The 2016 Amgen Tour of California‘s first summit finish did not disappoint, with the overall contenders battling it out on Gibraltar Road.
It was all change at the top as overnight leader Ben King (Cannondale) faded on the long final climb and a succession of attacks and moves saw Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) take control.
There was also a fight within the day’s escape group for sprint and mountains points, as breakaway regular Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) extended his lead in the KOM classification.
British rider Andy Tennant (Team Wigins) also put on a good show in the day’s escape, scooping up the intermediate sprint points as the race travelled from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County.
It turned out to be a bad day for Sky, as British road race champion Peter Kennaugh was caught in a crash directly before the final climb and was taken to hospital with a suspected collarbone break – his race finished.
On Gibraltar Road, the peloton became whittled down to just a handful of select riders, with Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) both putting in long-range attacks. However, it was Frenchman Alaphilippe that timed his move to perfection, going solo to take the stage win and overall race lead.
The 2016 Amgen Tour of California continues on Wednesday with stage four, a hilly route from Morro Bay to Monterey County over 215km – the longest stage of the race.