Los Angeles – Will Routley claimed stage four of the Tour of California but couldn't catch former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who comfortably held onto the yellow jersey.
Routley (Optum) outsprinted five breakaway challengers to complete the 116-kilometre stage in three hours, 48 minutes and 37
seconds. Gregory Daniel was second and Kevin De Mesmaeker finished third.
“You know you can win but you can make a mistake so easily,” said Routley, of the Canadian resort town of Whistler, British Columbia. “These are all veteran bike racers. These guys know what they are doing.”
With four days of racing remaining, British rider Wiggins (Team Sky) maintained his overall lead over Aussie Rohan Dennis, who is 28 seconds back.
Wednesday's stage, down the scenic California coast, included one sprint and three climbs.
Former Canadian road champion Routley rode a clever race as he saved enough energy for the sprint at the finish.
Jonathan Clark jumped out first in the sprint, prompting De Mesmaeker (Novo) to take the inside line. Routley then roared down the right side and held off the pack for the victory.
“I came here with a goal to win a stage,” Routley said. “That's what I've wanted to do every time I've come to the Tour of California.
“This time I felt like I was prepared and ready.”
Portugal's Tiago Machado is third in the overall, 69 seconds behind Wiggins. American Lawson Craddock is fourth, while British rider Adam Yates rounds out the top five.
The riders had to battle hot temperatures but they didn't have to deal with the steep climbs that were a big part of third stage.– Sapa-AFP