Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tour of California - Stage 3: KOM

The nice flat ride out of SanFrancisco along Highway 1 led to some stout climbs up into the hills today and Clare and I were at two of the KOM (King of the Mountains) points to watch the riders come racing through. The first hill was up in the clouds, with a light rain falling and low light. Challenging for taking pictures but dramatic at the same time. I like this crooked, slightly blurry shot of Jeremy Powers, Peter Sagan (in the white Best Young Rider jersey) and Tony Martin of HTC.
Cavendish does not look like he's having much fun in this shot. I guess that's why he gets the green sprinters jersey and not the red King of the Mountains jersey!
Next we raced on over to the final climb of the day, at the top of the famed Bonny Doon road. This is where the stage would be won or lost today and it didn't disappoint. We were right at the crest of the hill and I got some great shots of the favorites coming through. Levi Leipheimer came blazing by with Mick Rogers and David Zabriske on his tail. These guys barely looked like they were working, though they had a 2 minute gap on the rest of the field.
Andy Schleck sure wasn't looking like one of the best climbers in the world today. He rolled over the top of the climb at a leisurely pace with a group of sprinters (including Dominique Rollin of Cervelo) in tow.
Andy's teammates from Team Saxo Bank, J.J. Haedo and Matti Breschel (in the Danish champions jersey) came through with the main peleton, several minutes behind the lead group. They ended up finishing about 16 behind the leaders.
And what a finish it was. Here is a shot from the video camera at the finish line. Zabriske edged out Rogers by about 3 inches to take the victory after 4 hours and 26 minutes of racing. Zabriske also gained the overall race lead with the stage win!

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