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Tour of California 2019: Stage 3

Welcome to our live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour of California. Today's stage runs 208km from Stockton to Morgan Hill.

 

 

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour of California. We're about ten minutes out from the stage start in Stockton.

Tejay van Garderen is in the race lead after yesterday's second stage. He took second behind Kasper Asgreen in South Lake Tahoe and the EF man will be looking to defend yellow on another long one today.

 

 

Today's stage features five climbs, including a HC climb in Mount Hamilton, 68.5km from the finish.

 

There are no classified climbs in the final 40km, just a few lumps and an intermediate sprint, but with all the climbing it might not be one for the sprinters – maybe a breakaway will be the order of the day.

 

That's what Simon Geschke (CCC Team) thinks, anyway. The German finished 15 minutes down yesterday, and best-placed man Riccardo Zoidl lies 1:01 down on GC, so the Polish team will be looking to the break today.

 

"Today I think is a day for the breakaway," he said at the stage start. "Hopefully we have someone in there, maybe two. Most guys lost time yesterday because it was really hard stage - six and a half hours I had in the saddle.

 

"I guess a lot of guys are tired, and it will be good racing today. It will be maybe a bit more explosive regarding the GC better because it’s not at altitude. It might be a different kind of racing today."

And the peloton have just rolled out in Stockton. They'll complete a short neutralised section before the real racing gets underway.

 

Here's CCC DS, Jackson Stewart, on today's stage.

 

"Yesterday was super aggressive from all the teams. It seems like everyone has similar riders and similar capabilities, so there’s a lot of aggressive riding.

 

"I think today you’ll see a really aggressive stage because there are just so many options for so many good riders."

 

Here's CCC DS, Jackson Stewart, on today's stage.

 

"Yesterday was super aggressive from all the teams. It seems like everyone has similar riders and similar capabilities, so there’s a lot of aggressive riding.

 

"I think today you’ll see a really aggressive stage because there are just so many options for so many good riders."

 

All 132 riders who finished yesterday have taken the start today, with no abandons overnight and nobody missing the time cut on that tough stage 2.

The neutralised zone is 7.7km long, and the riders will be reaching the end of it soon.

 

207km remaining from 208km

And the riders have exited the neutralised zone and started the stage proper now.

 

Trek-Segafredo rider Toms Skujinš finished over 26 minutes down yesterday, while team leader Richie Porte – riding his first race since Catalunya in later March – was 31 seconds down on Asgreen, moving to 13th on GC.

 

Skujinš spoke to one of our reporters on the ground, Kirsten Frattini, this morning. He's won three stages at this race and said that he's hoping for another one today.

 

Kirsten said that Skujinš was disappointed with yesterday, and doesn't know if he will come around after having such a bad day. He was hoping for a lot more from the day in terms of the GC.

 

Back to the race and riders are already trying to clip off the front of the peloton.

 

199km remaining from 208km

It's a flat 20km to start today's stage, so plenty of opportunity for riders to get a break established before the awards of sprint and mountain points come into play.

 

It has been a fast start, and numerous riders have attempted to get away, but no break has been established yet.

 

189km remaining from 208km

A group of 19 riders has split from the peloton, and they currently have 15 seconds, according to our man on the ground, Pat Malach.

 

The riders are currently racing through pan-flat farmlands and there's a cross-headwind whipping across the road.

 

Here are the men who have attacked the peloton. They have 45 seconds right now.

 

Luke Rowe (Team Ineos)
Bert-Jan Lindeman, Danny Van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma)
Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo)
Rohan Dennis, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida)
Tim Declercq, Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Magnus Cort, Steff Cras (Katusha-Alpecin)
Oscar Gatto (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Szymon Sajnok, Michael Schär (CCC Team)
Lars Ytting Bak (Dimension Data)
Cees Bol, Joris Nieuwenhuis (Team Sunweb)
Ian Garrison (Hagens Berman Axeon)
Andrea Peron (Novo Nordisk)
Travis McCabe (USA National Team)
 

 

Dennis is just 42 seconds down on GC, so I'd imagine EF Education First won't be keen on letting him get away for the day.

 

While Team Sunweb have two men on the attack in California, on the other side of the world in Italy, Tom Dumoulin endured a nightmare stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia.

 

The Dutchman was involved in a crash in the closing kilometres, and lost more than four minutes at the finish. He said after the finish that his GC challenge is over.

 

Read the full story here.

 

 

180km remaining from 208km

Groups are all over the road in California. They're flying along at over 50kph.

 

The peloton consists of around 50 riders right now, with multiple groups of around 10-12 riders lagging behind.

 

A combination of the high winds and pace at the front of the peloton is making this a brutal start to the stage.

 

175km remaining from 208km

The lead group listed below remain 40 seconds up on the peloton. The route is pretty twisty at the moment, with the direction constantly changing.

 

The gap is now down to 20 seconds, as there isn't much cooperation among the leaders, despite several teams have more than one rider up there.

 

I would imagine that Rohan Dennis' presence up front isn't proving very helpful in their efforts to stay away.

 

169km remaining from 208km

Dimension Data were driving the peloton, probably because they didn't get anybody into the break, which has now been brought back.

 

The peloton will soon be approaching the first climb of the day, Patterson Pass Road, which is 5.2km long at an average of 6.1%.

 

We have Pat Malach in the media car today. He Spoke to EF Education First's Lawson Craddock before the stage.

 

The American was one of the most active riders yesterday, making numerous moves, including the winning split which contained his teammate Tejay van Garderen.

 

Craddock eventually finished 37th after pulling for van Garderen in the closing kilometres, and he’s not expecting a slow start to today’s stage.

 

"I think the legs will be pretty tired from yesterday," he said. "I think the whole peloton will be tired today. It’s definitely not an easy stage, even though they made the finish farther from Mt. Hamilton, it’s still going to be an aggressive stage.

 

"Yesterday went really well for us. We did a lot to confirm what we knew was the strength of our team, and it gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the week. But it’s a long way until Pasadena, so today we’ll just be all about maintaining that buffer that Tejay got yesterday."

Another group is on the attack at the moment, but we don't have the names yet.

 

The group has two minutes on the peloton now, though the riders out front haven't been confirmed yet.

 

Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) has abandoned the race.

 

158km remaining from 208km

Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Alex Hoehn (USA National Team) are the men out front.

 

The two leaders have 4:25 on the peloton now, riding through rolling hills. It's still very windy as they climb the first KOM of the day.

 

Here's the view in California. Blue skies and rolling hills.

 

 

The gap to the leaders is really ballooning now. Almost six minutes separate Cavagna and Hoehn from the peloton. EF Education First are at the head of the peloton.

 

Hoehn is 8:13 down on GC, while Cavagne lies 17:52 down on van Garderen. No threats, then.

 

155km remaining from 208km

The two leaders are almost at the top of Patterson Pass Road, the second category climb. 

 

Hoehn and Cavagna were neck-and-neck up the climb, which looked to be up to 16-18 per cent gradients in some parts. In the end, it was Hoehn who took the points ahead of the Quick Step rider.

Here are the duo on the climb.

 

Hoehn is riding a bright yellow Cannondale here, which he usually races for US Continental team Aevolo.

 

Continental teams can't take part in WorldTour races though, so Hoehn is here racing for US National Team.

 

Earlier in the week the team's director spoke to Cyclingnews, saying that the US National Team provides an opportunity for those riders who would otherwise miss out on the race. Read the full story here.

 

The gap between the leaders and the peloton is over eight minutes now.

 

Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team) was third over the top of the climb, looking to bolster his lead in the mountain classification.

Down the descent and now the leaders will take on some more flat roads before the intermediate sprint at Mines Road.

 

The break turns on to Tesla Road. There are, hopefully, no electrically-powered bikes in the peloton, though.

 

They're now nine minutes up on the peloton, meaning Hoehn is now virtual race leader.

 

The leaders are 5km away from the intermediate sprint.

 

After taking the race lead yesterday, Tejay van Garderen was among the rider to speak to Cyclingnews for our GC analysis article.

 

"Even though Baldy is the only real typical clear-cut GC day, you can never sleep on any stage," he said. Read the full article here.

 

 

The break just rolled through the sprint, with no contest. Ballerini led the way.

 

5km to go until the second climb of the day, the third category Mines Road – 3km at 6.7%.

 

Over in the Giro, there's been a bit of a flare-up, as Mikel Landa (Movistar) blamed Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) for making him crash during the finale of stage 4.

 

Some choice language was used, but the two have made up via Twitter. All in the heat of the moment, then. Get the full story here.

 

130km remaining from 208km

The leaders are on the climb now.

 

Cavagna led Hoehn over the climb at Mines Road. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) led the peloton over.

 

The road keeps rising after the climb, more like a false flat than any tough gradients though. Next up is the feed zone for the leaders.

 

A correction to the last KOM results – it was Hoehn first over the top, followed by Cavagna, and then Ballerini once again. The Italian KOM leader jumped away from the peloton to take another point.

 

21-year-old Hoehn has had a good year so far for Aevolo, finishing third and fourth at the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila, respectively, as well as taking the youth classification in the latter.

 

Cavagna, meanwhile, is also riding the Tour of California for the first time. The 23-year-old won Dwars door West-Vlaanderen last season, while this season his best result has been third at the opening time trial of the Tour de la Provence.

 

115km remaining from 208km

The two leaders are around ten minutes up the road from the peloton right now. There's still a long way to go, so no rush for the peloton.

 

In the last of our pre-stage interviews, we heard from Rally UHC on Brandon McNulty's bad day yesterday. The American, who only turned 21 last month, won the Giro di Sicilia soon after, and finished ninth in the Tour of Oman.

 

Big things were expected from his this week, but yesterday he finished 57th, 8:07 down, while teammate Rob Britton finished seventh.

 

"He had a bad day, totally cracked," we heard from the team in Stockton this morning. "We don't know why – he's not sick, but he's out of the GC and is looking at stage wins from here on out.

 

"He got sick after Sardinia and didn't bounce back from that. We're hoping for more, and he's really disappointed about being dropped yesterday."

 

 

The break has already passed through the feed zone, and now the peloton are passing through.

 

103km remaining from 208km

We're just past the halfway mark of today's stage now. There are still three climbs to go – one third category, one HC and one second category.

 

It's a quiet part of the stage right now. We're waiting for the potential action to kick off over the remaining climb, especially the HC climb of Mt. Hamilton.

 

Paweł Bernas (CCC Team) has attacked the peloton. He's made up some ground quickly, and lies seven minutes back from the break.

 

The gap between break and peloton is still very big. It's 10:30 right now.

 

91km remaining from 208km

Bernas has closed the gap to the leaders to 6:40 now. It'll be a huge ask to bridge across fully, though.

 

EF Education First are driving the peloton along, with the unmistakeable frame of Taylor Phinney at the head of affairs.

 

Hoehn leads Cavagna over the San Antonio Valley Rd climb (the first of two third-category climbs with that name today). More points for the American.

 

Over in Europe, the Aderlass investigation into blood doping ring led by German doctor, Mark Schmidt, appears to have claimed another scalp.

 

Italian former sprinter Alessandro Petacchi is the latest name involved. A joint investigation by two European newspapers asserted that both Schmidt and Petacchi's ex-teammate Danilo Hondo named the ex-Lampre rider to German investigators.

 

Read the full story here.

 

 

80km remaining from 208km

A few riders have hit the deck going over a cattle grid. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) was held up by the crash, while Nigel Ellsay (Rally UHC) and a rider from Axeon Hagens Berman fell.

 

They're all back up and running though, will Ellsay last to get going, after taking his time to get back up and receiving a new bike.

 

The break are now on the second San Antonio Valley Rd climb, another third category climb.

 

And here's our latest from the Giro d'Italia – an analysis of the GC race after four stages. Primož Roglič and Richard Carapaz gained time on everyone today, while Tom Dumoulin lost minutes. Barry Ryan has all the ins and outs.

 

74km remaining from 208km

Cavagna has dropped Hoehn on the climb. The QuickStep man is 15 seconds up the road. Bernas is 6:10 back, while the peloton is at 9:35.

 

Hoehn took the points over that last third category climb, but Cavagna attacked at the base of Mt Hamilton.

 

It's a long way to ride solo for Cavagna, but he does have a huge advantage over the peloton, and he's way down on GC. 

 

A few riders are already getting spat out of the back of the peloton on the lower slopes of the HC climb.

 

Mt Hamilton is 7.2km long at an average of 8.4% – it's a tough one.

 

EF Education First lead the peloton.

 

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) has stopped with a mechanical problem on the climb. Looks like a drivetrain issue.

 

Cavendish gets a new bike, and a push-start from DS Rolf Aldag. This is far from his terrain though, so he probably won't be making it back to the peloton anytime soon.

 

He's in the cars now, though still some way down. Maybe Bernhard Eisel will drop back from the peloton to give him some company, as he did on yesterday's stage.

 

Hoehn is now 55 seconds down on Cavagna.

 

Meanwhile, Bernas is losing time on the climb. He's falling back towards the peloton.

 

70km remaining from 208km

Sprinters Danny Van Poppel and Nacer Bouhanni slip off the back of the peloton.

 

EF Education First are still driving the peloton. The gap really isn't coming down much though.

 

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is among a group of riders to drop off the back of the peloton.

 

66km remaining from 208km

Cavagna takes 15 points at the top of the climb. Hoehn gets 13 as the second man over Mt Hamilton.

 

Both leaders are on the descent now. There's under 20km to race until the next climb, and it's all downhill. Quimby Road Summit is up next – it's a 2.1km climb that average 8.8% and tops out 49km from the finish line.

 

Bernas has been brought back by the peloton. A bit of a pointless exercise for the Pole, but some nice training, in any case.

 

59km remaining from 208km

The peloton have closed the gap down to 7:35 now. EF Education First are still controlling things. If anybody is itching to bring this back for a reduced sprint, then they're not showing it – not yet, at least.

 

Cavagna and Hoehn are descending well here. The roads are smooth, but it's pretty twisty all the way down and the pair are flying down the side of Mount Hamilton. Hoehn has taken a few seconds back, in fact.

 

Cavagna is still a few kilometres away from the bottom of the next climb.

 

56km remaining from 208km

Withe descent levelling off a touch, both Cavagna and Hoehn take on some drinks from their respective team cars.

 

Back downhill now after that brief respite, and back to the endless corners on this technical descent.

 

50km remaining from 208km

And still EF lead the reduced peloton.

 

Cavagna is on the second category Quimby Road Summit now. Hoehn still a minute back, still descending.

 

Ballerini took third over Mount Hamilton, jumping ahead of the EF train.

 

We'll see how things pan out on this climb and then make the calculation for the updated mountain classification.

 

There are two minutes between Cavagna and Hohen now, as the QuickStep man crests the summit of Quimby Road.

 

Cavagna has 30 points in the mountain classification now, all his points coming today.

 

Hoehn takes second over the top, giving him a total of 31 points.

 

KOM leader Ballerini had 11 coming into the day, and has 15 so far. Even if he takes third over the top, he'll only have a total of 29 points.

 

So there you have it – Alex Hoehn (USA National Team) is the new mountain classification leader!

 

44km remaining from 208km

This is an even trickier descent than the one down Mount Hamilton was. Let's hope everyone stays upright.

 

Cavagna is misjudging a few corners, but is keeping it rubber down so far.

 

The time gap back to the peloton hasn't budged in a while – it still reads 7:35. If that's true, then Cavagna has a good chance of staying away to take the win here.

 

Meanwhile, Ballerini does in fact take third over the top of the climb. The mountain classification is finely poised at 31-30-29 points.

 

EF have been joined by Ineos at the head of the peloton.

 

Hm, the television graphics are giving Ballerini 26 points. Either they haven't updated for the last KOM, or my maths is wrong.

 

In any case, the order of the top three remains the same.

 

Cavagna and Hoehn chat with their team cars. For Cavagna it's all smiles – he seems certain to hang on and take the win, even though there's still 39km to race.

 

For Hoehn, his DS tells him to keep going. He has the KOM jersey in the bag, and doesn't look to have any chance of catching Cavagna though. Maybe just a chance to get some extra riding in the legs and more exposure at a WorldTour race.

 

And if Hoehn hangs on out there, taking a second place on a stage of the Tour of California is a very big deal, obviously.

 

31km remaining from 208km

There's an intermediate sprint to go, 21.5km from the line, but now it's pretty much a case of waiting for the finish. Unless disaster befalls Cavagna or Hoehn, the stage already looks decided.

 

The gap to the peloton is now up over eight minutes. They've really knocked it off here.

 

25km remaining from 208km

After such a long day in the saddle, Hoehn is beginning to fade. He's now 4:15 down on Cavagna. It might be touch-and-go as to whether he'll hold off the peloton.

 

Hoehn is basically bang in the middle of Cavagna and the peloton right now.

 

Simon Geschke (CCC Team) has attacked the peloton. After Bernas' earlier fruitless attack, CCC are determined to get something from the day, it seems.

 

Cavagna is closing in on the final sprint point, which, cruelly, is at the top of a hill.

 

19km remaining from 208km

Cavagna overruns a corner descending from the sprint point. He stays upright on the dirt, though. Another close shave.

 

Hoehn isn't having a great time of it either, taking on more food and drink from the team car. He's 5:45 down on Cavagna now and just three minutes up on the peloton.

 

Hoehn passes the sprint point. He has 21.5km to go.

 

Ben King (Dimension Data) is up there on the attack with Geschke.

 

Hoehn is haemorrhaging time now. 6:20 down on Cavagna.

 

9km remaining from 208km

King and Geschke had looked to be closing in on Hoehn, but they're not there just yet. The on-screen graphics show them almost two minutes down, which doesn't seem right.

 

Cavagna is on flat road to the finish, though. He can enjoy this victory.

 

Geschke and King are reportedly 40 seconds down on Hoehn. He might just hold on here.

 

They can see Hoehn now.

 

4km remaining from 208km

Not long until the catch is made. Brutal for Hoehn so close to the finish.

 

And they catch Hoehn.

 

Hoehn is dropped by the duo. He can console himself with the mountain jersey though.

 

2km remaining from 208km

The peloton are visible in the background. Geschke and King might be caught too...

 

Cavagna closes in on the kilometre banner. The only suspense now is if the attacking duo will be caught.

 

King wins the sprint for second place ahead of Geschke. The peloton comes in 7:50 back.

 

Here's today's top ten:

 

1 Remi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 05:44:22
2 Ben King (USA) Team Dimension Data 00:07:11
3 Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
4 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:07:47
5 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates

 

And here's the GC top ten, unchanged.

 

1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education First 15:23:28
2 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos 00:00:06
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:07
4 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:16
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:22
6 Rob Britton (USA) Rally UHC Cycling 00:00:33
7 Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
8 David de la Cruz (Spa) Team Ineos 00:00:34
9 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:35
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:36

 

A spectacular ride from Cavagna, who spent 75km out there on his own after attacking Hoehn on Mt. Hamilton. 

 

And it was a great ride from Alex Hoehn too. He led the way over the early climbs, and stuck it out almost all the way until the end. Some feat over such a long stage with WorldTour teams chasing, and later attacking, behind.

 

My sums were correct, in the end – Hoehn is the new KOM leader with 31 points. Cavagna lies second on 30, while Ballerini is on 29.

 

Asgreen leads the points classification with 22 points. His teammate Cavagna is in 21, while Peter Sagan lies third on 15.

 

Van Garderen keeps yellow, as has already been confirmed, while Pogačar is in the best young rider jersey.

That was Dececuninck-QuickStep's 28th win of the season, by the way.

 

This time last year they were on 30, though. Step it up, lads..

 

A full race report and results sheet from stage 3 of the Tour of California should be up here soon, while we'll have further reporting and reactions from the race in the coming hours.

Anyway, that's all from our live report from stage 3. Hope you enjoyed following along! We'll be back with more live reporting from the Giro d'Italia and Tour of California tomorrow.

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