Bradley Wiggins Retains Yellow Jersey after the Queen Stage with the Pack Closing In
Peloton Begins Picturesque Central California Leg Wednesday from Monterey to Cambria
MOUNT DIABLO STATE PARK (May 13, 2014) – A stellar performance on the steep slopes of Mount Diablo saw yesterday’s second-place finisher, Team Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis (AUS), gain 20 seconds on the 2014 Amgen Tour of Californiarace leader, Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins (GBR), and capture the Queen Stage win in the process.
Presented by Michelob Ultra, the 108.5-mile Stage 3 was considered to be the toughest of the race week and included two categorized climbs. A breakaway of eight riders around mile three held the gap, at times nearly seven minutes, for more than 90 miles. It began to close with 30 miles left to ride as Team Sky took control of the peloton’s pace.
As the 3,848-foot ascent up Mount Diablo began, the peloton began to swallow the riders back up, one by one. Ultimately, three remained out in front with less than five miles to go, swapping attacks, including Robbie Squire (USA) of Team Jamis-Hagins Berman p/b Sutter Home and the Mexican National Champion Luis Davila of Jelly Belly Cycling Team p/b MAXXIS, whose energetic ride earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
Protected and put into position by his team at the beginning of the 10.8-mile climb up Mount Diablo, Wiggins was soon at the head of the pack, setting a steady, fast pace for the duration that no one in the peloton could contest for most of the way to the summit. Wiggins was isolated with all the major contenders the last five miles of the 108.5-mile stage after his Team Sky teammates had reeled in a long breakaway. With the driving pace up the 6 percent average grade slope, the peloton quickly thinned to about 25 riders, several of whom fell off toward the top.
“The boys did a good job in this heat. I was alone about the last 8 kilometers I think. We did this climb a little over a week ago. I knew how it kicked up the last 300 meters. It was a tough climb. Every day is a tough day when you’re in yellow,” said Wiggins.
The final two miles were punctuated with attacks on Wiggins, first by last year’s KOM champion Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo.) of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, and then by Janier Acevedo (COL) of Team Garmin-Sharp, who placed second on last year’s Mount Diablo summit finish. Though both were quickly reigned in, the stage was set for the final attack by Dennis, who was in the wings to pounce from just behind Wiggins’ wheel during the final half-mile, where the grade turned to 17 percent near the finish. Wiggins ended the stage in 9th place to retain the Amgen Race Leader Jersey and a lead of 24 seconds.
Other podium finishers today included Team NetApp-Endura’s Tiago Machado (POR) in second place and last year’s best young rider Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas) of Team Giant-Shimano in third place to tighten his hold on the Crunchies Best Young Rider jersey.
Earlier in the stage, the riders gained nearly 4,000 feet in elevation from the start line in east San Jose to the top of Mount Hamilton just over 20 miles into the race. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Will Routley (CAN) shored up another day in the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Jersey early on, riding with the breakaway to become the first over Mount Hamilton. The Visit California Sprint Leader Jersey remains with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team’s Mark Cavendish who captured the jersey while earning the victory in Sunday’s first stage.
At the start of today’s stage, cyclists, staff and spectators paused for a meaningful Breakaway Moment. This special tribute was part of Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer®, a national initiative that that aims to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention through survivorship.
As part of the Breakaway Moment, professional riders wore a commemorative number to honor someone in their life impacted by cancer. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rode for Bram Friedman, Mike Friedman’s father who is currently battling cancer; Matt Cooke (JHS) rode for cancer survivor Josh Hoffman who fired the official start gun to begin the stage; and Ian Boswell (Team Sky) rode for his mom.
“This morning’s Breakaway Moment underscores the fact that nearly everyone has been touched by cancer and nobody should go through it alone,” said Ray Jordan, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, Amgen. “Along with the cyclists in the Breakaway Moment, we encourage everyone nationwide to help build the world’s largest cancer support team through social media by using the “hashtag” breakaway or leaving a comment of support on the Breakaway from Cancer Facebook page.”
Today’s Breakaway from Cancer activities also featured Mountain View, Calif. resident Blaine Mauldin who presented the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey to Luis Davila (MEX), Jelly Belly Cycling Team p/b MAXXIS (USA).
From iconic ocean vistas to mountaintop finishes to desert scapes, the cyclists will cover more than 720 miles of beautiful and varying California terrain this week as they ride from the north to the south of the state in the ninth annual Tour de France-style competition.
STAGE 4 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY VISIT CALIFORNIA:
Wednesday, May 14 – Monterey to Cambria (102.6 mi)
Start Time: 11:50 a.m. PDT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:50 p.m. PDT
Satellite Feed Time: 4:50 – 5 p.m. PT
Coordinates can be found at http://amgentourofcalifornia.com/news/media-resources
If Stage 3 was the toughest of the 2014 race, Stage 4 is arguably the most beautiful. The City of Monterey will host the Stage 4 start at Alvarado Street. With a spectacular backdrop of the Monterey Bay, the riders will head south on one of the most iconic roadways in the world – Highway 1. On the way to the finish in first-time host Cambria, the riders will vie for a sprint in Big Sur and three KOMs, as well as take in plenty of spectacular scenery – sprawling ocean vistas, crashing waves, lighthouses, state parks, elephant seals, herds of zebra and the famous Hearst Castle.
There are plenty of ways to take in the pro action, whether in person on the race course through May 18, via daily broadcasts on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports (final Sunday), or by downloading the free Tour Tracker app, which features live race updates, rider background and full race results. More information on all of the ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses 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. More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
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Amgen focuses on areas of high-unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing 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 the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, 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.
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Michael Roth, AEG
Eileen Tanner, GolinHarris
Diana Valdez, GolinHarris