Rally Cycling’s Evan Huffman and Robin Carpenter broke away from the peloton in the opening kilometers of stage three of the Amgen Tour of California on Tuesday. Employing the same barnstorming tactics that won the team two stages in 2017, Rally Cycling stacked the early breakaway on a stage where making it to the line was a real possibility. Battling a stiff headwind throughout, the duo made it over 150 km before being reeled in by the peloton.
The effort moved Huffman into fourth place in the mountains classification while Brandon McNulty finished 12th on the stage.
Starting in King City, the 197 km stage featured five categorized climbs and 8,300 feet of climbing. Last year’s double stage winner, Huffman, attacked from the gun with Carpenter and they were soon joined by Ian Garrison (Hagens Berman Axeon). The trio built up a lead of over five minutes on the peloton.
The gap to the breakaway started to tumble when world champion Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team took to the front. Carpenter, who is recovering from illness, escorted Huffman into the base of the Carmel Valley Road KOM before returning to the peloton. This helped Huffman secure maximum points over the crest and move up in the mountains classification, a contest he won back in 2016.
“I felt really good. It was just really hard with only three guys and a lot of headwind,” said Huffman. “On the third KOM of the day, Skujins and Owens came across. They were fresh and really strong and I couldn’t stay with them after being off the front for so long. It was a good effort but there’s wasn’t really much more than we could have done. Just didn’t go our way today.”
Tomorrow’s San Jose time trial will be decisive for the team’s young rising star, Brandon McNulty. The former junior world champion is itching to roll in one of the biggest time trials of his life.
“I’m super excited and my legs have felt great this week. I try not to expect too much but I think if I have a good day I can finish top ten. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I’d like to move into the top ten at the end of the day.”
Stage 3 results
1 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 4:52:47
2 Sean Bennett (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon 0:00:03
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:08
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Alex Howes (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
8 Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
9 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 William Barta (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
11 Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
12 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling
General classification after stage 3
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 12:09:08
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:25
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:31
4 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:40
5 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates
6 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50
8 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:00
9 Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:11
10 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:14
11 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:20
12 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:25
Mountains classification after stage 3
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 15 pts
2 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 13
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 13
4 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 12