Just in case anyone was wondering how to lead-out a sprint in bike racing, take a look at the tape of the Cervelo Test Team in the finale of Stage 3 in Modesto. After making a late catch of the day's breakaway remnants, the field basically just had to watch as an English-speaking chariot delivered Thor to Valhalla...uh, I mean Modesto.
After a valiant effort by Jeff Louder to stay away after spending all day in the break, Cervelo took over about 1k out and just crushed it with Roulston, Rollin and Lancaster. They actually controlled the finish to the point that Hushovd basically made a little jump at 150 meters and coasted easily across the line.
After not being sure that Cervelo was even in the race up to this point, it was nice to see the new team show the Pro Tour kids how to do it. In retrospect, I'm disappointed that I didn't fully appreciate the lead-out speed and size of Roulston, Rollin and Lancaster before witnessing it in Stage 3. With the God of Thunder in the caboose behind them, it's safe to say that not many people are going to be coming around those dudes.
It was interesting to note that Cavendish got caught up a little bit with Fast Freddie in the finish and never really contested the sprint. After having words with Cipollini last year, it may be safe to say that the Teen Wolf of Man will not be palling around with the Rock Racing crew at the afterparty.
Stage 4 from Merced to Clovis has the potential to be either epic and heinous or epic and spectacular. Either way it's going to be tough and the final descent off of Crane Valley Road is making me cold just thinking about it. If a small group gets away over the last climb, there will probably be too much real estate to cover before the finish but there is also a strong possibility that if some riders way down on GC get a couple minutes over the top it may not be worth it for the peloton to take risks on the final descent and run into Clovis. Look for a group of random European guys and a few young Americans to get away early before George Hincapie avenges his teammate and takes the sprint out of a group of about 30 riders.