Jens Voigt Takes His First U.S. Stage Victory in Stage Three of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California

News & Results

02/22/2007| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Jens Voigt Takes His First U.S. Stage Victory in Stage Three of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California

Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer Retains Overall Lead While Race's Toughest Climb Separates Riders and Shakes Up Remaining General Classification Leaders.

Paolo Bettini (ITA), followed the new leading group over the summit, about 30 seconds back. But the leaders descended faster on the narrow roads, and by the bottom, with only 12 miles (20km) remaining to the finish, the group had a lead of about one minute over a chase group that had grown to 27 riders.

With the large chase group bearing down hard on the leaders, it was a frantic flight into downtown San Jose.

With a little under two miles to go, Leipheimer attacked the group, and a counter attack quickly came from Voigt. But what brought a gasp from the large crowd watching the closing miles on the big screen at the finish was the sight of the main group swinging around a corner, catching the breakaway with less than 30 seconds behind the leaders. Leipheimer led the charge into the finishing straight, but Voigt came around him and powered to the win.

The time bonuses Voigt picked up during the day ? three seconds for winning an intermediate sprint at Livermore and 10 seconds for the line honors ? put him within easy reach of Leipheimer for the time trial.

With no intermediate or finish sprint time bonuses on the 135-mile Stage 4, this sets the stage for a nail-biting time trial on Friday ? provided that there is not another successful breakaway like today.

Neither of the current lead contenders is willing to commit to a prediction about the conclusion of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California.

?Sure, we?ve got a fair chance, but also Levi?s got a fair chance. He?s a great rider, and it was only 15 seconds to the group behind us? it?s hard to say where it goes from here," said Voigt.

Leipheimer was of a similar mind: ?Jens Voigt can time trial pretty well. I?m a long way from the overall victory? I would?ve liked to have got to the finish with a minute over the group.?

Today's King of the Mountain Jersey was awarded to Quick Step-Innergetic's Jurgen Van de Walle (BEL). The Union Bank Best Young Rider jersey went to Predictor-Lotto's Matthew Lloyd (AUS).

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