With 217 kilometers from Morro Bay to Laguna Seca stage 4 of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California was the longest of the race. It was a rollercoaster ride in partly misty conditions. The race started fast and it took nearly 70 kilometers until a breakaway was allowed up the road. Mark Cavendish (pictured above) managed to get into the break as well. He made sure to fly the flag of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and was later called to the podium to receive the honors for being the Most Courageous rider of the day.
Cavendish had helped to establish the break as the gap grew to five minutes. It dropped down to three minutes later. However, it grew again when the break took on the final part of the stage. The break ignored the last sprint and opted to rather keep working together in an attempt to stay away.
In the end, though, the peloton had different plans and reeled the break back in over the final two climbs of the day.
When the bunch entered the Laguna Seca race course, our African team was in the mix again. Racing for Nathan Haas (pictured above), Team Dimension Data tried to set the Australian up inside the final kilometers. He first tried to get clear with around 3 kilometers to go and tried again inside the last few hundred meters. He came close but was denied the win, when Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC) just came past him on the line. Haas eventually finished third, securing another podium for Team Dimension Data on today’s stage.
Nathan Haas – Rider
I’m always happy to be on the podium of a race. Obviously, I’d prefer to have won. From the start of the race we had the plan, that I could try and go for the stage. It took 70 kilometers until a breakaway to go. Hats off to Cav for getting in there. It shows the class of rider he is. In the final the team was incredible. They put me exactly where I needed to be. The last part of the course was all up and down, and when we hit the Laguna Seca race course Sagan and Van Avermaet seemed to make a move and I had a good momentum, so I tried to jump. They got back onto my wheel. On the final straight I tried again, but they were quick enough to answer my move. I think I can learn a lot from today. Tomorrow is another day with the finish at Lake Tahoe, and after seeing my progression this week I’ll try again to be up there.