Sagan Powers to Third Consecutive Stage Victory in 2012 Amgen Tour of California

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05/16/2012| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen

Sagan Powers to Third Consecutive Stage Victory in 2012 Amgen Tour of California

Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan made Tour of California history earlier today when he won stage 3 of the 2012 race and thereby secured his third consecutive stage win in as many days.

Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan made Tour of California history earlier today when he won stage 3 of the 2012 race and thereby secured his third consecutive stage win in as many days.

The 22-year-old rider, once again, outsprinted Team Garmin-Barracuda's Heinrich Haussler and Tom Boonen of Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Haussler initiated his powerful sprint effort before Sagan and almost managed to keep Sagan away, while Boonen accelerated after both Haussler and Sagan, but too late for him to be able to pass Sagan and Haussler.

"I don't know what to say because it's also a surprise for me," a stunned Sagan commented after the stage finish in Livermore and added "I'd like to thank my team because they did very good work today."

Sagan, who won his sixth stage in the three years he has raced in the Amgen Tour of California is now tied for total number of stage wins with three-time Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer of Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

The final flat sprint into Livermore was a battle at more than 40-miles-per 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 to win overall, because it features a very long climb and the finish in the mountains is very hard as well," Sagan added. "But, I did very good today and this suits me. Maybe I will try hard to keep the yellow jersey one more day and after the time trial we'll see."

Today's stage 3 began in San Jose and traveled 115 miles before ending in Livermore in beautiful weather. Compared to recent editions of the race the organizers have been very fortunate with the weather. The attacks of the day began about one kilometer from the first King of the Mountains sprint at Calaveras Road. Leaving the KOM sprint line, it was Sebastian Salas of Team Optum Powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies, Jonathan Patrick McCarty of Team Spidertech - powered by C10, Jeremy Vennell of Bissell Pro Cycling and Wilson Marentes Torres of Colombia-Coldeportes who initiated the long breakaway of the day.

The four riders opened the first gap on the main peloton, extending their lead to three minutes and 25 seconds about 25 kilometer into the stage. Fans greeted the quartet as they passed through Livermore for the first time during stage 3 of the race, and Torres, Vennell and Salas scooped up the first sprint points of the day. After 32 miles of racing, the break's lead had increased to five minutes. Coming out of the feed zone, the breakaway group had extended their lead to six minutes and 30 seconds, while Liquigas-Cannondale kept pace at the front of the peloton.

As the breakaway group began its struggle up the climb of Mt. Diablo, they had stretched their lead even further to eight minutes. The break continued to work together on the Category 1 climb, but it was Salas who reached the KOM line first, followed by

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