The 4th stage of the Amgen Tour of California saw the breakaway get one over on the sprinters teams as Evan Huffman (Rally) out sprinted his 4 fellow escapees to take the victory in Santa Clarita. Rob Britton (Rally) was 2nd and 3rd place went to Lennard Hoffstede (Team Sunweb).
It was an interesting stage today with a few climbs out on the 160km course but none within striking distance of the finishline. This saw both the opportunists and sprint teams take an interest in today’s stage. Initially it was 6 riders that got the jump on the peloton, later becoming 5 when Martin Elmiger (BMC Racing) got dropped.
The break was allowed to reach a maximum lead of 9-minutes before Quickstep decided to take charge of the chase. Katusha also sent a rider forward to help but the 5 up front were committed to the move. The proverbial calculator came out at 55km to go and the break still had 6’10”. From that point the peloton was always playing catch up.
Eventually Team Sky came to the front as well and Quickstep then decided to commit more than one rider to the chase too but it was all too late. Huffman, Britton, Hoffstede and Matthias Le Turner (Cofidis) were free to decide the stage among each other. Huffman got the gap inside the last kilometer and held it to the line, his teammate made it a good day for Rally Cycling by taking second. The peloton came charging in 13 seconds later, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg our best placed in 12th position. Lachlan Morton finished safely in the pack, keeping 4th overall and his young rider jersey, heading into tomorrow’s all-important stage to Mt. Baldy.
Lachlan Morton – Rider
The break got a pretty big gap and then the sprinters teams started chasing a bit late. When they did go, they went really hard. We were motoring the final 50km but the guys just weren’t coming back. It looked like it might split because we were going so hard, but the team looked after me real well. Bernie Eisel dropped me off on the wheel of Team Sky and I just hung on as it stretched out behind. We got through it alright in end.