

    Thanks for joining us today! Stay tuned tomorrow for stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California and of course earlier tomorrow we'll bring you live updates from the Giro d'Italia.