Quiet Day Along the Pacific Coast Highway in CaliforniaWed 14 May 2014
Stage four of the Amgen Tour of California was spectacularly beautiful, although the racing itself was remarkably uneventful as the peloton rolled rather nonchalantly down the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Cambria. Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelley Benefits) took the top honours on the stage. Matt Goss had the top result for ORICA-GreenEDGE placing ninth on the stage. Adam Yates finished on the bunch time to maintain his fifth position on the overall classification.
ORICA-GreenEDGE tapped Goss as the leader for the day before the adventure down the coast began. With only three category three climbs on the route, it was expected to be a finish for the sprinters.
“We were definitely riding for Gossy today,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We were hoping to have all the guys fresh for the final to help him.”
Within kilometres of the stage start, a breakaway of six riders formed which never opened more than a four minute advantage as the peloton was keen to keep them within reach. However, that catch never happened as the six escapees worked well together to maintain their advantage all the way to the finish. Routley timed his surge perfectly to win ahead of his five breakaway partners.
“We were sure other teams would have the break under control and be able to bring it back,” added Wilson. “We didn’t feel we needed to take any responsibility in the chase. As it turned out, a tailwind was strong enough in the last 30 kilometres that the time didn’t come down at all. That was that. Even if we had joined the chase, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.”
More than a minute after the breakaway crossed the finish line, the charging peloton set up for the field sprint. With help from his teammates, Gossy was third from the bunch behind Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
“Gossy is in good condition,” Wilson said. “Today was not an ideal finish for him, but the guys decided to give it a go at the finish. His legs were feeling good. We are confident he can get a good result.”