Amialiusik sprints to 6th on Santa Rosa stage

Alena Amialiusik has sprinted to sixth place in today's stage three at the Amgen Tour of California Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered by SRAM. The stage was won by Marianne Vos (RLT) from Coryn Rivera (UHC) and Emma Johansson (WHT) in a small bunch sprint.

The scenic 111km stage was seen as the queen stage with two climbs in the first half of the race. Amialiusik described the beginning of the stage. "Yes at the start there were some riders who tried to attack. There was a lot of action and the race was aggressive. After the first climb there was one group at the front and in the valley it was Hannah and Alexis who were there with me."

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Amialiusik's team mates Hannah Barnes and Alexis Ryan tried continuously to create a break before the main Coleman Bay QOM. "I felt like it was so close to breaking at that point, but it just didn't come off for us," said Ryan. As soon as the peloton hit the second climb a selection was made with Amialiusik in a front group of eight riders. "Abbot (WHT) was ahead on this climb. It was a much harder climb than we expected. I thought it would be around a 10 minute climb but it was more like 20 minutes long. We caught Abbot quickly after the climb. In this group then there were several attacks. Johansson tried, I tried a few times, but no one could go solo," said the Belarusian national champion.

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The front group with Amialiusik was caught before reaching the finish circuits in downtown Santa Rosa. Amialiusik showed off some sprinting strength to finish sixth on the stage. "After we were caught then I thought okay I want to get away on the circuits but it was impossible because it was so fast. In the sprint I gave my best and for me sixth is a good result. Our team tried and it was quite a good race."

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The final stage tomorrow is a circuit race in Sacramento. Fifteen seconds splits race leader Guarnier (DLT) and Armstrong (T16) and with several sprinters in the race it's expected to be a thrilling finale to the tour. Racing starts at 11:40 PDT.

Follow the action on the team's Twitter @WMNcycling and using #UCIWWT.

by Beth Duryea