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Santos Tour Down Under 2016: Stage 3

Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 3 of the Tour Down Under. We're in Glenelg today for what will be a crucial stage in this year's race, with the finish in Campbelltown.

 

 

 Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 3 of the Tour Down Under. It's another cracking day of racing ahead of us with the first major test for the GC riders coming up. Here's where we stand on GC heading into the race:

1 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff 6:50:43
2 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre–Merida 0:00:04
3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 0:00:05
4 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
5 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Rsa) 0:00:09
6 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:10
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL–Jumbo
8 Juan José Lobato Del Valle (Esp) Team Movistar
9 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
10 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant–Alpecin

 

The peloton climb Corkscrew Hil and we've a full preview to bring you with the race officially starting in roughly an hour from now. 

 

The double ascent of Willunga Hill on the penultimate stage will settle the general classification but the steeper gradients of Corkscrew, 2.5 kilometres long at an average nine per cent, will be just as important in the battle for overall honours. Whoever's going to emerge victorious will need to descend just as well as he can climb, with the ascent preceded by a speedy trip down Gorge Road and followed by a 5.7-kilometre drop to the finish line in Campbelltown.
 


You can find our stage preview, right here.

 

Coming up in the next few minutes we'll be joined by Orica GreenEdge's Matt White, who has won this race several times as a director. 

 

Before Matt joins us for a few minutes, lets have a scan through today's news. We'll start with a familiar face, Rohan Dennis. He comes into the race as the defending champion and is in high form and morale after his national TT win earlier in the month. 

 

“That's the best I've gone in Stirling before,” said Dennis after stage 2, “Every other year I've struggled, especially in the last 300 metres. So it's just amazing what happens when you're in the right place at the right time. Your confidence and everything goes up and you just feel better about the race."

You can read more from Mr Dennis, right here

 

Peter Sagan, currently in Argentina for the Tour de San Luis has talked to the media about the possible demise of the Tinkoff team. Oleg has said he's looking to leave the sport so Sagan needs someone to step in and cover those wages of his. Here are the world champion's thoughts on the matter. 

 

Back to the Tour Down Under and Adam Hansen, he who has ridden every single grand tour since the dawn of time, has talked about going on the attack in the race this year. He's a huge fan favourite both in Australia and around the globe, and here's what the Lotto Soudal man has to say. 

 

Back to Argentina - we just can't stay away - and Nairo Quintana has been ruffling a few feathers perhaps with a few attacks of his own on stage 3. That story is within thumb reach. Go on, click on it.

And finally, and this you really do need to click on, you can vote for the best WorldTour jersey of 2016. Alas, the jersey that I think should be top is treading water near the bottom but don't let that put you off. You can vote here and there are some fantastic prizes from Alé to be win as well. 

 

And without further delay, Matt White, welcome to the CN blimp. 

 

Matt White: Thanks for having me.

 

CN: Matt you must be pleased with how the race has gone so far. A stage win, a day in the lead and Simon Gerrans is looking strong.

 

Matt White: In general we’re pretty happy with how the race has gone. The guys were involved in that crash yesterday in the final and that’s obviously disappointing but we can’t control everything, and crashes do happen. In general it’s been a great start to the Tour Down Under.

 

CN: You came into this race with a fair deal of pressure on your shoulders though. Was that easy to shrug off?

Matt White: We’re always going to have a lot of pressure down here. It’s the only WorldTour race in Australia. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and people expect a lot from us. For Caleb to first deliver in the Criterium was a great sign. To deliver that again on stage 1 was really gratifying for the entire team.

 

CN: We come into today's stage and how important is it for you given that you have a GC favourite and former winnner in Simon Gerrans?

 

Matt White: Today is the most crucial stage of the race. It’s 5km from the top of the final climb to the finish line and there’s little room for error. No one can afford to lose time. Lose time and you’ll probably lose the race, it's that simple. If you lose ten seconds on the climb you’re out of sight and it will be so hard to close that gap. It’s a who dares, wins scenario today.

 

CN: Given that everyone knows the climb now, is it about being as aggressive as possible?

 

Matt White: Well, we haven’t got the jersey on our shoulders today. Today is a day where all the GC teams know how important the stage is. It’s going to be so important when it comes to entering and exiting the climb. All the good teams have similar tactics but we don’t have the jersey so in that sense we don’t have to control the racing as much. It’s going to be a great battle between the climbers here, that's for sure.

 

CN: For those back in Europe or over in the US or who simply don't know today's climb, how would you compare or liken it to a European climb?

Matt White: That’s a good question. In general the Tour Down Under is an intense race. The stages aren’t long but it’s on from the go. Today is 139km, so it’s relatively short, although we’re only in January at the moment. The pace is going to be high and the short length of the stage is going to encourage aggressive racing. What makes it tricky is the distance from the top of the climb to the finish. And you have to add in, sorry Daniel, that when you’ve only got two or three climbs in the week, each one becomes even more important.

 

CN: So to your leader in Simon Gerrans. How in your eyes is he shaping up?

Matt White: We’re happy with where he is. The most disappointing aspect about yesterday was that we didn’t have a chance to see how good he is. He was sprinting well and we were sitting in a good position but overall we’re very happy with things. He’s put a lot of effort in when it’s come to preparing for this time of the season.

 

CN: So who do you see as the main rivals when it comes to GC here? Bobridge, our current race leader, Dennis?

Matt White: Actually I don’t see a few of them as our biggest threats. I think the two big dangers are the Colombians Pantano and Henao. I see Dennis as the number one threat and then Ulissi as well. I think we’ll see that Henao is the leader at Team Sky, that Rohan is the clear leader at BMC, and Ulissi has been in great form already. The two Colombians, I know that they’re going well for sure.

 

CN: Other than with Simon, do you see other opportunities for your team this week?

Matt White: A lot depends on today. Today is going to be the best of the best against each other. Then Friday I think we could see a break survive but so much depends on the composition. Then Saturday we have another important day for GC, and then Sunday is one for the sprinters again. There’s actually not a lot of opportunities for a number of teams but we have guys who can climb and we’ve got the fastest guy here at the bike race.

 

CN: You do indeed. And with Caleb what is the plan for the next few months? Again you must be really impressed with the start to the year that he's had.

Matt White: Look, it’s a great start, but that’s what it is, a great start. He’s going to get his first big test when he hits Tirreno in March. We’ve always planned on him having a strong start to the season, he’s hit the ground running, and that’s very important for us. Tirreno will be a big test for him and then we’re planning on taking him to the Giro. That’s the first part of the season. The Giro is a long way off but it’s one of our plans for Caleb.

CN: Well Matt, we won't keep you any longer. Good luck for today.

Matt White: Cheers.

 

Now I know what you're thinking. When are you going to tell us about the weather for today's stage? 

 

Well, I'm not. But Brett Dutschke - who according to the emails he's been sending me, is a Senior Meteorologist at weatherzone.com.au -  is going to. Over to you Brett.

 

Summary - Partly cloudy (only high cloud). Dry (rain should hold off until later), 28-33 degrees. WNW winds 10-15 km/h.
 

11am at Glenelg - 28-29 degrees with NNW winds at 10-15 km/h (tail wind over the right shoulder as they head south to Noarlunga)
 

Noarlunga to Clarendon - about 30 degrees, becoming a cross wind WNW about 15 km/h from McLaren Flat to Kangarilla
 

Clarendon to Stirling - cooling to 28 degrees as they climb the hill with WNW winds of about 15 km/h (partial cross wind over the left shoulder but starting to get more sheltering from trees)
 


Stirling to Lobethal - warming to about 31 degrees as they descend then climb again with WNW winds persisting at about 15 km/h (tail wind to Mylor then partial cross wind over the left shoulder but a fair amount of sheltering from trees)

 

Lobethal to Campbelltown - cloud possibly increasing, warming to 32-33 degrees as they descend to Castambul then climb the the short, steep hill to Montacute (KoM) then descend to the finish with WNW winds about 15 km/h becoming a head wind but still some sheltering from trees
 

 

With the stage roughly 20 minutes away, I'm going to pass you over to my colleague Pat Malach.

 We're just a few minutes away from the start of stage 3 at the Santos Tour Down Under. Riders are staging.

In case you missed it, Drapac's Peter Koning soloed to the stage win today at the Tour de San Luis and took over the race lead. It was an impressive ride by the Dutch rider. You can read about it here.

Here's today's top 10 from Argentina:

1 Peter Koning (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 3:08:41
2 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:37
3 Travis Mccabe (USA) Holowesko / Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
5 Mauro Abel Richeze (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos
6 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Julien Loubet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
8 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Dayer Uberney Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
10 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team
 

 

Koning told Cyclingnews he'll likely be back in a support role when the race hits the mountains tomorrow, but he's enjoying the Tour de San Luis race lead for now. Read more here.

 

Colombian Nairo Quintana is no doubt champing at the bit for tomorrow's mountain stage in Argentina. Cyclingnews caught up with him after today's stage and asked him about the conversation he had with Vincenzo Nibali after chasing down the Italian's attack on the final climb. You can read about it here.

 

And we're off. Riders have left the start line.

 

Today's stage finishes with the daunting climb up Corkscrew Road, followed by a descent that includes a sharp right turn about 500 meters front he finish. Contenders for the win are going to have to be good bike handlers as well. It should be a good one.

 

There was some exciting news in track racing today as a new professional league was announced. The World Cycling League is hoping to inject a little show business into the sport to make it more exciting for fans. Read more here.

 

The views from the Cyclingnews blimp are good today, and we can see that the peloton has cleared some treacherous tram lines near the start. 137 riders are on their way.

 

3km until the neutral ends and the attacks will start flying.

 

And riders are done with the neutral start. The race is on...

 

An Astana rider is the first to try his luck off the front. Who will join him?

 

Earlier today Etixx-QuickStep's Peter Vakoc spoke with Cycling Australia about being given leadership of the team for this race. Here's what the 23-year-old Trek rider had to say:

 

"This is the first time I've been given leadership responsibilities at Etixx-Quick Step. It's a bit stressful but I'm really happy to be in that position. I'm ready for it. I'm very satisfied with my condition too. I was a bit disappointed yesterday as I lost positions at a roundabout with two km to go. I did my best to go back up and make the top ten. Corkscrew is a bit too steep for me but I'm ambitious."

 

From the CN blimp we can see that the Astana rider off the front is Laurens De Vreese. The peloton is letting the 27-year-old Belgian have some leash; they're not reacting.

 

Cyclingnews picked IAM Cycling's Jarlinson Pantano as a rider to watch today. Here's what the Colombian had to say before the start: "I hope that today is the Colombian day! Sergio Henao, Julian Arredondo are going very well too from what I've seen in the first few days. They'll attack on Corkscrew too although a 7 to 8 minutes effort is a bit too short for us. We'll have to make the climbing very hard."

 

Former ski jumper Primoz Roglic made the jump to cycling this year. Here's what he told Cycling Australia before the stage:  "Had I remained a ski jumper I would have never come to Adelaide to compete. I'm glad to start my World Tour career here. Every stage is hard. But I do my best to help my team."

 

The peloton are really giving De Vreese some leash now. The gap has ballooned to nearly three minutes. At 10 seconds down he's the virtual leader on the road, but there's still 130km remaining.

 

Former UnitedHealthcare rider Lucas Euser opened up to Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo about the difficulties that led to his early retirement. He claims his team put results ahead of rider health. You read more about it here.

 

Find out more about yesterday's stage 2 with our collection of TDU news shorts here.

 

Lotto Soudal's Adam Hansen put in an impressive solo breakaway ride yesterday, staying clear until about 18km to go. Read more about Hansen's day here.

 

118km remaining from 139km

With just over 20 km covered, the gap for solo rider Laurens De Vreese (Astana) is hovering at 2:30.

 

The first sprint is coming up. De Vreese will take maximum points. The peloton will have to fight for second.

 

105km remaining from 139km

Dimension Data on the front now just ahead of the sprint, while the gap is down to 1:50.

 

105km remaining from 139km

Dimension Data on the front now just ahead of the sprint, while the gap is down to 1:50.

 

Results from sprint 1 are in, and Race leader jay McCarthy is in the mix;

1. Laurens De Vreese (Astana)
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar)
3. Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff)

Aside from getting maximum sprint points and bonus seconds, De Vreese has bumped his gap back up to 2:15.

 

Word has come in that Rohan Dennis crashed but is OK and back on the bike.

 

Dennis had a good ride yesterday and is well positioned to challenge for the overall. Read more here.

 

FDJ's Anthony Roux made the top 10 yesterday. Here's what he had to say abut today's finish in Campbelltown: "Stirling is the nicest finish in my mind so I'm glad I made the top ten yesterday. The first two on the line were really the strongest. I'd have liked to be closer to them. Today it'll be a question of positioning before the Corkscrew climb. Luis Leon Sanchez and Simon Gerrans seem to be very easy on their bikes."

 

Have you had a chance to vote for your favourite WorldTour jersey of 2016. You haven't? Well here's your chance.

 

De Vreese is taking on some food now as his gap stays around two minutes. He's still got along day ahead.

 

92km remaining from 139km

From the CN blimp it's hard to tell if De Vreese has picked up the pace or the peloton has slowed down, but the Astana rider's gap has jumped up again to more than three minutes.

 

Tinkoff is on the front now for McCarthy, followed by Lampre-Merida, whose rider Diego Ulissi was second yesterday.

 

The temperatures are high, but the road the riders are on is currently lined with trees, so there's bit of shade.

 

De Vreese has averaged 37km/h so far today.

 

The entirety of the Lampre team is lined up behind two Tinkoff riders. The gap continues to come down and is at 2:20 now.

 

82km remaining from 139km

We're an hour and a half into today's stage.

 

De Vreese's Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali held court with the media yesterday at Tour de San Luis, talking about the Giro, the Olympics and whether he'll ride the Tour. You can read the Q&A here.

 

73km remaining from 139km

Three Tinkoff riders are sharing the workload now, and De Vreese's gap is down to 1:40.

 

The peloton is heading uphill now in this undulating terrain, while De Vreese is motoring along on a slight downhill.

 

The final 10km of today's stage will likely see lots of fireworks, so teams are trying to save their bullets for the finale to launch their GC contenders into position. De Vreese is the rabbit for the chase, but they don't want to catch him too early.

 

De Vreese is on a twisting downhill part of the course now. He's confident enough o drink from his bidon.

 

The gap continues to come down and is at 1:20 now.

 

The time board pulls up alongside to let De Vreese know the gap is down to 1:05. The big Belgian appears to have slowed quite a bit and his having another drink.

 

57km remaining from 139km

De Vreese is heading through the feed zone. He'l enjoy a fresh bidon on such a warm day.

 

De Vreese grabbed a banana and his having a quick bite now.

 

De Vreese's gap my go back up as the peloton slows considerably through the feed zone.

 

As expected, De Vreese' gap is back up to 3:15 after the feed zone.

 

The peloton is spread across the road now. With 48km to go, they don't seem to be in a hurry.

 

43km remaining from 139km

De Vreese's gap has gone up to 4 minutes. He's got to be wondering if he's i with a chance now.

 

The peloton is bearing down on the second intermediate sprint, angling for those bonus seconds remaining.

 

Caleb Ewan gets it, and Jay McCarthy may have added another second to his lead.

 

Indeed, McCarthy gets a bonus send for third on that sprint. 

 

The peloton has eased up again after the sprint, can De Vreese add even more time to his lead?

 

33km remaining from 139km

The peloton is not feeling very threatened by De Vreese at the point. They're gutter to gutter across the road and appear to be soft pedalling. The solo leader's gap is at 3:35.

 

De Vreese is a man for the classics. His best ride there came this year when he finished 17th in the Tour of Flanders. He looks very determined, but there's still a long way to go.

 

The peloton still looks very uninspired. The finish must have them very worried.

 

Here's what Lampre's Louis Meintjes had to say about the finale: "That’s the plan, to be up there at the front today. If you want a good result at the Tour Down Under, today is the day you’ve got to be up there. I’ve been up the Corkscrew a few times. It’s really steep, it’s a proper climb. Positioning will be key."

 

Stage 2 winner and current race leader Jay McCarthy is hoping for another good finish: "It was an exciting day yesterday. It was a long fight to the finish, so to finish it off with the win was awesome. I had good legs coming into the race, so I was happy to finish it off with the win. We’re going to help to control the race today. It’s a tricky approach to the Corkscrew, so I hope to have a few fresh guys to be able to put me into position. We will fight to the end to keep the jersey."

 

Well, just as I say that the field is incredibly animated now. A Trek-Segafredo rider is applying the pressure, and the peloton is reacting.

 

Simon Gerrans had a rough finish yesterday, going down int he final 500 meters. Here's what he had to say about that and about today's finish on Corkscrew Road.

"It was disappointing, because the team did a great job all day, and we were in perfect position to make a good sprint. We did everything right. It was far from ideal to have that crash, but I hope once I loosen up on the road today, I should be OK to make the race. It’s a hectic run-in down the Gorge, going down there at warp speed, and it’s quite dangerous. Hopefully I can hang on, and be there on the Corkscrew."

 

26km remaining from 139km

UniSA is driving the pace now, and the gap is down to 2:05

 

The peloton is screaming down the descent now, with a Tinkoff rider tucked in on the front.

 

The Tinkoff rider went a little too fast and got an unexpected gap.

 

24km remaining from 139km

The efforts on the front have paid off. The gap is just 1:15

 

23km remaining from 139km

LottoNL-Jumbo and Astana have come to the front as the gap is down to 1:05

 

IAM Cycling have moved to the front now in force.

 

There's award-left turn onto Corkscrew Road in the final 10km, and the teams want to make sure their hitters are up front at that point.

 

They've swallowed up De Vreese, and he's unceremoniously dropped now. The peloton is averging 64km/h

 

The are two trains on the front now with Tinkoff coming up alongside IAM Cycling.

 

There's a crash that split the field. Lucas Hamilton is down. Multiple riders down. They won't be able to come back at this point. Tinkoff is drilling the pace.

 

18km remaining from 139km

Jay McCarthy is safely tucked into the Tinkoff train. 35-40 riders are slightly ahead of the split peloton

 

Tinkoff continues to drill the pace at the front as the split hasn't been closed.

 

The gap between groups is 10-15 seconds.

 

The second group is about to make contact with the leaders

 

5km to the left turn onto Corkscrew Road, and teams are swapping places on the front. The battle for position is in full force. 

 

Team Sky have control at the moment.

 

They're close to 1km from the Corkscrew

 

80km/h on this downhill run to Corkscrew Road.

 

Inside 10km to go

 

They've turned onto Corkscrew Road with Tinkoff in control

 

Riders are flying out the back of the field now

 

Tinkoff driving the pace with McCarthy in their slipstream. Sky are following.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo on the front now for George Bennett

 

McCarthy is fourth wheel behind AG2R and LottoNL-Jumbo

 

McCarthy is n the front now, followed by Gerrans, Dennis and Porte.

 

Porte attacks. Gerrans goes along with Pozzovivo. Gaps are forming.

 

Porte, Pozzovivo, Gerraint Thomas and a Cannondale rider.

 

Gerrans is trying to make his way back to the leaders, followed by McCarthy

 

Michael Woods (Cannondale) and Sergio Henao (Sky) are clear off the front. 200 meters from the top

 

Henao leads Woods through the KOM. Two leaders on the descent now.

 

Woods takes the lead on the descent. The two leader shave got  workable gap. The favourites behind will have to chase hard to close it. 7-8 second gap for the leaders.

 

Woods, a 28-year-old Canadian, iis in his first year with Cannnondale. 4km to go

 

Henao is n the lead now. Woods is sitting in as Porte attacks form the chase group. Gerrans going as well.

 

Woods and Henao swapping turns hoping to hold off the chase.

 

10 riders together at the front now.

 

 

Porte, Woods, Henao, Morabito, Dennis, Gerrans, McCarthy, Valls, Pozzovivo, 

 

Inside the final kilometer

 

 

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

 

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

 

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

 

Gerrans gets it, followed by Dennis and Woods.

 

Today's top 10 on the stage and GC:

Brief Results

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE 3:37:34
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff Team
5 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ
6 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
7 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar


General Classification after stage 3


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE 10:28:12
2 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff Team 0:00:03
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:05
4 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale  0:00:11
5 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:15
6 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
7 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
8 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team

 

Well that was an exciting finish! Gerrans now leads the race by three seconds over McCarthy, with Dennis third and Woods in 4th. 

Saturday's stage with Wilunga Hill should be another barn burner and will likely decide the final overall.

 

You can see our complete report, results and photos here.

 

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