Bookwalter Fourth on Queen Stage in California17. May 2016, Santa Barbara County, California (USA) — Road Team
A gruelling final climb on Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 saw Brent Bookwalter show off his climbing strength to cross the line in fourth place on the summit finish in Santa Barbara County.
An early breakaway of seven riders was established on the the slopes of the first categorized climb but their advantage was kept in check by the peloton, never going above 4 minutes.
With 8 kilometers until the start of the final categorized climb of the day, the peloton picked up the pace and eventually swept up the remaining breakaway riders on the early slopes of the climb up Gibraltar Road.
Attacks followed causing the peloton to shrink in size on the ascent to the finish line. Eventually it was Julian Alaphilippe (Ettixx-Quick-step) who took the solo win on the summit finish, followed by Peter Stetina (Treksegafredo) in second, George Bennett (Lotto-NL-Jumbo) in third, and Bookwalker fourth, 27 seconds behind new race leader Alaphilippe.
There was also top ten performances from BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis and Samuel Sánchez who finished 8th and 9th respectively on the 167.5km stage.
Quotes of the day
Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: “The day was pretty straight forward for us with the other teams controlling the race and then we came in to the final climb without to much effort. We really did a great effort getting our guys up there and ready for the climb. [Michael] Schär, Danilo [Wyss] and Greg [van Avermaet] put a bit of pace on a bottom of the climb and quickly it was whittled down to a select group of riders.”
“Attacks started to flow in the last 6 - 8 kilometers of racing and we lost a little bit more time than I think we expected to, especially with the bonus, but everyone gave it everything that they had so I am happy about that. We’re in a competitive position on the GC and to have three guys, Brent [4th]. Rohan [8th] and Samuel [9th], all up there in contention is super ideal for us moving forward into the rest of the race.”
Brent Bookwalter said: “The final climb definitely played out as we had anticipated. Cannonade were riding at the front all day and then it got pretty hectic going into the bottom of the finishing climb and we were really well positioned and thankfully away from crashes.”
“Taylor [Phinney] and Jempy [Drucker] were up there doing an awesome lead out ahead of the climb for us. As soon as we hit the bottom of the climb I had Danilo, Greg and Michael asking me ‘should we make it harder?’ so they were really good and took some really strong turns at the front. It was great to have those guys there to put some pressure on and keep the group strung out along the road. Towards the top some of the more explosive climbers attacked and Samu [Samuel] did a great job to keep the gap to the guys who got away as close as possible but then in the last kilometer the climb got really steep and it became every man for himself.”
“Ideally you never want to give away any time as every second you give away you have to make up later in the race, but I think looking at the team we have here and the decisive stages that are still to come, especially with TT, I definitely think we are in a good place going forward.”
Tour of California (UCI 2.HC)
Stage 3: Thousand Oaks - Santa Barbara County, 167.5km
Top 3: 1. Julian Alaphilippe (Ettixx-Quick-step) 2. Peter Stetina (Treksegafredo) 3. George Bennett (Lotto-NL-Jumbo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3:
4. Brent Bookwalter
8. Rohan Dennis
9. Samuel Sánchez
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.