Sagan brings 16 second lead in Tour of California to Bakersfield

Sagan brings 16 second lead in Tour of California to Bakersfield
Cyclists, including race leader Peter Sagan, front, head toward the starting line for Stage 4 of the Tour of California cycling race Wednesday morning, May 16, 2012, in downtown Sonora, Calif. (AP Photo/The Modesto Bee, Joan Barnett Lee)

CLOVIS, Calif. (AP) — Slovakia's Peter Sagan of Slovakia raced to his event-opening fourth straight stage victory in the Tour of California on Wednesday to increase his overall lead to 16 seconds heading into Thursday's individual time trial in Bakersfield.

The 22-year-old Sagan, riding for Liquigas-Cannondale, finished the 130.2-mile stage from Sonora to Clovis — the longest leg in the race — in 5 hours, 18 minutes, 8 seconds in 95-degree conditions.

Australia's Heinrich Haussler, racing for Garmin-Barracuda, was second for the fourth straight day, about a bike-length behind. Rabobank's Michael Matthews, also from Australia, was third in the stage.

Jeff Louder, the United Healthcare rider from Salt Lake City, was 34 seconds back in third place with four stages left.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press