Young rider Gesink takes the stage; Leipheimer in Yellow Jersey Yellow Jersey Farrar falls ill, abandons race
It was an exciting race today, especially the final 20 miles of today's stage as Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) worked in a two man breakaway as a chase group led by Team CSC's David Zabriskie Fabian Cancellara fought to catch up to keep the yellow jersey away from Leipheimer.
Leipheimer and Gesink worked together all the way down hill from Sierra Road, taking turns pulling to hold off the attacking chase group. As Leipheimer and Gesink rode together into downtown San Jose, Gesink pulled ahead in the end for a stage win, with Leipheimer right on his wheel. Leipheimer came in 30 seconds ahead of the chase group, more than making up his 7 second deficit in the GC rankings so he will don the Yellow Jersey tomorrow in Seaside, California.
The 21 year old Gesink proved himself to be a strong climber today. He turned pro just last year and he was obviously elated to win today's stage. The average speed of Gesink and Leipheimer over the 102 mile stage was an amazing 23 mph as they crossed several peaks, including the hors catégorie ("beyond classification") Mount Hamilton.
Tyler Farrar started Stage 3 wearing the Yellow Jersey but had to drop out about halfway through the race. He reportedly suffered from food poisoning last night and reportedly spent much of his night in the restroom. Five other cyclists have also dropped out this week from a stomach bug that's going around.
Mario Cipollini finished 63rd today, coming in 25 minutes after the winners and just ahead of the cutoff time that would have kept him from competing for the rest of the Tour of California.
There were concerns about the weather, but the skies cleared up as the cyclists approached from Modesto. The top of Mount Hamilton was chilly but dry as the peloton passed by the Mount Hamilton observatory.
Stage 3 results 1. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 3. Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step 4. Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 5. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank 6. Tom Peterson (USA) Slipstream Chipotle H30 7. Chris Horner (USA) Astana 8. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank 9. Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team 10. Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Rock Racing
Ken Conley caught some photos on Mount Hamilton. When I talked to him last he was racing downtown to the finish line. Visit KWC.org for his Stage 3 photos later today.
Go to Amgen Tour of California 2008 for official results. David B has his computer back up and running so he'll have his FredCast report on today's stage up also at a reasonable time. Steven probably already has a list of links out at Steephill.TV already. Bicycle.net has some interesting background information from today's stage.
Photo: Gesink on Sierra Road in 2007; by Ken Conley.