Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo) took an attacking victory on an exciting third stage of the Tour of California as Egan Bernal (Team Sky) maintained his overall lead.
On a day peppered with five second and third-category climbs, Skujiņš attacking on the third climb of the day to Cachuga Road with Logan Owen (EF Education First-Drapac) to bridge across to Evan Huffman and Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling).
Skujiņš and Owen quickly passed the two riders from the early break, before Skujiņš continued on solo. However the Latvian soon had company once again as he was joined by Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon) on the approach to the finish at the Laguna Seca race track.
As they crested the final climb of the day with five kilometres remaining, Skujiņš and Bennett had just a 10 second lead on the pack and look destined to be caught, but were able to hold that gap and even slightly extend it for the final couple of kilometres on the race track.
Skujiņš looked the stronger of the two, and duly rode Bennett off his wheel on a steep pitch in the final kilometre and crossed the line with plenty of time to celebrate a year after he abandoned the Tour of California with concussion following a scary crash.
Meanwhile Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had both managed to survive the day’s multiple climbs and duly led the chasing pack across the line at eight seconds, while Bernal finished one place behind Sagan in fifth to maintain the overall lead.
Tour of California 2018, stage three: King City to Laguna Seca, 197km
1. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-52-48 4:52:47
2. Sean Bennett (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon, at 3 secs
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 8 secs
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
8. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
9. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing
10. William Barta (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon, at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky, in 12-09-08
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 25 secs
3. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 31 secs
4. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 40 secs
5. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
6. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at same time
7. Mathias Frank (Sui) AG2R La Mondiale, at 50 secs
8. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 1-00
9. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-11
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-14