Tour of California; Tom Skujins surprised victory
Tom Skujins of the Hincapie Racing Team pedaled to a surprising mountain stage win on the third day of the Tour of California on Tuesday (May 12). The 23-year-old Latvian started the day in 95th position, 42 seconds behind Brit Mark Cavendish, but ended the day with a 32-second overall lead and the yellow jersey. Skujins completed the 105.7-mile (170.1 km) road stage outside of San Jose in 4 hours, 33 minutes and 10 seconds.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) of Slovakia finished second for the third straight day, a full minute and six seconds behind Skujins, but now second overall. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) of France was third in the same time. Rob Britton (SmartStop) of Canada is third overall, 43 seconds behind Skujins. Twenty-five riders remain within a minute of the lead for the the eight-day stage race.
Skujins broke away early with seven other riders. The small pack created a five-minute lead on the peloton at the base of Mt. Hamilton (elevation, 4,216 feet/1,285m), the first substantial climb of the race, before Skujins escaped and lead for the rest of the stage. Cavendish, who won the first two stages of the year’s race, finished 103rd in the remaining field of 134, more than 21 minutes behind the winner.
The race continues on Wednesday and Thursday with flat stages for the sprinters before Friday’s time trial in the mountains around Big Bear Lake. The riders will finish the 724-mile (1,165 km) course in Pasadena, outside Los Angeles, on Sunday.