The 3rd stage of the Amgen Tour of California would see the relatively unknown Toms Skujins (Hincapie Development) take an emphatic victory. The 23 year old Latvian would solo to victory after forming part of the days original 7 rider break.
It would take just on 40km for the early break of the day to form and the 7 riders that went clear would hit the main obstacle of the day, Mt. Hamilton with a lead of 4’40” over the peloton. Skujins would attack his fellow escapees on the slopes of Mt. Hamilton and set off for the finish alone with still over 50km to go.
Meanwhile the original break disintegrated while the peloton imploded on the HC category climb, leaving no more than 30 riders in the main group over the summit. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would not take a liking to the Mt. Hamilton climb or descent and were left chasing behind the small peloton all the way to the finish. Theo Bos crashed out with a suspected collarbone fracture.
Skujins would take all kinds of risks on the very technical descent to maintain his lead while Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo took up the chase. It was too little too late for the peloton and their miscalculation saw Skujins take a great victory ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Julien Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep). Jacques Janse van Rensburg would be the first rider from MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung to cross the line, just over 8 minutes down on the victor.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will now turn its attention to securing that stage victory that has been eluding our team in these early stages. Tomorrow should present another opportunity to our sprinters and so Tyler Farrar, Gerald Ciolek and Matt Goss will look to put the name of our Qhubeka charity on the podium.
Jacques Janse van Rensburg – Rider
I didn’t have good legs today. I could feel from the start of the stage I was fighting with my bike. That’s how it goes in cycling sometimes and you just have to not let it worry you and look ahead. I hope to improve over the next few stages now and keep the motivation high for the next races.