AMGEN Tour of California Stage 3: Team Controls the Race, Boonen 3rd
Omega Pharma - Quick Step Cycling Team did as much as it could in the 185km AMGEN Tour of California Stage 3 to chase down breaks and go for a stage victory. It was a matter of position, not strength, that dictated the finish.
"It was a hard stage today," Tom Boonen, who finished third, said. "It was very good test. I tried to be there at the front in the last kilometers, but it was hard with the headwind. So I worked very hard to try and be in position for the last corner."
In the final, sharp, right hand turn just meters before the finish, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) and Boonen were all in the position to go for the win. Unfortunately, Sagan and Haussler chose the correct position, and their strength carried them to the line. Sagan won his third straight stage, and Haussler took second. Boonen was third.
"I waited for the last moment and took the outside corner 10 meters before the corner came, but they came from the inside a little bit faster so I lost a few spots," Boonen said. "I was in 7th or 8th position, but I almost got them. I am satisfied with my sprint, but prefer to finish for the victory. Sagan is in a winning mood right now and he also found a finish that suits him here. It's really something he likes and he's good at, but I think everyone is beatable and we will try again tomorrow to try and win the stage."
After an early four rider break got away from the peloton, Frantisek Rabon sat on the front of the chasing peloton for an extended period of time. He was not alone however, as the team put five to seven riders at the front to drag back the riders up the road. After a multiple peloton split in a crosswind before the final category 3 climb, the team had six riders in the select group, including a strong and confident Tom Boonen, Levi Leipheimer, Gerald Ciolek, Dries Devenyns, Peter Velits, and Stijn Vandenbergh. Within the final kilometers, the team set up Boonen for victory, with Levi Leipheimer drilling it at the front to pull back riders attempting to prevent a bunch sprint. The sprint was there for Boonen as a result of the team's effort, and he showed no fear.
"I would also like to thank the team for the big effort they did today," Boonen said. "They everybody stayed in the crosswind and tried to help and give me an edge and put me in the right position. I really appreciate it."
Boonen to Focus on the Olympics
Tom Boonen announced today that he will not participate in the Tour de France, in hopes of optimizing his preparation for the upcoming Summer Olympics in London.
"It's not so much that I don't want to do it," Boonen said of the Tour de France. "I still want to do the Tour in the future. The Tour has given me a lot in the past, but this year, I'm really focused on the Olympics. I missed the last two Olympic chances, so I am really looking forward to try this new experience and try and get the best from it. Instead of the Tour, I will participate in the Tour of Pologne to try to do well and tune up the condition for the Olympics."