Stage 3 Play by Play15:28:46
Stage 3 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, sponsored by the California Board of Tourism, lived up to the advance billing of being a feared monster. During the 103-mile/165-kms from Modesto to San Jose, the peloton faced no less than five King of the Mountains climbs, including the ascent of Mt. Hamilton (HR-above categorization at 4360 feet) and the category 1 Sierra Road, the last of which proved as decisive as it has been in previous editions of the race. Team Slipstream's Tyler Farrar started the day wearing the golden leader's jersey, but pulled out early after battling a case of food poisoning. Many courageous performances were on display as some of the best climbers in the world got their chance to shine. After the early four-man break was absorbed, the elite climbers came to the fore and it was game on. On Sierra Road, Astana riders, in support of defending race champion Levi Leipheimer, shattered the group with a menacing tempo. Eventually Leipheimer and last year's Best Young Rider, Robert Gesink of Rabobank, emerged and worked together to stay away on the long run into San Jose. Gesink took the win and puts on the Best Young Rider's jersey while Leipheimer dons his first golden leader's jersey this year.
Tomorrow's Stage 4, sponsored by Olevia, departs from Seaside on a glorious path down to San Luis Obispo. It's the Queen stage, the longest at 135 miles/218 kms. The riders will pedal along a scenic route over hilly and technical terrain adjacent to the majestic Pacific Coast Highway traveling through Big Sur and the Hearst Castle before turning inland for the finish in San Luis Obispo. There will be two Herbalife Sprints and three KOM climbs, but the day will likely be settled in a sprint. Catch all the action live right here starting at 10 AM PST. Our pre-race coverage begins at 9:30 AM PST. I'm Rick Scott, your eyes and ears at the Amgen Tour of California. Thank you for being with us.
14:51:25 Unofficially Levi Leipheimer will put on the golden race leader's jersey. Stage results and the GC standings will be posted on this site as soon as they are available.
14:48:27 Again, the stage win goes to Rabobank's Robert Gesink, but Leipheimer showed he is ready to claim his second Amgen Tour of California title.
14:45:50 We'll have to see what the time gap is between Leipheimer and Cancellara to see who will wear gold tomorrow.
14:44:43 They're going to make it! Leipheimer gives the stage win to Gesink!
14:44:12 Leipheimer and Gesink are making their final turns into town.
14:43:07 Leipheimer & Gesink are pouring everything into it as they hit the 1 km to go! The gap is still 20 seconds.
14:42:07 Leipheimer & Gesink have 2 km to go.
14:41:41 The chase is strung out single file in frantic pursuit. 3 km to the finish. The gap is down to 20 seconds.
14:40:29 The chase has 4 km to go while the gap is at 30 seconds to Leipheimer and Gesink.
14:38:53 Gesink and Leipheimer are burying themselves in the hope of staying away.
14:36:47 The riders in the chase are Horner, Rubiera, Vandewalle, Julich, Larrson, Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick Step), Millar, Zabriskie, Peterson, Moos, Vandevelde, Pena, and Cancellara, the last of whom can claim gold if they can catch Leipheimer and Gedsink. The gap is 35 seconds.
14:29:05 The chase group is sharing the load equitably trying to close the gap, which remains at 45 seconds.
14:27:38 Leipheimer and Gesink split going around a corner when Gesink nearly hit a median in the road. They're back together.
14:26:17 Fourteen riders are furiously chasing Leipheimer and Gesink. The gap is 45 seconds.
14:25:14 Today's final KOM points on Sierra Road went to Gesink, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Horner, Vandewalle and Slipstream's Tom Peterson.
14:23:32 The gap is down to 55 seconds.
14:20:44 The gap is 1:05.
14:19:28 Leipheimer and Gesink continue taking turns trying to crank out the miles on their way into San Jose for the finish with the hope of staying away. Leipheimer wants the leader's jersey and Gesink will likely claim the Best Young Rider's jersey. 15 riders are chasing them.
14:17:54 We've got official KOM points for you. On Mt. Hamilton, it was Rubiera, Jurgen Vandewalle (Quick Step), Moos of BMC, Ardilla, Gesink and Iker Camano of Saunier Duval.
14:14:55 A mix of sun & clouds await today's Stage 3 finish of the Amgen Tour of California. The temperature is 58 degrees and the road is dry.
14:12:03 Gesink took maximum KOM points and he and Leipheimer have begun their descent. They have a 45-second advantage over Zabriskie and Horner.
14:09:20 When they hit the summit, they're going to have about 17 miles to go.
14:07:06 Horner is just going to sit on Zabriskie wheel like a good teammate. He doesn't want to take Dave Z. back to Levi.
14:06:02 Gesink continues to set the pace. He was the Best Young Rider in last year's race.
14:04:29 Gesink and Leipheimer have pulled away.
14:03:19 Ardilla is gone. Gesink has lifted the tempo. Leipheimer is on his wheel. Dave Z. is there with Horner behind him.
14:02:36 Pena is now riding with David Millar. Hincapie might be able to rejoin during the long descent.
14:01:31 The second Rabobank rider is Colombian Mauricio Alberto Ardila.
13:59:06 The lead group is down to 6. Two Rabobanks including Gesink, Pena for Rock Racing, Zabriskie for Slipstream and the three from Astana.
13:57:14 Rubiera is driving the pace with Horner and then Leipheimer at the front.
13:56:24 Zabriskie is there riding behind Leipheimer.
13:55:18 Three Astanas have helped shrink the gap. Hincapie has been caught.
13:53:33 One of the Astana riders has dropped off as soon as they hit the start of the KOM. 5 km to the summit to go.
13:52:13 It's a long way into San Jose after the summit so Hincapie will have to do something very special today if he hopes to stay away.
13:50:57 Hincapie is approaching the start of the Sierra Road KOM climb. It's a category 1.
13:49:30 Astana continues to drive the chase in pursuit of Hincapie. The gap is up to 45 seconds.
13:47:52 The gap is 40 seconds.
13:46:56 Hincapie is taking a feed before he hits the final KOM of the day on Sierra Road.
13:44:44 Hincapie's gap is still 35 seconds. Astana has a formidable force in support of defending Agen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer. Stay with us for the play-by-play. I'm Rick Scott. If you can watch our live broadcast, Frankie Andreu & Fantastic Joe Silva are your men on the scene.
13:40:01 You gotta love the heart Hincapie is showing today with this move.
13:36:06 The lead group is at mile 75.
13:35:33 Gusev has assumed the helm. Hincapie's gap is 35 seconds
13:34:08 Hincapie's gap is now 30 seconds. Brajkovic is driving the Astana train in pursuit.
13:31:13 It's five from Astana upfront and they are all at the front leading the chase.
13:29:54 CSC is back in the front group after having dropped off, probably to support a teammate. Hincapie now has 35 seconds.
13:27:53 Leipheimer has three men up there with him. I'm going to guess Horner is the there along with Rubiera and Brajkovic. Hincapie's gap is down to 20 seconds.
13:25:45 Slipstream's David Miller is in the front group wearing his British National Road Race Champion's kit.
13:23:49 Hincapie looks focused and is looking strong despite remnants of his crash from Monday.
13:22:18 The second group on the road is back 45 seconds. Hincapie is still ahead alone.
13:20:51 Hincapie has opened up a slight gap.
13:20:36 Astana's Jani Brajkovic nearly lost it by overcooking a corner on the descent.
13:19:10 17 riders comprise the lead group. There should be plenty of action on Sierra Road.
13:18:00 The broom wagon is finally cresting the KOM. No word on who is in it.
13:16:50 We've got plenty of Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including a wealth of hot-looking jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats and a collector's bell made from recycled spent cartridges from Norwegian Military practice ranges. Today we've got a special on men's & women's fleeces. I've got one on now and it's keeping me warm. To get a 20% discount, use the merchandise code "FLCE2008" at checkout.
13:15:53 We've all been touched in someway by cancer. Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative supports valuable services and programs that help people living with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation by texting the word "DONATE" to 222377. All entrants will receive discounts valid at the Amgen Tour of California online store and you'll automatically be entered to win daily prizes and a chance to win a 2009 Amgen Tour of California VIP Getaway. I did it today in the name of a family friend, who lost his battle to the disease yesterday. I challenge everyone to make a donation to Breakway from Cancer at some point this week.
13:14:55 The final KOM of the day comes at 84.6 miles/136.2 kms. It's the category 1 Sierra Road. The riders continue their fast descent.
13:11:13 Hincapie has clawed his way back to the leaders. Rock Racing's Victor Hugo Pena is there as well.
13:10:19 Rubiera is leading the descent. It's a twisty mountain road full of switchbacks. It's very technical.
13:09:07 Robert Gesink is one of the Rabobank riders. The riders are 1 km away from the KOM.
13:09:01 The leaders are over the KOM and are now descending. They are 61 miles into the stage.
13:08:46 Robert Gesink is one of the Rabobank riders. The riders are 1 km away from the KOM.
13:05:12 Make that Gusev is there for Astana. CSC's Bobby Julich has just been dropped. Rubiera is still setting tempo at the front. BMC's Alexandre Moos is also in the group.
13:03:04 Astana's Vladamir ev is in the elite group. Slipstream's Vandevelde & Tom Peterson are there. George Hincapie is there for High Road. Three Rabobanks and three CSCs as well. Gerolsteiner has one.
13:00:40 Rabobank's Martens gap is down to 15 seconds.
13:00:08 Officially there are 19 riders in the front group.
12:59:27 Chechu Rubiera is pacing Leipheimer at the front of this elite group of 15 riders.
12:58:15 Martens is about to be caught. His lead is only 25 seconds.
12:57:31 The report is Farrar was fallen from food poisoning. Terrible way to lose the jersey.
12:56:49 Cozza is about to be caught by the Astana-led group as well. That group is down to 30 riders. This above category climb is decimating the field as expected.
12:54:41 Nydam was reabsorbed by the pack as was LeMoine.
12:53:25 The field is current at mile 57 of the 103 they'll cover today. Martens is 5 km away from the summit.
12:52:14 The groups are being broken up on Mt. Hamilton as expected. Astana is setting a hard tempo in the main pack, which is down to 46 riders in it. Martens continues on his solo attack.
12:50:58 Just saw images of Farrar in the team car and he's not looking well. Perhaps he did get bit by the bug hitting the peloton.
12:49:37 Matty Rice of Jelly Belly and Hilton Clarke of Toyota-United have abandoned as well.
12:47:56 Martens has accelerated away. Cozza went with him for a while, but he's just dropped off.
12:44:54 The break has now begun their ascent of Mt. Hamilton. It's only 35 degrees at the top.
12:43:29 The third KOM officially went to Nydam followed by Cozza, Martens and LeMoine. The gap is now 2:55.
12:41:45 The peloton is now being driven by CSC and they are dropping the hammer.
12:41:13 Nydam took the third KOM points, adding to his lead in the KOM competition.
12:39:47 After the riders hit this summit, they're a handful of miles away from the fourth KOM, the HR climb of Mt. Hamilton, a 4360-foot monster.
12:37:47 The gap is still at 3:30. Nydam is setting tempo in the break.
12:36:49 Tyler Farrar has abandoned. Our golden jersey has adandoned.
12:34:16 The field is 5 km from the third KOM.
12:32:55 It's still Astana assuming the work of the chase as if they had a man in gold, which they might by the end of the day if Mr. Leipheimer has anything to say about it.
12:31:25 The gap is down to 3:30 and the break is 4 km away from the third KOM.
12:30:15 Race doctor Ramin Modabber told me yesterday that many riders in the peloton have been hit by a virus and are being treated with IV fluids. Not sure if either of the abandoned riders were victims or not.
12:28:19 The third KOM is also category 4 also on San Antonio Valley Road. It comes at the 54-mile/87-km mark.
12:26:53 Offiically the second KOM points went to Nydam, Martens, Cozza and LeMoine. Two riders abandoned at the KOM. They are Edvald Hagen of High Road and Laurent Lefevre of Bouygues Telecom.
12:22:15 Nydam pockets the maximum points uncontested.
12:20:08 The break has 4:35 on the peloton and they are less than 1 km away from the summit of the second KOM.
12:17:36 The field is 5 km away from the KOM.
12:13:15 The break is less than 5 km away from the second KOM. The peloton is hitting the feed zone.
12:08:39 The break has crept up to 4:50 now that the peloton has eased up after the first KOM.
12:07:48 The field is just over 40 miles into the stage. The next KOM comes at 47.7 miles/76.8 kms and it's the category 4 climb of San Antonio Road.
12:04:58 The peloton is over the KOM trailing the break by 4:15.
12:02:28 A few Astana are now pacing the peloton towards the KOM.
12:00:26 Nydam gets the points followed by Martens, LeMoine and Cozza. They have 4:55 on the peloton.
11:58:54 Nydam is doing most of the work as he can take over the KOM jersey on the road from his teammate, Jackson Stewart, once he collects the points up for grabs on this first of five KOMs today.
11:56:44 Fans are lining the road towards the summit of the first KOM on Del Puerto Canyon Road. Cozza looks to be hurting.
11:55:15 1 km until the KOM for the break.
11:54:38 Astana is still driving the peloton. Today is a day for Levi Leipheimer to make an attempt to distance himself from the other contenders in his bid to defend his Amgen Tour of California title. No doubt teammate Chris Horner will be up there to help him once they hit the steep climbs later on today.
11:50:52 Kelly Benefit's Kevin LaCombe crashed out at the back of the peloton. He's heading to the hospital now for X-rays.
11:48:32 The gap is now 6 minutes. We've got plenty of Amgen Tour of California merchandise available at our online store, including a wealth of hot-looking jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats and a collector's bell made from recycled spent cartridges from Norwegian Military practice ranges. Today we've got a special on men's & women's fleeces. I've got one on now and it's keeping me warm. To get a 20% discount, use the merchandise code "FLCE2008" at checkout.
11:44:46 The break is 5 km away from the KOM on Del Puerto Canyon Road.
11:43:38 The riders have five KOMs ahead of them. The first three are category 4. Then they'll hit a new climb this year on Mt. Hamilton, an HR (above categorization) climb. The final climb of the day will be the category 1 Sierra Road, which proved so decisive last year. Jens Voigt got the stage win with Leipheimer and Chris Horner en tow.
11:39:43 Peloton are riding along easily, taking breaks to eat and drink. They know it's a big day today in the Amgen Tour of California.
11:37:25 Steven Cozza and his 1970's mustache are driving the break, but all four men are working well together.
11:34:32 The break is about miles away from the first KOM.
11:33:37 The gap is now 5:10 for the four leaders.
11:27:26 An Astana rider is leading the peloton, which is riding single file at the moment. Sunny skies and dry roads, thankfully, including here at the finish. There are some technical and dangerous descents on the course today.
11:24:25 BMC's Jackson Stewart holds the King of the Mountains jersey, but that will likely change today.
11:22:48 If you've got comments or questions, you can email us at ATOC2008@yahoo.com. Frankie Andreu and Joe Silva are answering them on our live broadcast.
11:20:43 He'll just sit on as Slipstream has plans today for their GC riders. Farrar, a non-climber, hopes to hand the golden jersey over to one of his teammates.
11:18:46 Cozza has finally caught the leaders. Now the break is four strong.
11:15:26 Astana has a rider at the front of the peloton. No real sense of urgency in the peloton's tempo. The break is now up 5 minutes.
11:06:33 The gap is growing as the three man – Nydam, Martens and Credit Agricole's Cyril Lemoine – have about 3:20. Cozza is 50 seconds back. The peloton is at mile 22.
11:03:15 The gap is now 2:45. Slipstream's Steven Cozza is a bit further back of our leaders in no man's land.
11:01:45 Plenty of Amgen Tour of California merchandise is available on our online store, including a wealth of jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats and a collector's bell made from recycled spent cartridges from Norwegian Military practice ranges. Today we've got a special on men's & women's fleeces. I've got one on now and it's keeping me warm. To get a 20% discount, use the merchandise code "FLCE2008" at checkout.
10:55:57 The field has slowed for a natural break while the break toils away to build time.
10:54:47 Jens Voigt made an attempt, but the peloton didn't let him get far.
10:53:36 We're 15 miles into the stage. The first KOM comes at mile 39 with the category 4 Del Puerto Canyon Road climb.
10:51:42 The peloton is now springing to life, launching efforts in pursuit of the leaders.
10:51:16 The three-man break just took the Herbalife Sprint points with Nydam taking maximum points and the 3-second time bonus.
10:47:56 The gap has grown to 50 seconds.
10:47:51 We apologize for the technical difficulties our live broadcast is now experiencing.
10:41:50 The gap is at about 10 seconds. Nydam wears the Most Aggressive Rider jersey that he earned after his 90-mile breakaway yesterday during today's stage, which is sponsored by the California Board of Tourism.
10:39:06 The three men are working together whole the peloton bares down to bring them back.
10:35:23 The Credit Agricole rider latched onto Paul Martens of Rabobank and they were joined by Scott Nydam of BMC, who went on that long break yesterday.
10:32:51 Now Credit Agricole is leading the chase back to the Rabobank rider who only has a 5-6-second gap.
10:29:49 Saunier Duval sent a man up the road, quickly followed by BMC. The peloton is not giving anyone any room. Rabobank just sent a rider off the front.
10:28:18 The riders who went down were Steven Cozza (Slipstream), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Kim Kirchen (High Road). Not sure who the other Gerolsteiner rider was.
10:24:28 A moment of inattention created a crash. Two Gerolsteiners, a High Road and a Slipstream riders were involved. They're getting back up and starting to ride back to the pack.
10:22:25 The crowds lining the road today are already thick. In the first three days of the 3rd Amgen Tour of California, officials estimate that 425,000 people have come out to see the race. If you get a chance, you must take advantage of the rare opportunity to see the best cyclists in the world race in-person.
10:14:50 Peloton is rolling along preparing for the official start. They might as well enjoy the sun and dry weather while they've got it because it's not going to last.
10:08:04 We've all been touched in someway by cancer. Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative supports valuable services and programs that help people living with the disease. You can help by making a $2.00 donation by texting the word "DONATE" to 222377. All entrants will receive discounts valid at the Amgen Tour of California online store and you'll automatically be entered to win daily prizes and a chance to win a 2009 Amgen Tour of California VIP Getaway. I'm going to do it today in the name of a family friend, who lost his battle to the disease yesterday. I challenge everyone to make a donation to Breakway from Cancer at some point this week.
10:01:11 Stage 3 is underway with a neutral start in Modesto.
09:55:06 It looks like the sun is shining in Modesto as the riders prepare for the start. You can watch the race live on our site with commentary from Frankie Andreu & Fantastic Joe Silva.
09:42:02 Stage 3 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California should be a great one. Today is the first chance for the GC contenders to show themselves on a route that is built for the climbers as five KOM climbs will assault the peloton's legs over the 102.7 miles/166 kms, including the 4360-foot Mt. Hamilton and the menacing Sierra Road. I'm Rick Scott coming to you live from San Jose. The race will roll off at 10 AM PST in Modesto. It's wet here and the temperatures are in the low 50s. Team Slipstream's 23-year-old Tyler Farrar is in the golden jersey as race leader, but look for strongmen Jens Voigt, George Hincapie and defending champion Levi Leipheimer to rise to the fore today. Stay tuned for live coverage coming soon.
09:21:05 Good morning everyone. We'll be starting our broadcast soon. Please stand by for Stage 3 coverage of the Amgen Tour of California.