5/16/2012 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Sagan sizzles in Clovis
Haussler again in second, Matthews takes third
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) won his fourth stage in as many days at the Amgen Tour of California on Wednesday. Sagan sprinted to victory at the end the tour's longest day, 209.6km from Sonora to Clovis, ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) and Michael Matthews (Rabobank).
"I didn't think I would get another victory," Sagan said. "But after the last climb my teammate Daniel Oss said, 'We win another stage today.' I said 'I don't think so.' After he said this, inside me I said yeah, OK we will try, and we did. Now we are very happy and thank you for all my team."
Collecting another 10 seconds worth of a finishing time bonus, Sagan also extended his overall race lead. An attack in the closing kilometres by Garmin-Barracuda's David Zabriskie mirrored the team's tactic on Stage 3, where Nathan Haas imposed a gap on the front of the bunch, upsetting the Liquigas-Cannondale lead out. But once again Sagan could not be foiled and Haussler was runner-up for the fourth stage in a row.
"I felt really good during the stage," Haussler said. "I was comfortable on the climbs and the team had another strong day despite the brutal heat. Sagan's the fastest guy at the moment, and he proved it again today. We've got one more opportunity for a sprint and I'm very motivated, but there's still some serious racing to get through for the next few stages."
Marcel Kittel's Argos-Shimano teammates also did their turn at the front, with Roger Kluge the benefactor, fifth over the line. Powerhouse Daniel Oss inflicted the damage for his teammate, and Sagan moved to the front with Haussler again on his wheel.
How it unfolded:
The longest day of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California was also the first of the truly hot days, with temperatures topping 90 degrees (F) and the sun beating down on the peloton. The 209.6 kilometres and six classified climbs were no doubt the toughest the peloton faced so far in the race.
"Today was very hard day," Sagan said. "Also the weather is very hot and always in the climbs I put on my head the water because it was very hot. [The heat] is not good for me."
The attacks came immediately after the two-mile neutral roll out, but the day's major breakaway took longer to establish than on the previous stages. Despite the oppressive heat, Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Yannick Eijssen (BMC) and Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare) were feeling peppy enough to have a go in a breakaway before the bottom of the day's first major climb, but their move was not quite strong enough to stay clear and they were absorbed before the ascent began.
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