Peter Sagan Wins Stage 4 of 2012 Amgen Tour of California
Twenty-two-year-old Peter Sagan (SVK) of Team Liquigas-Cannondale remains unbeatable at this year's Amgen Tour of California.
Quintero dropped from the break, leaving 10 men in the front with a lead of only one minute and 20 seconds.
On the fifth KOM of the day, Howes crossed first, followed by Sulzberger, Aranburu, Kelderman and Atapuma. Points for the second sprint of the day were scooped up by Howes, King and Kelderman. The break was caught shortly after the final sprint, but a new breakaway emerged, including George Bennett (NZL) of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, Thomas Peterson (USA) of Garmin-Barracuda and Michael Rodriguez (COL) of Colombia-Coldeportest. A rider from Liquigas-Cannondale set the pace at the front of the peloton, while three riders went out to catch the break, including Tankink, Cherel and Brian Vandborg Bach (DEN) of Spidertech Powered by C10. Together, the six men formed the new breakaway, and points for the sixth and final KOM went to Rodriguez, Bennett, Peterson and Vandborg.
After the final KOM, the break was caught and the peloton, being led by Liquigas-Cannondale, spread wide across the road. At the front of the peloton was a Garmin-Barracuda rider, followed by riders from Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Rabobank Cycling Team and BMC Racing Team. After a short-lived break by Jonathan Clarke (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, the peloton spread across the road again and the pace slowed in anticipation of the sprint to the finish.
Zabriskie launched an attack and secured a substantial gap right away. With about 2.5km to go, Zabriskie had a lead of 30 seconds, but was caught by a rider from Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Garmin-Barracuda was lined up at the front for Haussler, but it was Sagan who once again bested his competition by reaching the finish line first to claim his fourth win of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California.
"Winning today is a surprise," said Sagan. "Today was a very hard day and the weather was very hot. In the climb, I put water on my head because of the heat. I wasn't expecting another victory but after the last climb my teammate, Daniel Oss, said to me, ‘Today we win another stage.' And I said, ‘I don't think so.' But, after he made the suggestion, I said to myself, ‘Yeah, okay. We'll try.' We did and now we are very happy. Thank you to all my teammates."
At the end of Stage 4, Sagan retains the Amgen Leader, Visit California Sprint and Rabobank Young Rider Jerseys. Because Sagan will wear the Amgen Leader Jersey at the start of Stage 5 tomorrow in Bakersfield, Haussler will remain in the Visit California Sprint Jersey, and Kelderman will wear the Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey. Eijssen will wear the Exergy Most Aggressive Rider Jersey and Arranburu will be in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey. Salas will remain in the Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey.
"There was a lot of talk today that it was going to be a big day [to win the KOM]," said Salas. "I went for the first KOM and tried to get in, but none of the teams were letting me get up the road for the