Slovakian, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) kept the green jersey as sprint leader for the 2016 Amgen Tour Of California bicycle race by winning stage four in Monterey County. But the overall leader, Frenchman, Julian Alaphillipe (Etixx-Quickstep) kept the all-important yellow jersey by finishing in the same group.
Once again, riders willing to risk everything chanced breakaways, and, once again, the peloton reigned them back in, although one breakaway of about 20 riders was stopped by race officials 37 miles in due to "dangerous riders" according to Amgen.
Almost immediately, another breakaway of seven riders tried their turn, and succeeded in creating a five minute gap, but a group including Sagan, Austrian, Nathan Haas (South Africa’s Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) and Alaphilippe caught the breakaway leader, Gregory Daniel (Axeon Bergan with about two miles to go.
Another attack and counter with a mile remaining was followed by another attack -by Haas- on the final climb. he led out the sprint to the finish. Sagan again showed off his incredible ability to generate bursts of speed and beat him to the line. Belgian, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took second. Haas finished third.
Lake Tahoe/Santa Rosa's Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) lost no ground in the overall chase. He is 22 seconds back. Thirty-seven seconds behind Alaphilippe is New Zealand's George Bennett (Lotto NL - Jumbo).
Brent Bookwalter (BMC) of North Carolina is :40 back, fourth overall.
Roseville's Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) will wear the white jersey for best young rider and is fifth overall.
Elk Grove's Evan Huffman (Rally) retained the King of the Mountain jersey, but he's 32 minutes behind in the overall race. Stage five could suit him better than most.
On Thursday, the men will leave before 10 a.m. PST from Lodi and will climb 2,000 feet up into the Sierra foothills and then climb another 6,500 feet to summit at Carson Pass. They will finish in South Lake Tahoe.
The women's first of four stages kicks of Thursday -a 73-mile ride around Lake Tahoe.