Defending Champion Levi Leipheimer Takes Second Place in the Stage and Moves Up
in General Classification to Third Place Overall
SANTA CRUZ, CA - In a stage that exemplified the beautiful scenery and challenging terrain of California that make the state the perfect setting for a professional cycling race, Stage 3 of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California covered 113.3 miles/182.3 km of scenic California roadways. In an epic battle for the stage win along a picturesque route that began in iconic San Francisco and ended at the famous beach boardwalk in sunny Santa Cruz, David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin Transitions took the stage win and also secured the overall lead heading into Stage 4 tomorrow.
The picturesque route took the riders south down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage included three long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Rd., La Honda Rd. and Bonny Doon Rd. packed with local cycling fans, which was followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish followed W. Cliff Dr. along Monterey Bay to an exhilarating conclusion to Stage 3 at the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
As the morning fog burned off in San Francisco to reveal blue skies l day, the riders lined up at the start line on The Great Highway and got Stage 3 off to a great start. After a few failed breakaway attempts at the start of the stage, the peloton approached the first sprint in Pacifica, which was taken by Stage 1 winner Mark Cavendish (GBR) of HTC-Columbia, putting him in the lead in the points competition. The first hour of the stage was marked by little attacks, mainly from QuickStep and HTC-Columbia, but the riders weren't able to get anything to stick.
The next sprint in Half Moon bay was taken by Karl Menzies (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, followed by Alexander Kristoff (NOR) of the BMC Racing Team and Cavendish. As the riders continued on from the sprint a five-man break formed, which included Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) of BISSELL), Will Routley (CAN) of Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda, Eric Boily (CAN) of SpiderTech Powered by Planet Energy, Davide Frattini (ITA) of Team Type 1 and Ryan Anderson (CAN) of Kelly Benefit Strategies. With fans lining the street shoulder-to-shoulder on the lead up to the first King of the Mountains competition (KOM) on Tunitas Creek Road (Cat. 2 - 1,562 ft.), Frattini took the KOM win, followed by Anderson.
After going through the feed zone, the riders were quickly hit with another climb, Highway 84 (Cat. 3 - 1,427 ft.), which provided identical results to the first KOM - Frattini in first and Anderson is second. After a quick descent, the cyclists faced the third KOM of the day, Pescadero Rd. (Cat. 4 - 1,053 ft.), which, once again, saw Frattini take the KOM, followed by Anderson.
Team RadioShack, with assistance from the Cervélo TestTeam, drove the field for most of the day and eventually swallowed up the break en route to the final climb of the day. With the end of the race drawing near, several teams began to make their move and created a breakaway that consisted of three riders - Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack, Michael Rogers (AUS) of HTC-Columbia and Zabriskie.
With just under 20 miles to go on the route to Santa Cruz, the riders faced the largest climb of the day, Bonny Doon/Pine Flat Road (Cat. 2 - 2,135 ft.). After many unsuccessful attempts by several teams to pull the break back, Zabriskie took the stage win in an all out sprint to the finish before thousands of fans at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
"I've been a runner up, but I've never won a stage here," said Zabriskie. "I've never touched the Amgen Leader Jersey since the Amgen Tour of California started. Just to touch this jersey is quite an honor."
In the awards ceremony for Stage 3, Zabriskie took the Amgen Race Leader Jersey; Cavendish claimed the Herbalife Sprint Jersey; and Thomas Rabou (NED) of Team Type 1 took the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey. Peter Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas retained the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey for the second consecutive day. And for his performance in the main breakaway of the day Routley was awarded Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
"Today proved to be another competitive day of racing in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. "The level of competition was impressive, the views were breathtaking, the crowds were enthusiastic and the stage finish was as good as they come. As we head into Stage 4 tomorrow, the riders are going to continue to face challenging terrain that showcases the beauty of California, and we all are looking forward to seeing how it unfolds."
Continuing its partnership for the fifth year, Amgen utilizes the race to raise awareness for the Breakaway from Cancer® initiative.
In honor of cancer survivors everywhere, today Marilyn Luma was recognized and celebrated as the Breakaway from Cancer Champion for her involvement in the group Tutus for Tatas which raises funds for and participates in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event.
Luma led Amgen's Breakaway Mile - a special one-mile walk that crosses the finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. During the event, Luma was joined by approximately 150 community members - cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and advocates - and Amgen's Steve Young, executive director, research, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.
"When I first heard about receiving this honor, it reminded me of what John F. Kennedy said when asked how he became a war hero," explained Luma. "Kennedy said, 'It wasn't voluntary. They sank my boat.' I didn't willingly choose to be diagnosed with cancer, but rather looked within myself to handle my diagnosis with dignity and grace. Now, I aim to do something each year to help make a difference. It's my humble honor to be part of the Breakaway from Cancer effort."
Today's Breakaway Mile was the first 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 inaugural race. The Breakaway from Cancer initiative is designed to empower patients by connecting them to education, resources and hope. Modesto, Bakersfield and Thousand Oaks will also host Breakaway Miles.
For access to resources or to learn more, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 4 TOMORROW:
Wednesday, May 19 - San Jose to Modesto (121.5 mi/195.5 km)
Start Time: 11 a.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:30-4 p.m. PT
Fans of the Amgen Tour of California may recognize part of Stage 4, sponsored by Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative, from the 2009 race when the cyclists traveled from San Jose to Modesto; however, in 2010, the racers will encounter a longer and more challenging route. Beginning with a climb that is synonymous with cycling and the Amgen Tour of California, the cyclists will head up Sierra Rd. (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage. This epic climb is destined to be a defining moment in this year's race. After completing the Sierra Rd. climb, the riders will face fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Rd. alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before visiting downtown Livermore for the first time. The peloton will then turn on to the very difficult Mines Rd., where the riders will face nearly 30 miles of a narrow, twisting road, climbing most of the way before a long descent into Patterson. For the second consecutive year, the stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
In addition to the website, fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Stage 4 will air live on VERSUS tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.