Rémi Cavagna made it two in a row for Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the Tour of California, soloing to victory in Morgan Hill, after attacking from the breakaway 75 kilometres out and holding off the chasers. The win was the first World Tour victory for the Frenchman.
“Since winning last year in Belgium, I was in search of another victory, and taking it today gives me huge satisfaction,” said Cavagna. “I came in California to help the squad, to pull in the bunch every day, but the team gave me freedom today and I am happy I could repay them for their confidence. In cycling, you need to take your chance and give your best every single time, because sometimes it works. This was the case for me today.”
Six ranked climbs were on the agenda of the 208km stage 3, which witnessed a frantic start peppered with numerous attempts to escape the peloton’s clutches, which eventually resulted in a sizeable group slip away. However, a lack of cooperation at the front helped the bunch reel in the fugitives.
New attacks came 40 kilometres into the stage, and eventually two riders managed to snap the elastic – Rémi Cavagna and Alex Hoehn (US National Team) – and stretch their lead over the pack to more than ten minutes.
On the lower slopes of Mount Hamilton, the day’s toughest climb, Cavagna rode clear of his companion and despite some hesitations on the tight hairpin bends of the technical descent, he managed to build a comfortable gap over Hoehn, at the same time maintaining his advantage on the bunch. With 20 kilometres to go, the 23-year-old Frenchman went into time trial mode, relaxing only 200 meters from home, when he began celebrating his victory.
Ben King (Team Dimension Data) took second, over seven minutes down with Simon Geschke (CCC Team) in third. Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) retained the race leader’s jersey, 6″ ahead of Gianni Moscon (Team INEOS) with Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) a further second behind.
“The stage was so long and hard,” said Cavagna. “We rode full gas from the start, and when I sensed there was an opportunity, I jumped into the breakaway, where we worked really well together. Then, when I attacked, I felt I could go all the way. Ok, I was a bit scared on the downhill, because it was a very difficult one, but I remained calm and went as fast as I could there.”