Leader Board Holds after Perilous Ride into Morro Bay
The Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 presented by Lexus ended with the expected sprinter shootout – UAE Emirates’ Jasper Philipsen (BEL) launched the final attack to the finish line, trailed by BORA-hansgrohe’s three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK). With just meters to go, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen (NED) rocketed past both to claim the team’s third stage in three days. Cofidis, Solutions Credits Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) followed the trio across the line in fourth place.
Sagan, who won the 2017 Morro Bay stage on this same finish route, took third place today and moves into the green jersey, which he has worn regularly during his years at this race.
Meanwhile, the peloton encountered the unexpected. When race leader Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.) came off his bike and suffered a mechanical issue with about 5 miles left to ride, EF Education First Pro Cycling teammate Lachlan Morton (AUS) offered up his bike and the team worked to pace their leader back up to the main group. A crash at the back of the peloton that affected multiple GC riders neutralized the time gap that resulted, with the leader board ending up unchanged after today’s stage.
A rain-dotted ride from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to Morro Bay featured the iconic coastal views of Central California’s Highway 1, which has reopened after a massive effort by Caltrans to repair damage from a 2017 landslide.
The breakaway that held for most of the 133.3-mile stage included two current National Champions – Hagens Berman Axeon’s Jonny Brown (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Israel Cycling Academy’s Roy Goldstein (ISR) – as well as Brown’s teammate Ian Garrison (Decatur, Georgia), Team Novo Nordisk’s Joonas Henttala (FIN), and USA Cycling National Team’s Michael Hernandez (Claremont, Fla.).
Hernandez was the last to be caught with just over 5 miles to go and earned the Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. USA Cycling National Team will have two riders in jerseys tomorrow with teammate and reigning U.S. U23 National Champion Alex Hoehn (Lenexa, Kansas) retaining the polka dot jersey.
The peloton of 19 teams (132 riders) representing 33 countries includes three World Champions, Olympians, Tour de France stage winners and six current National Road Race Champions from around the world. Throughout the week, cyclists will contest 773 miles of California’s most scenic highways, mountain roads and coastlines, visiting 13 cities throughout the state for stage starts and finishes, concluding in Pasadena on May 18.
Tomorrow’s Stage 5 presented by Lexus from Pismo Beach to Ventura is the longest road day of the week at 136.4 miles.
Also tomorrow, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM UCI WorldTour race kicks off in Ventura, showcasing the world’s best women cyclists. It will run concurrently for the final three days of the men’s event, May 16-18.
Fans can stay up to date on the race via daily live airings on NBC Sports Network with the May 18 conclusion live on NBC, and via the free Amgen Tour of California App.
Photos Darrell Parks / darrellparks.com
Photos – Getty Images