76km remaining from 111km
We're back with the Women's Tour of California, and today's the last big stand for the overall contenders before a fast, flat criterium tomorrow.
So far: Mara Abbott (Wiggle-High5) took out the first QOM ahead of race leader Megan Guarnier and Karol Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans).
76km remaining from 111km
Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) attacked after the climb and was solo, but has just been caught.
The women's stage is not nearly as climbing intensive as the men's - but Coleman Grade is a steep one and will give the GC contenders a chance to shake things up. BUT, it's a massive 52km time trial to the finish line from the climb. Who's up for it?
Mari Holden, the former world champion time trialist, knows how difficult an effort like that would be. She's the directeur of the Twenty16 team, who won the TTT yesterday, and spoke to Ted Burns this morning about the team's strategy:
"We know we are not the favorites on this race. We are really excited about how we did yesterday day but we are also realistic where we are in the race as a team too. We are just looking forward to racing and keeping as many people as close to the front as we can and using out teamwork to help Kristin [Armstrong] out.
"I think we are going to race smart and see what the other teams are doing. Boels is the strongest team here and they have all the responsibility with the jersey and with everything. We are going to see what happens with the other teams out there and then base our tactics after that. We are looking to forward to some good racing these are home roads for our girls."
70km remaining from 111km
The peloton is still all together, going flat out at 25mph down the twisty road that parallels the Russian River. It's beautiful through here - you can take a paddle from Healdsburg all the way to the estuary at the Pacific Ocean, and see harbor seals and all sorts of birds and wildlife.
Of course, it's world class cycling here, too. They'll get to Highway 1 in a few kilometers - it's a little ascent from the river, then it traverses a lovely ridge with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
Tayler Wiles is a local, and racing with the US National Team here. She spoke to Cyclingnews at the start about the Coleman Grade climb:
"I rode the stage last week and is an awesome course, it's really hard. If you don't know the course, some people are going to be surprised how unrelenting it is, it will be a really exciting day. Coleman Valley is just going to shatter it I think. It just continues a to go up and down after that you don't really have any relief and I think some the climbs after Coleman Valley will surprise some people. That's going to be the big one, the first climb is no joke either. I think if it's ridden hard and if some of the bigger teams want to split it up then that can be a race maker too."
They have indeed split the race - there was a gruppetto of about 40 riders after the climb, no word if they've made it back yet.
66km remaining from 111km
The women climb up from the Russian River onto highway 1, and a rider from USA National team attacks.
The predicted rain has not come - there are clouds hovering over the ocean, but they're high enough that the view is fine.
The USA rider has been caught, but a Colavita rider counters.
Our guess is that's Katie Donovan. She's the team's best climber and an aggressive racer.
We'll have a sprint coming up at km. 55 before they head up Coleman Grade. It's a nasty little double.
Our sprint standings are led by Guarnier after the first stage, no points for the TTT yesterday:
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans 17 pts
2 Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5 12
3 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Twenty16 - Ridebiker 9
4 Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans 7
5 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women
61km remaining from 111km
They're seeing 5k to the sprint now - it comes in Carmet. Then, just 1k later they start the Coleman Valley Road climb, also known as Coleman Grade.
It was Donovan who attacked, she's joined by Eri Yonamine - a stand-out climber who can also time trial well - and Shara Gillow (Rabo-Liv) - also a good climber who can TT. It's a solid move!
But Boels Dolmans is way too strong. Chantal Blaak sped across and put an anchor on that move. All together heading into the sprint.
The peloton is through the sprint now - Coleman Valley Road is just up the road a piece. The climb starts just after the turn.
The fastest time on Strava is 10:57 - we expect someone will get the dreaded "Oh no!" email today.
Megan Guarnier puts her stamp of authority on the race, and takes out the sprint and bonus seconds to bring her lead to 15" over Armstrong. Jasmin Glaesser (Rally Cycling) and Dani King (Wiggle-High5) round out the top three.
Time for the attacks to happen!
We expect to see some attacks from the climbers - Guarnier leads the QOM classification as well as points and overall. Sara Poidevin was in second in that competition but was time cut from the TTT after the team had a bad crash on course.
The attacks are starting up - five riders are getting an advantage. We would guess it's Mara Abbott stretching her legs - she took the first QOM today.
They're past the worst of the climb, but like Wiles said, it keeps undulating up and over lumps on the ridge top. Roads are never simple along the California coast.
Coryn Rivera (UHC) continues to demonstrate that she's no longer a criterium specialist. She's off the front with Ms. Wiles.
Rivera was our pick to win today - she's not only been climbing well, she's very quick in the bunch sprints.
Back at the base of Coleman, Mara Abbott led the peloton, pulling away Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM), Katie Hall (UHC), Emma Johansson (Wiggle) and marked by Boels' Evie Stevens and race leader Megan Guarnier.
It's difficult to get the race situation pinned down because of the many hills and reception issues...
That was incorrect information about Rivera and Wiles -
Abbott crushed the climb and has a 12 second gap over Stevens.
1. Mara Abbott (USA) Wiggle High5
2. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans
3. Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans
Abbott was 1:22 down on Guarnier at the start, so there's no need to panic yet. She has a 30 second lead over six chasers: Stevens, Guarnier, Katie Hall, Armstrong, Johansson and one other.
We think it's Amialiusik in that chase with the yellow jersey.
They head down a quick descent, which may help the yellow jersey close the gap to Abbott.
It's a very narrow road, and looks more like the Giro d'Italia or Amstel Gold than the typical 'Merican racing. The chase will not be able to see Abbott because it twists and turns.
Eri Yonamine made the split now - the young Japanese rider is an amazing story. She only started riding bikes five years ago - she doesn't have an athletic background, only some tennis for fun.
She's been national TT champion, races mountain bikes and 'cross. And she climbs very well. Definitely a rider to watch.
Coryn Rivera (UHC) made it across to the chase group, so that's eight chasing, closing down Abbott's gap to 15 seconds.
The chasing group has Abbott in their sights as they approach the quaint town of Occidental.
Abbott takes the quick succession of turns in Occidental - the first chase is hot on her heels, then there's another chase at 30 seconds. Further back, the peloton is holding at 1:20.
Rivera is actually our chase 2, but the first chase is losing ground on a very stubborn Mara Abbott.
Abbott opened up her gap on a false flat/climb - but there's a long descent ahead for the chase to use.
33km remaining from 111km
The chase has finally caught Abbott, but Yonamine is having a little trouble staying in the group. The descent will help, perhaps.
For those wanting to follow the men's race, we will pick them up at the first sprint after the women finish.
So all along, that was never Rivera chasing. There was a miscommunication with the numbers, that was 136 - Yonamine, not Rivera, 36.
We've got 8 riders off the front, going down the fast, narrow, bumpy descent. Water bottles and radios are flying off the riders because it's so jarring.
27km remaining from 111km
They'll soon be on flatter roads, where the chasers can start to gain ground. But who can chase back a 90 second gap to some of the best riders in the world?
I know of one team who could make that happen, and they have missed this move: Rabo-Liv. If they want to get a win, they're going to need to haul it on the long, flat road to Santa Rosa.
No wind today, so they don't have to worry about that. The rain is holding off for them, so the roads are dry, too.
31km remaining from 111km
That effort on the climb really hurt Mara Abbott. She's been dropped from the lead group.
The peloton is closing in - just 1:05 now.
Actually, scratch that. Good information is hard to come by in the women's race. But it looks like the peloton is two minutes behind now, while Abbott is steadily going backwards to join them.
Rabo-Liv and USA National team are doing most of the chasing.
Here was your GC at the start:
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans 3:32:36
2 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Twenty16 0:00:12
3 Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans 0:00:22
4 Leah Thomas (USA) Twenty16 0:00:44
5 Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:47
6 Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare 0:00:49
7 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv 0:00:50
8 Chloe Dygert (USA) Twenty16 0:00:53
9 Shara Gillow (Aus) Rabo Liv 0:00:58
10 Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5 0:01:02
24km remaining from 111km
The gap of two minutes seemed odd, and it's wrong. The main "peloton" of about 30 riders are at 33 seconds. There's a gruppetto that is probably the 2:00 group.
Whowhee- the gap is really coming down now. Just 28 seconds. Looks like a bunch sprint today.
20km remaining from 111km
The breakaway has made the turn onto Fulton, and will shortly be heading down W 3rd into town. They've got 20k to go and the gap is going back out to 35 seconds.
The gap is back on it's downward spiral, only 15 seconds as they head down the flat, urban residential roads heading into Santa Rosa.
It looks like it'll be a criterium finish for the women - they'll have 3 to go when they see the finish line, each lap is only 4k long.
16km remaining from 111km
It looks like our leaders have decided that they aren't interested in any more attacking. They've sat up and let the peloton catch them.
We've got a few strong sprinters in the peloton, including Marianne Vos. Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) is quite quick. Of course Coryn Rivera is a favourite. Kirsten Wild (Hitec) is a proven winner, and Joanne Kiesanowski (Tibco).
There are only a couple dozen women in this front group, so it's a matter of who is the fastest sprinter left.
11km remaining from 111km
The lead group is crossing the finish line for the first time. Three to go!
Guarnier is hanging out in the back, confident it's going to be a bunch sprint. However, there was that one year that Levi Leipheimer got caught up in a crash on the circuits, outside 3k to go... but thanks to his status in the town the officials bent the rules and let him keep yellow, depriving Ben Jacques Maynes of taking it.
We have an attack!
It's a Hagens-Berman Supermint rider who's attacked.
Ticker is saying it's Yonamine again - this rider just never says no!
USA National team shuts down that move. All together (at least that reduced peloton)
Ruth Winder (USA) attacks with two laps to go.
Winder was part of the world championship winning team pursuit squad, so she has the power to go on a breakaway.
If you missed it, USA Cycling has partnered with Felt and a bunch of other companies to make a special team pursuit bike just for the women's squad. It's got the drive on the left side - kind of whacky but they say it's faster.
Now Winder's pursuit teammate Chloe Dygert has a go.
Dygert countered as Winder was caught. They'll get the bell this time through the line.
4km remaining from 111km
Riders come through with 4k to go - one more lap.
Unfortunately the cameras at the finish line are only showing the finishing straighaway. Not to be too harsh in criticism, but there are criteriums in this country that can manage to show the entire lap. This is a WorldTour event - but we have to wait until tonight to see what happened.
We know Wild won't be contesting the win - she just came through, we think, with a dropped group.
UnitedHealthcare has control of the front for Rivera. Can she show her mettle against the worldTour peloton?
Now Twenty16 takes control - the sprint is coming on fast!
Twenty 16 goes, but it's Rabo-Liv that gets the front.
It's none other than Marianne Vos! She gets the win from Rivera!
That was a close one - Vos is showing she's regaining her previous form - and her unstoppable desire to win. Rivera put up a good fight but just didn't have that magic pedal stroke.
Guarnier was right up in the mix, so will keep the yellow jersey. Johansson looked like she was third.
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) RaboLiv Women
2 Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare
3 Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5
With the time bonus, Vos will jump ahead of Hall and Rivera.
And since Leah Thomas wasn't in the mix, Vos also jumps over her and into fourth overall.
General classification after stage 3
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans
2 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Twenty16 Ridebiker 0:00:12
3 Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans 0:00:22
4 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv 0:00:44
5 Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare 0:00:47
Make sure to check back in on our ever-evolving stage report to get full results, report, photos and video highlights today.
We will pick up the men's race in five minutes! Thanks for reading. And remember, if you want to see more women's coverage, be sure to email email@example.com and let us know!
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