Sagan Wins Four of Four at Tour of California

May 16, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale smiles as he crosses the finish line ahead of Garmin-Barracuda's Heinrich Haussler (L) and Rabobank's Michael Matthews (R) to win stage four of the Amgen Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale smiles as he crosses the finish line ahead of Garmin-Barracuda's Heinrich Haussler (L) and Rabobank's Michael Matthews (R) to win stage four of the Amgen Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Peter Sagan won his fourth of four stages of the Tour of California despite every sprinter trying his best to beat the 22-year-old Liquigas rider.

Stage Four was long, at 210 km, and lumpy, with six categorized climbs, but Sagan made it over in good enough shape to beat Garmin’s Heinrich Haussler (second in every stage) and Rabobank’s Michael Matthews.

Sagan, following teammate Daniel Oss, wnet right by Argos-Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel, led by Koen de Kort. Kittle launched early, trying to get a jump, but couldn’t match Sagan’s acceleration.

Haussler tried to stick to Sagan’s wheel and come around late, but that didn’t work. Matthews followed Haussler but went around the other side, but couldn’t make it either. The Slovakian champion was simply too fast.

Sagan said that he figured to be saying goodbye to the leader’s yellow jersey after Thursday’s time trial, but he thought he might repeat his 2010 win in Stage Six’s mountaintop finish at Big Bear Lake.

Sagan leads the race overall by 16 seconds.

 Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie tried an attack in the final five kilometers to force the sprinters’ teams to chase, hoping to tire Sagan and disorganize the peloton, but the young Liquigas rider needed only one man to lead him out. The tactic might have slowed Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s Tom Boonen, as his leadout train exhausted itself catching Zabriskie, which inadvertently helped Sagan.

Stage Five, the  individual time trial in Bakersfield, should be the first stage not dominated by the quick Liquigas rider. The stage is almost entirely flat through most of it’s 18-mile length, with a couple of tiny lumps and a fair upward slope in the final half-mile. This will be a pure time trialer’s stage, and the final little kick will sort out the best time-trialers—who will save just enough to get up the incline but not so much he is slow over the rest of the course?

Probably Sagan is too big to match the pace of the lighter time trial specialists over the length of the coursed, but after the first four stages, no one would be too surprised if he pulled out a miracle win.

Following the time trial are the two big mountain stages which will likely decide the Tour.
The first, a mountaintop finish at Big Bear Lake, shouldn’t favor Sagan, but he won there in 2010, thought the route is different this year.

Stage Seven. Another mountain top finish atop Mount Baldy, will probably be the decisive stage. Here is where the climbers will shine, and the rest fall back.

Sagan has every chance to win the final stage around Los Angeles Sunday, along with both the points lead and the best Young Rider competition.<!–[if gte mso 9]>

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Tour of California Stage 4

 

rider

team

time

1

Sagan, Peter

Liquigas-Cannondale

5:18:08

2

Haussler, Heinrich

Garmin-Barracuda

 

3

Matthews, Michael

Rabobank

 

4

Boonen, Tom

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

 

5

Kluge, Roger

Argos-Shimano

 

6

Stuyven, Jasper

Bontrager Livestrong

 

7

Boivin, Guillaume

Spidertech

 

8

Candelario, Alexander

Optum

 

9

Howard, Leigh

Orica-Greenedge

 

10

Mondory, Lloyd

Ag2R

 

General Classification after Stage Four

 

rider

team

time

1

Sagan, Peter

Liquigas-Cannondale

28:01:37

2

Haussler, Heinrich

Garmin-Barracuda

 + 0:16

3

Louder, Jeff

UnitedHealthcare

 + 0:34

4

Howes, Alex

Garmin-Barracuda

+ 0:35

5

Rodriguez, Fred

Exergy

+ 0:36

6

Jacques-Mayne, Ben

Bissell

+ 0:36

7

Markel Irizar

RadioShack-Nissan

+ 0:36

8

De Maar, Marc

UnitedHealthcare

+ 0:37

9

Kelderman, Wilco

Rabobank

 + 0:38

10

Atkins, Joshua

Bontrager Livestrong

+ 0:39