Report & Results: Amgen Tour of California – Sagan Sprints to Victory in Santa Clarita


On a course favoring the sprinters, Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan (SVK) blasted past ORICA GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews (AUS) to the front of the pack to claim Stage 3 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California the length of half a tire.  Matthews held on to take second place today after his team led him to the front of the peloton-leaders riders in the last 500 meters.

Sagan broke three-time Champion Levi Leipheimer’s  Amgen Tour of California stage win record of seven last year when he took five stage wins. His stage wins at America’s largest cycling race now total nine, including today’s dramatic victory.

“The last three kilometers were crazy with all the sprinters who wanted to win,” said Sagan of today’s finish. “When I won I knew it was a good stage for me.”

After several breakaways on the windy 110-mile course, the peloton came back together in the final 10 kilometers culminating in a tightly packed bunch sprint over the line after several leader changes. Team Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar (Wenatchee, Wash.) claimed third place in the fast finish. There was no change to the overall standings after today’s stage with Team Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Janier Alexis Acevedo (COL) continuing on in the Amgen Race Leader Jersey tomorrow.

“I felt very tired today after yesterday. The legs never felt good, I just tried to stay in the group, eat, and drink, and recover,” said Acevedo.

Sprint points leader Lieuwe Westra (NED) of Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team was part of the early breakaway that also included RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’S Andy Schleck (LUX) and Chad Beyer (USA) riding with Champion System Pro Cycling in their debut Amgen Tour of California appearance. Beyer’s role in the breakaway and hold on the lead earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey following the stage.

The peloton caught up to the breakaway with less than 20 kilometers to go, and the final  8 kilometers saw attempts by several teams to bring their sprinters to the front, including Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda Racing Team, BMC Racing Team and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

In the final 5 kilometers, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’s Markel Irizar Aranburu (ESP) made a move to the front, with Team Garmin-Sharp and a formidable line of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team members on his heels. Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ultimately succeeded in propelling their team leader the top of the podium.

BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo.) continues to hold onto the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey for the third day, with Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team’s Lieuwe Westra (NED) also donning the Visit California Sprint Jersey again tomorrow. The Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey will continue to be worn by Bontrager Cycling Team’s 21-year-old cyclist Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas).

Photos ©  Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com

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Now in its eighth year, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California is running south to north for the first time, covering nearly 750 miles of California’s most scenic highways, roadways and coastlines over eight days, concluding in Santa Rosa, Calif., May 19. With one of the most difficult courses in race history, 115 elite cyclists (127 riders began the race, though several have been eliminated or abandoned due to time cuts, injury or illness) will compete through 12 Host Cities and 60,000 feet of climbing, a record for the race, including a first-time summit finish at Mt. Diablo in the Bay Area.

A critical partner since the race’s inception, Amgen returns this year as the race title sponsor. In honor of cancer survivors everywhere, today local cancer survivor Nancy Eckels was recognized and celebrated as the Breakaway from Cancer Champion. Eckels, who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven months ago, has kept her friends and family apprised of her journey with seriousness, grace, humor and humility. At the same time, she is advocating with insistence that early detection is the key.

Eckels led Amgen’s Breakaway Mile – a special walk that crosses the race finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. During the event, Eckels was joined by approximately 150 community members – cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and advocates – and Amgen’s Angela Coxon, executive director of Research, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

Today’s Breakaway Mile was the second of four Breakaway Miles that will take place during the Amgen Tour of California in support of Amgen’s national Breakaway from Cancer initiative, which was created in 2005 as a complementary component to its sponsorship of the race. The Breakaway from Cancer initiative is designed to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention to survivorship. For access to resources or to learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.

Today’s Breakaway from Cancer activities also featured Palmdale, Calif., resident and cancer survivor Ben Jefferson who fired the official start gun to begin the stage. Eckels awarded the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey to Champion System’s Chad Beyer.

There are plenty of ways to take in the racing action through May 19, whether in person on the race course, via daily broadcasts on NBC Sports Network and NBC, or by downloading the free Tour Tracker app, which features live race updates, rider background and full race results. More information on all of the ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

Results >

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STAGE 4 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY AMGEN’S BREAKAWAY FROM CANCER:
Tuesday, May 14 – Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara (83.6 mi/134.6 km)
Start Time: 12:35 p.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:50 p.m. PT
Satellite Feed Time: 4:50 – 5 p.m. PT