22-Year-Old Cyclist Wins Stage 3 From San Jose to Livermore, CA
If there is such a things as a hat trick in cycling, then Peter Sagan has done it.
He has won his third consecutive heat to start the 2012 Amgen Tour of California by taking the 115.3-mile Stage 3 from San Jose to Livermore. Sagan (SVK) of Liquigas-Cannondale made event history today in the process; no other winner has won three stages in as many days.
The 22-year-old rider again outsprinted Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler (AUS), and Tom Boonen (BEL) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the finish.
“I don’t know what to say because it’s also a surprise for me,” Sagan said.
The final flat sprint into Livermore was a battle at more than 40 miles and hour with a sweeping right-hand turn into the finish, contested by three of the world’s top sprinters including Sagan, Haussler and Boonen, the world’s No. 1-ranked rider.
“This race is very hard for me because it’s a very long climb and the finish in the mountain is very hard as well,” Sagan said. “But, I did very good today and this suits me. Maybe I will try harder to win the yellow jersey one more day and after the time trial we’ll see.”
Stage 3 included a climb up Mt. Diablo, one of the most revered climbs in California, for the first time in the race’s history. At the end, defending Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner (USA) was being escorted to the front with Haussler in the lead, but, as happened in the first two stages, Sagan outsprinted him to the finish line.
In honor of cancer survivors, cancer survivor Bob Hammer, Danville, Calif., was recognized and celebrated as the Breakaway from Cancer Champion. Hammer founded the “Have a Ball” Foundation, which has raised more than a million dollars since its start and benefits 20 cancer organizations, sends kids with cancer to camps, and has established and granted scholarships for students.
Wednesday, May 16 – Sonora to Clovis (130.2 mi/209.6 km)
Start Time: 10:35 a.m. PT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:39 – 5:10 p.m. PT
At 130 miles, Stage 4 is the longest stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, and possibly the most difficult. This will be the race’s first visit to Sonora, a town that many consider to be the most preserved Gold Rush town in California.
As the riders head south towards Mariposa and Oakhurst (both Sprint cities), they will enjoy the incredible beauty and challenge of historic Highway 49. As they skirt Yosemite, they will encounter everything from numerous KOMs, twisty and technical descents, and raging rivers, but very few sections of flat roadway. Once through Mariposa, Highway 49 widens a bit, but two more KOMs will await the cyclists as they head to the final Sprint in Oakhurst. The riders will no doubt be fearless as they attack the final 40 miles into the return to Clovis.