It was a day for a breakaway at stage four of the Tour of California, with Lennard Hofstede taking third in the sprint to the line.
Starting in Santa Barbara, stage four of the Tour of California took riders over four categorised ascents along its 159.5 kilometre route to Santa Clarita. After 10 kilometres a break went clear, with Lennard Hofstede representing the team up the road. The group of six stretched their lead out to eight minutes, loosing one of their breakaway companions along the way. As the chase began to organise in the following peloton, the corporation between the leading riders remained strong. The bunch finally had the leaders within sight in the final kilometre, but in the end it was a day for the breakaway to survive. When a rider opened up a gap from within the break for the sprint, Lennard showed his strength and closed the gap. In what was a tight finale Lennard took 3rd at the line, his first top three placing in his WorldTour career with the team. Sam Oomen finished safe inside the bunch and maintains 7th in the overall standings.
After the stage Lennard said: “Today was a day that we knew a break could stay away so we wanted to get me into whatever went up the road. The break happened on a difficult moment and it took us some time before we managed to get a good gap. During the day we extended our lead right up, and it started to look more and more like we were going to make it. In the end it came to a sprint between the break. I made a small mistake and ended up coming 3rd, a result I am still really pleased with.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc reef explained: “Today we had the goal to protect Sam, to sprint with Ramon and look for a break. Lennard made it into the break that finally got some space after 40 kilometres. Their gap quickly went up to nine minutes and the group just about made it to the line. In the sprint Lennard made a small mistake and came 3rd, which is still a pleasing result. Sam was protected well during the day by the team and came in with the bunch. Ramon sprinted to 11th place from the peloton.”