Zabriskie Takes Stage Three of the Amgen Tour of California

May 18, 2010 Updated: May 19, 2010

David Zabriskie takes the podium in the leader's yellow jersey after winning Stage Three of the 2010 Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
David Zabriskie takes the podium in the leader's yellow jersey after winning Stage Three of the 2010 Tour of California. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Garmin-Transition’s David Zabriskie maneuvered his way into position to win the final sprint in Stage Three of the Amgen Tour of California, capturing the yellow jersey by four seconds.

Stage Three of the Amgen Tour of California saw the first big selection of the Tour, as Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, and Michael Rodgers broke from the peloton on the Cat 2 climb of Bonny Doon and held the lead to the finish.

The trio, who finished 1–2–3 in last year’s Tour, announced their intent to do it again, beating the peloton in by 20 seconds, before sorting themselves out in the final sprint.

In the final 500 meters it was Zabriskie who made the first move, gaining a few feet advantage and setting himself up on the inside for the final tight left-hand turn.

The inside line gave him a few feet advantage, and he needed every bit as HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rodgers came within six inches at the line. Radio Shack’s Levi Leipheimer, the three-time defending champion, couldn’t react quickly enough to stay with the other two and finished third.

Decisive Climb

Stage Three stretched 113.5 miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. A few serious climbs: Tunistas Creek Road, a Cat 2, Old La Honda Road, a Cat 3 and the Cat 4 Pescadero Road provided minor challenges in the first half of the race, but it was the seven-mile-long, Cat 2 Boony Doon that everyone was waiting for. This was the climb where Levi Leipheimer made his decisive move in the 2009 Tour, and this was where the peloton expected him to go again.

Five riders attempted a North American breakaway about 35 miles into the race. Ryan Anderson of Kelly Benefits, Davide Frattini of Team Type 1, Will Routley of Jelly Belly, Andy Jacques-Maynes of Bissell, and Eric Boilly of Spider Tech opened a gap of up to five minutes at one point.

These riders all represent North American teams; Spider Tech is Canadian, the rest American—and these riders set out to prove they had the pace and the fitness of their better-known European counterparts.

Team Radio Shack again set the pace for much of the race, and in the final ten miles approaching Bonny Doon, they really turned up the volume, running down the breakaway at the base of the climb and steaming into the ascent full force.

David Zabriskie (L) celebrates as he crosses the finish line just ahead of Michael Rodgers to win the third stage of the Tour of California. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
David Zabriskie (L) celebrates as he crosses the finish line just ahead of Michael Rodgers to win the third stage of the Tour of California. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Radio Shack rider Christopher Horner amped up the pace again once the climb started, and almost immediately riders began falling off. The peloton shattered into small bits within a minute

As Leipheimer, Zabriskie, and Rodgers attacked off the front, Horner, with Lance Armstrong at his side, kept pushing to crack as many riders as they could, to protect the break.

Zabriskie, Rodgers, and Leipheimer were able to open a gap of 1:30 on the climb, while behind them, ridwers struggled to recover from the pace set at the base of the climb. Finally a group of about two dozen riders assembled and tried to give chase, but the group was full of Garmin and Radio Shack riders who had no intention of pushing the pace.

Liquigas, trying to get the yellow jersey for their rider Peter Sagan, made an effort to reel in the break, but their powerhouse Brian Vandborg punctured a tier in the final few miles, which hamstrung the team’s effort. The gap dropped to twenty seconds and held there, as none of the other teams had any reason to hurry.

Zabriskie, due to time bonuses, leads the Tour by four seconds over Rodgers, who leads Leipheimer by two. Peter Sagan is twenty seconds back, with UnitedHealthcare’s Mark de Maar three seconds behind him.

 

2010 Amgen Tour of California General Classification

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

David Zabriskie

Garmin-Transitions

13:09:33

2

Michael Rodgers

HTC-Columbia

+4

3

Levi Leipheimer

Radio Shack

+6

4

Peter Sagan

Liquigas

+21

5

Mark De Maar

UnitedHealthcare

+24

6

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Transitions

+27

7

Janez Brajkovic

Radio Shack

+27

8

Rory Sutherland

UnitedHealthcare

+27

9

Peter Stetina

Garmin-Transitions

+27

10

Tom Danielson

Garmin-Transitions

+27