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“It’s difficult but I'll tell you what, it’s a lot harder to get than it is to keep. The fact that I got 10 seconds on the line today is going to go a hell of a long way in the overall.”

Photo: Sirotti

BRAM TANKINK

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DIEGO ULISSI

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EF PRO CYCLING

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GEORG PREIDLER

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GEORGE BENNETT

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JAY MCCARTHY

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JULIAN DAVID ARREDONDO

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LAURENS DE VREESE

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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MARCUS BURGHARDT

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MICHAEL WOODS

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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NATHAN HAAS

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PETER STETINA

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PIETER SERRY

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RAFAEL VALLS

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RICHIE PORTE

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ROHAN DENNIS

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RUBEN FERNANDEZ

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SERGIO LUIS HENAO

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SIMON GERRANS

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SKY

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOBIAS LUDVIGSSON

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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TYLER FARRAR

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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21.01.2016 @ 15:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a horrendous 2016 season, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) has returned to his winning ways in the race that has been his happiest hunting ground as he delivered a masterful display to come out on top in the first big battle between the GC riders on stage 3 at the Tour Down Under. Despite losing contact on the Corkscrew Climb, he made it back to be part of a 10-rider group that sprinted for the win and held off Rohan Dennis (BMC) in a photo finish. Michael Woods (Cannondale) beat Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) in the sprint for third which meant that Gerrans also took the overall lead with a 3-second advantage over the stage 2 winner.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Gerrans: It’s easier to keep the jersey than to get it

Simon Gerrans has taken out an exhilarating finish on stage three at the Santos Tour Down Under to move into the overall lead.

 

The three-time Tour winner arrived at the finish line in a small group of riders, just outsprinting Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) in a final throw to the line.

 

"To come away with the stage win and the lead, we couldn't ask for much more than that," Gerrans said. "I came from a fair way back, everyone was pretty hammered after getting over the Corkscrew so I’m really thrilled to win it, even by the narrowest of margins.

 

“I came from quite a way back, I knew it was going to be a fast finish but everyone was pretty hammered after getting over the Corkscrew. I am really thrilled to win it, even by the narrowest of margins.”

 

"This is great. It's been a long time between drinks and I had such a difficult season last year. The guys worked so hard for me yesterday, to miss out (due to a crash) so close to the finish when I was feeling so good was bitterly disappointing for me and the team so to come away 24hours later with a win and now the lead I think everyone will be really happy today.

 

 “We tried to go for the first intermediate sprint but I didn't have the legs. I was a bit stiff from the crash yesterday so I wasn't able to score any points or any seconds in the first sprint.

 

“It’s difficult but I'll tell you what, it’s a lot harder to get than it is to keep. The fact that I got 10 seconds on the line today is going to go a hell of a long way in the overall.”

 

Two riders went over the Corkscrew with a narrow margin as Gerrans timed his effort to bridge across to a chase group that included race leader Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and last year's winner Dennis with perfection. 

In a fast decent to the finish, the front two groups joined together to round the final right-hand corner with 400metres to go and sprint towards the finish.

 

"That was super tough going up the Corkscrew, there's obviously some really good climbers in the race so I had to time my effort well," the 35-year-old said.


“I just came back over the top to the guys in front of me to catch the escapees right at the beginning of the descent.

 

"Really, my teammates set me up perfectly for that final climb. They had me in third position into the Corkscrew so it's really thanks to them that I was able to get this result."

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE sport director Matt White said it was only a matter of time before Gerrans' luck turned around.

 

“We knew Simon was in super condition,” White said.

 

“The most impressive thing about all this is how he came back from the Tour de France last year. He could have easily thrown the towel in for the rest of the season but his dedication and persistence through 2015 has set him up for a strong start to the season.”

 

Dennis: Willunga suits me better

Defending champion Rohan Dennis jumped one place on the podium and General Classification after sprinting to second place on stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under, narrowly edged out by Simon Gerrans (ORICA GreenEDGE).

 

The other half of BMC Racing Team’s Australian duo, Richie Porte, finished ninth in the nail-biting stage from Glenelg to Campbelltown.

 

Dennis now sits third overall in the General Classification, with Porte in tenth place.

 

“It is a little bit disappointing. I thought I did a great sprint but Gerrans, you can’t take anything away from him. He’s a class act, he hasn’t won Liege, won Tour de France stages, beaten guys like Sagan, for nothing. I really have to take my hat of to him,” Dennis said.

 

“I didn’t want to go too far in the red. I was in the red when Richie was on the front. I said, ‘Don’t wait … just go.’ Then when Henao and a couple of other guys attacked I thought, ‘You know what … ride to your tempo and watch my power’ and thought I was well above what I should be able to hold, and thought, ‘Don’t go any deeper, it will come back.’”

 

“Last year I won at Paracombe and Richie didn’t and he pumped me on Willunga. Different day, different story. I think it’s going to be really close after Willunga. It’s going to go down to the wire and I think if we don’t get ten seconds up on Gerrans on Willunga before the last criterium, they’re going to go for the primes in the middle.”

 

Rohan Dennis has slipped into third overall on the General Classification (©Tim De Waele/TDWsport.com)

For Porte, today’s climb was a good sign so early in the season.

 

“Rohan was fantastic today and was so close to Gerro, so it’s a good sign for our team. I felt comfortable. I didn’t come into the climb in the best position but Alessandro De Marchi moved me up into a good position. The signs are quite good, i’m happy with that. Obviously Sergio Henao is absolutely flying. I think he’s quite a danger man as well. But we cracked quite a few other guys that we thought would possibly be up there on GC.”

 

Stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under takes the peloton 138 kilometres from Norwood to Victor Harbor, before Saturday’s penultimate stage on Willunga Hill.

“Corkscrew is purely who is the better climber I think and with Willunga, tactics come into play. It’s a lower gradient so you can actually push a bigger gear and it helps bigger guys like myself,” Dennis admitted.

 

“I think it’s quite obvious, get through tomorrow. I am not sure what the weather is going to do tomorrow, but it’s not looking great,” said Porte, adding: “On Willunga we are going to have to absolutely throttle them, just give it to them.”

Dennis and Marcus Burghardt were caught up in separate crashes on today’s stage, both requiring bike changes.

 

BMC Racing Team Race Doctor, Dr. Scott Major gave an update on both riders.

 

“Rohan walked away unscathed from his crash, however Marcus is a little banged up. He has a muscle contusion on his left elbow, although it doesn’t seem to be broken, and has slight muscle strain in the neck. We are going to observe his elbow overnight and make a decision tomorrow morning regarding an X-ray,” Dr. Major said.

 

Breakthrough performance by Woods on the Corkscrew Climb

Last year’s runner-up at the Tour of Utah got his debut at a WorldTour stage race off to a fantastic start when he escaped with Sergio Henao on the final climb. In the end, he sprinted to third and is now fourth overall.

 

“I came in as a bit of an unknown but talking to [sports directors] Charly Wegelius at team camp he told me going into this race: ‘Don’t put any barriers on yourself because we know your talent, we know your ability so we are going to put the guys behind you at this race,’” Woods told Cyclingnews. “The confidence they put in me has paid off, it’s pretty special.”

 

“The lead in was crazy, super fast descent, really technical, guys were banging bars all the way down. I even almost went down at one point, taking another guy from Katusha. It was my fault, I just want to be at the front that bad and I think so did everyone else. When I made it to the front at the start of the climb, I knew the power I was putting out in training so I knew that if I was at the front I had a good shot of doing well.”

 

“I talked with Fabrizio, who saw how well I was climbing and said, ‘Don’t be the first to move, wait till the last steep pitch’ and that’s what I did. I felt good, I was able to respond to Porte’s surges so I decided to take the reins on the climb and see what would happen.

 

“The surge of adrenalin knowing that I was at the front and Phil Liggett doing commentary saying that I was there, hearing the chopper on top and everyone screaming my name. I watch that on TV on the trainer back home and fantasise about that and now it’s happening. It’s crazy.”

 

“When I saw Gerrans, I wasn’t confident at all. He has some wheels on him so I knew we were all after Gerrans’ wheel there and racing for the minor placings in the sprint. That’s why I was trying to push the pace a bit with Henao on the flat but when you have guys like Dennis and Porte rolling hard to bring you back it’s not an easy task.”

 

“I am very happy with where I am at with the goal of top five, knowing Willunga is going to be difficult. With the uphill finish and the way I am climbing, I think I have a good shot at moving even further up. Tomorrow’s going to be another day as well, there’s a good chance of crosswinds so I am really going to have to rely on my guys throughout the day.”

 

McCarthy regrets mistake in hectic finale

Jay McCarthy  now sits second in the GC, just 3 seconds from the top and keeps the green jersey as best young rider. The entire squad put on a strong performance, supported McCarthy during the race and positioned him at the front group before the Corkscrew climb.

 

It was another hilly landscape for the course of stage 3 of the Australian race. The insidious climb of Corkscrew Road to Montacute made the difference by allowing a small group of 10 riders, including McCarthy, to break away from the peloton and race at full speed into the final descent to the finish.

 

Tinkoff had been working hard since the first kilometers to keep the Australian in the front group, making sure him he also grabbed a couple of bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints.

 

"Today we can all be satisfied with the team performance", commented sports director Lars Michelsen ,  "because we were able to control the race. Already in the intermediate sprints Jay got bonuses, by coming third twice, and it was a shame he didn't manage to finish the stage in the top three positions, as in the final sprint the difference with the other riders was minimal. Anyway, it was a great performance by Jay, who proved to have good legs to stay with the best on the final climb."

 

Jay McCarthy commented on the stage, "today the team supported me a lot during the whole stage, helping me to win bonuses in the intermediate sprints and then going to chase the escapees. Also Michael Gogl and Michael Valgren kept me in the first positions before Corkscrew, allowing me to stay with the best in the climb.”

 

"After riding on top of the hill with the others we went to catch the two escapees and when we got to the final sprint I had to close a small gap that was created with Dennis and I lost a bit of energy for the final sprint. I probably should have started a little earlier, but I'm satisfied with fourth place because I'm second in the GC and I'm still the green jersey leader for the young riders, so my Tour Down Under is not finished yet. A good result, especially on Saturday in the Willunga Hill stage could take me back to the top.

 

“The team worked really hard today and I was in the right position but I probably should have been a little further up in the sprint and I didn’t judge the final enough and got a little boxed in. Gerro was smart enough to come from behind me and I wasn’t quite quick enough to get back around. It was good day by the boys and I think we controlled it really well.

 

“Definitely going across the top with Gerro and Richie and Pozzovivo, I thought there’s a good chance we’ll be able to take the on the descent and I didn’t really have to open up much on the descent expect for when Rohan went with two kilometres to go.

 

“I decided that I’d shut that down and maybe that was a little bit of what cost me in the end but at the end of the day, I think I am still up there with a good shot and we don’t have the jersey tomorrow to worry about and the extra pressure that comes with that so the rest of the boys who had to work today will be able to look after me and support me more for the final.

 

“If I am still climbing with them over the top of Corkscrew, Willunga is still a very hard climb and we do it twice but it’s not quite as steep as the Corkscrew today so I think I am still in with a shot for it and I‘ll fight for it.

 

“Definitely it would have been nice to keep the jersey but in the long picture, I know how much the boys had to work hard. They did a great job today.

“I’m gonna keep going for it as hard as I can.  It’s all new to me to be going for the overall classification at this level but I’ve done it before as an under 23 and at the Tour of Turkey so I know how to handle the pressure.  If my legs can do it, I’ll be able to do it.” 

 

Tomorrow's stage starts from the suburbs of Adelaide and finishes in the coastal town of Victor Harbor, covering a total of 138 km.

 

"Tomorrow will be different than today", sums up Michaelsen, "the finish is not new, but every year the organizers slightly change the course to get there, and this year at 20 km from the finish there will be a King of the Mountains that could definitely be decisive for the stage win. Furthermore, during the stage there may be areas with cross winds, another factor to be taken into account because it could disunite the group.”

 

Valls: The goal is to score the first WorldTour points

Rafael Valls was part of the front group and finished sixth. Gerrans is the new GC leader, while Valls is sixth at fifteen seconds.

 

 “I could show myself in the finale today, so I am satisfied,” Valls said.T”he peloton kept Laurens De Vreese under control, he was caught just before entering the finale and then I had to make sure to start the last climb in a good position.

 

“Richie Porte attacked quite soon and immediately the peloton fell apart. Then Henao and Woods had a gap, but I kept going to be able to return during the descent. Nobody was capable of avoiding the sprint. I knew there were faster guys in the group, I did what I could and I finished sixth, that’s my place on GC as well now.

 

”The goal is to finish in top ten and conquer the first important WorldTour points of the season. I’m in a good position now, but tomorrow’s stage is dangerous, the wind could really influence the race.”

 

Henao: I needed a steeper or longer climb

Sergio Henao unleashed a stinging attack on stage three at the Tour Down Under to move up to fifth place overall following Corkscrew Road.

 

After powerful work from his Team Sky team-mates the Colombian rose to the occasion during a rapid finale, cresting the famous climb first after distancing all but one of his rivals in the final metres.

 

That effort secured him the King of the Mountains jersey, and despite being caught on the flat-out descent into Campbelltown, he was still able to sprint for seventh place in an elite front group.

 

At the halfway point of the race Henao now sits fifth, 15 seconds back on leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) who claimed victory on the day.

 

A bike throw on the line narrowly handed Gerrans the win over 2015 victor Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), and Michael Woods of Cannondale who enjoyed a breakout performance after jumping clear on the climb alongside Henao.

 

“You’re always thinking about the victory,” said Henao. “If the climb was steeper or longer, I am sure I could have gotten away. We could see the group coming back, so it was important to be there with the leaders. 

“I had good winter training in Colombia, and came here with good condition. The team is working well, and we will see at Willunga Hill (Saturday). I will try to take the victory there.”

 

"We're happy with how things went today. The boys were incredible," explained Sport Director Kurt Asle Arvesen.

 

"We had Sergio up there first over the climb, and we know that the next hard stage finishes on the top of a climb. So from that sense it's really positive. He looked really good on Corkscrew, and Willunga on Saturday is also a climb he knows well now.

 

"Hopefully he'll be able to recover from that effort now and we'll give him our full support on the queen stage. The team did a brilliant job today to bring the boys onto the climb in a good position. Swifty, Luke and Ian did a superb job there. That was the first thing Sergio commented on when he got back.

 

"It's absolutely a team sport and to have guys like that on the team is incredible. They never miss out on these things. All the teams try to do the same thing but they are the ones who make it happen."

 

The battle for position was intense on the run-up to the climb, with Team Sky ensuring they were in a perfect position, unaffected by a brief split in the bunch. Hard work from Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe dropped Pete Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas right at the head of the race, while Henao moved up from slightly deeper in the pack - hitting the front when it counted.

 

Fernandez confirms love affair with Tour Down Under

Rubén Fernández's goal to be again on top of his game at the start of the season made sense today as the Murcia-born rider took his first top result of 2016. The 2013 Tour de l'Avenir champion finished 10th on stage three of the Tour Down Under, the first big duel between the GC contenders with the Corkscrew Road climb (2.5km at 9%) located just five kilometers from a tricky finish in Campbelltown (139km), causing many scares to a bunch not holding back.

 

A crash with 15km remaining, with no Movistar Team riders involved, forced the riders directed by José Luis Arrieta to react quickly. Oliveira helped to close the gap - after teamwork from Sütterlin, Sutherland and Lobato, who took 2" bonus in one of the intermediate sprints, having done their part early on - as the telephone squad set Fernández, Jesús Herrada and José Joaquín Rojas at the fore of a furious peloton on the foot of the climb.

 

While the two former Spanish road champions struggled as Richie Porte (BMC) made a first acceleration -both finishing at 22" in a first peloton of about 25 riders - Fernández stayed with the main contenders following a move from Mike Woods (CPT) and Sergio Henao (SKY), who crested with a few meters' advantage. Helped by chasing work from BMC, the Spaniard tried to lead the sprint home early. He would round out the day's top-ten, as Simon Gerrans (OGE) narrowly bested countryman Rohan Dennis (BMC) for the victory.

 

The new GC sees Rubén Fernández jumping into 7th place - second best young rider -, 15" behind Gerrans, while Rojas (18th) and Herrada (25th) remain in contention at 37". The race will head towards the coast tomorrow in Victor Harbor (138km), with the Port Elliot KOM near the finish, before it gets decided on Saturday with the long-awaited two Old Willunga Hill climbs on stage five.

 

De Vreese: I thought I had a chance

"It was an incredible day all alone in the front for all those km," said Laurens De Vreese immediately after crossing the finish line.

 

"When I attacked I thought that someone else could join me in the escape. I remained alone but I didn't give up and I really believed I could go to the finish, continued the Belgian. “But close to the end, the GC contenders’ teams start to push and they got me.”

 

“It’s better to go on the attack than do nothing. I tried to have somebody coming up the road with me but someone has to be first to attack. 

“It was me and I was alone so it was a long day for me but it became a good training and I’m very happy to get the trophy for the most competitive rider.”

 

The third stage of the Tour Down Under saw the long escape of De Vreese and then the final sprint that crowned Simon Gerrans get the stage win and the leader's jersey.

 

De Vreese’s Astana teammate Luis Leon Sanchez was good in the final and crossed the line just 13 seconds behind the stage winner.

 

Arredondo taken out by crash

The 139-kilometer stage three at the Santos Tour Down Under played out in a similar fashion to stage two: a solo – and doomed – breakaway animated the race until crunch time, which occurred again at race end. 

 

With the lone wolf back in the pack, the pace intensified as the infamous Corkscrew Road climb neared.  A nerve-wracking descent down the gorge preceded the gnarly uphill and a brutal fight for positioning created daredevil antics. At the top of the steep ascent, another gutsy downhill led to a fast run-in to the finish line. 

 

It proved to be a test for those who could climb, those able to use gravity as their ally, and others who could throw caution to the wind, willing to take risks.

 

Trek-Segafredo's GC leader Julian Arredondo was a victim of the nerve-wrenching lead-in to the Corkscrew road as he crashed on the fast downhill with four others and never had the chance to contest the punchy climb tailored to his strengths. 

 

"Today was one of the days that we knew was important for GC," said director Adriano Baffi. "Julian was caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time and what more can we say? It is unfortunate, but now we must focus on our value, which is Peter and Jack, and maybe on Willunga we can do better because it is less nervous than today."

 

It was another turn of misfortune and left the reins to Jack Bobridge and Peter Stetina. 

 

Jack Bobridge led the second group across the line 13 seconds after a group of 10 leaders and he sprinted to 13th place, with Peter Stetina finishing in the same time for 33rd. 

 

"Boy [Van Poppel] was probably the calmest, best wheel to follow down the gorge which is probably one of the most intense run-ins in modern racing," explained Stetina. "He allowed me to start [the climb] in pretty good position, but I was missing a little bit of punch when the power really went. This was more of a pure power climb, and I have not done an effort like this since before my crash last April. It was a good little first test, and I crested the climb around 15th wheel. Our group slowed on the downhill, and Jack was there. We were able to limit our losses, and now we look forward to Willunga, which is honestly a much better climb for the both of us. It suits us lightweight guys more than some of the power guys that you saw out front today."

 

Ahead, the 10 leaders fought out the stage win and Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) made amends for yesterday's late crash and edged out Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing). Bobridge and Stetina sit 37 seconds behind Gerrans who took over the race lead with his victory. 

 

Solid season start for unfortunate Serry

A cyclist often hit by bad luck in the past, Pieter Serry looks to be on the right track to returning to a strong level, a confirmation of the hard work and countless hours of training he put during the winter coming in Campbelltown, where Serry finished 14th, just 22 seconds behind the day’s winner. In the overall classification, best placed Etixx – Quick-Step rider is David De La Cruz, who made an impressive jump of 15 places, up to 22nd.

 

After the stage, sport director Rik van Slycke made an analysis of the final 15 kilometers of what proved to be the race's toughest day so far: "On the climb it was a matter of positioning. Riders who started in a good position had an opportunity to get good results. There were only a few steep kilometers from the top of the climb to the finish, so the riders' positions didn't change too much on the descent.

 

”We had a plan to bring some riders, like Petr Vakoč and David De La Cruz, to the front, but unfortunately there were two crashes in the field towards the end, which pushed them further down the field. They did have some energy to get back, but of course this drained some of their strength. Still, they did well. Looking at the names of the cyclists with whom they arrived at the finish, I think it's a good performance from our guys today.

 

”As for Pieter Serry, I can't be anything than happy for him, because he was up there and did well, although it wasn't easy at all."

 

”Came is as 14th today @tourdownunder. Hard, warm and dangerous stage. Young team is doing very well,” Serry tweeted.

 

Late crash costly for Ludvigsson and Preidler

TOBIAS LUDVIGSSON AND GEORG PREIDLER TOOK 19TH AND 21ST PLACE ON STAGE 3 OF THE TOUR DOWN UNDER. THEY MISSED OUT THE FIRST GROUP AFTER BEING CAUGHT UP BY A CRASH IN THE BUNCH. SIMON GERRANS (ORICA-GREENEDGE) WON THE GROUP SPRINT OF 10 RIDERS.

 

A small group of riders crashed before the climb causing a split in the peloton and leaving Preidler and Ludvigsson not in the front group with no chance of regaining the leaders. They finished in 19th and 21st place on the stage, and are now 16th and 24th overall, respectively.

 

“I was behind the crash and spent some energy in trying to get back in the front,” explained Ludvigsson. “On the climb I gave everything and I managed to limit my losses to 22″.”

 

Giant-Alpecin coach Aike Visbeek said: “Our focus was clearly to bring Tobias in a good position to the climb. This worked out but we needed to spent some energy as most of the guys were behind the crash. Koen [De Kort] was involved in the crash but he is ok fortunately.

 

“Tobias and Georg did was they could to follow the first group and both of them are still in for a good GC ranking.”

 

Farrar finishes on spectator’s bike

As riders descended at speeds touching 90km/h toward the start of the Corkscrew climb, there was a crash in the field that saw Songezo Jim and Tyler Farrar both going down. Thankfully the two Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were able to get up and carry on to the finish, albeit with a bit of help from a spectator who lent Farrar his bike and shoes. The crash though, caused a split in the peloton with around 30 riders forming the front group.

 

The race managed to come back together just as the road ramped up toward the sky. Cameron Meyer, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas were all well positioned on the lower slopes of the Corkscrew as race leader Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) started to up the pace. Richie Porte then followed with a few stinging attacks of his own which really split the field. The Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were slightly distanced as 10 riders gapped the field over the top of the Corkscrew.

 

The leaders would not be caught during the hair raising 5km descent to the line. Gerrans would take over the race lead after today's stage win.  Meyer would be the highest placed rider on the stage for the team, coming home with the first chase group 13 seconds down on the winners and still in contention for a decent overall position.

 

“Today the heat got to me, but huge congrats to the guys in front. @simongerrans huge ride! But incredible from @JayMcCarthy1 huge talent,” Haas tweeted after the stage.

 

“Today was the first stage in the Tour Down Under where we were playing for the GC,” sports director Alex Sans Vega said. “In the finale we weren't able to have our 2 leaders, Nathan and Cameron with the leaders but we rode a good race to deliver them to a good position before the start of the Corkscrew climb. The guys tried their best and we did a good job, it was just a shame Tyler crashed about 10km before the climb but luckily he is okay and for sure he will start tomorrow.”

 

The organizers later made the following statement:

 

”Tyler Farrar of the Dimension Data team today accepted assistance from a spectator who loaned him his bicycle after the American cyclist was involved in a crash during the Thomas Foods Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under.

”Race officials have confirmed Farrar will be allowed to continue the race as an exception to the rule because a bad crash with several other riders involved created a hectic situation which meant neither his team car nor the event's neutral service vehicle was in a position to provide assistance.

”This ruling respects the spirit of the sport and considers the rather exceptional circumstances in which this occurred. 
”In normal circumstances accepting outside assistance such as Farrar did today would result in his disqualification from the race.”

 

Poor position costly for Bennett

George Bennett lost 13 seconds in the first tough stage of the Tour Down Under today. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was unable to follow the first ten riders at the final climb, which Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) used as a launch pad for victory.

In the final 10 kilometres, the third stage of the Tour Down Under got serious. The tough final climb peaked in Montacute and left a five-kilometre descent to the line.

“It was our aim to lead out George Bennett as well as possible for that climb so he could compete with the best,” sports director Frans Maassen said. But Bram Tankink crashed badly just before that climb and that crash spoiled Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s plans. “We had to put too much energy in getting back into position after Bram’s crash. We were counting on more today.”

“We were caught behind the crash down the gorge into the final climb and lost Bram,” George Bennett added. “It was a big job to come back, but the boys helped a lot to bring me up. Unfortunately, we paid for the effort. We fought to the front, but I was too far in the red zone to follow the best guys in the final. Tomorrow is another chance, though.”

Bram Tankink went to the hospital, after to race, for inspection.

 

“Luckily nothing is broken. But it doesn’t feel nice to move. Fortunately, I have a sitting job. We have to wait and see how the ribs will feel tomorrow,” he tweeted after the stage.

 

Disappointment for Ulissi and Meintjes

The fast descents which characterized the final part of the 3rd stage of the Tour Down Under were crucial for the final result and unfortunately LAMPRE-MERIDA was out of the top 5 for the first time in this edition of the race.

Ulissi and Meintjes reached the dinish in the first chasing group. LAMPRE-MERIDA's duo ended 35th (Ulissi) and 37th (Meintjes), 22" behind the winner.

The donwhill of Castambul 9 km from the finish line was decisive as it split the bunch which was riding at more than 90 km/h: Ulissi and Meintjes missed out by a few meters despite the forcing they made on the climb, they did not succeed in joining the leading 10 riders.

"In the approach to the Castambul descent, the group broke into several parts and Diego and Louis missed out on being in the best positions in the front end of the bunch,” sports director Philippe Mauduit explained. “They tried hard to get back, but it was too late and so they missed the opportunity to battle for the success. 
 

Tomorrow in victor Harbour Kump will be our captain for the sprint. He'll try to do even better than what he has done until now, with the 5th place in the criterium and the 4th place in the first stage.”

Ulissi is out of the top ten of the overall classification, he's 13th at 31" at 16" from the 10th place of Clarke, while Meintjes is 29th at 37". They'll have another chance to climb the standing in the summit finish of the 5th stage at Willunga Hill.

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