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Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies) jumped into a long breakaway in stage 3 at the Amgen Tour of California hoping he could put time into his best young rider rivals at the finish in Santa Cruz. He didn’t get the white jersey he was chasing, but a day later, the 22-year-old pulled on the climber’s frock on the podium in Modesto.
Anderson followed Jeremy Powers and Lars Boom when the latter accelerated in the opening kilometers of stage 4 before the peloton arrived to the base of the Sierra Road KOM at kilometer five. Also there were Davide Frattini and Scott Stewart of KOM leader Thomas Rabou’s Team Type 1.
Team Type 1 entered the day focused on protecting Rabou and Frattini’s respective six- and eleven-point leads over Anderson in the KOM competition. Frattini and Stewart could not match the pace of the group, and fell off midway up the Cat. 1 opener.
“It was a lot tougher today,” said Anderson, who spent nearly 100 kilometers in the break Tuesday. “The group I was with, I was with Lars and a lot of strong guys.”
Anderson climbed with the leaders through throngs of fans lining the winding climb and when the gradient flattened before the KOM line, he attacked the group, taking the full 10-point bonus.
“Right out of the blocks they were going hard up the climb and we were shedding people that were with us,” said Anderson. “I was pretty happy to make it over that one with them and pick up as many mountain points as I could.”
While Anderson said he suffered on the Cat. 4 Mines Road climb 50km later, he was still again able to grab the full four points on offer, pushing him past Rabou and into the California Travel and Tourism climber’s jersey.
More accomplished against the clock than against elite climbers, the 2009 Canadian under-23 time trial champion admitted that the relatively flat summits of the KOMs in stage 3 and 4 worked to his advantage.
“Luckily for me, most of the time when we got to the top of the KOMs, they’ve been flat, so that helps me in the sprinting department there,” he said.
After three days on the front of the race – he rode with the leaders in stage 2 until just before the summit of the Trinity Grade climb – Anderson expects to kick his feet up, relatively speaking, on Thursday. The stage 5 route from Visalia to Big Bear includes the Cat. 3 climb of Old Stage Road and the Cat. 4 bump at Round Mountain Road.
“I’m going to try rest up a bit and focus on the Big Bear day,” he said.