For the second day in a row, a Deceuninck – Quick-Step cyclist claimed his first WorldTour stage win at the Amgen Tour of California, with 23-year-old French rider Rémi Cavagna spending hours on a solo ride several minutes ahead of the peloton.
About an hour into the race day, a breakaway including the USA Cycling National Team’s reigning U.S. U23 National Champion Alex Hoehn (Lenexa, Kansas) and Cavagna (FRA) built their lead to over 10 minutes and ended up spending 100 miles out front of the peloton.
Stage 3 presented by TAG Heuer featured a 129.2-mile ride from Stockton to Morgan Hill, including the first HC (above category) climb of the race at Mt. Hamilton. A pack of EF Education First Pro Cycling riders led the peloton, protecting their race leader Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.) and pulling the gap down by a couple of minutes as the stage progressed. Van Garderen came over the Morgan Hill finish line with his six-second overall race lead intact to retain the Amgen Race Leader Jersey, in the same city where he picked up the 2018 yellow jersey for two days following the Time Trial stage in last year’s race.
Cavagna attacked Hoehn at the base of Mt. Hamilton, lengthening his lead on the way up to crest the summit and continue the rest of the stage solo, securing the Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jerseyfor his efforts. Coming over that summit second as well as on the final King of the Mountain (KOM) climb of the day on Quimby Road, Hoehn moves into the lead in the KOM competition and will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow.
Simon Geschke (GER), a Tour de France stage winner riding for the CCC Team, broke away from the pack to chase the leaders at around 15 miles left to ride and was soon joined by Team Dimension Data’s BenKing (Charlottesville, VA). The duo caught Hoehn about two miles from the finish line, with King sprinting to the second-place stage finish, and Geschke taking third.
Rémi Cavagna, Deceuninck – Quick-Step – “Today was really hard…a long, long day. But finally, with my friend [Alex Hoehn] we went the maximum we can and finally I could go in the climb, and went full gas until the end. It was really hard. Not the climb, but the downhill because I was a little bit scared because it was really tricky. I didn’t take too much risk, and I did it, though, so I’m really happy. It’s my first victory this year, and first victory in the WorldTour, so it’s really important for me.”
(On the downhill) “I’m not the best guy on the downhill for sure, because last year I crashed two times in two weeks, so I lost a little bit of confidence. I didn’t see the downhill last week, so I don’t recognize it. I knew it was a long downhill, 3km, so I go as fast as I can, but I felt for sure I lost a little bit of time, and conserved some energy because all the time (after the downhill) I needed to push again full gas to take my speed back…but yes, it was a long, long, long day and I’m really happy.”
Alex Hoehn, USA Cycling National Team – “Today was great. It was an extremely hard stage today….Going up Mount Hamilton all alone, I was kind of disappointed to get dropped, but Remi is a very talented rider so that’s nothing to be upset about. Definitely coming across the top and downhill is definitely one of the harder places to ride alone because you have to push all the wind by yourself.”
Results after Stage 3:
TUESDAY, MAY 14
Podium: Stage 3 presented by TAG Heuer
- Remi Cavagna (FRA), Deceuninck – Quick-Step (BEL) 5h44’22”
- Benjamin King (USA), Team Dimension Data (RSA), 07’11”
- Simon Geschke (GER), CCC Team (POL), 07’11”
Jersey Winners after Stage 3:
- Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Tejay van Garderen (USA), EF Education First Pro Cycling (USA)
- Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey –Remi Cavagna (FRA), Deceuninck – Quick-Step (BEL)
- Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Alex Hoehn (USA), USA Cycling National Team (USA)
- Visit California Sprint Jersey – Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Deceuninck – Quick-Step (BEL)
- TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey –Tadej Pogacar (SLO), UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
Stage 4 presented by Lexus will feature the iconic coastline views of Highway 1, which has reopened after a massive effort by Caltrans to repair damage from a 2017 landslide, as the race runs 133.3 miles from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to Morro Bay.
The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM UCI WorldTour race showcasing the world’s best women cyclists will run concurrently for the final three days of the men’s event, beginning in Ventura May 16-18.