May 19, 2010 (Santa Cruz, CA) – Another difficult test for the team from Canada, another day the young squad confirms their place amongst the world’s best. After Eric Boily and four competitors were caught in the day’s main break, Stage 3 (182.3 kilometers) of the Amgen Tour of California was settled after a thrilling showdown on the climb of Bonny Doon Road between three of the General Classification favorites: three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions). Zabriskie out-kicked his companions to claim victory as they barely held off a fast-charging group of elite climbers, including Francois Parisien, who crossed the finish line in Santa Cruz in ninth place. Zabriskie now leads the GC.
Departing from San Francisco a short pedal from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the early part of the stage along the Pacific Coast Highway was more about the sprint competition. As the field turned onto the first of four King of the Mountains climbs at Tunitas Creek Road about fifty-five kilometers into the stage, Boily became part of a break that included Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Will Routley (Jelly Belly), Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Davide Frattini (Team Type 1). Sun gave way to rain as the break built their advantage to almost five minutes over the next two KOM climbs. RadioShack commanded the front of the field in an effort to set up Leipheimer, who launched a massive attack on Bonny Doon Road in last year’s race.
The break was recalled just prior to the turn onto the day’s final KOM. Leipheimer, teammate Lance Armstrong, Rogers, Zabriskie and UnitedHealthcare’s Rory Sutherland exploded onto the climb, but Armstrong and Sutherland quickly fell off the pace. The three GC giants, who finished in the top three positions in the GC in last year’s race, built a ninety-second advantage by the time they reached the summit. Parisien and California native Lucas Euser were visible riding towards the front of the select chase group on the climb that managed to narrow the time gap during the long run into the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk finish to just seventeen seconds. Parisien sprinted to finish ninth.
“Once again my teammates did a great job to execute the plan. Eric made it into the day’s break of five riders, which contained three Canadians. After RadioShack brought them back as we approached the left turn for the Bonny Doon ascension, the peloton was flying at more than sixty kilometers per hour. My teammates protected and delivered Lucas and myself into the top ten of the peloton,” explained Parisien.
“During the first few kilometers after turning onto Bonny Doon, we were riding full-on holding nearly five-hundred watts. Once Levi, David and Michael went, the rest of what was left of the peloton sat in. Lucas rode at the front to maintain a good tempo. We crested the summit and started chasing down the break. We reached ninety kilometers an hour during the descent. We knew we had a chance to bring them back. With (team director) Steve’s (Bauer) description of the finish and (team manager’s) Josee’s (Larocque) input from the finish, I tried to visualize the last kilometer in preparation for the sprint. We came close to bringing them back. Thus far, we’ve scored three top ten finishes in three stages, which is awesome for the team. Everyone’s effort is paying off. Tomorrow should be another interesting day for us,” the Quebec native concluded.
“It was a great confirmation today that Team SpiderTech are here to race,” said Bauer. “Eric did a great job making the break of the day, which was certain to be controlled, but it gave the team a presence in the lead. I was impressed with Francois and Lucas on the final climb up Bonny Doon. RadioShack made the race for Levi to attack so it was full-on from the bottom (of the KOM) to the finish. Once again, it came down to an elite group of twenty or so riders in front so our guys continue to prove that they are in the game battling amongst the best riders in the world.”
Wednesday’s (May 19) Stage 4 will test the riders’ legs early on the menacing King of the Mountains climb of Sierra Road less than ten kilometers after departing San Jose in a route that will cover 195.5 kilometers. The peloton will dash through a pair of sprint zones and a second KOM climb before the long descent into Modesto where the stage will finish with a couple of downtown circuits. The eight-day, 1280-kilometer Amgen Tour of California is regarded as one of the most important races on the international calendar comprised of sixteen professional teams from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. For further information, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.