Viking in Modesto: Tour of California

A day of heavy rain, wet roads, strong crosswinds and multiple crashes and a long five man breakaway concluded with Thor Hushovd taking the win today. It was an amazing sprint finish by the entire peloton as they fought for the podium in the final stretch on the drenched roads of Modesto.

Astana - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

The breakaway might have been safe from the peloton if not for Mollema, who was only two and a half minutes behind race leader Levi Leipheimer. This risk that Mollema could take the jersey away from Leipheimer ensured the breakaway’s failure, which was captured and swallowed up by the peloton inside of the city of Modesto.

In spite of the soaking rain, the crowds in Modesto were shoulder to shoulder, shouting enthusiastically and rattling their cowbells. It’s good to see that kind of support for professional cycling in the Central Valley.

Oscar Freire of Rabobank and Mark Renshaw of Columbia followed Hushovd in for their places on the podium today. There’s no change in the GC: Levi Leipheimer retains his yellow jersey for the trip from Merced to Clovis, with Astana still dominating in the top 10 with Lance Armstrong in fourth place and Chris Horner in fifth. Better weather is expected for the rest of this week — Hurray!

Floyd Landis in San Jose Team OUCH
Floyd Landis before the start in San Jose.

San Jose Race Start Tour of California Stage 3
Tyler Hamilton signs an autograph for a young fan in San Jose this morning.

See a great list of links to news, results, photos and video (including Levi’s crash video today) over at Steephill.TV.

Visit Bike World News for Chris Jones’ Diary. Chris Jones is a rider for Team Type 1 — he’s posting daily journal entries to Bike World News.

Ken Conley has uploaded Stage 3 photos to kwc.org.

Props to my buddy Kristian of Trackstand.com, who’s taking a couple of photos for me tonight.

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