Bunch Sprint Sees Drucker Secure Second Top-Five Finish in California16. May 2017, Morro Bay (USA) — Road Team
After a difficult day of climbing yesterday, AMGEN Tour of California stage 3 was another opportunity for the sprinters with Jempy Drucker in the mix to secure his second top five finish of the week and Brent Bookwalter maintaining his position on the General Classification.
The day’s successful five-rider breakaway went clear almost as soon as the flag dropped and after 20km, of the 192.5km course, they were 5 minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
The gap continued to grow, reaching a maximum of at 5’45” as race leader Rafal Majka’s Bora - Hansgrohe team moved up to the front of the peloton to control the race.
The breakaway’s earlier fast pace started to take it’s toll with the gap falling as the road began to rise towards the day’s only categorized climb. As the group went over the top of Tepusquet Road, with 108km still to go, the main bunch was sitting 4’15” behind.
On the fast, twisting and technical descent, the leaders extended their advantage out to five minutes before it began to fall consistently as the race reached the halfway mark.
With 70km to go, BMC Racing Team moved through the peloton and took up position near the front of the bunch as the sprinters’ teams continued to set the pace on the wide, open roads. Eventually, the gap had fallen to within one minute with the peloton stretched out along the road and the previously predicted bunch sprint looking set to unfold in Morro Bay.
As the race neared its conclusion, just one rider was left out in front before everything came back together inside the final 10km of the day. A battle for position soon followed with the composition of the peloton reshuffling with what seemed like every pedal stroke.
A fast and technical 5km run-in saw the peloton, led by Tom Bohli, stretched out in single file before a final right-hand corner onto the kick-up to the line triggered the final sprint. With no organized sprint trains, the stage win came down to a head to head battle between the fastest guys in the bunch.
In the end, it was Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) who was the quickest on the day with Drucker taking fifth in a close finish and once again showing he has the necessary power and speed to be up there with the best sprinters in the world.
Behind him, Brent Bookwalter crossed the safely in 17th place to maintain his position on the General Classification. The American sits sixth after three stages, 48 seconds behind Majka.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"It was definitely a hectic finish. We went onto the narrow roads with around 5km to go, and we knew that it was important to be in front with three turns in the final kilometer. The speed was very high, and Tom Bohli did a great job for me to bring me into a good position for the sprint. I think I waited a bit too long in the wheel of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha - Alpecin) as I was expecting him to go with 150m to go."
"Today was a good test of everyone's sprinting abilities with no big lead-outs, and the final 500m were uphill. For me, technical finishes like this are better as it's easier to place myself into the right position."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"There was a little more elevation change than we expected but we were getting information through from our guys at the finish so, we were pretty sure we knew what the final was like. I think Jempy Drucker was in a good position for the sprint but maybe made his move a little too late. It was still a good finish for us and another good sprint from Drucker."
"I think we can be happy with our day. We stayed out of trouble early on and rode well as a team. It could have been a very different day if the wind was coming from another direction. It was a pretty windy day but almost always a headwind, and this was good for us."
"Position was important going into the final section before the line, and we thought gaps could open up, so we wanted to make sure that Brent Bookwalter was in a good position and I think we did that also."
AMGEN Tour of California
Stage 3: Pismo Beach > Morro Bay, 192.5km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) 2. Rick Zabel (Katusha - Alpecin) 3. Simone Consonni (UAE Emirates)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 5. Jempy Drucker 17. Brent Bookwalter 21. Samuel Sánchez
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.