Sky Procycling captured its second sprint finish at the Amgen Tour of California on Tuesday, this time as Greg Henderson powered over the finish line.
The 34-year-old New Zealander usually sets up his teammates for victories, like Monday's sprint win in Sacramento by Ben Swift. But as he approached the finish line in front of the lead group in Modesto, he didn't see any teammates behind him so he kept hammering hard.
It made for a long sprint, but the trailing Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) couldn't quite catch his back wheel. JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) finished second with Hushovd in third.
It marked Henderson's second stage win of the season; he had previously won Stage 2 at Paris-Nice.
In winning Stage 3, Henderson also captured the overall leader's jersey, moving up from 11th place. He was tied with the same overall time as teammate Swift, but a tie goes to the most recent stage winner.
The 121-mile route from Auburn to Modesto headed downhill into the Central Valley. The peloton was blistered by rainy crosswinds as it headed south.
An early breakaway developed with seven cyclists, which included Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Cycling). He's the brother of Ben Jacques-Maynes, who participated in Monday's break.
With 16 miles left in Stage 3, Jacques-Maynes and Jan Barta were the only two left of the original seven, and they were reeled in with 12 miles left. By then, the peloton was having real trouble with the crosswinds (or headwinds depending on the route direction).
A couple of crashes marred the finish; Jens Voigt was among the cyclists banged up but he climbed back on his bike and crossed the finish line to race another day.
Top 5 overall
1. Greg Henderson, Sky
2. Ben Swift, Sky – 0 seconds behind
3. Peter Sagan, Liquigas – 4 seconds
4. JJ Haedo, Saxo Bank – 4 seconds
5. Thor Hushovd, Garmin – 6 seconds
More reports and results at CyclingNews.com.