While Orica GreenEdge's designated sprinters, Robbie McEwen and Leigh Howard failed to contest the Stage 3 sprint at the Amgen Tour of California, Wes Sulzberger sneaked in to 10th place on Tuesday - his best result of the season to date.
Sulzberger, former Australian under 23 road champion, said on Twitter that in the fast and furious sprint for the line in Livermore that he "didn't quite have the nerves" where Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) prevailed.
"After training in Boulder before. #ToC legs seemed little sluggish, now I'm starting to feel some good sensations again," he explained.
Orica-GreenEdge sports director, Neil Stephens said he has been impressed by Sulzberger's steady progression so far this week.
"He has gotten better and better each day," Stephens said in a team statement. "He's pretty quick but maybe not quick enough for a bunch of that size. Tenth is a good personal result for him, and he'll be a great support to the other guys in the harder stages upcoming.
"Wes was down towards the back of the pack and had to make his way up towards the front in the headwind," said Stephens. "I think if he had come off the climb in a better position, he could have done a few places better in the sprint. We weren't always in the right place today. It happens sometimes."
Howard and McEwen both became separated from the main bunch on the deceptively tough Patterson Pass, with Liquigas-Cannondale pushing the pace from the front, straight into a headwind. The pair became separated and Travis Meyer was sent to bring them back in touch.
"Unfortunately, they had used up energy to chase back on," Stephens continued. "They went off the back again on the last climb because of that. It was especially disappointing for Robbie. He fought bravely to stay with the main bunch and only lost contact in the last 150 meters. He had really hoped to give it a go in the sprint today.”
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