Tour of California’s Stage 3 finish atop Mount Diablo (VIDEO)

By Michael Collier

Scores of cycling fans flocked Tuesday to Mount Diablo to get a glimpse of their favorite pro racers in the final twists and turns of a 108-mile Stage 3 of the 2014 Tour of California, which began in San Jose and ended at the top of the East Bay’s tallest peak for the second year in a row.

Ride leader Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in 2012, finished behind stage winner Rohan Dennis of Australia. Wiggins remains the overall leader.

The bonus: The fans got to ride their own bikes most of the way to the top — all but 1.2 miles from the 3,850-foot summit.

The drawback: They weren’t riding with the pros, and many of the fan-riders had to sit for hours in the scorching sun as they awaited, with great anticipation, the 128 pro riders on the last leg of the day’s ride.

I was one of them. As the temperature neared 90 degrees, I spent a lot of time refilling my water bottle with Skratch electrolyte samples at a tent nearby. I also scouted out the best angles for shooting a video. I chose my spot at Devil’s Elbow, with sweeping views of Mount Diablo and the San Ramon Valley below it.

I shot this video of the lead group of riders at the last hairpin turn before the finish. Special feature: Look for the guy dressed as a devil at the end of the video. His real name is Brad Porter and he’s ┬ánot at all devilish in person.

The Tour of California has become the primo pro road bike racing event in the U.S. Stage 4 on Wednesday goes from Monterey to Cambria on beautiful Highway 1.

Expect hard-core cycling fans to play hookie again. The tour finishes Sunday in Thousand Oaks (Los Angeles County.)