Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California will definitely go on record as one of the highlights of this year’s season. After a long day and some tough climbs, BISSELL sprinted with the fastest cyclist in the world for an outstanding result, was awarded the Most Courageous jersey, and holds fifth place in the overall GC.
While riders have raced parts of this course in past ATOCs, tuesday’s stage introduced a new challenge which was Mt. Diablo. The 115 mile stage started abruptly with the Calaveras KOM coming only 5 miles into the stage. With the climb looming, Jeremy Vennell launched his attack along with Mike Friedman (Optum Pro Cycling) and were later joined with Friedman’s teammate, Sebastain Salas. Friedman eventually dropped off but was replaced by Columbian Coldesportes rider, Wilson Marentes, and Spidertech’s Pat McCarty. By the top of Mt. Diablo, this four man break built up a maximum gap nearing eight minutes; however, the varying motives among the riders caused some dissonance. With forty four miles to go, Vennell attacked and was joined by Marentes. Having shed their former break mates, the two were much more compatible and worked well together. They maintained the gap around three minutes until the chasing peloton led by Liquigas and Omega Pharma put the hammer down. After a valiant effort, the duo was caught on the banks of Paterson Pass. The peloton came into Livermore together and BISSELL’s Frank Pipp sprinted with the likes of Sagan and Boonen to finish twelfth. Chris Baldwin and Ben Jacques-Maynes also finished in this elite group. Ben’s solid finish places him in fifth place overall. Vennell was awarded the Most Aggressive jersey today for his gutsy work in the break.
It was a great day for the team who were rewarded for their skills and perseverance!