Stage 3 press conference quotes:  

Levi Leipheimer (USA), General Classification Leader


On today’s race:

“We knew that today was going to be important.  I think this stage was the hardest stage in the three-year history of the Amgen Tour of California.  It was a day with a few tough, but really beautiful, climbs.  The Mt. Hamilton climb turned out to be really hard, and our team had something to prove today.  I just didn’t want to let the guys down.  Our morale is really good right now; we needed this win.”

On working with Robert Gesink to win:

“I think it worked out because I was conservative going over the top, but by the time I got to the finish, I had nothing left.  I predicted yesterday that Gesink would be my ally today; he’s a huge talent and a star of the future.  I’m glad he got the stage win, and thanks to our working together, I’m back in the Amgen Leader Jersey for the first time this race.  I’m going to try to keep it until Pasadena, and with a team like Astana, I’m confident we can do this.”

On beating Cancellara and Millar, two of the world’s best time trialists, to the finish:

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how Gesink and I stayed away.  I was a little frustrated because I had been in that position before and I wasn’t really ready to commit everything yet.  I was pulling through with the intention to make it, but I knew it was a long way.  I was asking my team manager for information, and when I heard it was Cancellara and Millar, I thought there was no way we could make it, but the gap didn’t come down.  Cancellara’s performance really surprised me today.  It’s a great indication of how well he is performing right now.”

On the crowds during the race:

“In Modesto, and all throughout the race, even in the outback, the crowds again have been superb.  I think they were suffering a lot on the Summit (Mt. Hamilton, where it was 38 degrees and foggy), so I want to thank them for encouraging me and all of the riders to do our best on a very tough stage.”

On tomorrow’s stage:

“Tomorrow is not an easy day.  It’s the longest stage of the race and we have a lot of pressure on our shoulders.  We need to control the race, but weather could be a factor.  Tomorrow, I’ll be looking for my teammates to lead, but hopefully Friday will be my day.  We are here to race and give it everything.  Whether I finish first or last, we are going to do our best.”

Robert Gesink (NED), Stage 3 Winner and Union Bank Best Young Rider Leader


On today’s race:

“This win is really great for me because the field of riders is much better here.  I was planning to get away with Levi because I knew if I got with other riders, I would really have to work to beat them in the sprint.  I’m not a good sprinter, so I had to be alone or with Levi in order to win here.”

“Paul (Martens) had a good breakaway, so our team just followed and tried to keep me out of the wind and in good position within the peloton.  Today was a really big win for our team; we were strong as a team today.”  

On being chased by Cancellara and Millar:

“My team director didn’t tell me that we were being followed by a group of accomplished sprinters, including Cancellara and Millar.  That’s the kind of information he doesn’t give you.  He tells you the time you have and puts 10 seconds on it to keep you motivated.”

On riding with Levi to the finish:

“Levi and I just told each other to ride harder and faster to make it there before the other guys.  We just rode for it and tried to go as fast as possible.  For me, the possibility of winning this race is small, but Levi has a good chance, so we road together because we each had something to gain.”

Scott Nydam (USA), California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains Leader

Team BMC

On today’s race:

“I still felt good today, even after yesterday’s solo shot at the podium; it was fun for 90 miles of it.  The team talked about me going for the KOM jersey, since I was close to it yesterday, so we focused on that.  I just went for it and didn’t look back.  I was lucky enough to be working well with the first breakaway group, but Mt. Hamilton hit me hard.  It was the most pain I’d ever experienced in my cycling career.  But no problem, I’ll be there another day to try again.”

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George Hincapie (USA), Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey Leader

High Road

On today’s race:

“My plan was to get away and to get the stage win.  I wasn’t just trying to gain time; the intention was a stage win.  I made a break for it today, which was risky and obviously it didn’t work.  The wind hit me pretty hard and I had no protection.  Tomorrow is another good day for a few of the guys on our team, so we’ll see what happens; it’s not over yet.”

Heinrich Haussler (GER), Herbalife Sprint Jersey Leader 


“It is a close race for me to continue to wear this jersey, but I felt good today and I don’t mind the cold at all; it was better for me.  I like the Spring Classics where the weather is horrible and cold, so this is nothing.  The Amgen Tour of California is really impressive. Every stage will be a challenge for me, but I hope to do well tomorrow.”

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports

“Today was a major test for the riders.  There were five climbs and then a hard sprint to the finish, which separated the pack quite a bit.  It’s just so exciting to see this level of racing here, at the Amgen Tour of California.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the crowd response we’ve seen in each city.  The genuine enthusiasm that we’ve seen is inspiring, and we are looking forward to a rousing finish in Pasadena.” 

Jim Birrell, Race Director, Amgen Tour of California

On today’s race:

“Today’s sprint was a beautiful story.  I think the first KOM surprised a lot of the riders.  It had some significant pitches that wounded the riders before the final assault on Mt. Hamilton.”

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2008 Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 Quotes

Page  PAGE 2

Stage 3

Modesto to San Jose

February 20, 2008