Los Angeles - World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the third stage of the Tour of California on Tuesday, timing a late burst to perfection to win a sprint finish in the coastal town of Morro Bay.
Sagan, the 2015 Tour of California winner, bided his time in the peloton before accelerating through traffic in the final half-mile to win the gruelling 192.5km stage, which had begun in Pismo Beach.
German rider Rick Zabel of Team Katusha was second with Italy's Simone Consonni in third. Second stage winner Rafal Majka retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
Sagan's victory came after an entertaining stage which saw a five-man group break away almost as soon as the peloton left Pismo Beach.
Jelly Belly-Maxxis rider Ben Wolfe led the attack along with team-mate Sean Bennett, with American Danny Pate, Spain's David Lozano and Federico Zurlo joining the group.
Wolfe attacked again 11.2 miles from home but the peloton inevitably caught the group five miles from the finish to set the stage for Sagan's late burst.
Meanwhile, Latvian rider Toms Skujins' withdrawal from the race was confirmed following his heavy fall in Monday's second stage.
Video of a dazed and confused Skujins stumbling back to his bike, narrowly avoiding oncoming riders as he resumed riding in the race, went viral following the crash, prompting questions about the failure of officials to prevent the rider from getting back on his bike.
Skujins was later confirmed to have suffered a concussion, a left collarbone fracture and severe road rash.
Slipstream Sports chief executive Jonathan Vaughters said Skujins would not be able to return until he had received an all-clear.
"Our internal concussion program is designed to slow things down and give the rider time to recover properly," Vaughters said.
"Concussion recovery varies from person to person and from day to day. We'll evaluate Toms daily and he'll need to pass a cognitive test before he returns to hard training or racing. His health is the most important thing to all of us."
Results and standings from the 3rd stage of the Tour of California between Pismo Beach and Morro Bay on Tuesday:
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 192.5 km in 4h 53:26 (average 39.4 kph), 2. Rick Zabel (GER/KAT) s.t., 3. Simone Consonni (ITA/EAU) s.t., 4. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) s.t., 5. Jempy Drcker (LUX/BMC) s.t., 6. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA/DDT) s.t., 7. Taylor Phinney (USA/CAN) s.t., 8. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/SUN) s.t., 9. Travis McCabe (USA/UHC) s.t., 10. Mike Teunissen (NED/SUN) s.t., 11. Riccardo Minali (ITA/AST) s.t., 12. Marcel Kittel (GER/QST) s.t., 13. Robert Gesink (NED/LNL) s.t., 14. Matti Breschel (DEN/AST) s.t., 15. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) s.t.
1. Rafal Majka (POL/Bora) 12hr 22min 43sec, 2. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) at 2sec, 3. Ian Boswell (USA/SKY) 14, 4. Lachlan Morton (AUS/DDT) 16, 5. Robert Gesink (NED/LNL) 45, 6. Brent Bookwalter (USA/BMC) 48, 7. Sam Oomen (NED/SUN) s.t., 8. Andrew Talansky (USA/CAN) s.t., 9. Vegard Laengen (NOR/EAU) s.t., 10. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/QST) s.t., 11. Enric Mas (ESP/QST) s.t. 12. Tao Geoghegan Hart (ENG/SKY) s.t.