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Routley wins Stage 4 of Tour of California

Stage 4 of the Wednesday’s Amgen Tour of California took riders from downtown Monterey along Highway 1 into Cambria where the peleton raced toward the finish line Wednesday. Today’s Stage 5 race begins in Pismo Beach and ends in Santa Barbara.
Stage 4 of the Wednesday’s Amgen Tour of California took riders from downtown Monterey along Highway 1 into Cambria where the peleton raced toward the finish line Wednesday. Today’s Stage 5 race begins in Pismo Beach and ends in Santa Barbara. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Will Routley of Canada surprised the favored sprinters by winning Stage 4 of the Tour of California on Wednesday, and Bradley Wiggins of Britain retained his race lead for the third day as the race ended in Cambria for the first time after starting the day in Monterey.

Today’s Stage 5 begins in Pismo Beach and goes to Santa Barbara.

Routley (Optun-Kelly Benefit), a former national titlist who was part of a six-rider, early race breakaway, completed the 102.6-mile road race in 3 hours, 48 minutes, 37 seconds.

American Gregory Daniel (Bissell Development) was second, and Kevin De Mesmaeker (Team Novo Nordisk) of Belgium was third.

“Things worked out a little better than planned,” Routley said in a news release. “I’ve been feeling really good sprinting at the top of climbs the past three days. I came here to win a stage, that’s what I’ve wanted to do every time I’ve come to the Amgen Tour of California. I wasn’t expecting today was going to be that day. It’s a bit of dream right now.”

Wiggins (Sky) finished 77 seconds behind the stage winner. He increased his lead to 28 seconds over Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) of Australia.The fourth stage took the field along the Pacific Coast. The leaders broke from the field early and maintained their advantage throughout the day.

The six young cyclists, some of whom are racing in their first Amgen Tour of California, gave the fans awaiting the stage conclusion in downtown Cambria a surprise ending when their 93-mile breakaway held all the way to the finish line.

In addition to Routley, who has been out front in the breakaway every road race day since the event began Sunday, the others included UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Jonathan Clarke (AUS) and Christopher Jones (USA); Team Novo Nordisk’s Kevin De Mesmaeker (BEL); Team Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home’s Matt Cooke (USA); and Bissell Development Team’s Gregory Daniel (USA), who at age 19 is the second youngest rider in the peloton.

The teams anticipated the scenic day filled with rolling hills and ocean vistas would end in a bunch sprint, hotly contested by some of the world’s marquee-name sprinters.

With Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team and their decorated sprinter Mark Cavendish at the head, the peloton filled with top-ranked Pro Teams and riders worked to close the gap in the final 10 miles, taking it down from more than three minutes to less than two. But they ultimately were unable to overtake the six young speedsters and crossed the line 77 seconds back.

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