Three stages in and the overall leader's jersey has changed hands for the third time. This one, however, may be a bit more difficult to wrest from its owner.
Dave Zabriskie, last year's overall runner-up, crossed the finish line inches ahead of Michael Rogers to win Stage 3 in Santa Cruz. Close behind them was defending champion Levi Leipheimer. The three riders, who made up the 2009 overall podium, now hold the top three spots of the general classification.
A small breakaway was eventually scooped up by the peloton at the base of the climb up Bonny Doon Road, but the field didn't stay together for long. Leipheimer's Team RadioShack charged hard off the front, splitting the peloton. Rogers and Zabriskie joined Leipheimer as he surged ahead.
As the three contenders crested the top of the climb, they held a minute and a half lead. But during the descent through redwood forests toward Santa Cruz, a chase group worked to gain time back, cutting the difference to 25 seconds with 4K to go.
Yet Zabriskie, Rogers and Leipheimer were not to be denied the time bonuses awarded to the top three, pushing them to the front of the GC. With each riding for one of America's best ProTour teams, they'll be well protected as the Tour heads to the Stage 7 time trial in Los Angeles.
The peloton passes the Pacific Ocean on their way to Santa Cruz.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Stage 3 Results
- David Zabriskie - Garmin-Transitions 4:26:09
- Michael Rogers - Team HTC-Columbia +00:00
- Levi Leipheimer - Team Radioshack +00:00
- Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Doimo +00:17
- Rory Sutherland - Unitedhealthcare Presented by Maxxis +00:17
- Heinrich Haussler - Cerv?lo Test Team +00:17
- Jens Voigt - Team Saxo Bank +00:17
- Christopher Horner - Team Radioshack +00:17
- Francois Parisien - SpiderTech Powered by Planet Energy +00:17
- Ryder Hesjedal - Garmin-Transitions +00:17
- David Zabriskie - Garmin-Transitions – 13:09:33
- Michael Rogers - Team HTC-Columbia +00:04
- Levi Leipheimer - Team Radioshack +00:06
- Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Doimo +00:21
- Marc De Maar - Unitedhealthcare Presented by Maxxis +00:24
Tuesday, May 18 — 113.3 miles
What would a Tour of California be without time spent on the Pacific Coast Highway? But the route isn't exactly an easy spin past crashing waves and rocky bluffs, as the second of two excursions inland features the seven-mile climb up Bonny Doon Road. Expect a contender to attack there.
? Sprint points at: Pacifica, Half Moon Bay
? KOM points at: Tunitas Creek Rd., CA 84, Pescadero Rd., Bonny Doon/Pine Flat Rd.