Stage 3 Play by Play17:20:30 Stage 4 will be an up and down affair departing at 11 AM PT from Merced and finishing in Clovis 115.8 miles later. A pair of Herbalife Sprints will be on offer, but the real story of the day will be the five California Travel & Tourism KOM climbs (three category 3 and two category 4). Dry weather is expected for the first time since the Prologue, which will certainly be welcomed by the riders who have endured being rained on for consecutive three stages. Our live coverage begins at 10:30 AM PT with the pre-race show hosted by Frankie Andreu & JoE Silva. Thanks for riding with us today. This is Rick Scott sending you peace, love & cycling bliss from Modesto.
17:10:32 We finally got a thrilling sprint finish at this year's Amgen Tour of California on Stage 3, sponsored by Fly V Australia. The day began in San Jose and shortly after the start, a four-man break – Jeff Louder (BMC), Bradley White (OUCH), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) and Brian Vandborg (Liquigas) – jetted before the first KOM climb on Sierra Road (category 1). The break managed to stick until reaching the finishing circuit in Modesto when Louder launched a desperate attack in an effort to stave off the inevitable. Mollema was the only one able to stick with him, but their fate was doomed as the teams of the hungry sprinters wanted their day. The newly formed Cervelo Test Team squad executed to perfection putting three men at the front with Thor Hushovd snatching the golden ring in the pack gallop. With the peloton crossing the line all in the same time, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) retains the yellow jersey as there were no changes at the top of the General Classification.
16:30:55 Cervelo executed to perfection to take the victory for Thor Hushovd, winner of Stage 3 at the Amgen Tour of California. There will be no change in the GC: Levi Leipheimer retains his yellow jersey. The unofficial 2nd place finisher was Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Mark Renshaw (Team Columbia-Highroad) takes 3rd.
16:27:35 Thor got it!
16:27:24 Thor got it!
16:27:05 Cervelo has 3 men at the front with Thor in position.
16:26:21 1 km to go.
16:26:18 1 km to go.
16:26:10 Cervelo, Cervelo, Cervelo at the front for Big Thor...
16:25:28 Quick Step, Cervelo and Columbia-Highroad are all jockeying at the front for position.
16:24:49 It's all about the sprint now. Don't go anywhere.
16:24:30 The catch is made.
16:24:08 The field is stretched out in a long line as the gap is down to 50 meters. Here comes the catch!
16:23:32 Louder and Mollema are back together.
16:23:13 Quick Step and Columbia-Highroad drives the chase for Boonen and Cavendish.
16:22:43 Huge crowd roars as Mollema has jumped away from Louder and opened a small gap.
16:22:03 One lap to go. 12 seconds is the gap.
16:21:38 The gap is 20 seconds. The riders will complete one circuit in Modesto before the finish.
16:20:23 Vandborg and White have been absorbed into the peloton.
16:19:38 The gap is 15 seconds.
16:19:29 Quick Step still at the head of the peloton.
16:18:39 The duo are working together.
16:18:20 Louder and Mollema have connected.
16:17:54 Mollema is still in pursuit of Louder in this final act of desperation.
16:17:09 Mollema is trying to chase, but Vandborg and White have cracked.
16:16:39 Louder has launched an attack.
16:16:14 The gap is 35 seconds for the four breakaway riders who departed the field after just 2 miles into the stage.
16:15:12 10 km left in the stage for the field. Pena has rejoined the group.
16:14:17 Rock Racing's Victor Hugo Pena ran out of room and ran off the side of the road. He kept it upright with great handling skills and stayed out of the mud. The gap is 45 seconds.
16:12:31 The front of the field is strung out single file as the gap shrinks to one minute.
16:10:27 Andy Schleck is still at the front powering the chase. The gap is 1:10.
16:09:22 1:15 is the gap for the four-man break.
16:08:12 Just under 10 miles left in the stage for the field.
16:07:06 1:30 is the gap.
16:06:09 Saxo Bank has sent Andy Schleck up front to help in the chase for J.J. Haedo, who has won at least one stage in every edition of this race and would like to keep the streak alive this year. The gap is 1:35.
16:04:24 Quick Step, Team Columbia-Highroad and Cervelo Test Team have assumed the chase as Astana relinquishes the reigns.
16:02:04 The break is 1:45 as Astana drives the peloton to the finish in Modesto.
16:01:00 20 km left for the field.
16:00:47 Louder (BMC), White (OUCH), Mollema (Rabobank) and Vandborg (Liquigas) maintain a 1:40 advantage on the field.
15:59:22 20 km left for the break.
15:57:34 A break in the rain here at the finish in Modesto, but the roads are wet...really wet.
15:56:36 Cervelo's sprinter is Thor Hushovd with backup from Dominique Rollin, who won the Herbalife Sprint jersey at this race last year.
15:55:25 Just spoke to Cervelo's Phil White who is hoping his Cervelo Test Team will have the opportunity to get in a bit of sprint practice today as the leaders of the newly formed squad are in their first race of the season. The gap is 1:40.
15:53:25 101.4 will be the total distance covered in this shortened stage.
15:52:18 Approximately 15 miles left in Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California.
15:48:24 The gap is 2:25 as we near the 4-hour mark of the stage.
15:44:27 Almost 83 miles into the stage, which has been shortened by one finishing circuit due to safety concerns. The gap is 2:30 with Astana setting tempo at the head of the field.
15:42:03 Have you checked out the new Amgen Tour of California apparel and collectibles? They have a ton of new items and designs available this year. We have a bountiful feast of t-shirts, hats, jackets, sweatshirts and more. Peep the offerings at www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. The Special of the Day is on jerseys, including the all important yellow, sprint, climber's, young rider and the most courageous jersey. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code JERSEYS09 at checkout.
15:41:39 The gap is 2:25 for the four-man break.
15:39:37 The gap is down to 2:45. The sprinters are starting to lick their lips...
15:39:11 Got an update on the two riders carted off earlier today in ambulances. Omer Kem (Bissell) has a suspected broken femur and Ian McGregor (Team Type 1) is being treated for chest injuries, which may include broken ribs or collarbone. They are both being treated at a local hospital in Modesto. Everyone here at the Amgen Tour of California have them in our thoughts and prayers.
15:34:54 The gap is 3 minutes.
15:31:49 Think we're finally going to see first round of Boonen vs. Cavendish at the finish today although you can never count out Freire, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) and Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank).
15:28:27 Almost 77 miles into the stage. The riders are on dry roads at the moment.
15:23:59 The riders are on a long flat stretch of road that leads to Modesto where the clouds are darkening. The gap is 3:20.
15:21:37 Puddles upon puddles of water at the finish awaits the riders in Modesto. Yes, Virginia, it's raining again.
15:18:27 3:30 is the time gap for Vandborg (Liquigas), Louder (BMC), Mollema (Rabobank) and Bradley White (OUCH). The field is led by Astana with a little help from Team Columbia-Highroad and Quick Step.
15:16:00 The riders are all on the same road at the moment. It's a long, straight road so the peloton has an idea of where their prey is at the moment.
15:14:55 We're glad you're with us for Stage 3 of the 4th Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Modesto. I'm Rick Scott. Stay with us for what might be our first sprint finish. The four-man break is up 3:20.
15:12:19 A Quick Step rider has come to aid the chase obviously for their leader, Tom Boonen.
15:10:45 The gap is 3:45 for the break. The race has been shortened as a matter of safety. The riders will only complete one finishing circuit in Modesto.
15:08:55 Vandborg, Louder and Mollema were the benefactors of the Herbalife Sprint in Tracy.
15:07:30 Seeing images of Mark Cavendish in the pack. His Columbia-Highroad teammates are around him as are the teammates of Oscar Freire's Rabobank squad.
15:03:25 The rain has picked up in intensity here at the finish in Modesto. The leaders are 1 km from the Herbalife Sprint in Tracy. Points and 3-, 2- and 1-second time bonuses are at stake.
15:01:33 Louder and Vandborg are chatting a bit at the front of the break. Perhaps making a deal?
15:00:37 Matthew Wilson (Team Tyoe 1) received a wheel after a flat.
14:58:57 Gap is 4:30. The break has covered nearly 67 miles and are less than 2 miles from the Herbalife Sprint in Tracy.
14:57:08 Riders are being warned on race radio about a right turn coming up that has water in the corner. With all the rain we've had, aren't the roads all wet?
14:55:42 In its 4th year, the title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California allows Amgen to raise awareness of the company's mission to serve patients and promise of medical innovations made possible through biotechnology. It also allows Amgen to make a real impact in further supporting cancer patients and their families nationwide through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative. To learn more, please visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
14:55:18 The gap is 4:40 as Team Columbia-Highroad and Astana muscle the chase.
14:53:03 Team Columbia-Highroad is also attentive because their Michael Rogers is 2nd in the GC down 24 seconds.
14:51:14 Palm trees are blowing around indicating the strength of the wind the riders are contending with today. The gap is 5:05.
14:46:22 Of the four men in the break, Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) has the most to gain as he's 2:14 back of Leipheimer while the others in the break are more than 23 minutes down in the GC.
14:42:32 58.8 miles into the stage for the field. Total distance today is 104.2 miles from San Jose to Modesto. Team Columbia-Highroad is starting to send some riders to the front to help Astana with the chase so their sprinter, Mark Cavendish, can have a go at the finishing sprint.
14:40:29 Gap at 5:20 for the four-man break. Just exited the broadcast trailer and it's raining in Modesto...sigh...
14:35:57 Not a pretty day, but much better than the downpours we've seen Sunday and Monday. It's cold and the wind might be stronger today. The riders are moving across flatter roads on the way towards the finish in Modesto.
14:33:54 Got some info on crash victim Omer Kem of Bissell. Best case he's got a bruise; worst case is a broken femur.
14:32:12 The average speed today has been around 28 miles despite the 2 climbs. The gap is at 5:05.
14:29:18 The gap is at 5 minutes for the break.
14:28:09 The field is at 52.5 mile. The second Herbalife Sprint comes at 68.8 miles in Tracy.
14:26:49 Astana is all over the front for Leipheimer. Some are wearing their blue & yellow team vest and a few are still in black rain jackets.
14:25:25 Jelly Belly's Bernard Van Ulden is getting a wheel after flatting.
14:24:11 Gap inches up to 4:35.
14:23:26 Main field is at mile 50.4.
14:23:07 Gap down to 4:30 for the break.
14:22:22 Finally I've got race radio. Whew...
14:20:49 Thomas Lovkvist (Team Columbia-Highroad) is receiving a front wheel after a puncture.
14:19:02 Great crowds were out on both climbs today despite the cold, wind and sporadic rain drops.
14:18:19 We're at mile 47.5 of the 104.2 they'll cover today.
14:17:56 The Astana-led peloton is now going over the KOM summit and heading down. The break is descending with care on the wet roads.
14:15:51 The KOM points went to Mollema, Vandborg, Louder and White.
14:14:31 The break is over the KOM.
14:13:30 The rider in the break are up and out of the saddle struggling up the Patterson Pass climb. The gap is down to 4:40.
14:10:31 Have you checked out the new Amgen Tour of California apparel and collectibles? They have a ton of new items and designs available this year. We have a bountiful feast of t-shirts, hats, jackets, sweatshirts and more. Peep the offerings at www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. The Special of the Day is on jerseys, including the all important yellow, sprint, climber's, young rider and the most courageous jersey. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code JERSEYS09 at checkout.
14:09:21 The break is up 5:40 during Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. Rick Scott happy to be your guide at the finish in Modesto where the fans are gathering en mass awaiting the riders. Come join the fun if you are nearby.
14:04:34 The break is on the KOM just past the 44-mile point on the stage, which is 104.2 miles in length. The roads are wet, but not much rain is falling at the moment.
14:01:17 Meanwhile, the four-man break remains 4 minutes up the road. Jeff Louder (BMC), Brian Vandborg (Liquigas), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) and Bradley White (OUCH) makeup the break.
13:58:58 The climb is less than 2 miles long. Astana with Leipheimer are back on point at the head of the peloton.
13:57:44 The next challenge for the riders will be the California Travel & Tourism KOM on Patterson Pass, a category 4 climb that rises 1589 feet. The summit comes at the 47.1 mile mark.
13:50:33 We've got the results of the Herbalife Sprint in Livermore for you. The points and time bonuses (3 secs., 2 secs. and 1 sec.) went to: 1. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) 2. Bradley White (OUCH) 3. Jeff Louder (BMC)
13:44:11 Got comments and questions for video commentators Frankie Andreu & Broadway JoE Silva? Hit 'em up at email@example.com. Tell them Rick Scott sent you.
13:42:46 Think it's tough riding long stages in cold rain? Armstrong Twittered that he slept 10 hours last night.
13:41:43 Louder, Mollema, White and Vandborg have 4 minutes on the field, which has slowed for a natural break. That'll make it easier for Leipheimer to rejoin the fold.
13:38:45 It was indeed Leipheimer who touched wheels with Armstrong at the front of the pack. Thankfully he's okay. A bunch of attentive Garmin-Slipstream riders narrowly averted going down over the sprawled race leader.
13:36:26 The rider is back on a spare bike and is receiving help from a teammate. It really looks like our yellow jersey, Leipheimer. A couple teammates are leading him back to the group.
13:35:01 A few guys went down including an Astana rider. It might be Levi Leipheimer, but it's hard to tell with the black raincoat.
13:33:32 Crash at the front of the peloton!
13:32:19 We're finally starting to receive video images from the motos. Hallelujah!
13:31:17 The four-man break is up 2:20. We're 30 miles into the stage and about 7 miles from the first Herbalife Sprint in Livermore.
13:25:14 Just received some info about Team Type 1's Ian McGregor, who left the race after crashing. He missed a corner on the rain-soaked descent. McGregor is being taken to a local hospital to be checked for possible broken bones and facial abrasions.
13:21:48 The results of the first California Travel & Tourism KOM are: 1. Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing) 2. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) 3. Bradley White (OUCH) 4. Jeff Louder (BMC) 5. Pieter Weening (Rabobank) 6. José Luis Rubiera (Astana) 7. Christopher Horner (Astana)
13:19:20 Approximately 26 miles into the stage and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) has flatted. He's won the Best Young Rider competition the past two years at this race and is the current leader in that category.
13:13:49 The break is almost finished the long sketchy descent as they pass the 22-mile mark of the 104.2 they'll cover today in Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. I'm Rick Scott at the finish in Modesto. Great to have you with us. Thanks for your patience with more weather-related technical difficulties that prevent us from showing you video images. We're without race radio as well. Please hang in there with us...
13:07:58 It was not a Liquigas ride in a crash after all. It was Bissell's Omer Kem. The riders are moving towards the first Herbalife Sprint in Livermore which comes at 37.1 miles.
13:00:05 In its 4th year, the title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California allows Amgen to raise awareness of the company's mission to serve patients and promise of medical innovations made possible through biotechnology. It also allows Amgen to make a real impact in further supporting cancer patients and their families nationwide through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative. To learn more, please visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
12:57:59 The gap is up to 1:15. The still unknown Liquigas rider is being attended to by an ambulance. Ian McGregor (Team Type 1) also crashed hard and is being attended to on the road.
12:54:53 The advantage for the break is at 35 seconds.
12:52:33 A Liguigas rider missed a corner on the gnarly descent and crashed off the road just after the 13-mile mark.
12:46:47 The break is over the Sierra Road KOM and are on the descent with a 35-second advantage.
12:45:40 The break again consists of Louder (BMC), Mollema (Rabobank), Vanborg (Liquigas) and White (OUCH).
12:42:04 Word comes that Mancebo did not make the break after all. He's riding with the peloton.
12:37:26 Have you checked out the new Amgen Tour of California apparel and collectibles? They have a ton of new items and designs available this year. We have a bountiful feast of t-shirts, hats, jackets, sweatshirts and more. Peep the offerings at www.amgentourofcaliforniastore.com. The Special of the Day is on jerseys, including the all important yellow, sprint, climber's, young rider and the most courageous jersey. Enjoy a 25% discount by entering the code JERSEYS09 at checkout.
12:36:58 Over 8 miles into the stage and we're still flying a bit in the dark. Once the riders go over the KOM, a technical descent with a slew of switchbacks awaits...not something you want on rain-slicked roads.
12:33:34 Crowds are covering the Sierra Road climb, which is 6 kms long. Apparently King had crashed prior to the start of the Tour so he was already banged up before hitting the tarmac today.
12:28:38 Mancebo has successfully joined the break making it a five-man group who are making their way up the KOM.
12:26:36 Apparently King crashed during the neutral section, but got up to make a go of it. Unfortunately no such luck.
12:24:59 Edward "Teddy" King of Cervelo Test Team has abandoned. Mancebo is dangling off the front of the field again.
12:22:11 No mas! Mancebo and Wilson were reabsorbed by the peloton.
12:17:23 Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) and Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing) are the riders attempting to join the break.
12:16:27 5 km from the KOM and the gap is 30 seconds. Two riders are attempting to bridge.
12:14:07 The riders in the break are Jeff Louder (BMC), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), Brian Vanborg (Liquigas) and Bradley White(OUCH).
12:11:36 The break is up 45 seconds at the base of Sierra Road, which has thousands of people lining the first KOM climb.
12:10:20 Just got word they started the race 10 minutes early today and a 4-man break has a 20-second advantage.
12:06:26 4.2 miles of neural at the start.
12:04:46 We've got light rain along with a mix of sun at the start in San Jose.
11:57:23 Once again, it looks like the weather will impact our video coverage at the start. No race radio yet either. Thanks for your patience.
11:52:30 During last year’s Amgen Tour of California, the peloton rode from Modesto to San Jose, but in 2009 they’ll reverse direction and pedal from San Jose to Modesto. That means the riders will be hit hard early when just five miles into Stage 3, they’ll face menacing Sierra Road (category 1 at 1930 feet of elevation), which has been a defining climb in previous years and is certain to inflict damage on the field once again. The racers will then speed through flat sections that twist and turn, including more than 40 switchbacks on Calaveras Road. After tackling the second KOM climb of the day, Patterson Pass (category 4), the stage will conclude with two laps around a downtown circuit in Modesto where the roads are wet from lightly falling rain.
11:47:27 Welcome back to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. I'm Rick Scott, your eyes and ears at the finish of Stage 3 in Modesto. The stage begins at 12 PM PT in San Jose with two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) back in the yellow leader's jersey. It's another cold, wet and windy with showers expected on and off throughout the day. The 104.2 mile route includes two Herbalife Sprints and two California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climbs, the first of which is the category 1 ascent of Sierra Road. Frankie Andreu and Broadway JoE Silva will be calling the action live on the video side and I've got you covered with the play by play. Stick around for all the exciting race action.