SKUJINS MAKES A GREAT ESCAPE IN THE MOUNTAINS AND CLIMBS TO TOP OF LEADER BOARD DURING STAGE 3 OF THE 2015 AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

May 12, 2015

Top-25 Riders Separated by Less than a Minute Leading to Tomorrow’s Coastal Ride and the Half-point of the Race

SAN JOSE, Calif. (May 12, 2015) – In what might come to be the greatest escape of the 10th anniversary Amgen Tour of California, 23-year-old Toms Skujins (LAT) of the Hincapie Racing Team suffered through the mountainous 107.6-mile stage to claim a solo victory by more than a minute along with the coveted Amgen Race Leader Jersey.

Stage 3, presented by SRAM, began and ended in 10-time host city San Jose, the only city to have hosted the Amgen Tour of California every year since it began in 2006. In between, there was high drama at high elevations as riders confronted six King of the Mountain (KOM) climbs: one HC at Mt. Hamilton, a Category 2 climb and four Category 4 climbs, including the uphill finish.

The first 20 miles of the race were spotted with several foiled breakaway attempts, with the peloton traveling at speeds over 40 mph. Near Livermore, BMC Racing Team’s Daniel Oss (ITA) found his way to the successful breakaway for the second day in a row, along with six other riders, who worked together to increase their lead up to nearly 5 minutes at the 3-hour point of the 4.5-hour race.

Oss swept the first three KOMs, after which the group began to break up, with Skujins sailing off to a solo lead, which he steadily increased to 1:35 over the chase group and 4 minutes over the peloton by the time the more than 4,000-foot KOM summit at Mt. Hamilton was in his sights. Oss kept his hopes alive for the KOM competition, crossing the Mt. Hamilton KOM line second. With Skujins winning today’s competition, it will be second-place Oss who will wear the KOM jersey tomorrow since Skujins will don the coveted yellow leader.

“This is big. It’s pretty massive for us… I knew that a breakaway had a chance today,” said Skujins, who was Latvia’s Under-23 National Road Race Champion in 2013. “The last half-mile was just pure pain. My legs were locking up… I was not able to go any harder.”

Oss said of his two consecutive days in the breakaway that he wasn’t surprised. “It was a really hard start. I found a good moment and I tried because a few riders were there. I went because it was also good to think about the final climb because maybe from the group someone will want to attack and I can stay there for a teammate to help in the final.”

In the peloton, Tinkoff-Saxo and ultimately Team Sky drove up the pace to try to catch the escapees, with all but Skujins reabsorbed. The Latvian rider’s lead was just too large, and though he was struggling going it alone on the final climb to the finish, his efforts paid off with the overall race lead and a :32 advantage over Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan (SVK), who finished second for the third day in a row and holds on to second place overall. Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s 22-year-old Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) was along with him to take third (fourth overall, +:43) as well as the SRAM Best Young Rider award today. Team SmartStop’s Rob Britton (CAN) holds third position overall (+:44).

Heading into Stage 4 of 8 tomorrow, the 25 leaders in the general classification are separated by less than one minute.

STAGE 3 PODIUM
1. Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
2. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team

STAGE 3 JERSEY WINNERS
Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
Visit California Sprint Jersey: Mark Cavendish (GBR), Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey: Toms Skujins (LAT), Hincapie Racing Team
Amgen Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Daniel Oss (ITA), BMC Racing Team
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team

Celebrating its 10th year, the Amgen Tour of California is the most esteemed stage race in the U.S. Amgen has been the title sponsor of the race since its first year.

“At Amgen, we are passionate about serving patients, and we have reached millions of people with our medicines over the past 35 years,” said Raymond C. Jordan, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Amgen.  “We are grateful that our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California has given us another platform to educate so many people, not just in California but nationwide, about important resources available through our Breakaway from Cancer program.”

Breakaway from Cancer®, created by Amgen in 2005, is a national initiative to raise awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention to survivorship. A collaboration between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations – Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Patient Advocate Foundation and National Coalition for Survivorship – the program offers a broad range of services complementing those provided by a patient’s team of healthcare professionals.

As part of today’s race activities, cancer survivor David Tanza, Santa Cruz, Calif. joined the official start activities and cancer survivor Blaine Mauldin, Mountain View, Calif. had the honor of awarding Oss the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.  Because Oss is now wearing the Lexus King of the Mountain Jersey, Michael Schār of BMC Racing Team will ride Stage 4 in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.

For more information about Breakaway from Cancer, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.

STAGE 4 TOMORROW, PRESENTED BY SRAM:
Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach (106.9 miles)
Start Time: 11:30 a.m. PDT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:49 p.m. PDT

Fans can cheer on the world-class cyclists as they travel across the state or catch the action with the free Amgen Tour of California app for tablets and mobile devices. More information on ways to watch is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

For further information about the Amgen Tour of California and to experience the race like never before with VIP Access, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions. Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

This year, the men’s course will traverse more than 700 miles and wind through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena. The women’s three-day stage race traveled more than 150 miles through South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, followed by a 15-mile Invitational Time Trial in Big Bear Lake.

About Amgen
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

About AEG
AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, StubHub Center, Sprint Center, The O2, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and Best Buy Theater Times Square; sports franchises including the LA Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers; the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG Live, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com.

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Eileen Tanner, Golin
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Diana Valdez, Golin
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