Tour of California 2018

May 13-19, Long Beach, California, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Laura Weislo


 

 

  1. 10:20:24 PDT

    Good morning and welcome to the third stage of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California! Riders are about to get underway for the longest stage of the race, a 197km journey north to the Laguna Seca Raceway outside Monterey.

  2. 10:22:27 PDT

    It's a bit overcast this morning and temperate at 16•C - but it will be typical sunny California weather later on in the stage.

  3. 10:24:49 PDT

    King City is a first time host of the race - this small town in the middle of a productive agricultural area is known as the hometown of famous author John Steinbeck's father.

  4. 10:26:36 PDT

    Riders will have 3.7km of neutral riding before they head out for a big lap east of King City.

    Here's a reminder of the GC after the Gibraltar Road summit finish on stage 2:

    1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 7:16:13
    2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:25
    3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:31
    4 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:40
    5 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates
    6 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
    7 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50
    8 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:00
    9 Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:09
    10 Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:11

  5. 10:31:01 PDT

    With 197km on tap today, EF-Drapac's Logan Owen is expecting a real battle to be in the breakaway:

    "If I’m on a good day, but I think it will be a day for the breakaway really.
     

    "It will be tough to get in the breakaway. I think every team knows it will be hard to chase on a course like today. It’s a little bit harder than when we did it two years ago."

    Over the last few days the first attack just rolled away, Owen says that will not happen today.
     

    "That’s not going to be the case today. 100% that’s not going to be the case today. You’ll probably see it go 45 min to an hour."

  6. 196km remaining from 197km

    10:33:10 PDT

    The flag has dropped and immediately, we have an attack: it's Rally's Evan Huffman and Robin Carpenter with Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman) making the first move.

  7. 10:35:50 PDT

    Huffman is the best placed of the three on GC, but is a distant 14:34 from Bernal.
     

    Coincidentally, Bernal leads all of the classifications thanks to yesterday's effort: he's tied with stage 1 winner Fernando Gaviria in the points classification - the Quick-Step rider wears the green jersey today.
     

    Bernal leads the mountains classification over Rafal Majka (Bora) by two points, and is the best young rider over Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNl-Jumbo) by 40 seconds.

  8. 7km remaining from 197km

    10:37:21 PDT

    The trio are dangling ahead of the peloton, which is not ready to let them go.

  9. 10:42:14 PDT

    The riders head down to San Lucas then east on 198 to CA 25, where they make their way northeast to Bitterwater, where they'll have the first sprint of the day at km 64.


    If, instead of turning left, they kept going north the riders could take in Pinnacles National Park - an amazing place to visit. It's one half of an extinct volcano that's been separated by the region's tectonic plates as the earth's crust has moved. Aside from some spectacular and unique rock formations, you might catch a glimpse of some condors, who were reintroduced there in 2003.

  10. 13km remaining from 197km

    10:43:28 PDT

    The trio still only have 15 seconds, with some riders trying to bridge. The elastic hasn't snapped yet.

  11. 182km remaining from 197km

    10:46:13 PDT

    Logan Owen, Ruben Campanioni (third in the KOM classification) and Tanner Putt are attempting to bridge across.
     

  12. 10:50:05 PDT

    Again, none of these riders are a GC threat, but Companioni will be looking to unseat Bernal as KOM leader. There is a Cat. 3 climb on King City Rd at km. 66 today, and the East Carmel Grade (Cat. 2) after 143.5km.
     

    If this move survives that long, they'll likely get to contest the Cat. 2 Cachuga Rd. summit at km. 168.5.
     

    The attacks will have flown from the peloton by then, and it will be a fight for a breakaway to stay clear on the Laureles Grade summit (Cat. 2) that comes with 8.5km to go. The final KOM on the raceway is a Cat. 3.

  13. 178km remaining from 197km

    10:52:49 PDT

    As predicted, it's been a fight for anything to stay clear.

    Thomas Craven, Holowesko-Citadel DS says this is not a day for the overall contenders.

     

    "Of course GC guys have to be present. I see it as a perfect day for guys who are on our team in the past or currently, like Joey Rosskopf or Toms Skujins and a couple of our guys like Fabian.
     

    "It’s a tough guys course. It’s almost like a one-day race right now that has races before it and after it. The finish is like the races we were doing in Europe, so we’ve been specifically targeting this guy when we saw what the parcours was going to be.
     

    "We’ve finished before at Laguna Seca, and it’s going to be hard. I think the break’s going to get a lot more room today with names that we all recognize up there. It will be a true battle royale at the finish. I’m excited it should be a good one for the spectators."

  14. 177km remaining from 197km

    10:54:37 PDT

    Owen and Companioni aren't going to make it. They've dropped back, but Putt is soldiering on trying to make it across. It's a tall order, since he was already in the breakaway on stage 1.

  15. 174km remaining from 197km

    10:56:46 PDT

    That's it for Putt, he didn't make it across. The peloton is not making it easy on anyone today - the trio ahead are slowly eking out a few more seconds, now at 35s on the bunch.

  16. 10:58:29 PDT

    There's a new group trying to get away from the clutches of the peloton - five riders including Companioni - who's determined to get that KOM jersey. If he gets it, he can keep it through stage 6.
     

    40 seconds now to the trio ahead.

  17. 11:01:40 PDT

    Meanwhile, back in the peloton, Sky can probably count on Bora-Hansgrohe to control the breakaway.
     

    After missing out on stage 1, Peter Sagan will look to repeat his victory of 2016 on Laguna Seca Raceway.
     

    Pat Malach spoke to Daniel Oss before the stage:
     

    "For sure the start is the critical point to make the right direction for the race. And then we manage what we see during the race and also the climbs in the middle of the stage. For sure the final is pretty tricky," Oss said.

  18. 167km remaining from 197km

    11:06:34 PDT

    • Break

    Well it looks like the peloton has decided, after bringing that chasing group back, that this trio are the lucky ones for the day.
     

    The gap has gone out to nearly two minutes.

  19. 11:08:13 PDT

    Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched the Giro d'Italia stage yet, look away.



    Simon Yates talks about what happened to Esteban Chaves, who dropped from second place to 39th after being left behind on the first climb. He ended the stage in the gruppetto.

  20. 11:12:41 PDT

    You can find the Giro d'Italia stage results and report, with a full photo gallery and video highlights here.

  21. 161km remaining from 197km

    11:18:01 PDT

    The riders have made the turn onto CA-25 to head toward that first sprint at Bitterwater. While there aren't enough points available in the intermediate sprints for any of the riders in the escape to take the green jersey, unless they stay away, there are enough mountain points for any of them to take the polka dot jersey.
     

    Currently Majka wears the mountains jersey, but he's two points behind Bernal's 15.

  22. 157km remaining from 197km

    11:20:44 PDT

    • Climb

    There is a maximum of 21 points available for one rider to get on today's stage - the first and last climbs are worth 3, the other three climbs are 5 points for first across the line.
     

    The peloton is really letting this move go - over five minutes for the trio.

  23. 11:22:36 PDT

    The breakaway on stage 3 of the 2018 Tour of California

     

    Pat Malach is in the media car, and brings this image from the breakaway - Ian Garrison leads Robin Carpenter and Evan Huffman.

  24. 11:33:11 PDT

    Evan Huffman, of course, won two stages of the Tour of California last year. But Carpenter also has a good relationship with the race. In addition to being in several breakaways, he wore the best young rider's jersey in 2015.
     

    Garrison is racing his first Tour of California.
     

    The gap is over 5:35 at the moment and holding.

  25. 11:34:55 PDT

    Bora-Hansgrohe are indeed taking control of the pace in the peloton, hoping to set up Sagan for the win.


    It's the world champion's brother Juraj Sagan who's on the front, swapping pulls with Kolar.

  26. 11:43:00 PDT

    We love to hear from the fans who get to interact with their favourite riders at the stage starts and finishes. It's the beauty of the sport!

  27. 141km remaining from 197km

    11:44:22 PDT

    The leaders are still making their way to Bitterwater, still some 10km to go before the first intermediate sprint.
     

    Why not catch up with today's Giro d'Italia news? Esteban Chaves spoke briefly about his massive time loss: "We've still got to understand my problems".

  28. 11:46:40 PDT

    Back to the Tour of California, the second stage was a big one for the overall - you can see the highlight reel from Monday's stage here.

  29. 137km remaining from 197km

    11:49:06 PDT

    The leaders are inside 5k to go to the sprint in Bitterwater.

  30. 11:57:54 PDT

    The gap has fallen somewhat as the leaders approached the intermediate sprint - it's down to 4:45, a fairly reasonable gap for the peloton to close on this longest stage of the Tour of California.

  31. 133km remaining from 197km

    12:00:17 PDT

    The leaders did not contest the sprint, with Carpenter leading Huffman across the line, and Garrison bringing up the rear.
     

    Immediately they have 2km to go to the first KOM. Who's going to be the designated man for the polka dots?

  32. 131km remaining from 197km

    12:06:54 PDT

    • Climb

    It's Evan Huffman who gets the KOM points ahead of Garrison, with Carpenter third. Bora are still on the front keeping the gap in check - now at 4:25.

  33. 12:15:21 PDT

    From the profile, it looks like it's a descent back to King City, but it's so gentle that it's going to take a lot of effort for the trio out front to get down - it's no coasting affair. Luckily the usual easterly breeze is quite light today and they don't have to deal with much of a headwind.

  34. 12:20:20 PDT

    Pat spoke to Rally DS Jonas Carney before the start - let's see how his predictions have panned out so far:


    "It’s not a GC day today, but it’s a really hard run in to that track, so some things could go down. I think Team Sky will handle it, but there could be some serious attacking going on on those last really steep climbs," Carney said, adding that he expected a fight to be in the breakaway - it actually didn't turn out to be that hard...


    "The last two days not too many teams even wanted to be in the breakaway. After yesterday the GC is all set up and there’s a lot of really, really strong riders that are down five, six, seven, eight minutes, so I would expect to see a lot of guys trying to be on the move. It will take awhile."

  35. 12:27:00 PDT

    The peloton is heading down back toward King City, the Salinas Valley in the distance. The farms below grow strawberries, greens and vegetables. They were hit extremely hard by recent drought, despite modern resevoirs and irrigation, but have bounced back.

    As John Steinbeck wrote about the valley: "It never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”

  36. 12:30:37 PDT

    Steinbeck also wrote about the mountains on either side of the Salinas Valley - the Gabilan Mountains that the leaders are descending from "full of sun and loveliness, and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother".


    Where they are going after King City, into the Santa Lucias, Steinbeck described as "dark and brooding-unfriendly and dangerous."

  37. 12:33:09 PDT

    The riders have left King City and headed out onto the route to Monterey, paralleling the Salinas River toward the airport in Metz before turning west to Greenfield for the second intermediate sprint, which comes 107.5km into the stage.

  38. 102km remaining from 197km

    12:39:57 PDT

    Now that they're in the valley, the leaders are facing a bit of a stiff headwind, and the gap has come down to 4:05 just before our midpoint of this 197km stage.

  39. 12:42:38 PDT

    Oof this valley sure is tough on the trio up front - their gap is coming down fast now to 3:45 at the feedzone. But maybe the peloton are just really hungry and once they put their muzzles in the feed bags they'll slow down.

  40. 12:48:39 PDT

    The Amgen Women's Race begins on Thursday - read our preview and let us know in the comments if you think this is progress for the women's peloton or not.

  41. 94.5km remaining from 197km

    12:51:08 PDT

     

    The view from the feed zone - you can see how desiccated the landscape. Rally ready for their riders.

    The breakaway is 5km to the next sprint.

  42. 12:55:42 PDT

    As the leaders turn onto Elm to head to the sprint, they encounter a stretch of quite rough pavement. Let's hope the peloton get over it safely.

  43. 13:00:24 PDT

    Our reporter Pat Malach asked Axeon DS Jeff Louder if it was a mistake for the peloton to give this trio so much time. "The peloton has it under control, although I hope it’s a mistake," he said.


    With that said, the gap is down to 3:50 now that Quick-Step Floors has decided to help with the chase.

  44. 13:02:19 PDT

    • Finish

    Sprint 2: Greenfield

    1. Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman)
    2. Evan Huffman (Rally)
    3. Robin Carpenter (Rally)

    But they didn't contest the sprint, the trio are still working well together.


    New gap is 3:10

  45. 13:03:45 PDT

    Now that the Quick-Step team have taken up the reins, they're clicking off about 10s per kilometer of the leaders' advantage. The gap will continue to fall steadily for now, but with a KOM at km 143.5, things will get trickier for both ends of the race.

  46. 89km remaining from 197km

    13:07:23 PDT

    The farm workers have taken a break to watch the race speed past, the peloton spread across the road heading back toward the hills.
     

    Let's pause a moment to give a silent thank you to those laborers who help bring food to everyone's table in the 'world's salad bowl'.

     

  47. 82km remaining from 197km

    13:15:32 PDT

    The breakaway is really suffering as they start the long, gradual trip up Arroyo Seco Road - their advantage was tickling the two minute mark but seems to have leveled out.

  48. 13:18:51 PDT



    As you can see from the view out of the media car, there are vineyards all along this stretch and a gentle gradient.

  49. 13:24:31 PDT

    A bit about our breakaway riders: Ian Garrison (Axeon) is the youngest of the three, only in his second year out of the juniors. He won a stage at the Tour de Beauce last year and was second in the U23 Gent-Wevelgem.

  50. 13:27:52 PDT

    He was also the bronze medalist in the 2016 world championship time trial in the juniors.

    Robin Carpenter raced five years with the Hincapie/Holowesko team before moving to Rally this year. He was one of the Holowesko team's brightest talents, taking out the win in the 2016 Tour of Alberta, stages at the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge.

    He and teammate Huffman are fixtures in the breakaways in this race.

  51. 13:29:34 PDT

    Huffman is also a past Tour of Alberta winner, taking last year's edition. He won the stage to Santa Clarita last year from a breakaway and then repeated that feat in Pasadena on the final stage.

  52. 67km remaining from 197km

    13:35:22 PDT

    Bora and Quick-Step continue to chase as they slowly wind their way into these dark and brooding hills. We have a rider from Sky stopping for a nature break, but Bernal is in the train.
     

    He's such a slight figure but stands out thanks to the bright yellow jersey.

  53. 13:37:45 PDT

    The leaders will want to get to the Laureles Grade summit if Huffman is going to take the KOM jersey. Right now the peloton isn't interested in catching them. The gap is actually going out some to 2:55.

  54. 13:38:29 PDT

    Huffman will of course need to take all of the next three mountain sprints to overtake Bernal. He has three points, and needs another 13.

  55. 13:39:22 PDT

    The roads are quite undulating and rural, with trees blocking the wind on either side of the road, and a tall mountain towering to the peloton's left.

  56. 63km remaining from 197km

    13:41:57 PDT

    The peloton is lined out on the two-lane road in pursuit of the leaders, bringing the gap down to 2:27 on this very fast stage.

  57. 13:44:27 PDT

    It's interesting to note that the Rally riders have custom painted Diamondback frames, with Huffman on a bubblegum pink one that is a "classic cruiser" theme, and Carpenter on one that is green and blue, a "hip hop theme". All of the bikes are being auctioned off to benefit the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation this week.

  58. 13:45:31 PDT

    You can actually win the very bikes that Carpenter, Huffman and their teammates are on - just go here to bid.

  59. 13:47:44 PDT

    Back in the peloton, Alexander Kristoff is moving up as behind, the back of the bunch spreads out. With the gap right at 2 minutes, there is no need to rush into catching the leaders.

  60. 58km remaining from 197km

    13:49:12 PDT

    It's quite warm in the hills, and with the pace the riders are generating quite a bit of their own heat. Michal Kolar is looking around for a water bottle.

  61. 13:52:18 PDT

    Riding up alongside Bernal we see Belgian champion Oliver Naesen. The AG2R rider was sensational in the Classics, if not a bit unlucky. He missed a major podium this spring, but scored third at the Eschborn-Frankfurt. You may see him going for the stage today.

  62. 13:55:03 PDT

    Juraj Sagan's work is done - he's heading back to the team cars as the peloton grinds up this 4km-long climb

  63. 55.2km remaining from 197km

    13:56:16 PDT

    • Attack

    Attack - Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac) has clicked off the front of the peloton.

  64. 13:57:13 PDT

    The max gradient of this climb is over 10 percent. Craddock lost 10 minutes yesterday on Gibraltar so the peloton is not concerned.

  65. 13:57:45 PDT

    Up ahead, Carpenter has been distanced from the breakaway, leaving Garrison and Huffman up the road.

  66. 13:59:35 PDT

    • Climb

    There's no fight from Garrison for the KOM, he's letting Huffman take the lead and get the points.

  67. 14:01:07 PDT

    Craddock has had a rough couple of years, so it's good to see him getting out there again. He struggled with overtraining and had to take a few long breaks to get back to full strength. It's a vicious cycle that can hit riders - you start underperforming and think training harder is the answer, when you're really just digging a hole that's getting deeper and deeper.

  68. 53.5km remaining from 197km

    14:02:44 PDT

    • Climb

    KOM 2: East Carmel Valley Rd (Cat. 2)

    1. Evan Huffman
    2. Ian Garrison
    3. Robin Carpenter
    4. Lawson Craddock

  69. 14:03:25 PDT

    That gives Huffman 8 points - and 25km before the next category 2 climb where there are five more points on offer.

  70. 14:04:02 PDT

    This time over the top, there is a proper descent, although most of it is shallow enough that pedaling is required.

  71. 14:04:52 PDT

    The situation as it stands after that climb:
    Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Evan Huffman (Rally)

    Chase 1: Robin Carpenter (Rally) at 0:55
    Chase 2: Lawson Craddock (EF Drapac) at 1:25

    Peloton at 3:00

  72. 14:06:29 PDT

    The two leaders are speeding along in the dappled shade of the dense green-tinged canyon, still looking quite strong.

  73. 14:08:03 PDT

    Carpenter is losing ground fairly steadily now, and in due course he will be joined by Craddock. The peloton is negotiating a series of tight twists and bends further back - the gap bouncing between 2:40 and 3:00 depending on how well the GPS signal is getting out of the canyon, we suspect.

  74. 46km remaining from 197km

    14:10:31 PDT

    Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe are keeping a steady tempo at the head of the race - we don't expect there will be any trouble with them catching the breakaway before the finish. Especially since the two leaders are taking a moment to empty pockets and refill them with fuel for the final 45km.

  75. 45.7km remaining from 197km

    14:11:30 PDT

    Craddock has caught Carpenter, as he went by he gave the Rally rider some encouragement. They're together for a moment, but the climb is too hard - Carpenter lets go of the wheel.

  76. 14:13:27 PDT

    The roads en route to the next KOM are by no means easy. The pace has come down and the effort level gone up in particular for Craddock, who is trying to get to the duo ahead.
     

    It's still 16km to the next summit but up and down all the way there.

  77. 43km remaining from 197km

    14:15:39 PDT

    There's a little bit of a traffic jam at the left turn onto Tassajara Rd where Craddock is cheered on by some drivers who decided to get out and watch the race go by.

  78. 41km remaining from 197km

    14:16:43 PDT

    Huffman is having an issue with his bike - he has to stop for a bike change from the Rally car.

  79. 14:17:26 PDT

    That's too bad for Huffman - he got his chain stuck between his small ring and the frame, the mechanic freed it and got him going again, but that's not a good situation for the breakaway.

  80. 14:18:28 PDT

    That mechanical cost Huffman 45 seconds, and he'll surely be caught by Craddock. But the peloton - just 2 minutes behind Garrison, are looming.

  81. 14:20:44 PDT

    The points are 5-4-3-1 for the category 2 climbs in this race, so Garrison has 6 points, Huffman has 8 points. If Garrison can stay away for the next two climbs and take the 10 points, he will be in the KOM jersey tonight.

  82. 31.4km remaining from 197km

    14:25:51 PDT

    Craddock has been caught.

  83. 14:28:19 PDT

    The last time the race came to Laguna Seca, the race came up the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. Mark Cavendish was in a breakaway of seven that had 3:25 with 35km to go but blamed the camera motorbikes for helping the peloton chase them down.


    The PCH has been closed south of Monterey since a massive landslide washed out the highway forcing Caltrans to rebuild a bridge. That's why the race isn't heading up the coast this year.

  84. 29.8km remaining from 197km

    14:29:30 PDT

    Garrison is powering up this KOM, but his chances to get the jersey are slipping away as the peloton has gobbled up Craddock and is surging toward Huffman - just 1 minute to the peloton for Garrison with his former breakaway companion halfway back.

  85. 29.6km remaining from 197km

    14:29:56 PDT

    Oh dear, the peloton can see Huffman just up the hill.

  86. 14:31:47 PDT

    It's all Quick-Step all the time now in the chase, as Garrison continues to hold his lead and Huffman is caught. Still no sign of the peloton behind the Axeon rider.

  87. 14:32:30 PDT

    We're hearing there's been a crash for Fernando Gaviria. He's at the back.

  88. 14:33:13 PDT

    It was a nearly-crash - either Gaviria's legs or his gears locked up and he was saved by the very astute Iljo Keisse, who gave him enough of a push to keep from falling.

  89. 14:34:08 PDT

    We've had an attack from the peloton - which hadn't yet caught Huffman. An EF-Drapac rider and a Katusha rider have leapt out of the bunch.

  90. 14:35:17 PDT

    Cavendish has been dropped.

     

    It's Logan Owen (EF-Drapac) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) who've attacked.

  91. 29.3km remaining from 197km

    14:36:05 PDT

    Huffman has recovered and is powering up the climb, desperate for the points. But he's about to be caught by Owen and Skujins. He fights to get on the train.

  92. 14:36:26 PDT

    With that new blood in the attack, Garrison has been caught and now Huffman is in with a chance.

  93. 14:36:38 PDT

    Oh but this hurts - 500m to go to the top.

  94. 14:36:57 PDT

    Skujins in the lead on a brief respite, then Owen takes over.

  95. 14:37:27 PDT

    Huffman gets to the front and empties the last of the energy out of his searing quads.

  96. 14:38:01 PDT

    Oh but Skujins goes to the front  and steals the points - it's not clear if Huffman took second but Garrison is dropped for good.

  97. 14:38:39 PDT

    That was pretty heartless by Skujins, but at least he waited up for Huffman and Owen to join him. The new trio have 30 seconds on the bunch.

  98. 27.4km remaining from 197km

    14:39:46 PDT

    It's going to be a LoooooOOoong 18km for Huffman if he can stay away.

  99. 14:41:05 PDT

    This is a proper descent and Huffman is not showing prowess. He's overcooked a bend and had to brake too hard. Garrison is getting back on to Huffman, but Owen and Skujins have flown the coop.

  100. 14:42:29 PDT

    It's white knuckles on this descent, which is far more technical than most expected. Huffman is showing his nerves, and has lost contact completely.

  101. 14:43:23 PDT

    It happens to the best of them - Skujins himself has had dramatic get-offs in this race. But Huffman has really lost the plot.

  102. 14:43:58 PDT

    Skujins and Owen are just ahead of Garrison, but Huffman is long lost.

  103. 14:44:25 PDT

    Maybe Huffman will be happy to auction off this bike after the race...

  104. 22.7km remaining from 197km

    14:45:12 PDT

    For the second time, Huffman is about to be caught by the peloton, which is now just 40 seconds from the leading trio who have gotten off the fast part of the descent and are pedaling hard.

  105. 21.4km remaining from 197km

    14:46:23 PDT

    The GPS signal bounced back into Huffman's favour - he's 35 seconds ahead of the peloton and 20 behind the three leaders.

  106. 20km remaining from 197km

    14:52:08 PDT

    The next climb comes with 8.5km to go, on Laureles Road. But it'll be the kicker into Laguna Seca that will be the crux.
     

    It's not the famous corkscrew that's the KOM, it's a nasty, steep climb on the access road leading to the track with 2.5km to go. Then, they still have the corkscrew with about 1k to go and the fast descent before the flat finish.

  107. 14:53:35 PDT

    Quick-Step Floors is keeping it at status quo as the steadier pace has allowed some riders to catch back onto the peloton.

  108. 14:54:21 PDT

    Caleb Ewan is there, as Mitchelton-Scott begin to come forward to help with the chase.

  109. 14:55:01 PDT

    Mark Cavendish has made it back on, he's trying to loosen up his legs at the back, followed by Daniel Oss who is saving his energy for the finale.

  110. 14:56:32 PDT

    I see the Swiss champion jersey of Silvan Dillier in this bunch. He's one to watch perhaps, the finale suits his characteristics.

  111. 13.4km remaining from 197km

    14:57:28 PDT

    The peloton have the breakaway in sight - there's immediately an attack from Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data)

  112. 14:57:56 PDT

    Skujins is still up the road solo but Garrison and Owen have been caught by the bunch.

  113. 12.5km remaining from 197km

    14:58:42 PDT

    Owen and Garrison have been caught by Morton, the three continue to chase after Skujins. But the peloton is just... right...there.

  114. 14:59:25 PDT

    It's such a wide open grind on this highway - and a long stage.
     

    A UAE rider has attacked to get across to the trio.

  115. 15:01:22 PDT

    The leaders are pressing on ahead - Garrison has found new energy to go for that jersey. Skujins gets on, but Owen is dropped. The UAE rider can't make it.

  116. 11.2km remaining from 197km

    15:03:11 PDT

    Sorry Garrison was caught and we missed Sean Bennett, his Axeon teammate, bridging to the leaders.
     

    Skujins and Bennett have a gap on Owen and the UAE rider Al Abdia. Still a couple kilometers to go.

  117. 10km remaining from 197km

    15:04:14 PDT

    It's Skujins and Bennett alone on the highway as the other chasers are caught by the Sky-led peloton. Looks like Quick-Step have decided to wait and see how these hilly last 10km go.

  118. 15:06:04 PDT

    Bora's Poljanski sets a vicious tempo at the front as Skujins and Bennett have opened up a 25 second gap

  119. 10km remaining from 197km

    15:07:04 PDT

    The race ricker was a bit ahead of the actual race as we see the two leaders pass the 10km to go banner.

  120. 15:07:36 PDT

    The peloton is lined out single file behind Poljanski, far more suffering at the back than in the Sky train behind him.

  121. 15:08:01 PDT

    Skujins is drilling it - he believes in his chances, and rightly so. He's done it before.

  122. 15:09:24 PDT

    Sagan is tucked in the middle of the peloton, not at the pointy end. Mezgec is still in the mix.
     

    Up ahead, Skujins gets the points at the KOM and the duo are only 17 seconds ahead of the bunch.

  123. 15:10:29 PDT

    Now, it's a fast low-tuck descent for Bennett and Skujins, who are emulating Sagan here trying to eke out every second they can. But it's clearly breezy and they've got some wobbles.

  124. 7km remaining from 197km

    15:10:56 PDT

    Oh no! Gaviria has a puncture! Bad timing.

  125. 15:11:37 PDT

    He gets a new bike rather than wheel as he has disc brakes, and the changes are slower.
     

    He will have to descend like a bat out of hades to get back into the peloton.

  126. 15:12:12 PDT

    Quick-Step Floors have other options for the sprint today - Richeze is fast, as is Hodeg. 

  127. 15:12:40 PDT

    It almost looks as if there might have been a crash, the peloton looks smaller than it was. 

  128. 15:13:18 PDT

    Sky are inexplicably leading the chase as the two leaders turn into the Laguna Seca complex. 

  129. 15:13:43 PDT

    No luck for Gaviria - he's got some cars ahead but that climb won't help him one bit.

  130. 15:14:19 PDT

    Skujins and Bennett are continuing to believe in their chances, but we have an attack from Tolhoek

  131. 15:14:57 PDT

    Dillier is bringing the bunch back up to Tolhoek and his two companions, and they have the leaders in sight.

  132. 3km remaining from 197km

    15:15:50 PDT

    500m to the top and Bennett presses on with Skujins. 

  133. 15:16:25 PDT

    Dillier and Tolhoek are still at the front, meanwhile Sagan is tacked onto the back of the group but still on.

  134. 15:17:05 PDT

    The two leaders head through the gates into the raceway complex

  135. 15:17:20 PDT

    There's a surge from Sky from the back.

  136. 15:17:38 PDT

    They're on the track! Bennett leads Skujins and the peloton can just see them.

  137. 15:18:00 PDT

    It's a Lotto and Sky rider with a slight gap trying to chase.

  138. 15:18:18 PDT

    Katusha reels them back, but they stall and let the duo hang on.

  139. 15:18:29 PDT

    It's corkscrew time!

  140. 15:19:00 PDT

    Skujins and Bennett are muscling up with a 100m gap to the chasers. Sagan has moved to second wheel, Bernal glued to him

  141. 15:19:13 PDT

    Skujins has left Bennett behind.

  142. 15:19:39 PDT

    Looking like Nicky Hayden a decade ago, Skujins tucks low and speeds down the descent.

  143. 15:19:53 PDT

    A dust storm blows across the track.

  144. 15:20:03 PDT

    Skujins has the lead at turn 11!

  145. 15:20:12 PDT

    He can't believe it!

  146. 15:20:22 PDT

    A third career stage win for the Latvian!

  147. 15:20:41 PDT

    Bennett kicks himself because he lost faith. Ewan leads the bunch across.

  148. 15:24:19 PDT

    It's Skujins' third win of his career in this race and done very much in the manner of his first victory in San Jose

  149. 15:27:13 PDT

    1 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 4:52:47
    2 Sean Bennett (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:03
    3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:08
    4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
    5 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky
    6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
    7 Alex Howes (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
    8 Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
    9 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
    10 Will Barta (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon

  150. 15:30:59 PDT

    General classification after stage 3

    1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 12:09:08
    2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:25
    3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:31
    4 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:40
    5 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates
    6 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
    7 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50
    8 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01
    9 Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo 0:01
    10 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:01

  151. 15:33:58 PDT

    Toms Skujins certainly earned his cookies with that effort. You have to wonder about Bennett, however. He seemed to give up on the corkscrew when the peloton got so close. 
     

    But Sagan decided he wasn't going to do the work to bring back the leaders only to get beat by Ewan - so they stayed away.

  152. 15:35:28 PDT

    Skujins last year had that horrible crash that was captured on video and played over and over again online and TV. But this time he's intact, victorious and overjoyed to stand atop the podium again.

  153. 15:38:05 PDT

    Skujins says his first win in California was still the most special because he was an unknown and he also got the race lead that day.
     

    Today he didn't even dream of winning until the final 300m. "I'm serious", he says. The wind, the hills and the tactics behind played into his favour.
     

    He knew how to play it, says he was never feeling very good, but when he saw Bennett crack a little he started to believe.

  154. 15:40:42 PDT

    In that hotly contested polka dot jersey competition, Skujins is second with 13 points, two behind Bernal and tied with Majka.

  155. 15:41:12 PDT

    Ewan admits there was a lot of cat and mouse in the bunch that messed up the chase.

  156. 15:42:25 PDT

    Garrison was given the most courageous rider award.

  157. 15:43:02 PDT

    Thank you for following the Tour of California stage live with Cyclingnews! Tune in here again tomorrow for start-to-finish coverage of both the Giro d'Italia and Tour of California.

Back to top