Tour of California: Skujins takes his third ToCA stage win

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) surprised the field and rode to a three-second solo victory on Tuesday during stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon) was second, with Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) third on the track finish at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Egan Bernal (Team Sky) retained his 25-second overall race lead, finishing fifth on the windy stage, one place behind stage favourite Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Sagan’s teammate Rafal Majka remains second overall behind Bernal, with Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates in third, 31 seconds back.

Skujins’ victory – his third career stage win at the Tour of California – came one day shy of a year after he crashed on stage 2 of the 2017 event and eventually abandoned the race with a concussion.

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“The only time I dreamed about [the stage win] was in the last 300 metres,” said Skujins, who also won stage 3 in the 2015 Tour of California and stage 5 two years ago. “I expected someone to come from the back, full throttle, but it had been a hard day for everyone with the wind and the high pace.”

Skujins and Bennett entered the track together, with Skujins pulling ahead just before the descent and remaining there. As he appeared on the final straightaway, Skujins seemed surprised no one was there. He momentarily looked back to Bennett before beginning an extended upper-body victory dance on his bike.

“The breakaway was really strong that went at the beginning, and that all played to my advantage,” Skujins said after his nearly five-hour ride. “It’s definitely not the easiest run into the final. I’ve raced on Laguna Seca before and that definitely helped me. I’ve done this stage – well, a similar stage – and I knew how to play it.”

How it unfolded

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