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Tour of California 2014: Stage 3


You're joining us for live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour of California.  Today's stage is the queen stage, covering 108.5 miles and two big climbs.

Racers are underway in San Jose, having just rolled out for a two-mile neutral section. 

There are two big climbs on tap, one up Mt. Hamilton and one up Mt. Diablo.  The first one comes quickly, with riders starting to climb approximately five miles after the start.

The neutral start is over and stage 3 is officially going.  With the first climb looming, racers aren't wasting any time.  They're flying along at 35mph.

A half dozen riders quickly work their way off the front.  No, make that seven riders with about a 25-second gap.

Some miscellaneous trivia for you... our start city of San Jose has hosted a stage of the Tour of California every year so far.

This is the first year though that racers will go up to the summit of Mt. Hamilton this way. 22 switchbacks will get them to the top and the climb is generally thought of as long and steep. We're expecting a lot of spectators out today to cheer them on.

We've got the following seven riders in the break:

Going into today's stage, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is our race leader.  He's 44 seconds ahead of Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) and 52 seconds ahead of Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team).

We're expecting it to be a pretty gruelling queen stage today, made even more challenging by the close to record high temperatures, which are forecast.

We've heard that our only DNS (did not start) for today was Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Giant Shimano), which means there are 127 riders in the peloton this stage.

Racers are climbing an open, exposed hillside, subjected to lots of California sun.  The Mt. Hamilton summit is the first KOM of the day, with 12 points up for grabs to the fastest man to the top.  The top comes 21.8 miles into the stage.

Let's take a look at our mountains classification. The standings are as follows:

The only man currently in the KOM standings also in the break is Will Routley.  He is motivated to defend his KOM jersey.

167km remaining from 177km

Prior to today's start, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quick Step) told Cyclingnews, "Even the start is hard today. It's going to be a very hot day, so it's going to be suffering all day long."

The second big climb in today's stage is at the very end of the race, up Mount Diablo.  In between, it's definitely not flat.  There will be more ups and downs to keep working over the riders' legs, though no other KOM-level climbs.

There is just one sprint today, in Livermore, at mile 78.4.  Here are our current sprint standings:

Sometimes - like now - it's tough for us to get detailed updates while the racers are in the mountains.  We'll let you know updates as soon as we can get them.

154km remaining from 177km

152km remaining from 177km

If you missed the Giro d'Italia stage 4 earlier today, you may want to catch up on our coverage here.  It was kind of a strange day with wet and slippery conditions leading to a partial neutralization of the stage. Check out some of the riders' reactions to the decision to neutralize the final lap.

150km remaining from 177km

148km remaining from 177km

The race officials are opening the feeding early today because of the excessive heat.  With temperatures forecast for the 90s, the racers will go through more fluids than usual and staying hydrated and preventing cramping will be especially important considering that the stage ends with a huge climb up Mount Diablo.

The break's gap is still going up.  They're 5:55 ahead of the peloton at the moment, which translates to about 1.9 physical miles on the road.

146km remaining from 177km

As the KOM #1 approaches, the break has continued to gain time - now at 6:10 ahead of the peloton.

We talked to Chad Haga (Giant-Shimano) before today's stage. He said, "We still have a three-promged attack. Daan Olivier didn't lose much time yesterday, and Lawson Craddock is right behind me.  I think today will sort it out a little better, but we could just keep our options open for as long as possible."  Giant-Shimano is not represented in the break.

144km remaining from 177km

Chad Haga also told us, "I've been feeling better every day. I had a good training and rest period in Colorado, so I'm on the upswing now and hoping to improve every day."

Talking to race leader Bradley Wiggins after yesterday's stage win, he told us, "I'm in a good position now and I knew I was good coming into this race."

It's a sweltering 95 degrees Fahrenheit on the road.  The racers are going to be glad to cool off on the descent after the KOM.  But it's a very long and technical descent, so it's not like they'll be able to relax much as they negotiate it.

In case you're just tuning in, we've got an eight-man break as we approach the first KOM on the summit of Mt. Hamilton:
Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team)
Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura)
David Lozano Riba (Team Novo Nordisk)
Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)
Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman)
Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team)

24-year-old Rob Squire (Jamis Hagens Berman), a member of the break, was the U23 national road champ a few years ago in 2011. He has spent a bunch of time lately racing in Europe.

152km remaining from 177km

141km remaining from 177km

At the KOM, the break had about 6:20 on the peloton.  There isn't a cloud in the sky today.  We had to zoom ahead for the descent and are now chilling out in the media car in a meadow at the bottom of the descent as we wait for the leaders.

The field will be going past the Mt. Hamilton Observatory soon, not that there is any time for star gazing.  Some riders are starting to come off the back of the peloton.

We're hoping all the riders can stay on the pavement today.  If we're remembering correctly, the last time the race went over Mt. Hamilton, albeit in the other direction, one rider went off roading around a tricky bend.  That time the riders were going the opposite direction so it'll be a different set of tricky turns for them this time.  You can read a little more about Mt. Hamilton in this stage preview from 2011.

The peloton has created Mt. Hamilton with an official time gap of 6:50.

Here are the results for KOM #1:
1 Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)
2 Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman)
3 Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team)
4 Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
5 David Lozano Riba (Team Novo Nordisk)
6 Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team )
7 Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
8 Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura)
9 Luke Rowe (Team Sky )
10 Ian Boswell (Team Sky )

Which means that Will Routley gets to keep his KOM jersey for the time being.

Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team) is from Germany.  Not only is Zepunkte last alphabetically, he's rider 158, so he's last numerically, too.

David Lozano Riba (Team Novo Nordisk) is apparently coming out of the break.

132km remaining from 177km

128km remaining from 177km

While we're on the subject of sprinters, Peter Sagan may have missed out on taking the first leader's jersey at the Tour of California when he could only manage fourth behind stage 1 winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Moreno Hofland (Belkin), but in his typical un-stressed fashion, the Cannondale rider explains that he was actually trying to help teammate Guillaume Boivin in the sprint. We sat down with him yesterday for a short video interview.

122km remaining from 177km

A bit more about breakaway rider Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team): He was a German junior team pursuit and road time trial champion. He finished fifth in the junior version of Paris-Roubaix in 2011 and seventh in the U23 version in 2012.

122km remaining from 177km

Breakaway rider Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) is the current Mexican national road champ. He's been the national champ two years in a row.

112km remaining from 177km

The leaders are down a valley as they reach the feed zone.  It's awfully hot today, and the heat is starting to take its toll.  Two riders have abandoned: Andrea Peron (Team Novo Nordisk) and Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis).  We expect there will be a few more before the day is done.

Our KOM leader and breakaway rider Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) is Canadian. He rode for Spidertech for a couple of years, and this is his first season with Optum.

104km remaining from 177km

With the peloton getting its turn for lunch at the feed zone, the chase efforts have been shelved briefly and so the gap is up a bit again - now at 6:00.

95km remaining from 177km

One of our break riders, Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team), has been in the WorldTour since joining Quick Step in 2007, but still hasn't won anything. He was second in one of the Trofeo Mallorca races last year, but spends most of his time as a team helper

Australian Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team), who is currently in the breakaway, is the little brother of another pro racer, Hilton Clarke. You can read a bit more about Jonny here.

78km remaining from 177km

Yesterday's stage saw Peter Stetina lose time in the individual time trial but he’s still BMC’s leader in the race and will be looking to gain time in the mountains. In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, he talks about his leadership role in this year’s race.

Breakaway rider Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) was on Milram when it went kaplooey. He won the opening TT in the Volta a Catalunya in 2010 before moving over to Endura the next year.

The hot weather today is making us think of other hot days at the Tour of California. Last year, it was 112 degrees Fahrenheit on the climb from Palm Springs. Riders were falling over after the finish, some were burned by the scorching hot pavement. But the race organizers were really good about having plenty of cold water and towels in buckets of ice water after the line so the riders could cool off.

64km remaining from 177km

Today's stage is projected by organizers to finish sometime between 3:00 pm local time and 4:16 pm local time - that's quite a range.  We're guessing it'll be around 3:40 pm if the current pacing holds, though anything could happen on Mt. Diablo.

We've gotten reports of the pavement temperatures on Mt. Diablo being as hot as 107 degrees!    It's shaping up to be a brutal final climb.

The break is riding through an agricultural area. There are lots of grape vines, and they just passed the Rios-Lovell winery.

We mentioned earlier that Rob Squire is one of the break riders.  If you'd like to find out a bit more about him, you might want to read this interview.

56km remaining from 177km

The average speed so far in today's race has been 22.7mph.  The racers are going to be on the flats until they get to the final climb. 

What we're seeing today seems like pretty standard road stage tactics for the Tour of California.  A break gets established fairly early, spends most of the stage off the front and then gets caught near the end... in time for either a final sprint or a final climb.  In this case, it'll be for a final climb.

51km remaining from 177km

The break is about to hit an industrial area outside of Livermore.  About 2 miles to go until the intermediate sprint.

Approaching the sprint line, the break will make a sharp left into a residential neighborhood with 800m to go.  Then there's a sharp right turn with 200m to go.  After the sprint, they'll keep passing through some more residential areas in Livermore.  It's not the first time Livermore has hosted the Tour of California - we started a stage here last year.

At the front of the peloton, there are lots of Sky riders.  The yellow jersey, Bradley Wiggins, is safely tucked in amongst his teammates.

The school kids are out in front of Christensen Middel School, waiting for the riders to pass them in Livermore.

The first three men across the line for the sprint will get time bonuses - 3 seconds, 2 seconds and 1 second respectively.

Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) has dropped off the break in the approach to the sprint. We'll see if he tries to catch back up afterward.

48km remaining from 177km

Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis - Hagens Berman), who lives near the start of today's stage in San Jose, told us before the start this morning, "In this whole tour, I know every inch of every road. To have the opportunity to race on open roads and use all the pavement is special. After last year, we are riding on a cloud. We believe in ourselves, and I have complete faith in our climbers. I will do everything I can to help them win a stage." While Jamis has Rob Squire off the front in the break at the moment, it's designated climbers are Daniel Alexander Jaramillo and Gregory Obando Brenes.

Results of the intermediate sprint in Livermore are as follows:
1 Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman)
2 Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
3 Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)

Two riders from Bissell crash.  One of them is Ryan Eastman, and the other is James Oram.

Although Ryan Eastman was holding his arm as if it or his shoulder was injured, both riders are back up and racing.  It's a rough point in the stage to crash and have to get back up and keep going.

43km remaining from 177km

Don't forget that you can catch up on all our Giro d'Italia race videos, right here. We've created a great playlist and you can subscribe to your video channel, right here.

Break away rider Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) takes a moment to check in with his team car and resupply.

40km remaining from 177km

The Tour of California also went up Mt. Diablo last year. Check out this story on last year's winner atop Diablo, Leopold König.

34km remaining from 177km

32km remaining from 177km

It’s such a busy time with both the Giro d’Italia and Tour of California, but you can keep up to date with the most important news courtesy of our free daily newsletter. You can sign up, right here.

The peloton is taking the break much more seriously now, having whittled down the gap by a minute.  The break's advantage has dwindled to 3:05 with about 20 miles to go.

The last five miles up Diablo, racers will climb a seven percent grade.  Then at the very end, for the final 150m, it's about 16 percent.

With Mt. Diablo being so exposed, it's going to feel really hot today.  While Team Sky is still at the front of the peloton and in control, we're starting to see some of the climbers move toward the front, positioning themselves for the finale.

There's a crash in the peloton.

Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), Bradley Huff (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), and Mathew Hayman (Orica GreenEdge) were all involved in or affected by the crash, but they are back up and underway.

Matthew Hayman has some road rash on his left arm and left leg and the race doc is attending him from the medical car as they roll along.

19km remaining from 177km

The peloton is flying toward the climb as the break, going much slower, is starting to hit some of the lower slopes.

The break is starting to lose riders.

Three break riders have been dropped: David Lozano Riba (Team Novo Nordisk), Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team), and
Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team).

That leaves four men in the break at the front:
Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura)
Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman)
Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)

Back in the peloton, Taylor Phinney (BMC) takes a pull.  He's working for team leader Peter Stetina (BMC).

In the break, Mexican national champ Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) makes a move.  Only Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman) follows closely.  Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) is a bit slower to respond but closes back to them.

Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) is a casualty of the effort and is no longer with the break.

12km remaining from 177km

Michael Schar (BMC) attacks out of the peloton.

Luis Davila, Rob Squire and Paul Voss are together at the front.  Davila is doing most of the pace setting, with Squire in second spot.  The grade here is about 5-6%.  It will get steeper later.

Team Sky is still in control within the peloton, protecting Bradley Wiggins, who is exactly where he needs to be.  The gap is about one minute.

Behind the main peloton, a bunch of riders are just chilling out, riding up the climb together with the primary objective of making the time cut so they don't get disqualified.

At the front, it's still Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), Robbie Squire (Jamis - Hagens Berman) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura), who are the last three riders left from the break.

8km remaining from 177km

Paul Voss takes a turn at the front.  The leaders ahve 40 seconds on the head of the peloton.

Earlier today, Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp) told us about how he was coping with the heat.  "We'll be wearing icepacks today during the race."  He and his teammates are working for Rohan Dennis, who is in second place overall.

Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis, Taylor Phinney, Eloy Teruel and Jesse Sergeant are all in the main group, which is now 30 seconds back.

Rob Squire launches and attack.  He's riding like a man on a mission and he leaves behind Luis Davila and Paul Voss.

7km remaining from 177km

Now it's Luis Davila's turn to attack.  He goes for it.

No doubt Rob Squire, from Utah, is extra motivated to win this stage for the memory of fellow Utah rider Chase Pinkham, who died in April.

Bradley Wiggins moves to the front of the peloton.  The yellow jersey is setting the pace.  He's about 30 seconds behind the leaders.

Peter Stetina is sitting on Bradley Wiggin's wheel, marking his every move.

At the front, we've got Luis Davila.  Rob Squire and Paul Voss have been caught by the peloton and spit out the back. Their day is done.

5km remaining from 177km

Luis Davila, actually goes by Luis Lemus.  He has just been caught as Bradley Wiggins and the other GC heavy hitters ride by.

Bradley Wiggins leads Peter Stetina.  Wiggins is making it look easy and is setting an impressive tempo.

With all the break riders caught, the GC favorites keep the pace up, but back off just a bit.  Time for a quick breath before it gets crazy steep at the end.  There's still another 10-15 minutes of climbing remaining.

3km remaining from 177km

The leaders are all strung out, single file, lined up behind Bradley Wiggins.  Peter Stetina is still glued to Wiggins' wheel as various riders get spit out the back.  There can't be more than 15 riders left at the front.

Carter Jones (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) launches an attack.

3km remaining from 177km

The pressure to chase is not on Bradley Wiggins, but is on the other riders who want that stage win.

Carter Jones has a 15-second gap.  He's gotten quite a bit of real estate in a short amount of time. He recently proved his form by winning at the Tour of the Gila.

Carter Jones is in 43rd in the GC, at 2:33 down off Wiggins, so is not a GC threat.

While it was a brave move, it looks like Carter Jones will not succeed. They are steadily reeling him back in.  And no surprise, it's Bradley Wiggins still doing his thing at his own pace.

2km remaining from 177km

Both Peter Stetina and Rohan Dennis are among those in this front group.  Stetina is still glued to Bradley Wiggins' wheel.

Colombian climber Janier Acevedo Colle (Garmin Sharp) makes a move.

But Bradley Wiggins isn't going to let him go. He ups the pace immediately and takes back over at the front.

1km remaining from 177km

One rider to watch is Adam Yates (Orica Greenedge) after his win last week at the Tour of Turkey.

Bradley Wiggins continues to lead the group.

Speaking of Adam Yates, there he goes.

Rohan Dennis leads the chase.

And Rohan Dennis flies around Yates.  Dennis out of the saddle going for it.

Rohan Dennis takes the stage win.

It was a well timed move for Dennis, who crashed in stage 1.

Rohan Dennis pulled back some time on Bradley Wiggins. 

Unofficial top 3 is

Luis Lemus, who spent most of the day off the front, struggles across the line, looking well toasted.

So we're getting more confirmation on the top three for the stage.  We have

Bradley Wiggins will keep his yellow jersey as race leader.

Riders still straggling in.  Crowd favorite Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) has crossed the line.

The GC after today's stage is
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp 4:56:02
2 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:00:06
3 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:08
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:11
5 Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp 0:00:11
6 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:14
7 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
8 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:14
9 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:20
10 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:29

Today's top 10 are
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp 4:56:02
2 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:00:06
3 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:08
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:11
5 Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp 0:00:11
6 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:14
7 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
8 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:14
9 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:20
10 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:29

The General classification after stage 3 is:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 10:03:57
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin Sharp 0:00:24
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:01:05
4 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:21
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:10
6 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:24
7 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:25
8 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:02:27
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:29
10 Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp 0:02:30
Zeb Woodpower

That wraps up our live coverage for today. Thanks for joining us. Tomorrow's Tour of California stage 4 will go 102.6 miles from Monterey to Cambria. You can join us for live coverage again, starting at 11:50 am local time.  You can also tune in to follow us for live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 5.

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