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Hunter has work to do

Robbie Hunter may be some way back in the broader scheme of things but he’s still going to have his work cut out in the Amgen Tour of California being ridden in the United States.

That’s because the South African cyclist’s teammate won yesterday’s third stage and now tops the General Classification of the eight stage event. So Hunter will have to work hard to defend that lead.

American David Zabriskie won the 113.3-kilometre stage between San Francisco and Santa Cruz in 4hr 26min 09sec, holding off Australian Michael Rogers and defending champion Levi Leipheimer.

That gives Zabriskie a four and six second lead respectively over the Team HTC-Columbia and Team Radioshack rider.

Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong is sitting comfortably in 12th spot, just 27sec off the pace.

For the second year in a row a Garmin-Transition rider took the Santa Cruz stage — last year it was Tom Peterson’s turn for line honours.

Hunter’s Garmin-Transition team are now second behind Team Radioshack.

Said Hunter on his Twitter feed after the race: “So not a bad day with Dave Z winning today’s stage. Only prob is he took yellow, now we gotta ride on the front for a few days (ouch). A hint for Dave: Next time take yellow in the TT so we only have to defend the last day. (Bring on tomorrow)!!!!”

Hunter’s ride yesterday didn’t see him feature among the top 57 placings for the stage but fellow South African rider Darren Lill is still in the equation.

The Fly V Australia team rider was 50th in yesterday’s stage, 8:58 down the field and currently lies 52nd in the overall standings (17:01 back).

By Mark Etheridge