High Stakes for Individual Time Trial in San Jose / Morgan Hill on Tap for Tomorrow
SALINAS, Calif. (May 15, 2018) – Closing out day three at the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, and rebounding one year later at the race where his team pulled him after suffering a concussion and broken collarbone, Trek-Segafredo’s Toms Skujins (LAT) made a late race move that paid off, along with Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team’s Sean Bennett (El Cerrito, Calif.) – one of the youngest in the race at 22 – together creating a gap that held all the way through the Laguna Seca Recreation Area’s speedway finish line.
The pair pounced on the final big climb of the day with the peloton trailing by less than 10 seconds when they turned onto the Laguna Seca raceway. The remaining sprinters in the chase group including World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK), who won the stage the last time it finished at the speedway in 2016, jockeyed for position as they tried to chase down the duo, but the gap held with Skujins crossing the finish solo followed by Bennett three seconds later, and Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Caleb Ewan (AUS), who is prepping for his first Tour de France appearance this summer, rounding out third.
“The only time I actually dreamed about it [the stage win] was in the last 300... I expected someone to come from the back full throttle but I guess it had been a hard day for everyone with the wind and just the hard pace. And the breakaway was really strong that went in the beginning. And that all played into my advantage,” said Skujins, whose prior victories in California include 2016 (Stage 5) and 2015 (Stage 3). “It’s definitely not the easiest run into the final… I’ve raced on Laguna Seca before and that definitely helped me… I knew how to play it.”
Stage 3 presented by Lexus was the race’s longest with a 122.4-mile stretch featuring five KOMs and 8,300’ of elevation gain from first-time host King City, where the cyclists were cheered on by 2,000 local schoolchildren, to Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey County, where the field met a fast, technical sprint finish.
The break of the day included a trio of U.S. riders: Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team’s
Ian Garrison (Decatur, Georgia) and Rally Cycling’s Robin Carpenter (San Diego, Calif.) and Evan Huffman (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), who won two stages last year. Garrison was the last man standing as the others were picked up by the peloton on the Laureless Grade climb and was awarded with the Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
The day of tough climbs shattered the peloton with many of the field’s sprinters losing contact with the main group and riders still trailing in minutes after the leaders finished. Quick-Step Floors’ Stage 1 winner Fernando Gaviria (COL) had a mechanical on the downhill from Laureless Grade that took him out of contention for the final sprint.
Team Sky’s 21-year-old Egan Bernal (COL) retains the Amgen Race Leader Jersey, the Visit California Sprint Jersey, the Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey and the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey.
Tomorrow’s individual time trial event in San Jose / Morgan Hill will feature cyclists racing the clock one by one. With Bernal having gained significant time over other time trail specialists and GC contenders with his epic Gibraltar Road climb Tuesday, the stakes are high for this stage as riders with race champion ambitions will seek to make up time and pull closer to him in the overall standings. In addition to Bernal, Yousif Mirza (UAE) of UAE Team Emirates is the other current National Time Trial Champion in the peloton.
The 2018 edition of America’s premier cycling stage race will cover 645 miles of roadways, highways and coastlines during seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento
May 13-19, while the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM, showcasing the world’s best women cyclists, will run concurrently May 17-19, covering upward of 187 miles over three stages. The annual professional cycling events are the only U.S. races on the UCI WorldTour calendar and continue to attract some of the most renowned cyclists and teams in the world.
Amgen, a biotechnology pioneer since 1980 and the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, has been in a race of its own to develop a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. Similar to the cyclists who will compete intensely to win during the Amgen Tour of California, Amgen scientists and staff have a level of perseverance, determination and skill that is unmatched in the industry in order to help win the fight for patients worldwide.
“Today’s healthcare options for treating serious illness are more promising than at any other time in our history,” said Laura Hamill, senior vice president, US Business Operations, Amgen. “And, now more than ever, patients living with serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease can look to the future with greater hope. Our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California gives us a platform to discuss, educate and empower patients to have hope and believe in innovation to live a longer, healthier life.”
For more information, visit www.amgen.com.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California and the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM are Tour de France-style cycling road races created and presented by AEG. Running concurrently, the races challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along demanding courses that traverse hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions, and award important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including STAPLES Center, The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands, AXS.com ticketing platform, AXS cable television channel and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.
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Michael Roth, AEG
Josh Levitt, Canvas Blue