Tour of California: Toms Skujins wins stage 3
May 16 2018 06:24 am CET

Tour of California: Toms Skujins wins stage 3
Tour of California: Toms Skujins wins stage 3
Tour of California

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) has won the third stage in the Tour of California. He left behind his breakaway companion Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon) in the final kilometre on the Laguna Seca racetrack and went on for the victory.

He takes this win a year after his horrible crash in stage 2 of last year's Tour of California. Egan Bernal finished 3rd in the sprint of the group of favourites, shortly behind the winner, and holds on to the yellow leader's jersey.

Today's stage took the riders over 197 km from King City to Laguna Seca. On the road were 5 categorised climbs, four of which in the final 50 kilometres and the final summit at just 2.5 km from the line. The longest stage in this year's Tour of California promised spectacle once again after yesterday's showdown on the Gibraltar Road summit finish.

There was some fighting going on to break away today. Rally Cycling's Evan Huffman and Robin Carpenter made it clear and were accompanied by Ian Garrison from Hagens Berman Axeon. They soon got over 5 minutes.

In the peloton Bora-Hansgrohe chased in order to protect Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan’s chances for the stage win. Carpenter was the first to be dropped from the break, with his teammate Huffman following later because of a mechanical. This left the young American from Hagens Berman Axeon alone in front, however, the peloton was only one minute behind by now. Meanwhile Logan Owen (EF Education First) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) had counterattacked from the peloton by then and he joined Huffman in chasing Garrison.

They caught the leader on the ascent of Cachagua Road, with 28 km to go. Skujins took the KOM points, before Huffman who took the KOM on the first two climbs, and Owen. Huffman couldn't follow his companions in the descent and left his former companion Garrison with Owen and Skujins for company. Going in to the penultimate ascent of the day, the Laureless Summit, they only had 10 seconds on the peloton. Skujins decided it was time to go solo then, as counterattacks from the peloton were launched. Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon) joined the Latvian from Trek and the two slightly expanded their gap to 20 seconds when approaching the final 1.1 km ascent with an average of 10.3%.

In the peloton Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo) upped the pace. The number four in the GC tried to put pressure on race leader Bernal. Peter Sagan remained in the back of the group, as did Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott). Nobody managed an attack and the two remained out front with a small advantage when entering the Laguna Seca racetrack with the famous corkscrew chicane. Sagan was forced to chase and the pace in the chasing group slowed down. Skujins attacked in the front and took a narrow advantage on Bennett. He defended this in the final couple hundred metres and celebrated elaborately. Ewan won the sprint for the third place, just behind Sean Bennett.

By Siebe Kok






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