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Live coverage

Tour of California 2016: Stage 3

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California. We're up for the first big mountain finish of the race on stage 3 to Gibraltar Road, above Santa Barbara.

Start list  |  Stage 3 Preview

GC after stage 2:

1 Ben King (USA) Cannondale 8:12:34
2 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:08
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 0:00:14
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:20
5 Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare  0:00:21
6 William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
7 Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:23
8 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:24
9 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
10 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky

 

The peloton is off for their neutral lap in Thousand Oaks for stage 3 of the Tour of California. The town is the home of long-time sponsor, biotech giant Amgen.

Stage 3 presented by @BreakawayCancer is underway! Summit finish at Gibraltar Road in @SantaBarbara https://t.co/9oJXoOP3Z5

@AmgenTOC Tue, 17th May 2016 18:07:58

All of the 144 riders started today's third stage. Ben King (Cannondale) is our yellow jersey, Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) is best young rider after yesterday's breakaway. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) is in the mountains jersey and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) is in his familiar green jersey of best sprinter.

 

Riders are underway - it's overcast and a little muggy in Thousand Oaks this morning but fine for a bike race.

 

William Barta (Axeon Hagens Berman) was our Rider of the Day yesterday for his tenacious ride in the breakaway.

 

The peloton is blasting out of Thousand Oaks at high speed, and attacks have been shooting off like fireworks.

Five riders have a gap - can they hold it?

 

The first KOM sprint is just 5km away - it's a tough start to the stage with a category 3 climb on Potrero Rd then a cat. 2 ascent on Westlake Blvd. But riders get a breather with flat roads for the majority of the middle of the stage.

In other words, it's a perfect day for a breakaway!

 

We’re using #cloud technology to store and transmit @TeamDiData’s race data at the #AmgenTOC. Follow @DiDataSport for updates.

@DimensionDataEU Tue, 17th May 2016 08:37:50

Our five riders are:

Andrew Tennant (TEAM WIGGINS)
Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare)
Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman)
Krists Neilands (Axeon Hagens Berman)
Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)

Huffman was in the break yesterday too, and wants to keep that KOM jersey. 

Two riders are chasing Julian Arredondo (Trek-Segafredo) and Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel).

 

159km remaining from 167km

The two riders bridged to the move, making it a 7-strong breakaway.

 

The climbers will be saving their bullets for today's finish, but it will be a hard transition from the flat middle section of the stage to such a hard climb.

Jesse Anthony (Rally Cycling) knows the climb very well:

"I've spent the last 10 winters in Santa Barbara, so I definitely know those roads really well. I've ridden the Gibraltar climb numerous times. I've lived here the last three years, so I know the run out pretty well. That's pretty much how I get out to the canyons everyday," he said to Cyclingnews this morning.

"It's going to be super hard. I expect there will be a lot of teams that want to get into the break today to get a head start toward Gibraltar, so I think those first two climbs are going to be really hard. There's a nice little recovery valley between Potrero and Decker, but that Decker climb is so steep and then over the top is twisty, so that could really play a role in the race just going over top. If it stays fast it's going to be single file and strung out. It's going to be a hard first hour of the race today."
 

 

KOM 1:

1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
2. Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel)
3. Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman)

 

The race passes by Magnum PI's Tom Selleck's house - but there's no red Ferrari out front. He's moved on to the more sedate Blue Bloods role now so is probably driving a Prius...

 

Cannondale's newcomer Toms Skujins led last year's Tour of California for three stages after winning in San Jose. 

He's excited to be working for race leader Ben King and team GC hopeful Lawson Craddock:

"We're gonna win by plenty to keep the jersey in the family and the take it all the way," Skujins said this morning.

"It should be fun. Hopefully it stays nicer and cool in the coast, and then we'll let Lawson [Craddock] and the rest of the guys do their thing up Gibraltar."
 

 

The second climb is indeed a nasty one. Expect a grupetto to form on this one, but they'll have plenty of time to chase back in the valley.

 

Our reporter Pat Malach is enjoying his ride in the media car today. He's keeping the passenger seat warm for Ted Burns, who will be on the men's race for the rest of the week. The Lexus NX 200T is being broken in for the overall race winner - whoever he is will get to keep it after the race!

 

147km remaining from 167km

The gap back to the peloton has gone out to 2:45, with Cannondale keeping things in check. They don't want to make things too hard for themselves later on in the stage.

 

The leaders are on the climb, and Huffman and Clark have gone on the attack for the KOM points.

 

Clark was in the breakaway on stage 1 and was our first mountains jersey of the race. But he's seven points down on Huffman in the standings.

 

The breakaway is nearing the top of the climb, twisting and weaving around the ridge. Then they'll have a fast descent to the coast for a nice change of pace.

 

Nielson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) showed his talents at the Tour of the Gila earlier this month. Here he's co-leader with Tao Geoghegan Hart, who was best young rider in Gila.

"It's definitely going to be the hardest stage so far," Powless said of today's stage. "It's going to be the first GC stage so the finishing climb is going to be exceptionally hard today as opposed to the few climbed that were in the middle of the race yesterday. The past few days finished in a sprint so it was a little bit more low key, in the group it was a little easier to sit in. Today for sure the finish is going to offer up some big time gaps and hopefully me and Tao [Geoghegan Hart] have a good shot at staying far up in front hoping for a good GC position."

 

146km remaining from 167km

KOM 2:
1. Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel)
2. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
3. Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman)
4. Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare)

 

Clark managed to out-kick Huffman on the climb, moving himself up in the mountains classification. They had a 25 second gap to the rest of the breakaway, but we expect that to come back together on the descent.

 

Looks like Cannondale isn't give much leeway to the breakaway today, and they've picked up the five chasers, leaving Clark and Huffman on their own out front. The pair have 3:45 on the bunch.

 

133km remaining from 167km

Riders are passing through Leo Carrillo State Park - a scenic mix of mountain and coast that has attracted filmmakers for decades. Films shot here include Gidget, Grease, The Karate Kid, Point Break, The Usual Suspects, and Inception, according to Wikipedia.

 

Currently Huffman is our virtual leader of the general and mountains classification. He started out just 8 seconds behind King today, while Clark was 2:06 down.

Huffman also has 22 points to Clark's 15 in the KOM rankings. It's a strong start to the race for the former Astana rider, now with Rally.

 

May is a big month for bike racing. Not only do we have Tour of California, but the Giro d'Italia. Today's stage was another exciting one - you can read the report and check out our video highlights.

 

The repeater is having problems, leaving us with spotty information from the race. But we are now told that the original break of seven is back together, and the information that the five chasers were caught was wrong.

The seven are moving along the beautiful coastline with a slight cross headwind.

 

126km remaining from 167km

The light winds are making for great surf, and there are plenty of them out in the water today.

 

Huffman is well familiar with the coastal highway, having been training here with the Rally team in its camp earlier this season.

 

Another rider who's familiar with the California roads is Laurens ten Dam (Giant-Alpecin). You can read about his American adventures in this interview posted today.

 

The California beaches aren't the nice, sandy, warm beaches of Florida - here they are rocky, cold and dangerous at times. The road the breakaway is traveling on is carved into the side of a cliff that goes straight down to the water.

 

123km remaining from 167km

The breakaway is entering Point Mugu State Park - it starts with the Sycamore Canyon cove, where visitors can choose between a stroll on the beach or hikes up in the hills.

The riders have 3:35 on the field.

 

Dimension Data is collecting data from their riders during this week's race - you can follow them on Twitter to get all the information.

@DiDataSport Tue, 17th May 2016 19:21:03

There are big crowds lining the road as the riders pass Point Mugu.

 

The leaders pass by the nearby NAS Point Mugu naval base. There's an AWAC radar plane circling overhead, and they passed by a live firing range - bang! Bang!

 

114km remaining from 167km

There is a concerted chase from the peloton, with BMC joining in with Cannondale to keep the leaders' gap in check.

The leaders take a right turn off the coastal road and start their northern trek for a bit before heading due west to the first intermediate sprint in Port Hueneme.

 

 

The leaders are passing through the land of strawberries and other agricultural crops - it's flat and flat and flat.

 

Some fun along the TOC route today. https://t.co/0PrVDa3ZDX

@Pat_Malach Tue, 17th May 2016 19:38:21

Ohh! now the leaders are passing a sod farm (that's grass to you Brits out there). Nothing but miles and miles of grass.

 

Cabbage and sugar cane now. The riders could have a feast if they wanted to. Our sometime photographer Casey Gibson has stopped at one of the local fruit stands for a snack. Strawberry handups anyone?

 

What's going to happen on Gibraltar Rd? Phil Gaimon (Cannondale) gave his ideas on how the finale might unfold. You can read it here.

 

95km remaining from 167km

The leaders are seeing 1k to go to the intermediate sprint in Port Hueneme. The field are at 5k to go. There are time bonuses on the line for the leading group.

 

94km remaining from 167km

We have a spirited sprint for the line in Port Hueneme.

 

Huffman is actually third in the points classification - but even if he wins both sprints today he won't surpass Peter Sagan in that competition.

 

Sprint 1:

1. Andrew Tennant (TEAM WIGGINS)
2. Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare)
3. Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel)

 

Tennant and Putt get something to show for their day in the breakaway with a three and two points, respectively. Clark gets a single point.

 

87km remaining from 167km

While the leaders collect their lunches from the feed zone, the gap is down to 3:10.

Let's look at a few of our news items from today:

Mick Rogers is joining Bjarne Riis' project to build a team as CEO. Bet he never thought he'd have that title! The Dutch have also decided on most of their Olympic road team.

Mikel Landa dropped out of the Giro today, but didn't even tell his team he was ill.

Etixx-Quickstep swapped the pink jersey in the Giro from Brambilla to Bob Jungels - the maglia rosa worked to make that happen.

In Tour of California news, last year's runner-up Julian Alaphilippe isn't targeting GC this time  - but he looked pretty good on the climbs so far, taking one KOM yesterday.

 

If you missed yesterday's Tour of California stage, you can check out the highlights here.

 

Oh dear, Patrick Bevin (Cannondale), crashed in the feed zone but is back up and riding. It gets pretty dodgy with musettes and bottles flying everywhere. We hope the New Zealand TT champion is OK.

 

The race is on the slowest schedule today thanks to that headwind they've been riding into all day. Once they get to Ventura and head inland they should get some shelter and see the gap dwindle.

The peloton is now enjoying their lunch so the gap has gone out to 3:50.

 

Today's finish on Gibraltar Road is thanks to a new stretch of tarmac that was laid down over a year ago. But there are no facilities at the finish so it's hard for fans to get up there unless they ride up on bike. I'm sure there are plenty of willing people who will be up cheering the racers on.

It's so sparse up there that the race has only the most minimal infrastructure.

 

The peloton is taking its time with lunch as they head into Ventura. The gap has gone to 4:00.

 

It's Greg Van Avermaet's birthday today, but we don't expect to see Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner fighting for victory today as he is just getting back into action after breaking his collarbone during the Tour of Flanders. He turns 31.

 

Earlier this week we asked our readers to send in questions for Katusha sprinter Alexander Kristoff. We had some good ones, and he was kind enough to give us answers. Let's hear what he had to say!

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed @katushacycling #askalex you were always very good at Qatar.. So what did you expect from yourself doha world's?

@dineshschleck Sun, 15th May 2016 17:05:18

Kristoff replies: "Yes I am going to go there and for sure I will try to win. That’s my goal. I hope I can manage to achieve this – we’ll see. There will be many sprinters there and if will be difficult, especially since we will not have a full team of the maximum number of six."

As an avid finisher, what motivates you to be the first to cross the finish line? #AskAlex

@muhdiman__ Sun, 15th May 2016 16:57:18

Kristoff replies: "I like to win and I’m always hoping to find that feeling again. It’s a very special feeling and I’m always hungry to get this feeling again."

#askalex You have an impressive one day and stage race palmares; do you consider yourself an all-rounder or a race specialist?

@EngelsFietser Sun, 15th May 2016 16:07:08

Kristoff replies: "I consider myself a fast rider who can also handle the climbs so races like the Classics suit me well. I feel I have good endurance for the longer races and still sprint well at the end."

@Cyclingnewsfeed what gear ratio do you usually use for a sprint finish? #askalex

@beeojay Sun, 15th May 2016 16:00:27

Kristoff replies: "I usually use 54-11, if it’s harder I use 53."

What is the main objective for this season? After such a great 2015... (Congrats!) #askalex

@ruiduarte16 Sun, 15th May 2016 15:59:24

Kristoff replies: "I will aim again for stage wins at the Tour. I did not get any last year so I hope this year I can. Then I will look to the Worlds in Doha for the end of my season."

Who is your best buddy in the peloton/team? #askalex

@TerjeBrthen Sun, 15th May 2016 20:00:22

Kristoff replies: "I have many good friends and of course my team with Marco [Haller] and Jacopo [Guarnieri] and Sven [Sven Erik Bystrøm] – of course I have to say Jacopo because he’s sitting right here. From my previous team of BMC I still talk to my friend Michael Schär."

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed @SadhbhOS What was your hardest day on a bicycle - as a pro - and why?

@plantation_key Sun, 15th May 2016 18:19:19

 

Kristoff replies: "It was my second year pro with BMC and I did my first grand tour in the Giro. There was a stage where we had 5000 – maybe more – altitude meters. I had a nine hour ride that day."

Do you think that you're the best norwegian cyclist out there? Who would you say is your biggest norwegian rival? #askalex @Cyclingnewsfeed

@Schnidyman Sun, 15th May 2016 22:11:16

Kristoff replies: "I might be the best right now and last year, but I know Edvald [Boasson Hagen] can make big results so I guess he’s my biggest rival, but he’s also my good friend."

.@Cyclingnewsfeed Is it true that your teammate @mhaller91 always humiliates you in @EASPORTSFIFA 16? #askalex

@mhaller91 Sun, 15th May 2016 16:17:00

Kristoff replies to his teammate's jab: "Yes it is true that my teammate Marco Haller beats me. I think maybe I have won one out of 20 matches. The bastard."

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Twitter Q&A. Look for more in the coming week.

66km remaining from 167km

The leaders have passed their metric century, and are heading onto some narrow roads out of Ventura. They passed the Foster Bowl Park - leaving behind big crowds of cheering fans in the town.

The gap is at 3:55 still, but a tailwind is blowing the peloton along now. Only 66km to go!

 

The leaders pass by the Ventura river Steelhead preserve, keeping the population of that fish healthy. 

 

59km remaining from 167km

Cannondale is faced with a long team time trial today trying to control this breakaway, but they aren't making much of a dent so far. The gap is at 3:40 with less than 60k to go. The leaders are still working together, starting up a gradual climb.

 

The leaders have less than 10k to go to the penultimate KOM of the day, and polka dot jersey wearer Evan Huffman (Rally) is keeping tabs on his companions.

 

As the peloton heads north they are being hit by a crosswind from their left, but they're about to head straight into the wind. The echelons won't last long.

 

56km remaining from 167km

The gap is starting to fall steadily now as the leaders are faced with a long, gradual rise to the KOM.

But what's this? Race leader Ben King stops on the side of the road with a few teammates. Not a good time to take a nature break, but when nature calls, you need to answer.

 

Two Cannondale riders are left at the front to keep things in check as King works his way through the peloton.

 

Although there are nice green trees along the road, the majority of the hills are brown with dry grass thanks in part to a devastating drought that has hit California. While Northern California benefitted from the El Niño rains, Southern California is still bone dry.

 

Andy Tennant is looking lean and fit in the breakaway today. He is part of Great Britain's team of hopefuls for the Olympic team pursuit.  

 

Arredondo bumps along on the center line, which has some divots in it to wake up drowsy drivers. The Colombian adjusts his course onto smoother roads.

We're glad to see Paddy Bevin back up front for Cannondale. He survived that feed zone crash and is bandaged up and back to work.

 

51km remaining from 167km

5k to the KOM for the leaders, who are still holding 3:20 on the field, helped out by the nature break by Ben King.

 

The gap is starting to fall a bit to 3:15 as the leaders approach the category 3 KOM. Huffman is hanging out at the back watching Clark.

 

Arredondo is looking around as if he's going to make a move. But he just sits back down at the back of the breakaway.

 

A man with a surfboard runs along side the rides in bare feet as they head toward the KOM. He's got a long way to go to find the water!

 

200m to go to the climb and Huffman attacks! Clark goes with him but can't get past.

 

KOM 3:

1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
2. Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel)
3. Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare)

 

Tanner Putt took third and then went straight past to head down the hill at breakneck speed. Clark and Huffman follow, leaving the others to chase.

 

45km remaining from 167km

With 45km to go the leaders have 2:45, and one sprint up the road to tackle before the big challenge of the day - that hors categorie final climb on Gibraltar Rd.

 

The leaders have come back together as the road leveled out, and Huffman goes back for a bottle at the Rally car. Eric Wohlberg is behind the wheel today - the Canadian shouts some words of encouragement.

 

The leaders have another fun descent, and once again Putt goes to the front to push the pace. He knows how to take advantage of every twist and turn. 

 

The final climb on Gibraltar Rd. is about 12.5km long, averages 7%, and while there are no pros on the Strava KOM list, the best male time is 41 minutes, even if the time table for the stage shows an estimate of 34 minutes.

 

39km remaining from 167km

The gap is actually going out again - Cannondale is getting no help yet, as Rally and Direct Energie amass behind their bright green jerseys. 

With 40k to go, the gap is 2:50 and they've got some work to do.

 

The peloton are getting lined out on this quick descent, giving each other plenty of room as the divots in the center lane are to be carefully avoided.

 

While the race goes to Lake Tahoe this year, today's finish is the biggest, hardest climb of the race, so it's critical that the climbers make their mark today if they want to win the overall.

 

37km remaining from 167km

5k to go for the leaders to the second sprint of the day.

 

After the sprint, there are only 20km for the peloton to catch these leaders before the base of the final climb. Expect a massive surge in pace soon. Trek-Segafredo will certainly not participate as Arredondo is out front and is an accomplished climber.

 

BMC has found each other at the back of the Cannondale train - the gap is 2:35 still - when will another team put a rider up front?

 

Tennant hits out for the intermediate sprint

 

Sprint 2:

1. Andrew Tennant (TEAM WIGGINS)
2. Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman)
3. Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare)

 

31km remaining from 167km

Tennant was unchallenged for the sprint, but Greg Daniel (Axeon) jumped after the line trying to spark something with this move. Their gap is falling ever so slightly to 2:25.

 

The peloton underestimated the breakaway yesterday to put King in the leader's jersey - have they miscalculated again? The gap to the seven is still at 2:25, with 17km to the foot of the final climb. The breakaway is lined out behind Clark who is setting a brisk pace

 

27km remaining from 167km

The Cannondale team's pace is not putting the bunch under pressure. Bradley Wiggins is chilling at the back, hardly pedaling in the draft. Behind the first three teams - Cannondale, Rally and BMC - the bunch is spread all the way across this big American road.

 

Oh that's right - Team Sky are here! A few of their riders are tucked in behind the first bunch of teams in the peloton. 

Peter Sagan in the green jersey is taking things easy at the back of the bunch. 

 

World time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka is part of Sky's team here, but it's Andrei Krasilnikau (Holowesko-Citadel) who wears the Belarus champion's jersey.

 

24km remaining from 167km

Tanner Putt is pushing the pace at the front of the breakaway, and he's put Huffman into trouble at the back. Clark, too. Those two have poured a lot into the KOM competition.

 

Tennant is also going out the back.

 

23km remaining from 167km

The leaders: Putt, Daniel, Arredondo and Neilands are 10k from the base of the final climb, give or take, and 1:45 ahead of a peloton that seems to have lost any ambition to catch them.

 

Putt once again goes crazy on a quick descent, getting low and aero to gain whatever advantage he can. They've got 20 seconds on the three chasers, and 1:45 still on the field.

 

20km remaining from 167km

20k to go and the leaders have dropped Arredondo - it's just Putt and Greg Daniel out front. The first chase has been reduced to Neilands and Arredondo, with the others heading back to the peloton which is 1:30 behind.

 

18km remaining from 167km

Daniel and Putt are putting everything into this escape, but likely it's not going to last to the summit. The guys in the bunch are enjoying the draft, barely working, and will have plenty to use on the HC ascent.

Tennant and Huffman have been caught by the peloton.

 

 

Crash in the peloton! Kennaugh (Sky) has gone down - Coquard (Direct Energie) too. Kennaugh is in pain, looks like it could be a broken right collarbone? Coquard is up though.

 

The crash has disturbed the order in the peloton, but the groups are coming back together on this wide open road.

 

15km remaining from 167km

Arredondo and Neilands are still dangling in no man's land, reportedly at 40 seconds from the leaders, while the peloton has reorganised and is 90 seconds back. Just 3km to the official start of that final climb!

 

Wiggins has already joined the beginnings of the grupetto. Sagan is back there, too - they haven't quite let the leaders go yet, but they're positioned to do so.

The road starts to tilt up before the official KOM start.

 

14km remaining from 167km

Arredondo and Neilands have been reabsorbed as Dimension Data puts a man on the front to pursue the last remaining duo out front.

 

The time board holds up the gap for the camera, showing 1:00 - in contrast to what the official TV banner says. The leaders are starting up the climb, it's gentle so far.

 

Sagan leads the gruppetto as the camera men for some strange reason have decided not to show any of the action.

 

Daniel spins a low gear as the two leaders hit a steeper pitch of the Gibraltar climb. 

 

12km remaining from 167km

The two leaders still have 12k to climb, and their gap is falling more quickly now - just 45 seconds as Michael Schär comes to the front of the bunch for BMC.

 

Putt, more of a sprinter by trade, lets go of Greg Daniel after that steep pitch. It's now one man against 140 or so.

 

11km remaining from 167km

Ben King (Cannondale) our race leader has let go of the peloton after only a kilometer of climbing. He leaves the leadership to teammate Lawson Craddock.

 

It was a long day in the breakaway yesterday for King, and he said he didn't expect to stick with the leaders today.

Daniel has 30 seconds, but 10.5k of climbing left and it's not an easy task. It's steadily steep.

 

The road opens up and you can see the mansions dotting the hillsides - the chasing bunch can see Greg Daniel up ahead. He gets a little bit of respite on a flater section.

 

A man dressed as the pope blesses Greg Daniel as he's caught.

 

10km remaining from 167km

Daniel takes a big drink from his bottle and watches as Daniel Wyss (BMC) leads the reduced peloton past - Daniel's Axeon teammate is on the wheel

 

Wyss has pulled away one Axeon rider with Cannondale letting the gap go a bit. Is that Powless?

 

It is Neilson Powless - the strong climber who was second best young rider to teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart at the Tour of the Gila.

 

9km remaining from 167km

Powless has opened a very nice gap as Cannondale rides tempo on the front of the chase. It's to 15 seconds now.

 

Powless was 24 seconds down on the GC this morning - but so far no big reaction from Cannondale. BMC has Bookwalter, Dennis, Sanchez, and there are a handful of Cannondale riders. 

 

Trek has a trio of riders, and there's an Etixx rider that looks like Julian Alaphilippe. He's said he's not chasing GC, but he will certainly like a stage win today.

 

7km remaining from 167km

Powless has a good cadence going on a flatter section of the climb, keeping 15".

We hear that Kennaugh is out of the race, as we suspected the collarbone is the issue.

 

6km remaining from 167km

Jurgen Van den Broeck is hanging on at the back of the chasing group, as is Jonny Clarke, and George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo). So far, Powless has been keepting the same pace as the chase group.

 

There's one Rally rider in the chase, one from Giant-Alpecin and about 20 total behind Phil Gaimon (Cannondale) - but the gap to Powless appears to be going out. He is riding into the virtual race lead now with 30 seconds.

 

Not to raise alarm bells, but these guys don't want to let Powless go - he won the TT in Redlands so it's not a bad discipline for him, and he can climb. 5k to go.

You can learn more about Powless here.

 

Andrew Talansky has come to the front now and lopped 10 seconds off Powless' lead - it's 20s with only 2.5 miles to go.

 

Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) is in the chase - Tour of the Gila winner. Looks like he's planning an attack.

 

Morton attacks! He's pulling away with a Trek rider.

 

4km remaining from 167km

It's Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) who have a gap, and that effort has split the group.

 

4km remaining from 167km

Morton and Stetina can see Powless - and they can look back and see the chase speeding up.

 

3km remaining from 167km

BMC is taking a gamble letting Cannondale take charge of the chase. Morton and Stetina have caught Powless.

 

All of these riders were 24s down on King, who's been dropped for good. Who will wear yellow tonight?

 

3km remaining from 167km

Just 10 seconds for the three leaders: Morton, Stetina and Powless. 3k to go and Morton goes to the front to speed things up.

 

Only eight riders in the chase: Ten Dam from Giant, Craddock and Talansky, Bookwalter, Sanchez and Dennis (BMC), George Bennett and Alaphilippe.

 

Morton is looking good with Powless and Stetina, but only 2.3k to go and plenty of time for attacks.

Speaking of which, Stetina goes!

 

2km remaining from 167km

Stetina has dropped Morton and Powless, as Sanchez picks up the pace in the chase behind.

 

Craddock is second wheel but when Sanchez looks around he takes over.

 

1km remaining from 167km

Stetina is putting on a great show, but is being mauled by overenthusiastic fans. Ten Dam is now leading the chase.

 

The ticker is wrong as usual, but Stetina is inside 1k to go and looks sure to win.

 

Morton is hanging on in no man's land. 

 

Alaphilippe and Bennett can see Morton ahead - flamme rouge for Stetina.

 

Stetina had that horrific crash last year, so it's great to see this performance.

But Alaphilippe is going for it!

 

Alaphilippe looks so strong, Stetina is in his sights.

 

They go around a bend and Alaphilippe is going to catch him.

 

No one else is in the picture as Stetina has a chance to sit on and let the Frenchman lead

 

We hope the American saved something to sprint with.

 

The answer is no! Alaphilippe is on fire!

 

The Etixx rider used the motorbike to get a little draft then sped past. Can Stetina hold off the chase now?

 

Alaphilippe wins!

 

Stetina holds on for second.

 

Bennett third, then Ten Dam leads Powless to the line. Craddock and Talansky are a minute down on the stage winner.

 

Was his declaration that he isn't going for GC this year a game for Alaphilippe? Or did he just find something special out on the road?

 

Bookwalter actually slotted in for fourth ahead of Powless.

 

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
2 Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo
3 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
6 Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
7 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
9 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling

 

Ben King comes across with a couple Jelly Belly riders - more than five minutes behind the winner.

 

Alaphilippe makes it two Etixx riders in the race lead today - after Bob Jungels took over from teammate Gianluca Brambilla in the Giro d'Italia lead.

Quite a day for the Belgian team.

Tomorrow's stage heads the long way up the coast to Monterey's Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. It's one for the sprinters, and perfectly suited for Peter Sagan as they tackle the infamous corkscrew.

 

GC:

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
2 Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:19
3 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:31
4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:37
5 Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:00:40
6 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:43
7 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly-Maxxis 0:00:45
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:58
9 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:00:58
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:09

 

Tomorrow is the longest stage of the race, taking riders 215km from Morro Bay to Laguna Seca. Join us for the live coverage again tomorrow! Thanks for reading.

 

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