Garmin-Transitions’ Tom Peterson took the start Tuesday morning at the Amgen Tour of California field with fond memories. Last year, Peterson won a similar stage in Santa Cruz after ended up off the front with Levi Leipheimer.
In the 2010 edition, stage 3 starts in San Francisco and again heads south along the coast, taking riders up and over the Bonny Doon climb that proved decisive in 2009.
For Peterson, his win last year was partly spurned out of frustration.
“The plan that day was for someone to try and get in the breakaway, but I wasn’t the dedicated guy,” Peterson said. “We rode that stage a couple weeks before, except for the Golden Gate Bridge, so I knew exactly what it was going to be like.”
“Quite a bit had happened to me before that stage: I got a flat right before my prologue, so I lost a lot of time. Christian was like, ‘this might be a blessing in disguise. They could let you go up the front,’” Peterson said. “The next day I was riding the front, and I guess (Francisco) Mancebo or someone attacked and I blew up. So the motivation for the next day into Santa Cruz was building up quite a bit. I was just feeling irritated with the whole thing.”
It was raining last year as the remnants of the break were overtaken on Bonny Doon by a motivated Leipheimer in full flight. Peterson was the only man who could grab the wheel.
“We didn’t do any talking,” Peterson said of his 20km venture with Leipheimer to the finish. “He asked me to pull a couple of times, but I couldn’t work with Levi. I had (Dave) Zabriskie and (Tom) Danielson back there.”
So Peterson sat on as Leipheimer charged away, chasing time for the overall classification. Peterson jumped around him at the line for the stage win.
As to whether he looks back on that day as motivation, Peterson said he prefers to look up the road, instead of backwards.
“When I’m training, I think mainly about races coming up,” Peterson said. “If you’ve done something, you know that you can do something like again. So I focus on the future.”
After California, Peterson will likely race the Dauphiné Libéré, the GP Nibali and perhaps the Vuelta a España.