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“This is a huge win. It’s a huge moment for the team. We have been so close on so many occasions. Hopefully it’s the first of many more to come," Gerrans says

Photo: Sirotti








01.07.2013 @ 19:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Simon Gerrans finally delivered Orica-GreenEdge there first ever Tour de France stage win when he beat Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in a photo finish at the end of today's third stage of the race. Praising the team's support, the Australian hopes that the win will create a positive momentum that could see the team take more victories in the race.


Orica-GreenEdge has never been about the GC at the stage races, mostly lining up at multi-day objectives with a clear focus on stage wins. That was the case at last year's Tour de France where the team came away empty-handed, and the approach is similar in this year's edition of the world's biggest race.


The team can finally tick off the box of a stage win in La Grande Boucle as Simon Gerrans beat Peter Sagan in a photo finish in today's third stage, the final in Corsica. Having been the first Australian to win stages in all three grand tours and the first to win a WorldTour race for Orica-GreenEdge, he is now also the first rider to win a Tour de France stage in the team's colours.


“This is a huge win,” he said. “It’s a huge moment for the team. We have been so close on so many occasions. Hopefully it’s the first of many more to come.”


The win was the result of the perfect teamwork. On the day's final climb and its subsequent descent, a very strong quartet consisting of Sylvain Chavanael (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) and Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) had escaped but it was the strong effort of Gerrans' teammates Michael Albasini, Cameron Meyer and Simon Clarke that ended the hopes of the escapees.


“Cam Meyer went straight to the front to shut down the four riders who had slipped off the front,” Gerrans said. “Albasini and Clarke were there, too. Those three committed everything to bring that break back for me, and we kept Daryl (Impey, ed.) for the final lead-out. The rest of the team had done their jobs early – looking after us over the early hills and getting bidons. It was a total team effort. I’m really proud how everyone contributed.”


With the escapees back in the peloton, it was time for Daryl Impey to take over. Known as one of the world's best lead-out men, the South African took control of the peloton inside the final kilometre, perfectly delivering his Australian captain to the win.


“Daryl and I have been working well together in the finals in the last few days,” Gerrans said. “Yesterday I led him out. We thought the finish suited me better today, and we made the decision to have him lead me out because of that. He’s the best in the business. He did an absolutely perfect job.”


The final sprint was a close one as neither Gerrans nor Sagan knew who had taken the win. In the end, the Australian was declared the winner, of course much to his own delight.


“I had no idea if I had won,” he said. “I knew it was really close, and I wasn’t going to celebrate too early. Sagan and I were on the opposite ends of the road and we both threw our bikes. My win was confirmed a few minutes later. We’re all pretty ecstatic.” 


Sports director Matt White was equally enthusiastic, pointing out that the Tour stage win was the only target still to be reached by the team.


“This is obviously our biggest win,” he said. “We’ve won more than 50 races since the team’s inception last year. We had already won at the Giro, the Vuelta, the Classics and all sorts of races between, but this is the one box we hadn’t ticked off yet.”


Even before Gerrans sprinted for the win, the team had featured prominently. Clarke had been part of the day's early breakaway that spent most of the stage ahead of the peloton.


“My job today was basically exactly what I did,” he said. “I was brought to the Tour de France team to go into breakaways, and I made sure that happened. It took pressure off the team behind so they could relax a little bit before the finish.”


Clarke won the mountains jersey at last year's Vuelta and while a similar feat is not an objective at the Tour, he decided to go for the points on the numerous climbs. He picked up 5 points but leader Pierre Rolland added another 5 to his tally, thus defending his jersey.


“I went for the KOM points because I could,” Clarke said. “The opportunity was there so I took it. It would have been a bonus to get the jersey, but it wasn’t a primary objective. I attacked in the final because I wanted to get over the last climb with the bunch. I knew the gap to the break wasn’t big enough to stay away, and I didn’t want to get caught much before the summit. If I had, I might not have been with the group in the closing kilometres to lend a hand.”


Orica-GreenEdge already has another important stage coming up tomorrow as the Australian team has emerged as one of the best team time trial squads in the world. The 25km course in Nice should suit them well and the squad is gunning for a top result.


Starting at 15.00, you can follow the entire stage on



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